John Kellett's comments
Whatever happened to the C21?
The use of traditional sustainable materials doesn't preclude a contemporary style, so why pretend to be something it isn't?
As for the plans, who on earth places sanitaryware on an internal wall backing onto a bedroom, with all the attendant 'noise' and privacy issues?
By the way, there is no record on ARB.org.uk of Ben Pentreath being an architect!
PS for "unqualified" read "under-qualified"
Since most homes are not designed by architects how can it RIBA's "Ratner moment"? Architects have had very little to do with the low design standard of most new housing.
The fact that homes are sold on the basis of the number of bedrooms and bathrooms is a purely artificial construction of the sales teams. To sell on the basis of sqm and running costs would be just as easy to implement.
It is often claimed that it is the cost of land that is the biggest factor which determines the size of houses. Again the price of land is artificially determined by how many houses the vendor thinks will fit on the site, the more the developer actually gets on the site, the larger the profit.
To return to a situation where our new homes are large enough to live in, the whole process needs a rethink. Government, house builders, estate agents and architects should be resolving the problem together.
Since nearly all of the badly designed new houses are designed by unqualified incompetents and/or developed/built by 'cowboys', requiring all buildings to be designed and built by those suitably qualified and trained would be a start!
There are many examples of clever use of minimal space with multi-functioning spaces, micro-flats, caravans and boats etc. However, none of them are 'comfortable' to live in. PassivHaus's 30M3 per person rule of thumb is a sensible one, particularly if one has guests or needs to store a pram. Oh yes, bring back Parker Morris, all is forgiven.
It would be useful if the AJ could republish "Activities and Spaces" too, my copy is extremely dog-eared!
Like many micro-practices, and others without a private income, I simply cannot afford to work for free, or even 'at cost'.
To do so would mean hiring a student to work for free (which is illegal).
Also, a fact conveniently ignored by 'clients', the risk is higher for architects than for developers since the developer's profit on successful projects is substantial, whereas that for architects is mediocre at best. I would happily take the risk if I had the developer role. Particularly if I could get all the hard work done for free :-)
When will the profession wake up to reality? The only people who benefit from our working for free are the developers / clients, not us.
"God that was such a boring post."
Welcome to the world of an architect's practice in the C21 :-)
A good example to show why agents for planning applications should be appropriately qualified (RIBA, CIAT etc) or at least drawings prepared by.
Grade II* listed and no reference to a conservation architect either.
I don't live in London, or any city for that matter. I live in part of the country that requires travelling some distance by car to reach any sort of 'cultural' facility be it a swimming pool, theatre, concert or shop. Public transport is not a viable option. In fact many have to commute many miles to get a job, I didn't work in the County for many years due to the lack of opportunity. We had no riots apart from small copycat outbreaks of violence in the larger towns (from city-dwellers shipped out to the countryside perhaps).
Anyone living in a city has excellent access to any facility, it's nonsense to argue lack of access. I am sick and tired of less well-off city-dwellers moaning about how 'deprived' they are, the 'rural poor' are not a minority in many parts of the country but they are not rioting because the rioting has nothing to do with such issues. The riots are simply criminal and often orchestrated for political purposes.
"Had educational opportunities taken away from them"? What on earth does that mean. London is littered with schools. If you choose not to learn you have only yourself to blame. If you're not intelligent enough to get to university no amount of 'education' will change that. Higher education is far more affordable now, the loan system is far fairer than a means tested 'grant'.
It would appear from news reports that many of the early rioters were adults with jobs, hopefully they won't have a job to go back to. The children and unemployed and / or 'disaffected' youth ought not to be able to afford the Blackberries apparently used to organise the unrest anyway! Hence my earlier comment.
Architects were never 'responsible' for poor public housing: the brief, the budget, quality of construction and the politics were and are far more responsible. For example, we can't design larger houses because the brief, budget and procurement paths don't permit it.
I stand by my observation made earlier regarding the initial rioting, later looting was obviously opportunist.
I'm fed up with apologists trying to justify the unjustifiable.
The timing, location, organisation and use of youngsters suggests to me that terrorists might be at the root of the riots.
Torched buildings were at crossroads and easily filmed, youngsters are more readily 'radicalised', timing ahead of the Olympics (before security tightens), targeting 'down at heel' areas etc.
The current stupidity of the economic markets around the world could also be orchestrated by terrorist organisations. Selling shares in companies based in non-AAA rated countries in order to buy bonds in the very same non-AAA rated countries is at the very least bizarre.
For rioters to destroy the streets that they live in would be stupid. Hence the suspicion of external influence.
"Good design" can be in any style. The trouble with Design Review Panels is that they are usually only looking at large schemes by architects, that are generally not "bad design" in the first place.
If the government is serious about the promotion of good design it should be requiring all buildings to be designed by persons trained and qualified to design them. Which leads to the other problem, are all panellists trained and qualified to judge "good design"?
Most badly designed buildings (large and small), don't currently come under the scrutiny of DRPs. DRPs are the wrong solution unless used for all planning applications. To use a DRP to judge major developments by internationally known architects (or indeed any architect) is insulting. To use DRPs as a constructive design review with the client and / or fellow architects prior to making a planning application is however very useful.
Let me pose another two questions:
1] does anyone know of a scheme considered by a DRP that was not designed by an architect / architect's practice?
2] What is the success rate of DRPs in getting bad design (not just indifferent or the wrong style) changed?
"plus you don’t earn much for the first 10 years."
You don't earn much for the next 20 years either!
As a profession requiring a high level of intellect the renumeration is, generally, pitiful. It does not take much intellect to realise that, unless committed, architecture is a financially unrewarding career.
Perhaps it is that which is behind the reduced numbers applying to start a course?
At current salary levels the 'debt' is one that won't necessarily be required to pay back!
It does rather have the look of a row of terraced slate quarryman's houses in North Wales: very harsh and very grey.
It is perhaps due to the lack of landscaping and the lack of a sunny day for the photos but......
Also: "had energised people to give up their time", "We have managed to absorb lots of free time and nobody has put a price on that", and "admits to having ‘squandered’ time on the scheme" do appear to be euphemisms for "work for free". I wonder who made a profit out of the scheme.
Just a small observation. Many of the listed people / businesses are not architects! Does ARB know? Does ARB care?
Not enough surely. The government (of all persuasions) seems intent on de-skilling the design of buildings. The majority of building designs submitted at planning application stage are not by architects and many are by 'architectural consultants' with few if any qualifications at all.
If the government wants good design it should be requiring ALL buildings to be designed by those suitably trained and qualified.
The other roles of the architect have been infiltrated by the inadequately qualified too.
How do we make government aware of the actual facts? They seem intent on listening to members of the construction industry with a vested interest in carrying out the role of the architect but without possessing the relevant skills.
The poor quality of the design of the built environment is, and can only be, due to the fact that most buildings are not designed by suitably trained, qualified and registered / chartered professionals.
I think the RIBA has enough to do with architectural issues without being 'human rights' issues in a foreign country into it.
China's treatment of chinese citizens is none of the RIBA's business. It would be odd for the Belgian Women's Knitting Circle to make a song and dance over the RIBA competition to design a new electricity pylon for example. We can object as individuals of course.
As for hanging banners....it is NOT easy. The RIBA has been exploring that very subject for a number of years now, 'planners' and NIMBYs are very much against the idea :-)
You state that Wayne Hemingway is a "Self proclaimed architect". Have you informed ARB? Has ARB taken any action?
There are enough charlatans and fraudsters claiming to be architects as it is.
A sighted person is kind enough to point out a large hole to a blind pedestrian and offers to construct a bridge or guide him/her around the hole.
Blind person decides to take advice from other blind, and partially sighted, friends and neighbours instead.
Blind person falls down hole.
I don't think we ever found out what was 'wrong' with the rather excellent scheme by Edward Cullinan!
An example of objective bad design would be the very large traditional sash window into a small bathroom (apparently clear glazed) as featured in project seen in the "3 Classicists" exhibition or perhaps cedar cladding 10 storeys up in the air as is quite 'fashionable' at the moment!
Town-planners and conservation officers insisting on repeating a bad detail just because it's 'historic' or insisting that 'in keeping' means 'copying' are other examples.
I'm really not certain about "expert opinion should be moderated by democratic principles". Expert opinion should always be 'informed' or 'respect' those 'democratic principles' but the most popular solution is often not the best!
Architectural ideologies and styles (subjective) are different. Most are valid and continue to fall in and out of favour throughout history. Bad design (objective), no matter how much it may be 'desired' by the un-informed and design-illiterate, should never be tolerated. Especially as a result of moderation by democratic principles!
The problem in a democratic society is, of course, to be able to differentiate between the subjective and the objective.