kevin toner's Comments
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?
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.
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!
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!
here's the missing part of the URL, which wouldn't paste: y/Policy/EqualityAndDiversity/DiversityNewsandEvents.aspx
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: http://www.architecture.com/TheRIBA/AboutUs/InfluencingPolicy/Policy/EqualityAndDiversity/DiversityNewsandEvents.aspx
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!!
Comment on: McAslan reveals greener George Square vision
That's better! Give Blythswood Sq the remaining great men; and a similar specification and the job's done!
Comment on: HS2 Northern route revealed
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: http://www.urbanrealm.com/news/3547/Forth_Bridge_nominated_for_World_Heritage_Status.html#comment6968 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. http://www.gizmodo.co.uk/2012/06/this-crazy-propeller-driven-hanging-monorail-was-once-considered-the-future-of-commuting/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bennie_Railplane 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!
Comment on: Hypostyle creates Glasgow tenement infill
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!
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).
Comment on: RIAS Convention 2009: Live blog
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.