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Time to appreciate the art in architecture


I appreciated Clare Melhuish's comment on Richard Sennett's address at the Victoria and Albert Museum in October (AJ 13.11.03), and particularly the last two paragraphs.

The concept that people get the buildings they deserve may well be justified in our contemporary situation. Speculative developers and construction companies certainly do not promote architecture. They are only concerned to employ methods of construction that are practical and most certainly costeffective. If we take the 'art' out of architecture, we are left with building construction that better accommodates the plethora of legislation which binds us. Any artistic breath that architects may have is systematically being squeezed out of them - good design is apparently a quality that our society does not value enough to appreciate.

As an architect I have always envied the free spirit of the artist, unrestrained by costs, efficiency and regulation. But artists need patrons and so do architects if, as Melhuish says, 'architects who commit themselves to producing good buildings are likely to sacrifice themselves financially'.

Yes, I do believe that our society gets the buildings they deserve.

For Alastair Murdoch Partnership

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