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DE BOTTON ATTACKS ARCHITECTS

AGENDA

The man awarded the honour of delivering this year's RIBA Trust annual lecture, Alain de Botton, has made the bizarre move of panning the profession just days before the event.

The author is likely to incur the wrath of practitioners attending the speech after voicing views against architects' 'inability' to manage projects and control finances.

In an interview with the AJ last week, De Botton said that many architects were suffering from a kind of 'status anxiety' because of their 'position in the building chain'.

He continued his diatribe by taking sides in a 'war' over costs between architects and developers.

De Botton said: 'Architects aren't holding on to enough of their work, so most developers don't need architects.

'One of the key things that has landed architects in difficulties is their inability to master the costs involved.'

He continued: 'You go to an architect and they can't tell you what your house will cost.

Their inability to properly manage a project in a capitalist world that cares for nothing more than ef-ciency, cost management and time management is extraordinary.

'A lot of it has to do with the training they receive.'

De Botton also claimed that ordinary people could not afford good architecture, because they were priced out of the market. This is a result of poor project management, he claimed.

He added that his new book, The Architecture of Happiness, is 'about the idea of beauty in architecture - which architects don't really talk about now.'

He denied that his book was just for non-architects. 'It's to get architects to think deeply about what an attractive building is, ' he added.

Prince Charles also came in for a pasting. De Botton added: 'I think he feels to be quite embattled. He's too threatened by too many things.

He'd be threatened by Michael Hopkins' Queen's Building, Cambridge.'

Speaking ahead of De Botton's lecture, RIBA Trust Director Charles Knevitt said:'Beauty is a word rarely used in relation to contemporary architecture, especially in Britain.

'As Hugh Casson once remarked, we think of it as fiunmanlyfl and something that should be left to fiforeigners and womenfl. In his lecture, Alain de Botton will put that right.'

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