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PPG 7 victory, the 'gherkin' and Zaha shine in a year of ups and downs


It has been an exciting year for architecture, although sometimes too much in the sense of the Chinese curse, 'may you live in exciting times'. As our news review shows (pages 8-9), we can balance the excitements of the first office winning Stirling and of Zaha's Pritzker Prize against ongoing concerns about education, troubles at CABE and instability in a number of practices. Other stories that had run for years reached a conclusion, such as the triumphant installation of the RIBA Drawings Collection at the V&A and the opening of the Scottish Parliament building. But worries over architectural quality in relation to PFI and other pressures continue.

It has certainly been a good year for the AJ. All journalism is about making choices but this year, in addition to our usual role of selecting the best buildings to publish and the most important issues to write about, we played an even more active part in the profession. Our campaign to save the 'country house clause' in PPG 7 resulted in a U-turn by government, an achievement that couldn't have happened without the support of hundreds of readers who signed our petition.

We also set the agenda for architectural debate by running our first issue of the year on the theme of 'Icons vs Context, ' and following this up with Graham Morrison's speech at the Royal Academy in the summer.

That speech, which was published in the Guardian as well as the AJ, led to an extensive discussion that went wider than just the architectural community. Within our own pages, contributors as eminent as Charles Jencks joined the debate. In 2005, most architects will find it difficult to use the term 'icon' glibly.

I have also had an enjoyable year, not least because I have been able to edit this magazine since Isabel Allen went on maternity leave at the start of August. Isabel will return in March, and the magazine has lots of plans for the new year. So it only remains to wish all readers a good holiday. The next issue of the AJ will appear on 13 January, when we will resume the debate and interaction with the profession that makes producing this magazine such a pleasure.

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