RIBA President defends profession after Simon Jenkins attack
Sunand Prasad has hit back at comments from National Trust chairman Simon Jenkins, who launched a scathing attack on the profession last week claiming architects were anti-democratic and ‘interested only in icons and cash’
Writing in response in The Guardian, the RIBA President said he wished Jenkins’ piece had been ‘as informative as it was entertaining’ and branded the outburst as an inaccurate portrayal of the profession at large.
‘If the architecture profession was ‘interested only in icons and cash’, why are they earning less than other professions and why are more RIBA awards not given to the ‘glass boxes, blobs and phalluses’ that developers all over the world are fascinated by?’ he said. ‘Our [RIBA] awards are far more likely to recognise ‘modern designers’ who ‘have worked well within the rhythm of existing city streets.’
Prasad also argued Jenkins’ ‘sweeping statements’ were wide of the mark, his position over the Chelsea Barracks scheme misguided and stressed the scale of the task to turn around the low-quality of public buildings, housing estates and urban spaces.
‘The profession has had to change, and the bulk of Britain’s 27,000 architects quietly deliver decent work for their hugely diverse clients. If Jenkins could see that a better future for our towns and cities needs society to make better use of architects’ skills, he would do more to bring about the quality of public realm that he seeks.’
Read the full response here.