LEEDS HAS POTENTIAL - BUT A LACKLUSTRE RECORD
Is it conceivable to have an awards ceremony, and not issue any awards? Last month's Leeds Architecture Awards saw 450 architects, clients, construction professionals and other interested parties congregate at the Yorkshire Playhouse to celebrate the best that Leeds had to offer the world of architecture in 2006.
Glenn Howells, the judge, put a brave face on a lacklustre shortlist. There were clearly identifiable winners that no one would have questioned - Bauman Lyons, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, and Alan Todd - but the question I was left asking myself was: 'Would it have been more positive to commend the winners but actually not award anyone, as the required level of quality hasn't been achieved?'. Instead there was a self-congratulatory ceremony which sounded hollow and left the majority in the auditorium vaguely embarrassed.
Leeds is a fantastic city with huge potential. Let's not risk its development future being anything other than brilliant - let's establish a benchmark which ensures that Leeds architecture competes as a European exemplar.
Simon Baker, director, Chetwoods Architects