Welcome to the era of austerity
Bovis Lend Lease boss Nick Pollard calls for an end to ‘opulence’
The head of one of the world’s largest development companies has called on the UK’s architecture profession to embrace a culture of austerity in response to the financial crisis.
Nick Pollard, chief executive of Bovis Lend Lease UK, said a lack of financing has led to questions over the direction architecture must take to survive.
Speaking at the AJ100 Breakfast Club, held at Claridge’s hotel in London last week, Pollard said architects should use this opportunity for a cultural shift and employ techniques to ensure longer-lasting designs: ‘I cannot see the era of unrestrained opulence continuing. We need to think about scale and order. Must everything be shock and awe?’
He added: ‘Great things can happen in austere times. It’s about not being too clever. Designing too tight means you limit flexibility.’
Pollard said the financial meltdown had created ‘huge uncertainty in the market’ meaning that ‘no one wanted to commission’.
However, he added that there would be opportunities for less high-profile firms, as clients baulked at paying huge fees.
‘Some buried talent may come to the fore, with clients seeking less a name or signature and returning to more grounded values.’
Pollard called for an end to adversarial contracts and a more integrated relationship between partners involved in projects. Citing the London Olympic Village, he warned that only by working together will the project be successful. ‘It’s about having a single, coherent voice about legacy. The success of the village will depend on the integration of that with its surrounding communities.’