Lucy Mori's Comments
Comment on: Major breakthrough in PQQ reform
I am really pleased for Walter Menteth who devoted much of his life over the past 2-3 years to the issue of public procurement reform with the RIBA Procurement Reform Group and with the support of Angela Brady. Their objective has been to open up public procurement to all architects, the majority of whom work in SMEs, but especially to enable access to public sector projects to small practices. The revised Directiive responds to the main concerns of thresholds, tier 2 suppliers, turnover requirements, MEAT and 'bodies covered by public law'. Let us hope the directive is implemented swiftly in the UK and the increased efficiency contributes to the economic upswing. This is good news for architects, the construction industry and the wider economy.
I encourage all architects to attend the Women in Architecture Events - for women it is empowering and inspiring to be in a room full of women architects and to listen to worthy winners; for men, it can be an eye-opener not to be in the majority.
I am excited about this project for Oxford - often steeped in tradition - and I support the bravery of the decision-makers. I hope the completed building does not disappoint and is as beautiful as the Prada building in Tokyo. Many of Oxford's finer modern buildings are hidden from public view, like St Catherine's College, so it is also inspiring to have this building contributing to the public realm on a busy street.
The shortlist demonstrates the high regard for British Design internationally. While West Kowloon Cultural park is a high profile project, it underlines that fact that there are significant opportunities for UK architectural practices in China. Amazingly last year only 4% of fees of UK practices was earned from international clients and projects - this must surely increase in the future.
I think the RIBA should have an annual conference - it seems to me astonishing that there is no annual conference - and this would be an opporunity to showcase all awards - including one for sustainibility if appropriate. Awards are useful for promoting selection criteria and raising the profile of architects who embrace those criteria. More work needs to be done on combining good design with environmental performance - so this could be a valuable initiative.
I think this is an excellent initiative but not one which is going to drive the economy. Increasing the density of existing urban areas makes good sense - rather than building in the green belt. However small projects are not going to amount to huge increases in construction spending across the economy. The upside is that there will be opportunities for the majority of architects in the UK who work in micro practices and depend on small domestic projects.
Comment on: Hadid mulls practice title change
Zaha Hadid is in her sixties - she needs to think about succession planning - does she want her practice and work to continue after her retirement (or death)? She might consider a younger partner (not sure how old Patrik Shumacher is) but the choice of partner is a difficult one - not only strategically but also pychologically. It will be hard to find other candidates within the practice who can match her charisma and talent; bringing in new partners from outside rarely works.