I disagree totally with George Oldham's attempts to have ARB scrapped. Were he and the other members of the so called "action group" sucessful it is unlikely that its powers would be passed to the RIBA. The claim that ARB was set up as a "minimalist" organisation used by those seeking its abolition is not correct. I was President when the Act was passing through Parliament and the minimalist related to th size of the governing body. The 60 strong Board of Architectural Education was scrapped and the 62 strong ARCUK Council rduced to 15 - with seven lay members. As for ARB owers being reduced the oppoite was the case and the offence of "professional incompetence" added to ARB powers. Those who seek the destruction of ARB are misguided .Self regulation of "protected" professions is not favoured at present forobvious reasons. There would be the great danger of the statutory protection of the title "architect" would be abolished with catastropic consequences for the profession and the RIBA. Who would bother to train as an architect for 5 years when others would be calling themselves architects after short training courses - or with no training at all! Havibg said that the ARB disciplianry process are at times questionable and not properly considered. CertainlyI would support Geoge Oldhm's appeal against what appears to be a flimsey case that should never have been brought against him. Itlooks as though ARB has shot itself in the foot in this case. Owen Luder. RIBA President 1995-97when the Architects Act went through Parliament.
I am so pleased to see the Olympic Stadium on the short list. Before the Hillsborough Disaster in 1990 spotrs stadia facilities and design were appaliing. Hillsbough changed all that and suddenly the quiality of sports stadia design rocketed. When I gave the President's Building of the Year Award in 1996 (replaced the following year with the first Stirling Prize) to the new Huddersfield Stadium the Guardian expressed suprise that a football stadium could get such an award. Basically the same practice designed Arsenal's Emirates Stadium for which they have received insufficient credit for its design qualiy and built on time to budget. Despite the quality of the other contenders I hope the Olympic Stadium (by the same architects) wins as it will demonstrate so clearly to the world the difference architects (working with creative engineers) can acheive in changing what was such a "nobody cares about design" building type into top quality architecture that works and gives great pleasure to those who use it and see it. Owen Luder CBE PPRIBA.
It is not elegant. It is not friendly. It has no sublety. Wherever you are over a wide area it grimaces at you over the roof tops or in between buildings at street level. It is over assertive. Has no relation to its surroundings. The regeneration of this area was already under way without this very unfortunate addition to the Thames riverscape and London's skyline. Thjis practice has done and can do far better than this. Owen Luder .
I am not at all sure at the RIBA selectively supporting individual candidates for the ARB elections but I am more concerned with this continuing myth promoted by those that want to reduce ARB's role - some destroy it - that ARB was set up by Parliament as a "mimimalist" organisation compared with its predecessor ARCUK. The opposte is the case. I was the RIBA President reposnsible for steering the Architects Act through Parliament in 1995-7. The objective was to reduce the size of the ACUK Council from 64 to 15 and to remove the 60 strong Board of Architectural education completely. Boards were comprised of representives of a wide number of other organisations some of whom were not over friendly to architects and our protection of title. The effect of that was to give back to the profession control of educaton shared by RIBA and ARB. We had to concede a lay majority on ARB in return for continuation of protection of title. It is overloked that vthe Conservative government atv the time had decided to abolsh ACUK and protection of title and we were only saved by the intervention of the Consumer lobby who saw continuation of protection of title as a protection for clients - particularly the smaller clients - which is why ARB was never intended to be "minimalist" and its responsibilities for regulating "incompetence" as well as professional conduct required it to be a larger and far more effective in regulating conduct than its predecessor ARCUK. ARB may not be perfect and the RIBA needs to ensure it does not go beyond its statutory role and itis fair to architects as well as cients but those who attack it and its role are playing with fire if ARB were to be abolished the baby would go out with the bath water and we would lose protection of title. That would be distasterous for architectural education - who would study for 4 or 5 years to quaify as an architect if anyone could call themselves architects without any qualification or training. Also be disasterous for the RIBA reducing it to no more than a rump as an little more than an academic institution. The RIBA should be supporting those candidates whose policy is to work closely with ARB not destro or disassemble it. Owen Luder CBE PPRIBA
Comment on: Government unveils 55 new free school projects
Ironic isn't it? The Brixton School of Building was a famous vocational school specialising in theoretical and practical building and construction. I was there for a three year Junior course from 1942 - 45. The educational reformers in the early 60's first made it part of the South Bank Polytechnic which subsequently became South Bank University. The vocational aspect was soon lost and in time the building school disappeared. Years later we have realised the mistakes that vocational training is not second class to academic and we need people who are best at using their hands and can have a sucessfull life without an academic degree. So Aylesbury, Burnley Daventry and Southwark are to have Schools of Building. Owen Luder CBE PPRIBA