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Christine Murray's comments

  • Riots updated: Sennett, Rykwert, Till, de Botton, Tavernor and more on why Britain is burning

    Christine Murray's comment 11 August, 2011 12:34 pm

    We asked several women, actually. The first thinkers to reply were posted yesterday, but we will continue to update this page, and post more comments, as they come in.

  • Riots updated: Sennett, Rykwert, Till, de Botton, Tavernor and more on why Britain is burning

    Christine Murray's comment 11 August, 2011 11:05 am

    It would make an interesting debate. I've added Irena Bauman's comment above: 'No amount of regeneration funding will help.' Have architectural interventions in public realm been used by local authorities to gloss over deeper social problems? Have they been paying lipservice to change and regeneration, using public realm/small projects as public relations campaigns, so that they can show something tangible they are doing, when really they are doing nothing to 'redistribute wealth', as Bauman suggests. Many of these projects did improve neighbourhoods, etc. but they needed to be underpinned by social programmes to really 'regenerate' a place.

  • UK riots: tell us your stories

    Christine Murray's comment 10 August, 2011 1:44 pm

    I live in Dalston, which was 'protected' by the local Turkish and Kurdish shopkeepers. I think the recent regeneration of the area wasn't really intended to improve the lives of the disaffected youth that are rioting, the local Turkish and Kurdish communities, or the inhabitants of the local council estates (although section 106s as part of new developments did result in new libraries and public spaces for the area). Regeneration is about getting the yuppies in, and driving the locals out. This kind of regeneration exacerbates, rather than narrows, the class divide. Agree that raiding shops is about poverty and consumerism, not politics.

  • AJ Buildings Library now open to all AJ subscribers

    Christine Murray's comment 14 July, 2011 10:18 am

    Thanks Simon. We're hoping it brings the tradition of building an architectural library with the AJ into the 21st century. Several architecture schools and large practices have subscribed to site-wide IP access to the AJBL, but I'm so pleased that now students, sole practitioners and small practices can benefit from this resource too.

  • Colerne Primary School dining rooms, Colerne, Somerset, by Mitchell Taylor Workshop

    Christine Murray's comment 4 April, 2011 10:01 am

    Response from Piers Taylor, Mitchell Taylor Workshop on the coping detail:

    'The timber (lack of) coping detail was something we developed a few years ago on Sanderson House (AJ 16th April 09). We'd always hated copings/flashings on the top of buildings, so researched with Trada how we might do away with it. The timber skin (slow grown extremely durable Siberian Larch) is effectively a fence sitting in front of the waterproofing which tucks down behind it. The top of the board is chamfered to encourage water run off - Trada suggest in this application the (untreated) board will last 75 years. For what it is worth we did a developed version of this detail on Starfall Farm that was in the 2011 AJ Small Projects, where there's also an oversized ribbed coverstrip. The detail defies conventional timber detailing wisdom, but Trada have convinced us that it does work.'

  • Good design can heal

    Christine Murray's comment 29 March, 2011 4:32 pm

    I will touch on this issue in my next Leader too.

  • Good design can heal

    Christine Murray's comment 29 March, 2011 12:48 pm

    Thank you, John. There has been a revolution over the past decade in the design of birth centres and cancer care facilities. I can only hope that 'rooms for dying in' will be next, and that architects will be recognised as instrumental in making decent hospice care happen.

  • Call for entries for this year's AJ100 survey

    Christine Murray's comment 16 March, 2011 11:31 am

    Thanks for asking. Just some background and hopefully a thorough response to your question:

    The AJ100 practices are the biggest employers of qualified architects in this country. As such they play a strong role in shaping what it is to be an architect in the UK today.

    The AJ uses data from the survey, working with Imperial College London, to track how the profession is faring and report back to the profession on trends in architect salaries, fees, markets, sectors, etc.

    There are typically three or four practices that should be in the AJ100 that occasionally decline to submit the AJ100 survey.

    Sometimes this is a one-off, and they re-enter the survey the following year. Other times they have had a difficult year, and have been forced to make an undue number of redundancies, which would see them fall in the AJ100 ranking.

    But there may also be practices that are uncomfortable with the level of transparency the AJ100 survey requires:

    The value of the survey as a piece of research is that it is extensive – we ask a number of sensitive questions, such as the salary range of Part 1, Part 2, associates, architects, directors and partners, fee scales and the female-to-male ratio of employees, as well as economic questions, such as the practice’s foreign fee income in different regions, or their architectural fee income vs. total fee income.

    I can’t answer why your practice has declined to enter, and it's hard to speculate, as I don't know where you work. Perhaps there is something about their company data that doesn't fit with their branding or image – maybe they don't employ a lot of fully-qualified architects, but their brand is bigger than their size. Or perhaps they don't feel transparency is important.

    Many practices enter the AJ100 because they understand that this is a valuable piece of research, and participation is important. They also get a number of benefits throughout the year for being in the 'club' -- such as breakfast briefings, lunches, networking opportunities with clients, gov't officials, etc.

    As a journal of record, of course we would like the list to be complete – although in terms of accuracy – even with the absence of three or four practices – the data is still statistically solid. We work closely with Imperial to ensure this.

    The data still reflects the day-to-day work of nearly 6,000 qualified architects, not to mention the myriad technologists, year-out students, etc.

    As the output and methodology of the practices included is diverse, from sector specialists such as Populous and Purcell Miller Tritton, to ideologically-strong practices such as Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, through the AJ100, we are able to report on the shape and economic health of the profession, and make solid predictions for the coming year.

    What can we predict? Where the work is, what kind of work, and what kind of practice is delivering it.

    Also, on the individual level, we can tell architects what the AJ100 practices' priorities are, who is hiring, what sectors are hot, etc.

    I hope this answers your question.


  • MSMR lands planning for Bankside affordable housing

    Christine Murray's comment 1 March, 2011 1:26 pm

    We referred to it as Bankside because the project is the affordable housing provision for the NEO Bankside development on the Thames, and developed by GC Bankside. We do refer to Hoxton as being in North London, etc., as this is consistent with the AJ's house style, and it would be London-centric to assume everyone knows where everything in London is.

  • Don't wait for the Big Society to help small practices

    Christine Murray's comment 1 March, 2011 1:19 pm

    Through the competition system and the localism agenda, architects do have to work hard for free in order to win more work. Is there a way to claw things back? Has anyone found another way to grow their practice?

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