kevin toner's Comments
Happy International Woman’s Day today, themed ‘inspiring change’! No men in this following article here, “The women who built the world” http://www.architectural-review.com/home/international-womens-day-/
Comment on: What does history teach architecture?
sorry: '...having choice that really matters!', i.e. choice in the knowledge of a full and complete timeline RE architectural history.
Comment on: What does history teach architecture?
It foremost teaches architecture its timeline, under the term ‘architectural history’. Ideas, however baked, can indeed be studied in parallel. To what extent though (?) It's our prerogatives to a) not see the woods for the trees and vice versa; b) separate the wheat from the chaff and vice versa; c - y) well, feel free to make up some more of your own...; z) etc. I think one thing is certain: the timeline, and however it's studied, shouldn't be a contentious issue; and that what might be contentious is favouring or giving greater attention to certain lines of history over others... A “foundation” such as AE can debate this by all means despite ARB/RIBA control, but one would hope for this to be in an informed open forum manner - like we are doing now publicly on this thread - where such foundations that are curious and concerned for education can eventually educate/inform themselves, then inform others. It would hitherto seem that lambasting any particular branch of history is “half-baked” in itself. All branches are valid recyclable and disposable alike. Branches of history that are taught with added expertise shouldn't really be shunned, per se as above, provided all and other branches are equally part of the program. Students have the ability and right to switch off from the ‘...woods for the trees’ and the ‘...wheat from the chaff’ etc. if they so do wish. It’s having the choice that really matters!
Comment on: Brutalism's return to favour
Casting favourites aside, I believed that Park Hill (which I chose for this AJ Poll) was the clear winner to be expected from architects as judges. That wasn't to prove the case here! Good discussion is on this at RIBA LinkedIn group, where I commented that I'd chosen a number to win per separate polls, but that my deliberated judgement was as per the AJ Poll. I suggested that the role of judgement be given over to the actual chartered and associate memberships of the RIBA, i.e. to decide by vote, rather than relying on a select few [supposed] masterminds...
Anon Anon, Would you consider a 'Conservation Architect' who is not registered with ARB, but fully RIBA chartered &/or RIBA conservation accredited to be part of that gamut of 'this architect and that architect'. I feel your pain in spite of my last 2 permanent jobs entitled as ‘Trainee Architect’ in ’88; and the same 20 years later. I was also brought up in the earlier mould of ‘Assistant Architect’ back in the 1980s as a teen. A little self esteem perhaps, but was quite happy to succumb to the rise/shift to the words ‘Architectural Assistant’ instead, which I’ve predominantly used on my CV for the last 2 decades. Ironically, the much tougher regimes in the US would have been calling me an Architect long ago. The UK system is quite belittling for those you have been blacklisted indefinitely as an ‘architectural assistant’ supposedly en-route to their Part 3 and registration. If you’ve had the patronage towards registration, which I suspect most ‘architectural assistants’ have within their first few years, I bet you & the others were agitated by having to gain merely the 1 year of post pg practical experience rather than [like me] the 1, 2 or more decade/s that I’ll have to endure, sorry enjoy. I enjoy what I do, so I don’t complain about it. I’m okay without self esteem and I don’t even mind if I end up setting a world record without it, but what I do mind is some other aloof person reminding me that I’m a ‘ural assistant, no more and no less. You tell me Anon Anon: What would be less than the ‘Architecturinal Assistant’ that I can’t retreat from, without breaking the law about it? I think I know who’s really been breaking the law, and it might very well be the profession that you and many 1000s of others wish to remain unchanged in any way. Well, that’s the impression I’m getting from your reply. Like you, I would like the seeming elitism to remain, but not while I’m unemployed jobseeking for too long: try ‘a half decade’s worth’ as of in 1.5 hours time. Yes, you heard right, 5 years long term unemployed, not counting a 1 week spell as a ‘ural assistant approximately 2 years ago. Maybe I’ll have some champagne tomorrow to celebrate my spell as the longest serving emeritus architcturinal assistant in the UK. I say play fair and let me at least be an ‘assistant’ if I’m not to be an ‘architect’, rather than have me uttering all this nonsense that brings the profession into disrepute. Don’t wait for business confidence to return, let me swap desks please with someone. I’ve been the pauper for long enough thank you very much, and it’s someone else’s turn now. Knowing my luck, I’ll have to wait another half decade or more. Yes, I’ll have been made redundant - 5 year’s ago - in 1 hour and a quarter hours from now. Apologies for going off on a tangent! [Ps If I’m lucky enough to get an assistant or technician job tomorrow, I could say that I was out of work for [not around] a half decade or 5 years but for 5 on the dot. I’ll give you 5 million to 1 for those odds!]
[pps there's an option that one can call oneself a 'trainee' architect publicly, but It sounds so wrong for someone of my credence. Therefore maybe a 'RIBAA' affix for Associates should indeed be considered as an advanced late form of [developed trainee] architect, dependent on the number of post-grad years of recorded experience. The whole fiasco has hitherto made my CV too full of description because there's no such affix/description as yet - architect candidates have got to make up their own - long-winded - explanations.] Truth (& change) will out!
David, since joining RIBA a few years ago, I've limited my use of affixes in case I give the impression that I'm an architect before registering as one. This was after reading [perhaps] a by-law or the likes - long ago - that qualification affixes must also not be used in conjunction with not using the affix of the professional body. I’m sure it was RIBA Bylaws if I remember correctly. I agree with this though. As I said earlier in my individual response to the survey, I’m happy to remain letter-less until registration to prevent giving the impression to the public that I’m otherwise registered. Simply because affixing whatever non-chartered category will confuse the public even more! That aforesaid bylaw that I read was nothing short of spot on. And, I hope it’s still there in b&w. As for a potential RIBAA affix for RIBA Associates, well why not? If anything, a simple ‘RIBA’ affix will then become the veritable downgrade from the compliment of being potentially RIBAA for the longest time possible. However, personally I want to upgrade to RIBA rather than downgrade onto it from potentially RIBAA, because as I said: 1) the public need to confide without confusion and doubt on strong, and as streamlined as possible, affixes rather than a weak multitude; and 2) because I’m not seeking the self esteem that ‘BArch DipArch RIBAA’ would bring me when having to introduce myself in public from symposiums to the jobcentre and everything in-between. I also argue that other Associates should likewise refrain, let alone especially the student, graduate, fellow, and affiliate members being proposed to have affixes. Introducing RIBAA; sRIBA; gRIBA; FRIBA; affRIBA; or whatever in addition to simply RIBA is going to take immense public education, outreach and publicity, which I doubt we have resourced for. Let’s stick with the wisdom of the old Byelaws: ‘No affix until chartered’. [Ps A couple of days ago - nothing new this - I was tabled as an Architect at a stone course for architects engineers etc. I didn’t say I was one; I used the word architecture for my discipline/designation. I’m most often called one than asked if I’m one, but I don’t necessarily like it because of the current public confusion over qualification. I’m also not surprised that there’s this confusion, even without a proliferation of affixes! ] You learn something new every day! I got a reply, and Owen’s suggestion above looks likely as there’s a number of stages before any such proposition can take effect. We’re looking at somewhere during 2015 or ’16 for this "shake-up" to materialise.
i.e. as I can't call myself an architect in my own right. This is deplorable and scandalous after obtaining/devoting more credence than most qualifying architects. The profession surely can't leave people like me out on a limb at such a critical stage in one’s career, having post-graduated in 2000 with 3 years' ug & 8 years' pg practical experience so far. Many 100s of you as businesses have my CV. Please give me a call please, or risk the profession more than falling as it stumbles to determine its [still] rogue qualifications agenda
Pps: Ultimately (as compromises) none of this is great, for Associates, if being held back from being able to become or call oneself an architect, especially in times like these when or if you’re made redundant in the interim...
Ps: And a 2nd question if I may. Does this relaxation/compromise on ‘affix use’ also mean that I - and other Associates as RIBA labels us - will finally be able to use BArch DipArch (or other equivalent combination of architectural qualifications) after our names too? To my mind, although I don’t know how others feel, there’s no point being able to use an affix without being able to reveal what qualifications that affix pertains to.
The affixes are too long winded! I've just tweeted these quotes @RIBAJ here a moment ago:- ...'AssociateRIBA' is pretty long winded for an Affix. 'RIBAA' would be much better for me until fully chartered! ...alternatively 'ARIBA' would conflict in Scotland, where fully chartered RIAS members are in fact also Associates affixed as 'ARIAS' ps how about the following suggestions too:- ...Part 1 students would be better as ‘sRIBA’ ...Part 2 students would be better as ‘gRIBA’ Associates need capital letters, ergo my earlier suggestion of RIBAA Fellows okay as traditionally FRIBA I've one question though that I've emailed Anthony today as follows:- "...will Associates - not Part 3 enrolled yet due to unemployment; or no current patronage - have to temporarily withdraw from the membersip class until otherwise?..." ps If Anthony or any other RIBA colleague is subscribed to this thread, perhaps they can comment here too, as I may not be alone in the UK (or am I?) I know a quick tel call to RIBA will probably suffice shortly, but it would be good to discuss such things on here too, in an open forum situation, so that many can see and comment. The decisions on affixing can’t be easy. The endeavour is to be commended including the survey work beforehand. Pps I recall writing in the survey that I was happy to continue to have no affix until chartered. Again, , I’d easily use RIBAA as an affix, but not ‘AssociateRIBA’. The latter is saying ‘something is wrong’ or ‘this is not a qualification as such’. Put simply: I want letters not words!
Comment on: What's behind the Walkie Talkie 'death ray'?
A couple of quick thoughts/questions! 1) Whilst white rather than black can deflect the problem at peak times - good call - another solution would be for receiving surfaces to be in a decent thickness of appropriate natural stone/s rather than any obvious intolerant materials..., now’s the time to splash out – while things are hot, i.e. to up the ante, not that dark painted wood; plastic displays; or adhered tiles are bad. It’s simply now inappropriate. 2) The upper floors are presumably safe for mid spring and autumn as there’s no likelihood of an exceedingly high ambient air temperature; and also possibly if the rays don’t even coincide at that level through any particular opening/s. On a different thread, I thought the height of summer sun might also be dangerous, but I imagine now that the angles of incidence are probably too obtuse or wouldn’t even coincide, i.e. anywhere in particular (?) 3) While it certainly brightens up the street, for potentially/presumably up to 200 sunny days per annum (?), there may even be a greater amenity or boon ‘ambient light wise’ than an otherwise un-obscured sky, enough to perhaps prompt a change in lighting habits/usage during sunny days. Secondly: would there actually be any solar gain, enough to influence heating habits/usage, i.e. particularly during early/mid spring and mid/late autumn? [Ps I’ve been in London today and didn’t even go along to this site, but I did have something more educational to attend: an excellent 1 day’s stone course proceedings from the Stone Federation GB. I’ve tweeted it deservingly as a Favourite – a hard one to match, make sure to attend next year’s if you can, highly recommended...] Apologies as unedited ad lib
Oh, almost forgot to say: my IEA comment - treading old territory - is all about engaging two of our newest cities. So do have a gander although I've mentioned it all before of course on previous article threads. By celebrating our newest cities, we might perchance begin to celebrate our older ones in better ways!
Comment on: Old War Office up for sale
If I may muse/confess for a moment on something that I'd have picked up on - moons ago - had my diploma thesis been more on architectural history rather than architecture. [My diploma ‘special subject’ was incidentally the other way round, more historically based, but not to worry. You can’t do too much in a two year Diploma!] Here goes: It strikes me that this 1901/06 work by Young may have influenced how Sir JJ Burnet had seen the future development of his Clyde Navigation Trust building after its 2nd phase in 1905/08. It’s too uncanny to dismiss in terms of the timing; the trapezoidal site; and the chosen style, which Burnet would have felt - could easily be harmonised with the 1882/86 1st phase, which had instead anticipated a campanile to mark the subsequent phase twenty years later. I trust there's few like examples of this kind of play on UK Beaux Arts works, which are more likely to be orthogonal in plan. Do let me know of any others worth note, any budding historians among you! You learn something new every day, thanks AJ!
I've commented on this subject before with the same recurring theme, but as always, with zero feedback; and possibly because any architectural readership portal is not really the place to discuss visionary/budgetary transportation matters, i.e. for what is ultimately in political hands or in other words influenced and controlled by democracy and law respectively! I've therefore commented on the IEA's site itself, perhaps likewise too wishfully. My notion/argument is that economic growth can indeed be possible through lateral and inventively long-term thinking. My opinion is that the 10 or so post industrial cities, scrabbling for a cut, will be better off (and more focussed) being proximate rather than engulfed/smothered by such an international infrastructure. Railways cannot work internationally - on a per city basis - in the same way that airports can. The sooner that we can comprehend this - the embarrassment that says otherwise - the better! The Monopoly that we’re playing simply needs to improve, et viola: to be truly capitalising! The impetus to capitalise is there, on an expectantly irrational and dysfunctional basis as per the above report’s findings, but the sense to capitalise isn't, it's helplessly absent as yet... Here’s a link to what I've posted on the IEA site, see comment #2: http://www.iea.org.uk/blog/high-speed-2-and-the-logic-of-collective-action-0
I'm with Austin on this. Somewhat reiterating my comments on the related thread “Who should be taught in the architectural canon?” the education of architects is quite simply too important to jeopardise with such errant syllabi as that stated. Syllabi that indoctrinate views on architecture masters, theorists, sustainability or whatever else, is rather for researchers, not architects. Unless of course it’s again part of that prerogative that get’s 1000s of names (not really architects) or in a word ‘false-livelihoods’ onto the ARB Register. Saying ‘sooo-naa’ instead of ‘saw-na’ for ‘sauna’ might have fooled someone’s perception of an architect in the 1990s, but linguistic corruptions won’t work now! The newer generation of staple architects in the UK will indeed need to sift for those with a command on research vocabulary: the new black for architects’ livelihoods, tinged with accent & red trousers for additional security by all means... RIBA/ARB, I’ll bring my fee down to help you differentiate the difference between researchers’ and architects’ courses. I said £50/hr: I’ll go £40/hr now. I don’t want the UK embarrassing itself anymore! I know the NHS is bursting at the seams as Earth’s 6th biggest employer (source BBC), but throwing livelihoods, for livelihoods sake, into the architecture profession is no way to go about manufacturing affluence, or taking the weight off the NHS. It’s not working! We’ll need real architects (if not real doctors and nurses) to get out of this recession, so give that call RIBA/ARB and I’ll sort it out. I’m not going less than 40 on this: I need to make a living too! Apologies for not editing as it's Saturday night for crying out loud!
Comment on: Who should be taught in the architectural canon?
When I was at the Mac this kind of stuff (viz. ‘who’ or ‘what’ should be taught) was left up to the students to read up on, i.e. via a booklist: e.g. Frampton's Modern Architecture: a Critical History. When a tutor/lecturer talks with the same language (conviction) as in these literary works, it’s time for either: the student (training architect) to choose a different course provider; or for the course to be invalidated/un-prescribed by the RIBA/ARB. Dissemination/debriefing from the lectern, studio &/or crit-space shouldn't involve too many syllables/letters per word per sentence. I was lucky in getting exactly this, excepting one part time studio tutor whom I didn’t mind. If I didn't read up*, then my loss! If conversely - for instance in the language to be found in this article, which I hope and trust is specifically reader orientated jargon - was ever to be found in class, i.e. regurgitating, substituting or even supplementing that expected to be found in booklist textbooks, students wouldn’t then bother to read or absorb important critical awareness within actual architecture discourse on their own account/accord. Discourse simply provides hymn-sheets for all of us to make what we will of it. Students shouldn’t ever be distracted/de-railed from this quite adequate resource – a good booklist and library suffices. This frees up the teacher to teach: a good thing these days given the increased admin duties etc. Students are at school to learn, not there to clone the teachers scripted understanding or knowledge! They are not apprentices of budding or would-be theorists/discourse-makers. The RIBA/ARB should again not be accrediting/prescribing this type of training/schooling for architects. A Masters, Diploma, PgDip, MSc, etc. is fine to support for this kind of education, but it must not be confused with the BArch and DipArch awards that are ascribed as actual architects’ qualifications, but instead as research courses. Where dissemination does take the form of such jargon it simply replaces actual teaching time on a genuine BArch/DipArch course. I therefore disagree with the sentiment behind the quoted passages that ‘teachers should pass on their understanding of discourse with conviction’. Passing on knowledge of discourse in terms of references is fine, but nothing much more to promote/maintain the learning faculties of potential architects? A teacher’s own understanding of discourse, even where tremendously scholarly, should quite simply not come between that of a developing architect’s. It looks like the RIBA/ARB now have to seriously see where this kind of - research orientated - teaching is present and disassociate it with the accredited architecture degree/diploma for architects. I’m sure this has already happened to an extent (given the breadth of courses that schools are now beginning to offer) in recent times. There’s obviously a market for research based architecture, but again, the profession of architecture must understand what courses are developing 1) architects & 2) researchers. I’d help them differentiate if my fees weren’t so high (£50/hr)! * The irony is IMO that for a better grasp of architecture discourse and theory, the best thing is to be schooled as an architect rather than as an architecture academic/researcher. That said, a developing architect can easily forgo any academic prowess at his/her disposal, whereas a developing academic/researcher can’t, unless of course it’s their motive is to be architects getting in through the back door of an accredited architecture course in disguise. RIBA give me a call: £50/hr will get things sorted out across the country; £150 if you want me abroad too! ps: I'd have edited this, but Friday night calls!
I can add to this as a snap happy observer of the structure merely hours before the incident, incidentally. The latest photo on my way home from the Govan Fair on my latest photoalbum revealed its calm nightly setting at dusk, despite being driven 'furiously' past it over the traffic-lighted ‘Squinty Bridge', hence the camera-shake, onto the Broomielaw (yes, the road where the "Fast & the Furious 6" stunt filming was shot earlier in the year: figures). My photoalbum focussed on metals (as a theme) so an apt collection of new and old delights in the material over the course of 2 nights. see here http://photos.kevinscotttoner.co.uk/#!album-88 A little earlier, on my way to the Govan Fair from North of the River Clyde on foot, running, I also made sure to snap a reciprocal shot of the Hydro, looking back at the 'Squinty Bridge’ in a panorama shot among a slowly growing context of iconic metal structures etc. Stopping to get these shots meant that I had to run non-stop between shots - as mapped here http://goo.gl/maps/GomJU - to catch the unveiling of the reconditioned Sir William Pearce statue (aka the Black Man) scheduled for 7.45pm, before a subsequent Parade kick-off, another enjoyable journey. Let’s call the run ‘The Black Man Challenge”, a veritable 10th of a marathon over a 30min period... One for the GSA foundation course Freshers perhaps! Enjoy the photos, there’re fire brigades in mines too! Here’s a shortcut though straight to the panorama focussing on the Hydro from a distance http://photos.kevinscotttoner.co.uk/#!album-88-252 among other distance shots of 1) Zaha’s ‘Riverside’ Museum with shipyard cranage and a Glenlee all in silhouette; and 2) a special 32x zoom shot of the Millennium Tower from Pacific Dr. Who knows, maybe the Hydro shots could even provide a clue in the investigation! Particularly the second last photo, which incidentally [it’d just dawned on me] is preceded by a shot of a ‘parading’ fire engine, probably one of the fire-fighting engines as photographed on this AJ article; the other omen being that the actual Hyrdro shot shows the tangent point at the eaves-line where the fire occurred [wait for it] in the foreground of a little bit of available red sky ! ‘red sky at night, shepherd’s [or sailor’s] delight’
Commendations on the clarity of the presentation and content! Of further interest would be the following pasted link on Scotland's 'architecture & placemaking policy' review, which bears some similarities to this review for the DCMS. Consultation responses, which ended last September, are available from here. Perhaps some cross-fertilisation will be called for too, later, at the end of the day in the formation of actual policies. If so, then it might be worthwhile for there to be full UK-wide participation on the Farrell Review, especially where important issues might not have been caught in the Scottish consultation. http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Built-Environment/AandP Furthermore, one might wish to consult the very recent CITB ‘Construction Skills Strategy for 2012-2017’, which replaces that of 2006-2011. This was the result of a UK-Wide industry and professional body based consultation conducted by Pye-Tait and can be found below. The Scottish A&PP consultation may have been too early to take cognisance of this equally very thorough work. http://www.citb.co.uk/en-GB/About-us/How-we-work/strategy/
Contrary to what you've hinted Paul, Scots Planning Policy, maybe not alone, appears to me to for once introduce the importance of demolition to the heritage professional, even although demolition isn't really an obvious principle of conservation, yet! A reminder that redevelopment is as much a branch of heritage as is conservation... Perhaps E&W ought to come up to speed if it hasn't already through NPPF (?). Such enlightenment might influence the impression of what constitutes protection in WHSs... That said, when push comes to shove, e.g. in Glasgow, not a WHS, when a developer recently said 'let’s redevelop Thomson's Egyptian Halls via SHEP' cold feet set in, naturally. Here’s a thought though on perhaps some lateral thinking: e.g. Wouldn't a Section 75 (or 106) regulation for such very real conservation plights that neighbour any proposed viable and sustainable redevelopment/enhancement be a possible device... ‘Planning Obligations’ as such, if apportioned accordingly, should actually benefit a redevelopment, i.e. be in a redevelopment’s interests. Conservation plights aren't merely LBs (often very complex endeavours) but can presumably be any kind of environmental improvement of variable magnitude... Such ethics are already a key in all architects’ Code of Conducts; let’s start applying them for a change, i.e. professionalism. The profession must utilise, not fight, the planning system. It shouldn't be about heritage bodies Vs developers. Architects should easily be able to steer or conclude on conservation/development properly without too much destined confrontation, as an extremely erudite* lot. Design-review-panels shouldn't have to really steer too much, to help unravel muddles. It does help though if we've been reading you Paul through the years, theory-wise in the AR and no less profession-wise as I read now... Long may readers confide! Some heritage experts would even concur with a lot of what you say here. There appears to be a blindfold of regulation and custom that can often prevent common sense or propriety from prevailing! I myself charge 2k/hour to help sort, but as a child (jobless architectural assistant) who should be seen and not heard there’s not much I can do about it! (apologies: unedited!)