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kevin toner's comments

  • 06.03.15: Argent Airport City Charrette

    kevin toner's comment 7 March, 2015 8:45 pm

    I comment from my imagination, which wouldn't even be believable enough for fiction, but worth posting anyway for the record, and to reinforce the professor’s criticism.

    Regarding p6 on the “crass urban thuggery” of the George Sq hotel planning application, should the ‘behind doors backs scratching culture’ be tolerated or more transparent for the sake of education and dissemination in public, otherwise tutors will/may have to start building “thuggery” into its built environment studies curriculum, as would amenity bodies have to learn too, which struggle as it is trying to understand honest transparent discourse.

    Architects do have tricks up their sleeves at helping get things through planning, but there are indeed the bigger ‘thuggier’ tricks, compared to this variety of small fry that beset architectural projects and bypass the architects sphere of influence altogether and that’s that hoard of things controlled between planners and the commercial world, and the big society world is next in the queue to compound the thuggery if not mere trickery of architects – I think Platt is possibly referring to the much deeper society-led trickery than the professional-led stuff if it isn’t all one at the end of day.

    For example an architect might attempt to make an existing scenario look less attractive than it is so as not to outshine the proposal, but in the larger scheme of things, a monstrous carbuncle may be approved to ironically divert public opinion on CDA/motorways cutting through or near historic city centres, not in Glasgow, which hadn’t known that trick by the time of its IRR plans, and gladly Glasgow is kind of immune to such a monstrous variety of carbuncle anyway due to its valley condition which can easily harbour even the tower block by the 100s without adverse affect on its skyline/townscapes – other cities not being so lucky have had to realise big moves to keep the historic centre intact, whether deliberate or by accidental fate...

    Platt mentions that the decent Georgian hotel is being made to look inadequate by the rear extension. Good observation, but for what end (motive) would an architect do this. All I could see is that it might get the local design review panel to erringly advise demolition of the listed building as a possible option. Planners/Client/Society then has a scapegoat group of supposed experts guiding them. One recently commented on another mag that the local review panel had indeed been summoned for this project and that their report is viewable via the planning portal documents. I’m not looking, but I’d bet my bottom dollar that it’s done inter alia at least 2 things: 1) advised demolition as an option and 2) given no strategic guidance because of being fooled for years for the expertise that they are, resulting in offering ways to tweak the design instead, which can compound, rather than solve, the design problem..., not that that will matter to the end means, which one would suspect is ultimately for planner/clients of the superblock to maximise its financial standing vis-a-vis the coming massive disruption expected form further redevelopment of the station, a superblock that is current at war with the public - as shown on page 9 of this AJ issue – regarding the concert hall steps.

    I suspect that the client has missed applying for one of the largest glass fronted hotel opportunities going nationally, merely feet away from the site on the right side of the photo, as college disposals, even despite it already replicating the clients desired aspect to overlook George Sq from slightly set back, note with no construction necessary,and therefore quite a windfall gain to be had as a satellite annex block, which can also tie in with the superblock via the existing below ground connectivity between the blocks due to not merely train infrastructure but past chasms adjacent - and if civil engineering of such a connection would be too adventurous, via the commercial mall component, then a simple lift from the station platform component instead suffices up to the potential college tower annex.

    The rail client looks cohesively part of the plot (conversely to current press on the supposed conflicts transpiring from NR’s decision to redevelop the 70s entrance building that forms a current extension for the hotel and thereby lost rooms) if the past alterations/developments through the years/decades that I’ve seen are anything to go by (worked on by the UK-stations-wide rly hotels branch of the rail network’s – formerly BR – architects) prior to privatisation, whatever privatisation really is per railways concerns, e.g. a different name, brand, &/or crowd.

    Why design something that’s already there, your very own Pan Am building?

    Where does one think I took this photo, and I didn’t even have to breach the platform line:


    So the connectivity is there via any choice of superblock client even the mall will have levels of connection through to this tower without breaching the bridging road that separates the blocks, and if all that fails then the mall/stn connections of the original hotel would allow public to rise from George Sq up to Cathedral St. without expending energy on the sloped rise to the tower – in fact it’s part of the concept that the planners approved, exposed car park block or no exposed car park block, meaning one road cross and no real impediments to accessibility as might be feared from annexing this afar.

    Back to the ‘playing cards’ & motives then:-

    1) demolition/redevelopment as an option as opposed to the partial redevelopment as planned, possibly backed by a design review panel (you’ll need to check for the report yourselves) thereby increasing site value for where the mall client wishes to draw the £ line with the car park extents vis-a-vis recouping lost rental value from its hotel concern; &/or
    2) increased site value from gaining [presumably] design review panel backed masking of car park for planning approvals/consents, i) surely not to allure acquisition by other hoteliers that may not want to pay the inflated value of the site’s original worth for the privilege of a ransomed top spot – NB an unwanted/ransomed site will deem the keeping of the Listed Building even more dubious as ‘viability’ will drop enough to permit demolition via SHEP and thereby increase its value and opportunities beyond hotel use, which if not to be capitalised on internally can be [more easily] sold off to the world, which might all be justifiably planners-led, friendlily/honourably colluded, etc. provided, oops nothing:

    I can find no way to commend or understand this. Except maybe if they’d expressed interest in the adjacent glass tower not as an annex but as a standalone acquisition come slight relocation, then yes I’d maybe tenuously/reluctantly accept the granting of the Listed Building’s re-extension to simply leave the site to the market at, inventively, not too low a value to recoup losses, leaving the morals over the retention of a grand hotel for the market to contemplate, i.e. whether it will pay the extra for the site in order to: 1) bring it back to its former glory; 2) repeat the supported partial redevelopment proposal due for planning approval if got to within the 3 year expiry date (NB it’s not 5 years anymore in Scotland since 2009); or 3) outright redevelop if the block’s client/s had no vested interest in doing this itself.

    I don’t know if the line drawn on the car park extents is clever or otherwise as I suspect NR and planning may wish to retain the station’s connectivity to the east so that it’s accessible on all three sides as at present (as with any metropolitan city centre station), hence possibly collusion to over-inflate the site value for itself to help render the Listed Building as unviable/retainable for hotel use, which would conspiringly check out provided that the currently hotelier will sit on the site, like a male penguin over its egg for months, during the panning out of the station redevelopment and the bigger ideas that NR and the superblock of few clients will brew up or have in mind.

    Listed buildings can be sticking points and I wouldn’t be so surprised if the public has had the wool pulled over its eyes over this.

    Design review panels cannot be fooled by such tactics or they will deem themselves as corrupt as the deception that keeps such panels alive, and in place, by using them and their heralded supposed expertise against them.

    Society needs a restored profession of architects – rather than the club it’s inflating into - inter alia other professional organisations and community bodies etc. to come together in helping to steer development/conservation properly - The Farrell Review has taken the words right out of my mouth, but without trying to offend the club/s that won’t want to know about it, but rather complimenting it where possible (i.e. it’s hinted at recognising the club’s desires for that elusive ‘Protection of Function’), but nonetheless has probably offensively [to the club] recognised the ‘assistant architect’ as part of the foundation of our architecture – as it acknowledges the Associate class in advance of RIBA moves to subscribe it an affix (an affix that will sit beside qualification letters that hitherto have been unable to be declared except through the ambiguity of being the same qualifications as that of architects). [ps an aside: Protection of Function can/will come if we 1) go promoting or searching for the talent before it gets to the Architecture Schools; & 2) we increase architectural school provision so that none of the current class of students are ousted.]

    A club society element in profession has always fed off the assistant model when times are good and then dumps them when times are bad; and promotes its pedestal without acknowledging assistants (rightly in the past when assistants could progress, but wrongly when assistants are expected not to), a pedestal that’s due also to gain another category of affix (Fellow), a distinguished variety of architect, that may’ve also offended the majority of the club (I call it a ‘society-over-profession’ tendency of the institutes rather than ideally vice versa). What’s gone wrong is due to a clash of mixed up political courses throughout the recent past – one such course being one of Thatcherism proving unworkable without totality, e.g. the notion of ‘competition’ may well have worked based on a nourishment rather than a contrivance of the architect-assistant mould (aka a mould that may come to be known as the Fellow-Associate mould later on after reform under the newer [offensive to some] affixes planned), where nourishment would occur by putting class distinction and other social orders/privileges aside in the search for our future pools of talent, something Tory supporters put into action prior to our penultimate recession in 1991, hence the likes of myself being searched for – in socially deprived areas - before I even get to an architecture school.

    To restrict the search for talent rather than canvassing it is one of the roots of the problem: it is one hijacking episode followed by another followed by another and so on... Having the present practice culture compete with itself in this way could unfortunately yield a professional disaster after recession if it begins to become too self-reliant. Even if it’s easy to do so during recession, guarding the ‘below average’ at the expense of protecting the ‘above average’ may well lead to further damage. These affix changes will not be liked by the 1000s of Joe Soaps that have been given a passage to bypass their assistant-hoods as quickly as possible, but they’re there to help them, and if I were the profession I would go one step further: to establish a FriendOf (FO?) style affix for the majority that have no real tie/s or connection with either fellows &/or assistants, and further have them not show their architecture school qualifications after their name (as assistants have been expected to do, the ones that really deserve to show their qualification letters in gold), or rather no: because getting ones’ own medicine would neither be productive. Unfortunately it’s the other way around though for the moment, and that’s not in society’s interests. Being transparent however will be.

    If an FO category of architect could be introduced then I’m sure the F “Fellow” category will once again be able to be put on the back burner. The friends-of basically have to support and not hinder or capitalise off the genuine talent pools – and an FO cat. of architect would basically re-establish trust in the profession so that the architect-apprentice/assistant can once again thrive as a perpetual model rather than as a frozen one supporting the FOs during times of plenty.

    I’m sure the Fs in waiting will be looking forward to the As in waiting because some kind of distinction is long overdue that begins to explain the category of architect behind the architectural school qualifications that are shared across all 3 categories: the assistant (Associate) / architect(Fellow) / architect (Friend-Affiliate). None of the 3 is inferior within the current system, but the latter of the 3, in being the majority and seen by society as a mirror of itself, are not societies moles/proles per se as one might think, but rather than the profession’s social link to society that they become, they risk becoming the louder voice of the profession ergo my ‘society-over-profession’ slant. It will all seek to reverse this for eventual honour, but this can’t be done by hijacking esteems, it has to be done by honouring esteem and therefore giving credit and unrestricting the passage to restriction: it’s all as restricted already without more: any profession that restricts a path to restriction is calling for trouble and reform.

    Woman Architecture coverage of late, and the recent past, is great to see and hopefully it continues, but women will be expected as much as men to adhere to [arguably] the more important underlying reforms necessary to take the leadership of a profession forward: it’s something that both genders must embrace. The current set up is no place for upcoming lovely ladies to go following in their lad counterparts footsteps – they too must not be averse to the reform needed. Again, the societal side of the profession (my imaginary Friend-Affiliate category uninterested in assistant-hood/fellowship) will come to be made up of a 50/50 male-female workforce that will account for a majority of around 50% in my cynicism/optimism, the other 50% aiming towards the architect-assistant (Fellows/Associates) model, of in my optimism will be 50/50 male-female equally paid across the board.

    This possibly 50% affiliate-ship is the binder between assistant and fellow. Some small practices (even sole practitioners) might of course be their own combination of Fellow/Associate/Affiliate and must thereby show society this by et viola using affix most associated with itself, which stands to reason. Remember we’re here to help clients navigate competition not to have them chasing their tails: e.g. a client may prefer an affiliate biased practice as opposed to a fellow/associate biased, vice versa, or a balance of all, and so forth. It will all become apparent through time. Otherwise the profession is misleading en-masse or so it will become to be construed if reforms are too late. Let’s make a client’s first step a welcome one bearing confidence, one that through time begins to properly inform the course of development/conservation planning. Use the above architect of the hotel proposal as an example – is it say the affiliate orientated brand of architects guising under the associate/fellow roles that would be needed to realise the project, knowing that the job won’t come along, or vice versa an associate/fellow heavy architectural workforce that will realise a build quickly. Without knowing the affixes behind each employees’ BArch (or MArch depending uni.), BSc, DipArch (or pg Dip ditto) or research MSc, etc. there will continue to be a mystic as to what all of the scramble actually means. If we don’t know what we mean to ourselves then how can we expect society to?

    NB: A current Linked In thread, prompted by the recent AJ article http://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/daily-news/report-universities-not-equipping-architecture-students-for-real-world/8677848.article is debating this as we speak, and where my own comments are not being well received within the group. There’s not 1No. “Like” in 1000s of words I’ve written – not even a top-contributor this time around! There’s no shame in where we’re at at the moment, but there will be if reform is not considered to counter the status quo.

    This superblock is certainly yielding times of plenty, but this unusual burst of redevelopment activity first began on West Nile Street one block away, surrounding 180deg around a flat that I’d bought (a flat I’m needing to give up through an enforced neg/equity after 2yrs of marketing because the highest offer is 2/3s market value on an already discounted luxury flat), and it’s not all complete yet. It all began ironically upon my recession-driven redundancy in 2008... Whether the stn block will plague George Sq with anywhere near the same disruption/noise/etc. for as long as I’d been plagued with the aforesaid continuum of demolition and construction operations will remain to be seen.

    There won’t be the same urge, I’d imagine, to effect noise.

    Planning appear to have okayed the massive superblock mall/rly-stn scheme that attaches to this incidental hotel affair on the SE corner of the superblock, the sort of blocks that become the mainstay of all zombie movie satire on culture/society and it’s I suppose coincidental that WWZ’s possible decrying of Noisy B*s in Glasgow come near war zones afar with their equally noisy buggers summoning the dead – is perhaps a newfound satire : I read it as a decry against riotousness during peace – and it’s a riotousness that exceeds the noise levels of war zones – buses pull away braking a screech if they’re not happy to pull in with one if it doesn’t last at least 1/2min (accompanied by multiply hissing let offs multiplied by a 1 minute service of the blighters) escorted by shoals of cars/etc. with modified exhausts, and piercing council vehicles reversing come 10-point-turning at 1mph to prolong h&s alarms; or wanting to re-sweep/re-hoover/re-grit/etc at equally slow speeds, and unlike NY’s habitual taxi horn per 20sec per driver to maintain their realities, this being all far worse – a musical student will do well to go to a war zone for peace.

    Why shouldn’t I conclude on Glasgow’s actual thuggery (typically UK*) seems to chant down to below C baritone, but anytime that I snatch the lowest of these telepathised thug notes, and transfer it to an instrument that tells no lies, I’m reading the open top light string of a guitar, [sic.] notes that most men find difficult to reach I’d assume, and higher than the average girl’s [an aside: I won’t find C1-C7 range a problem and can extend an octave beyond that each way without training/practise, meaning that if these thugs really tried to be Freddies instead and telepathise the other way around, then they’d potentially make a C5 to beyond range sound mentally above C7 and beyond, let alone breaking male/female records of range if they’d try. The first nations peoples across the Atlantic can of course make relatively high note chants sound higher in execution: the higher the note the manlier the chant – we’ve got it the wrong way round in the UK, and thank goodness for that, for the time being! I’m now in the mood for a little Queen II B-side, ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah

    [*I detected from recently filmed news on UK yobbo activity abroad, one of the deeper sounding chanters revealing I’d say a deceptively sounding baritone C3, but when I went to my guitar to gauge it, it was the proverbial racist-style tone/chant tuned level with the open high E string of a guitar. I’ve got to laugh when I hear, hopefully not too regularly, the deep sounding chanters unconsciously hitting soprano C6 and they’re not all young lads whose voices haven’t broken – half of ‘em are grownups as the police footage will show on the news. The “I’m Going Slightly Mad” vocal does seem to make a fool of the style by intermingling the actual hi & lo “ooh ooh aah aah ooh ooh aah aah”, at before”... I’m knitting with...”]

    duh, I forgot what I was going to say to get back on track on the topic

    Apologies my ad lib approach - or any inconsistency as unedited - and must therefore end here/there or I’ll retreat into madness myself, if not there already!

  • Dynamiting homes as a TV stunt sends the wrong message

    kevin toner's comment 14 April, 2014 12:13 pm

    One more thing regarding whether or not the “...TV stunt sends the wrong message”.

    Such a stunt might well send a, madly right, message that the world indeed cares desperately for those whom it’s failed, who’ve perished, through falling prey to social circumstance in quite the wrong context; and not merely by mishap and the occasional disaster, which happens anywhere.

    Blowing up 5 famous examples together for show across the world won’t make amends, but will allow us to commemorate and reveal our compassion for inter alia those we continually fail.

    If we grasped such an opportunity to reveal this compassion, such as “dynamiting” Red Rd - you said it first - then those we fail might be more likely to give ‘despair and survival’ a second thought at that crucial moment.

    Having a second thought can save a life!

  • Dynamiting homes as a TV stunt sends the wrong message

    kevin toner's comment 13 April, 2014 7:42 pm

    The article is proverbially anti-council!

    In respect of the George Sq debacle, I’d be the first to rubbish replacing the red tarmac with a grey version and two extra zones of grass – a big disappointment as I've said previously, but nevertheless very welcome as an alternative to the controversial competition.

    It was actually none of the entries that were expressing a love to retain the square’s full statuary, the council merely provided the privilege of a ‘clean-slate’ brief, so as not to restrict the design experts, which the most lucrative entries inter alia took too much advantage of; one in particular with such a severe kitch as I've said previously that it was fortunate to be shortlisted...

    This year, as with the last year’s square, I am once again witnessing the macabre: the reaction against reason, particularly from our architectural community yet again.

    The extremely honourable and very clever ‘light-bulb’ moment and idea that Red Rd should bite the dust at the opening ceremony, is something I’m very jealous of (for not thinking up myself) as a sociably conscious architectural graduate. I hang my head in shame!

    I could imagine the likes of the Prince’s Foundation not failing to dream such a plot up though, for more reasons than I would have had!

    I've nothing personal against a well architected/tenanted high-rise, whether of the utopian gardens-in-the-sky variety (in Toronto you can be on an open balcony 66 up); or of otherwise safer equivalents.

    However, the former type has suffered a cataclysm of some quite horrendous stories concerning lives lost, throughout the last few years, for social reasons rather than by mishap. Glasgow is bearing the brunt of having some of the most infamous. I hadn't realised by quite ‘how much’ until I Goolgled for the infamous Glasgow ‘mother & son’ case - that my generation of architecture students were told of during Built Environment studies - to find way too many examples worldwide.

    Notwithstanding a keen interest in the architectural possibility of high-rise as with any other typology, I was nevertheless still going to respond using the single lectured case source alone.

    Directing this not to the lack of ‘commemoration’ in the petitioners’ plea per se, in my opinion, but rather towards the cold academia that’s put architectural sensibility and related passion above that of commemoration and compassion. Especially as it’s not the correct year in which to sideline, exclude, stifle, or protest over particular deeds of commemoration! My language would have been much stronger had I actually ever resided in a high-rise.

    We need to know when and when not to support various social concepts at the right time.

    An architect and architecture school are now on record for shooting themselves in the foot by being too unflappable over its own advocacies at the expense of others’ once in a lifetime ones.

    2014 was not the time to be meddling in what would have been one of the most heartfelt acts of commemoration in the world. Even without the architectural stance against it, the highly lamentable concept of the proposed Red Rd explosions would have been a Commonwealth related act and therefore not to be full-heartedly supported by everyone in the UK.

    The architectural community needn't have bothered inciting, if not spurring, Glasgow’s would-be compliment of activists against this heraldic act.

    2014 is as much to do with mourning as it is to do with celebration, especially in Scotland. If we can’t blow up our failures when is best the time to do so, in such spectacular fashion as is feasibly the case here (despite the blockbuster-film connotations) then who are we kidding?

    Ps I wish I now hadn't tweeted to RIBAJ that “... will a legacy-acumen [also] filter into the redevelopment of Red Rd, which the games want spectatorially razed?” in relation to the “nice” athlete’s village.

    Perhaps ‘cold feet’ has set in on too many fronts to mention. As readers may now know, the Games organisers have pulled the plug on the idea hours ago. Safety concerns from staging amongst activists being the contributory factor, or so it is said.

    I don’t think any activists would try to spoil the show if the standpoint /declaration as to the purpose of the proposed stunt were better communicated. Glasgow 2014 now won’t take the risk and expense: for the emotiveness that it failed to deliver or put over to the public.*

    Had it done so, critics would be fewer (they've had a heyday as it stands) and real activists wouldn't have bat an eyelid.

    [*Even Jonathon Meades on the concurrent AJ article - in order to slam it as a Brutalist sympathiser - cleverly hinted in advance that Glasgow 2014 wasn't selling the plot well enough.]

    Ps Apologies for the long post and for not proofing or editing it down! I call it chatting by myself – no one replies these days.

  • Last chance to fill out the survey: Should the title of architect be protected?

    kevin toner's comment 18 March, 2014 1:20 pm

    The £0.5M worse off that I am currently - having not managed to transfer from being an assistant to an employed ‘architect by title’ as yet - will have been in vain if ‘title protection’ were to be abolished!

    2017 is a long way away, in terms of [expensively] working towards my objective, meaning further wasted earning potential yet to come, in spite of my experience.

  • BBC slammed for ‘bias’ after Patty Hopkins is sidelined in TV show

    kevin toner's comment 8 March, 2014 1:14 pm

    Happy International Woman’s Day today, themed ‘inspiring change’!

    No men in this following article here, “The women who built the world”


  • What does history teach architecture?

    kevin toner's comment 28 October, 2013 11:36 am

    sorry: '...having choice that really matters!', i.e. choice in the knowledge of a full and complete timeline RE architectural history.

  • What does history teach architecture?

    kevin toner's comment 28 October, 2013 11:28 am

    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!

  • Brutalism's return to favour

    kevin toner's comment 28 September, 2013 12:53 pm

    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...

  • RIBA announces Part 1, 2 and 3 memberships in major shake-up

    kevin toner's comment 24 September, 2013 10:46 pm

    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!]

  • RIBA announces Part 1, 2 and 3 memberships in major shake-up

    kevin toner's comment 20 September, 2013 1:53 pm

    [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!

  • RIBA announces Part 1, 2 and 3 memberships in major shake-up

    kevin toner's comment 20 September, 2013 1:30 pm

    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.

  • RIBA announces Part 1, 2 and 3 memberships in major shake-up

    kevin toner's comment 20 September, 2013 9:43 am

    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

  • RIBA announces Part 1, 2 and 3 memberships in major shake-up

    kevin toner's comment 20 September, 2013 9:09 am

    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...

  • RIBA announces Part 1, 2 and 3 memberships in major shake-up

    kevin toner's comment 20 September, 2013 8:49 am

    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.

  • RIBA announces Part 1, 2 and 3 memberships in major shake-up

    kevin toner's comment 19 September, 2013 10:18 pm

    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!

  • What's behind the Walkie Talkie 'death ray'?

    kevin toner's comment 18 September, 2013 8:26 pm

    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

  • 'Poor value' HS2 should be scrapped, argues think-tank

    kevin toner's comment 19 August, 2013 10:49 pm

    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!

  • Old War Office up for sale

    kevin toner's comment 19 August, 2013 10:13 pm

    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!

  • 'Poor value' HS2 should be scrapped, argues think-tank

    kevin toner's comment 19 August, 2013 9:21 pm

    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:


  • Five views on sustainability in architectural education

    kevin toner's comment 3 August, 2013 8:42 pm

    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!

  • Who should be taught in the architectural canon?

    kevin toner's comment 26 July, 2013 8:46 pm

    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!

  • In pictures: Fire breaks out on Foster's Glasgow 'Hydro' arena

    kevin toner's comment 10 June, 2013 9:27 pm

    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’

  • The profession's future under review: Farrell launches call for evidence

    kevin toner's comment 5 June, 2013 12:26 pm

    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.


    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.


  • Don't blame the planners for planning decision madness

    kevin toner's comment 11 May, 2013 10:10 pm

    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!)

  • Yasmin Shariff compares women in architecture to other professions

    kevin toner's comment 12 February, 2013 11:11 am


    A little more social engineering on the Part 3 allocation front can help to redress the balance as per my short hypothesis on Christine Murray’s current Column article, later in the thread.

    Conversely, would it be equally incorruptible if gender ‘equality’ was to ensue in household and paternal/maternal responsibility and authority; and dare I say: in preferential custody over children (?) It would surely promote equalities elsewhere were it ever commonplace and not so romantic. In an earlier comment I mocked swapping this around to help speed change.

    “...babes in Arms...”

    Contrary to the horror stories you’ll hear here from women, parenting babies cannot be recommended enough, especially to males for a change... babes sleep twice as long as adults.


    Getting real, architectural business - unlike law, medicine and rocket science etc. - must support a much higher percentage of privileged over meritorious livelihoods due to the nature in how we qualify from our architectural education. Architecture Qualies in essence are perhaps as much bought as earned, e.g. mainstream passes are churned out at the expense of fails: a student has to be more often exceptional to earn the right to fail and re-sit in order to really interrogate weaknesses. Think how many more crashes we’d have if the DVLA didn't properly exercise failing, and we were to regulate our own fails.

    Perhaps therefore also at the root of pay inequality [traditionally speaking] might be this: ‘the privileged’ willing to accept less [pay] among ‘the meritorious’ irrespectively of gender, not necessarily irrespective of social class and standing, naturally. This may help explain Yasmin’s confusion mid-way through her 14th para (albeit in this instance: a married female with rich relatives who may be nevertheless meritorious). I understand the frustration for quick fixes to inequality given that social change doesn't occur overnight. A ‘quick-fix’ approach might work in the legal or medical [but not architecture] profession as it’s easier to assume that it’s meritous pay at stake!

    But let’s dispel some myths on the way to social change:

    Yes it’s been easier to tag females as privileged rather than meritorious because they’re still relatively newish to the industry, yet on the contrary it can be argued that qualities are more likely to be honed in the face of challenge and no less by females confronting social change: a previous female prime minister might be too good an example.

    ‘Merit’ and ‘privilege’ are neither gender-associative. Presumably an architect has one or the other, or both, unless needs neither through posterity!

    In the face of a recession [of unpredictable duration] is perhaps this for architectural business:

    Less need to pay for merit, hence [unaffordable] quality staff being expected to move on (reading from Derek Sharp, 1986) rather than being maintained, or asked back ‘as there’ll always be a quality stream in the waiting’, and that looks set to continue notwithstanding a drop in course applications.

    ‘Privileged’ rather than ‘meritorious’ staff are therefore more likely to retain their jobs during a recession, ironically with perhaps a pay rise.

    How fairly the non-white-hetero-male can fit into this culture must depend on what Jane Duncan (a newly appointed diversity & quality champion for RIBA) can do on their behalf. Good luck Jane.

    The problem is perhaps that we fool ourselves into such schemes; and that maybe the cure is to fool ourselves out of them. Who's up for it?

    ps: again, would it be wishful thinking to have the likes of de Botton's and Bryson's views (?) Art is perhaps best for current societal exposés, until whenever advanced sociology textbooks become popular, accessible and understandable... If AJ comments had ‘likes/dislikes’ like the BBC then we could gauge how risqué it would be to ask for AdeB's or BB's views. If 500 dislikes: then no need to ask further about the truth; but if 500 likes: then a need to hear more!

  • No more excuses: we demand equal pay for women in architecture, says Christine Murray

    kevin toner's comment 10 February, 2013 10:11 pm

    My apologies Yasmin, I picked you up wrong on the 21% statistic. I hadn't realised that you'd been referring to the female gender rather than - as I'd presumed - 'architects in general' dropping their pay to win work.


    21/79 female to male registrants is very revealing, when probably 50/50 are graduating with architecture qualifications.

    Why the imbalance? Are females naturally happier to be assistants rather than architects? Do they opt to devote energies elsewhere after graduating?

    Has the Part 3 final entry test exclusion been a factor? If so, then imagine this short hypothesis to set things straight: i.e. if practices could temporarily exclude more males than females from Part 3, e.g. 1 male for every 2 or more females, until ARB says the balance is restored.

    I wonder if the registrant ratio anomaly signifies any relationship to the ‘pay equality’ issue. If so, then how and why!

    Aren't societal issues, like the mockery on my initial post, relevant to an understanding of ‘inequality’ (its origins and impetuses), i.e. to have confidence in deploring them or in how they should be engineered out - or not?

  • No more excuses: we demand equal pay for women in architecture, says Christine Murray

    kevin toner's comment 10 February, 2013 0:18 am

    Maybe these statistics are the result of an over-revered profession that too many want to belong to. Lawyers and medics are naturally exclusive to those with half a brain. Architects may be anything from brainless to brainy enough inter alia to get others [assistants with architecture qualifications in the UK] to do the actual work. These statistics therefore aren't really surprising... Architecture is a naturally collaborative enterprise that is open as much to dunces as the highly intelligent.

  • No more excuses: we demand equal pay for women in architecture, says Christine Murray

    kevin toner's comment 7 February, 2013 8:19 pm

    Great that many offices are maintaining livelihoods at all costs during the recession, whatever the discriminations might be. A bigger issue must be that it needs to do this feat on a fairer basis - for instance so that no capable person/s are left searching for career leads over the best part of a decade, if they opt like me not to give up on searching for leads. I’ll of course embarrassingly plod on applying anyway for architectural jobs for as long as possible. Whether I can continue to pay professional subs for equally long will depend on how badly the welfare cuts are going to be.

    Right, it’s off my chest now! Back to my quiet self again: the non-despairing one that farcically lives off JSA to pay a raft of other livelihoods beyond my means. Good luck girls in getting your fair share!

  • No more excuses: we demand equal pay for women in architecture, says Christine Murray

    kevin toner's comment 7 February, 2013 7:05 pm

    More to get more off my chest!

    Again hypothetically and jokingly, regarding my reciprocal discrimination scenario, if I weren't to become an architect’s househusband, spouse-less due to my shyness, then I’d quite happily accept a smaller salary as a dying (or resurgent) breed of worker.

    I'd accept either-or in a flash rather than having to claim much more unemployment benefit than I already have (almost 4.5 years since real permanent architectural employment), or should I say 7 months officially, i.e. from the date that the DWP refused to pay a week's benefit to me over unintentionally missing an adviser appointment with “...no good cause...” according to a recent tribunal over my appeal. And BTW that was incidentally a female judge who’d judged wrongly!

    How about having a meritocracy - rather than a kakistocracy - of gays, guys, gals, blacks, whites, rich, poor,... etc.?

    The principle of livelihood is quite simply coming before that of capabilities. Let’s indeed try to stop the rot RIBA or at least expose it for consultation: not forgetting there’s been over a century of how the anomaly has been dealt with in the past – let’s examine the history and facts transparently before a future generation (or dark ages) beats us to it!

  • No more excuses: we demand equal pay for women in architecture, says Christine Murray

    kevin toner's comment 7 February, 2013 5:13 pm

    here's the missing part of the URL, which wouldn't paste:


  • No more excuses: we demand equal pay for women in architecture, says Christine Murray

    kevin toner's comment 7 February, 2013 5:12 pm

    And for that matter let's also hear Jane Duncan's view too, the newly appointed RIBA Equality & Diversity Champion charged with the following agenda, that RIBA has just released here:


  • No more excuses: we demand equal pay for women in architecture, says Christine Murray

    kevin toner's comment 7 February, 2013 4:11 pm

    Some philosophical banter if I may.

    I’d be for a complete reversal, but as a househusband (a veritable Mrs Bloggs nee Toner as explained later), i.e. as an unwanted/unloved architectural assistant male sole in search/need of a breadwinner - not unlike the female masses in the recent past, dared they [likewise] dream of having an architectural career...

    Society however doesn't change let alone equilibrate overnight, in a mere 100 years. It’ll take time for either ideal, including even to get back to the original husband breadwinners/housewives deal, perhaps not yet entirely a thing of the past... The salary discrimination, ethical or not, I think simply evidences an underlying societal system at play at any given point in our industry’s employment [or livelihoods] structure.

    If gender equality in salaries really could transpire in our society, sociology not my subject, would it be not in the hands of a society that can eventually and truly yield the elusive gender-less house-spouse, if possible (?)

    Further to my opening paragraph, if salary discrimination could ever be reversed, jokingly, i.e. reciprocally interchanged, wouldn't this require the following change: i.e. imagining if Ms was the new Mr; and Mirr as a new Miss, where the single male such as I would be happily referred to as a Mirr Joe Soap until that elusive Ms Bloggs comes along wanting to change his surname to Mrs Joe Bloggs. Won’t I be packing shelves before that’ll ever happen, damn?

    Let’s get Alain de Botton’s views on the topic too, teeheehee!!

  • McAslan reveals greener George Square vision

    kevin toner's comment 30 January, 2013 9:44 pm

    That's better!

    Give Blythswood Sq the remaining great men; and a similar specification and the job's done!

  • HS2 Northern route revealed

    kevin toner's comment 28 January, 2013 3:01 pm

    Following this topic incidentally and lazily on a couple of occasions from mainly a Scottish perspective last May and June - and more recently Midlands too, namely Birmingham to Preston (6 days ago) - from comment #6 onwards on the following thread link; I'd look forward to a serious consultation making sense of an internationally linked HSR network for Britain rather than on a per nation basis:


    Too many midlands stations for HS2 will surely clog up such a system and make a total mess of the natural and built environments. We need our leaders to politically steer this economically and consult ICE on the top speeds between London – Birmingham(?) - Preston (tee hee) – and Perth; to assess and determine viability.

    Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester etc. can all upgrade their independent existing system to 200mph by all means, but we really need to be thinking at least 400mph for HSR and therefore need an HSR that’s not initially held back by being linked prematurely to too many post-industrial cities as commuter transport.

    [Whimsically speaking on a once similar dream, pardon me for asking this: would it still be too early to dodge George Bennie royalties on the ca1930 Rail-plane prototype as built by a lifts industrialist in Glasgow if it were likely that such transport would supersede HSR in terms of speed and viability, at the very least for commuting purposes as once considered? Probably, I hasten to say! Again, if it’s not too early to capitalise on such a venture in the waiting (nor too competitive with actual air travel), ask ICE! I bet it’ll beat HSR easily on most of the main issues fronts, albeit unfamiliar territory to all i.e. as an invention not off the ground yet.



    I suppose that’s as much about brainstorming as whim!]

    Britain, not merely Scotland, should continue making waves in the evolution of all transport and the engineering support and nous behind it. Let’s not keep the most enthused engineers in the world relatively idle for the following century, or keep them back by thinking so small, after what’s been achieved since James Watt... Let’s not outsource these qualities like it was Britain’s manufacturing base. Let’s keep our brains at least. Good luck Britain!

  • Hypostyle creates Glasgow tenement infill

    kevin toner's comment 11 November, 2012 7:03 pm

    Success could ultimately ensue if the surrounding tenements were to be childless!

    In a way, I can personally find Hypostyle’s intervention exceedingly romantic having been a typically Glasgow kid whose’ tendencies were often to build the imaginary world/homes (dens) within such confines (tenement courts) and play act doctors/nurses etc.., but I see that the kids here might have to do that in a metaphysical sense: building dens within the confines of dens territory...

    Notwithstanding the charm of the idea, as an adult, I don’t know whether to be honestly ecstatic or lambasting. I’d feel selfish to ‘Like’ this - as a grown-up - despite any romantic appeal.

    In the shoes of children who lose the purely ‘environmental’ court, it’s certainly to be berated as an architectural blot in the landscape!

    What are the non-Glaswegian (unbiased) views of this as an urban proposition, I’d wonder?

    The project has naturally received widespread acclaim in Glasgow, perhaps due to this charm, a charm that this model simply hijacks from future generations. In other word a false charm perhaps!

    The common experience of the Glasgow tenement block is fortunately and largely one where the back court is purely the confines of environmental works. I recall that when this was not the case (as in some blocks heavily laden with blocky back shops/stores etc.; or less concernedly with lanes) that these spaces had ranged from miserable to dull by comparison (of course from a child’s perspective, i.e. users nonetheless).

    Oh “Users, Passer-Bys, etc.”: do these words even still appear or mean anything in the current day’s Architect’s CofC? If architects are to do society good as they were once (and still) billed to do so, then ‘the client is king’ should not be the only dogma within the profession’s principles, but merely the customer focus/promise linchpin that it is. This dogma perhaps now requires taming in order to return esteem to the profession of architecture. That said cosmetic surgery has a place in the medical profession, so why wouldn't urbanism/architecture of course...!

    Perhaps Hypostyle’s intervention is rather urban jewellery or cosmetics, a compliment rather than criticism that should hopefully be seen as experimental rather than as a veritable urban model.

    Again, how do the unbiased areas of the UK view this tenement block intervention (RIAS Award winner) as such?

    Perhaps I can (and will) fully warm to it if I’m convinced!

  • RIBA scraps Plan of Work: say goodbye to stages A-L

    kevin toner's comment 25 October, 2012 7:39 pm

    Therefore, notwithstanding procurement routes,

    Client fee structure becomes [categorically] 6-fold not 5-fold as follows, due to the bifurcating 4th category:-

    1 : prep
    2 -3: concept/design
    4 : technical design
    4 &/or 5 : specialist design
    6 : construction
    7 : feedback/PoE/BIM etc.

    Contractor client fee structure can typically remain [categorically] 3-fold but this will marry better with the above 6-fold rather than 5-folded structure:-

    2 : Concept
    3-5 : Design
    6 : Construction

    With of course some contractors venturing into 1 & 7 as procurement evolves...

    In a way the 7-point schedule can prove to be an improvement, in time, over the current PoW alphabet, especially as it will make better sense of the uneasy bifurcation at stage F (made circa 1990s?), namely at “Production Information”, which IMHO at the moment, is both a ‘pre-construction’ and ‘design’ pursuit (fee category).

  • RIAS Convention 2009: Live blog

    kevin toner's comment 27 May, 2009 3:06 pm

    I didn’t manage to attend the main day, but I thoroughly enjoyed the symposium on art & architecture collaborations on the previous day. With summer-like weather, it was easy to absorb the town’s historic allure and of course to enjoy the DCA as a venue. Excepting the technicalities surrounding planning policy (%for Art) there was instead a highly rewarding, pleasing and educational series of talks and lectures touching on (and evaluating) the very nature and essence of collaboration/s locally, globally and remotely, or in a word ‘urbanically’ (as coined by one of the organisers from the Geddes Institute). It was driven by a highly panoramic and demonstrable selection of projects. It was all topped by a reception to launch the ‘Landworkers’ exhibition, which I believe is still running. I had left the symposium believing that there were lessons to be learnt and an understanding to be gained, particularly for those with an interest in - as it was phrased - drawing on the land.