Owen Luder's Comments
Comment on: AJ named Magazine of the Year
I have taken the Architects Journal since I was a student in 1944. I got my first job as a Junior Assistant in an Architects office in 1945 as a result of a student free advertisement in the AJ. Over the years consistently a great magazine covering all as aspects of architecture, architectural practice and the profession. This award confirms what has been its consistency over the years. Owen Luder PPRIBA
ARB seem determined to give those whose campaign for its abolition the ammunition they seek to support their case. To change the rule we established when I was a founder architect member of ARB and its Vice-Chairman that, as with most other organisations there should be a period of grace for architects who - despite warnings of the renewal date - for good reasons or bad had not paid up by December 31st, There will be genuine cases where late payment an be justified. Ill-health, away abroad or just overlooked. It can happen. Not to allow any period of grace is brutal and unnecessary. Who complained that some architects were gaining an advantage by not paying until March? Or was this an internal decision - as was the internal decision to charge and find guilty George Oldham for what was alleged to be an unprofessional statement? ARB could possibly justify reducing the deadline to say a month, but abolish it completely and then charge a reinstatement fee - the costs created by their own decision to strike off - was unreasonable and unnecessary. This with the way ARB have incorrectly and unfairly applied disciplinary procedures makes it difficult for us who believe ARB has a very useful and necessary function working with the RIBA difficult to defend. Owen Luder CBE PPRIBA Past Chairman ARB
Terry Farrell lacks vision in ridiculing the concept of a hub airport. He is also compromised - or should be - as he has a vested interest in supporting the opposite approach tacking extra runways on various existing airports as he is involved in promoting an extension at Gatwick. We have the opportunity to create a new hub airport on the Thames Estuary with all the obvious advantages. Take off is over water. Not landing over a heavy populated areas. It will also create the catalyst - as airports always do of development - regeneration and employment to the deprived Eastern side of London regeneration The Western side of London is already congested and over developed. Had Maplin been built in the mid 1960's that regeneration would have happened then. The long term future of Heathrow can be decided when the estuary airport is under way. I suspect it will still have a future as air travel will still be growing and it will be used far less intensively to cater for the continued growth in short haul flights. Or will we lose our nerve and lose the opportunity to solve two long term problems. Restricting the growth of Heathrow in an already over congested part of London and a new hub airport that will not only avoid flights over heavily congested densely residential areas and bring regeneration to where it is still required without creating the problems Heathrow has created for West London. Owen Luder CBE PPRIBA
You refer to my concern about the changes in membership structure and particular the use of the affix Associate to advanced students who are not fully qualified. When I was told that at the Council meeting that the members in the membership survey had voted for that change - I said they were wrong as they had not thought through the implications. It also depended on how the question was asked. I am afraid the changes are there to increase income, are of doubtful value to the majority of members and most importantly will increase the confusion that already exists with the public as to who are properly and fully qualified architects. Owen Luder PPRIBA Nationally elected Council member.
I have concerns about the use of an affix AssociateRIBA by students who have reached Part 3 stage. Not that they should not have recognition and encouragement but that the use of an affix AssociateRIBA will create uncertainty with the public and be abbreviated to ARIBA which will cause problems and very difficult to monitor. However Council agreed to what it was said was a change supported by members in the membership survey but that depended on the question was phrased and whether members in giving their reply and thought through the implications. However Council has agreed to he use of that as an affix and we should accept that but keep the situation under review. Owen Luder PPRIBA
Comment on: Architects blamed for 'crap towns'
The design of everything that has been built since 1947 has had to be approved by the planning system - usually the locally elected Council members - aided and supported by the planning system operated by planners. Owen Luder CBE PPRIBA
This is a mess. When the RIBA finances are "tight" and that it seems to me is an understatement, spending money on setting up a parallel fund raising body in the USA without I understand even discussing the possibilities with the existing RIBA/US organisation cannot be sensible. It will be interesting to know how this came about, did the RIBA Board agree to exploring the concept of a new fund raising body were they aware of existence of the existing RIBA/US body? Did they agree the cost of the exercise? When they agreed to the new body were the Board aware of the problems it had created with this existing RIBA/US body? In addition to all that as a Council member I knew nothing of all this and Council were never advised or consulted on firstly what was proposed and secondly that should be approved. This is another example where the RIBA Council elected by the membership to be responsible for such important policy and financial decisions are not only excluded from the decision process but are not even aware as a Council what is being proposed. That situation must be rectified. Owen Luder PPRIBA. Nationally elected Council member.
Comment on: Last chance for Sheffield’s Don Valley Stadium
As the judge of the stadia design competition in the 1990's I made the Bon Valley stadium the winner from a very high standard of entries. To see it demolished when the policy is to expand sports appears to be another example of Municipal vandalism and short term thinking. Demolition is not the solution - finding more imaginative uses for an existing facility is. Sadly it seems the imagination and will are missing. Owen Luder CBE PPRIBA
I disagree totally with George Oldham's attempts to have ARB scrapped. Were he and the other members of the so called "action group" sucessful it is unlikely that its powers would be passed to the RIBA. The claim that ARB was set up as a "minimalist" organisation used by those seeking its abolition is not correct. I was President when the Act was passing through Parliament and the minimalist related to th size of the governing body. The 60 strong Board of Architectural Education was scrapped and the 62 strong ARCUK Council rduced to 15 - with seven lay members. As for ARB owers being reduced the oppoite was the case and the offence of "professional incompetence" added to ARB powers. Those who seek the destruction of ARB are misguided .Self regulation of "protected" professions is not favoured at present forobvious reasons. There would be the great danger of the statutory protection of the title "architect" would be abolished with catastropic consequences for the profession and the RIBA. Who would bother to train as an architect for 5 years when others would be calling themselves architects after short training courses - or with no training at all! Havibg said that the ARB disciplianry process are at times questionable and not properly considered. CertainlyI would support Geoge Oldhm's appeal against what appears to be a flimsey case that should never have been brought against him. Itlooks as though ARB has shot itself in the foot in this case. Owen Luder. RIBA President 1995-97when the Architects Act went through Parliament.
I am so pleased to see the Olympic Stadium on the short list. Before the Hillsborough Disaster in 1990 spotrs stadia facilities and design were appaliing. Hillsbough changed all that and suddenly the quiality of sports stadia design rocketed. When I gave the President's Building of the Year Award in 1996 (replaced the following year with the first Stirling Prize) to the new Huddersfield Stadium the Guardian expressed suprise that a football stadium could get such an award. Basically the same practice designed Arsenal's Emirates Stadium for which they have received insufficient credit for its design qualiy and built on time to budget. Despite the quality of the other contenders I hope the Olympic Stadium (by the same architects) wins as it will demonstrate so clearly to the world the difference architects (working with creative engineers) can acheive in changing what was such a "nobody cares about design" building type into top quality architecture that works and gives great pleasure to those who use it and see it. Owen Luder CBE PPRIBA.