Grappling with thoughts of Oz and BMW's moral dilemma
On my desk are a bottle of wine, a glass and an assortment of papers including a 'to do' list.
I have already called Marcus Binney to discuss the results of the Stirling Prize, which The Times seems set to studiously ignore.The newspaper has diminished its coverage of architecture. Never mind, Binney is always worth talking to. There is a reminder to call Melbourne about a project I have a chance of winning.But Australia is far away and the sun is in the wrong place and the lifestyle is life threatening. But I suppose I will call and suffer the consequences. My client from West Bromwich called. This is always interesting as the project is fixed yet maintains a fluidity that allows it to transform and improve.The C/Plex project, when complete in 2004, will be a surprise to me as much as to the locals and this maintains its life in the best possible way.
The project is always enjoyable.
Lucy Musgrave called to discuss dinner arrangements for the Architecture Foundation's 10th Anniversary - a celebration is worthy of attention. In 10 years the foundation has succeeded in becoming relevant without becoming institutional. In the next 10 years we have to maintain the same open attitude towards the manner of operation while grappling with the question:
'what is an architecture centre?'
Carol Robbie, an architect from Toronto, would like lunch on Monday - that will be a delight. So much for the reminder list which contains the possibility of having to suffer many flights to Australia alongside the ongoing debate in the Black Country, combined with two eating and drinking opportunities. If the flying does not get you the parties will. Only C/Plex is safe.
Languishing beside the 'to do' list is an invitation to judge the Circle 33 Innovation in Housing competition for students. The previous competition for professionals was won by Peter Barber. His scheme was innovative but safe. I hope students will have the courage to deal with the issues of how to create a sense of individuality.
Style, globalisation, standardisation and quantity surveyors have combined forces to create an environment that militates against the joys of being different. This will continue as long as housing is seen to be a 'problem' that has to be solved. Housing is an opportunity to give meaning to a small part of the planet. A place where John Pawson is a byword for those that cannot afford furniture.
A place that promotes a sense of personal innovation and creativity. Thou shalt not conform to the tyranny of style or the greed of the market-led mass housebuilders.
Housing associations are major agents of home provisions and should always assume the responsibility of giving the community a real - as opposed to imagined - voice. I hope Circle 33 will show faith in the students' imaginations by building the winning entry.
Alongside these lies the outline brief for a new facility for BMW in Germany - I am on the shortlist for the competition. I am surprised how the Germans have taken over as world leaders in the automotive industry at a time when the future of the car, in its present form, is questionable. Should I be encouraging such an endeavour by entering the competition?
Morality says no, but I have a weakness for cars and all the sensory delights that go with them. They give a sense of personal freedom public transport does not possess. I will enter the competition and if I win I will be destined to a conflict between conscience and delight.
Tonight the desk houses many possibilities- tomorrow it will all look different.
WA, Room 604 Hotel Trieste, Vienna