Excellent comments. I would also recommend Steven Hodder's RIBA publication The Client & Architect. ‘Clients believe that architects who listen properly are rare’ RIBA Client & Architect report ‘Invest in understanding clients’ world views, speak their language, pre-empt problems and optimise designs to meet their key drivers’ RIBA Client & Architect report ‘Architects need to be business analysts – you need to understand how the client’s business works’ Andrew Bugg Knight Frank ‘Successful outcomes cannot be delivered by an individual. Successful buildings … have been with the collaboration of many people including an engaged client.’ Stephen Hodder ‘Being good with people smooths project stresses and forges lasting business relationships’ RIBA Client & Architect report ‘Architects need to be business savvy, demonstrating an awareness of how to deliver value’ RIBA Client & Architect report
Side-stepping the political debate (and surely it is a bit late to refuse the money after 5 years when the building is almost complete) - I am enjoying seeing some interior site photos of this big new building in Oxford by world class architects. As a local resident, I have been watching the construction progress as I cycle past on my way home from the station and had been worried about the final design. Initially I had applauded both the University, for selecting such great architects for Oxford, and the City Council, for approving the plans. The form looked exciting and I was looking forward to seeing the shiny surfaces reflecting the classical stonework of Freuds and the Oxford University Press. But I started to worry when I saw the building take shape on Walton street. In particular I was disturbed by the almost post-modern expression of the bull-nosed sand stone architrave being erected. To me the choice of materials and detail of the architrave suggested the worst compromise of excellent design being watered down to please the local politicians and traditional conservative neighbours. I began to wonder if a truly great piece of modern architecture could ever be built in a historic city like Oxford. I am still not sure of the final outcome but these new photos bring hope that all is not lost. From a distance, and with the second skin of glass in place, the architraves are less dominant and look in proportion. And the interior shots reveal the spatial complexity and quality of light that I was longing to see. Hope that the building will be open to the public when it is completed. And look forward to the AJ Building study!
Comment on: Fee levels stagnate despite architects' optimism
I think low fees are the fault of architects pricing themselves too low and continuing to compete on price. The RIBA business benchmarking report last year found that the majority of contracts are not decided on fees. Especially since high proportion of repeat work. When I have acted as a client adviser, the selection of architect was never on price although the client may like to barter so they feel like they are getting a deal or value for money. However I suspect that many architects continue to pitch their fees low because they think that is the way to win the contract even though the economy has picked up. In my experience, few architects have good sales and negotiation skills. Many fail to understand the clients needs or the drivers of their businesses. Negotiations are often a question of how the deal is structured / the value proposition framed or where value is perceived. Architects often misjudge this. Some architects however are natural deal makers. These are the very successful ones! If in doubt I always ask myself what Norman Foster would have done in that situation! I would like to encourage architects as a group to start charging more and not shoot themselves in the foot.
Comment on: Revealed: Assemble shortlisted for Turner Prize
I note that Assemble have chosen to communicate as a group. Individuals are not named or celebrated in any of the press releases. Even on their website, I could not find a list of collaborators, members or any information about their backgrounds. In an age of social media, lack of privacy, and availability of personal information, this is highly unusual. A far cry from Heatherwick for example. I respect and admire Assemble for promoting the collaborative nature of their work and not succumbing to the celebration of the individual genius. It is unique position in today's world.
Comment on: Covert House by DSDHA
Looks fabulous - love the photo across the garden with unexpected mirrored window frames. All those reflected greens.