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Architects Journal
Paul Hyett

Stories by contributor

  • 'It's the procrastination and cynical posturing that's unsustainable'


    Despite great progress, development work is still some way off a sustainability tipping point, says Paul Hyett
  • Looking back, thinking ahead


  • Can the AIA redefine the American dream?


    RIBA president Paul Hyett considers the challenging task ahead for the new president of the American Institute of Architects, Thompson E Penney
  • Paul Hyett, president, RIBA


    The Presidents medals 2001
  • Stirling 2001 - special awards


    Stirling 2001
  • 'Sell sustainability' call from Wales


    RSAW's spring school looked at how to make sustainability more effective and 'sexy'. RIBA president-elect Paul Hyett reports
  • Sympathic registrar gives the human touch to ARB relationships at last


    In this, my last column, I am glad to draw one major campaign to a close. Let me begin with a quote: 'It is surprising to me - even shocking - to occasionally meet architects around the country who are not a member of the professional body. Given the huge burdens placed upon professional people . . . I cannot think how anybody can do this successfully, let alone competently, if they are not part of a network of like-minded people providing exchanges of ideas and support for one another.
  • Large-scale institutional benevolence with a touch of humanity


    In his bookThe Birth of the Modern Paul Johnson vividly describes the tremendous surge of energy that fuelled the enormous changes to both the physical and the social structure and organisation of our society in the early Victorian era. There was extraordinary progress in this period, which saw the formation of our first schools of architecture, and indeed the RIBA.
  • Public interest in the Stirling Prize makes everyone a winner


    The Stirling Prize has quickly established itself, in the tradition of the Booker and Turner prizes, as an annual event of significant public interest - and that must be good for architecture and good for architects.
  • In pursuit of hope


    Prison Architecture: Policy, Design and Experience Edited by Leslie Fairweather and Sean McConville. Architectural Press (Butterworth-Heinemann), 2000. 192pp. £39.50
  • Size is not important: small practices have an important role


    One of the most important initiatives of Marco Goldschmied's presidency has been the establishment of a vice president for small practices, and who better than Elspeth Clements, who took up this post at the beginning of Goldschmied's second year in office? True to character, Clements has kicked off with a bang by setting up a conference earlier this week dedicated to the issues and concerns of this important part of the profession. It attracted some 200 delegates to Portland Place from ...
  • We all pay for inadequacies in the education system


    Few people realise the close interrelationship between those responsible for drafting the RIBA's various standard forms of agreement documents (SFA's), the courts, and the professional indemnity (PI) insurance companies.
  • Despite the Tate Modern neither Herzog or de Meuron are architects


    The ARB deals with individuals not practices, and its function is to ensure that only those deemed competent to use the title architect are permitted onto the register, and that anyone whose competence is found to be seriously inadequate or whose conduct is found to be unacceptable is removed. The ARB must also deal with those who 'misuse' title by claiming to be an architect when they are not registered.
  • Asserting humanist principles to meet the needs of the many


    The Union of International Architects (UIA) has selected the themes of humanity, quality and ability as the three core concepts that will inform its policies and strategies as it seeks to project the essential contribution of the architect in creating the modern world.
  • Thoughts before taking the path towards RIBA presidential election


    Many of you will by now know of my decision to stand for the presidency of the RIBA. Most of you will understand that the role of a columnist would be incompatible with that of president, should I be successful at the election. I will, therefore, stop writing shortly after Christmas.
  • Why hairline cracks are escalating into a major problem for Londoners


    So what is it all about? The whole London Underground escalator system seems to be suffering progressive and catastrophic failure. Returning to King's Cross on the 05.40 train from Nottingham last week, I was appalled to find access to the Northern Line barred yet again.
  • Architects must not wobble on footbridge repair responsibility


    If Lord Foster looks carefully through binoculars from his Thameside offices, he will see a long-redundant sign instructing soldiers marching towards Chelsea Barracks to 'break step', just as Roman Centurions did when crossing bridges, in order to mitigate the effect of marching in unison. It is therefore all the more surprising that this problem was not properly anticipated in the design of the 'bridge of fright'.
  • Cultural changes challenge architects to find a new shared identity


    White people will be outnumbered by nonwhites in Britain by the end of this century, and will become a minority group in London by the end of this decade. So predicts The Observer in a recent article.
  • The motor car must not choke debate about sustainable urban living


    Robert L Lansing, secretary of state to President Woodrow Wilson's government, warned that 'self-determination' would lead to public discontent, disorder and ultimately rebellion. 'The phrase', he claimed some 80 years ago, 'is simply loaded with dynamite. It will raise hopes, which can never be realised.
  • Asymmetry and professionalism: the case for protection


    I recently presented evidence to the Australian Productivity Commission which has been carrying out an inquiry into the regulation of architects. As in the UK, the title of 'architect' is protected, but the function of architecture is not. Daft really, for as I have long argued, protection of title is useless without protection of function as enjoyed by the legal and medical professions in both the UK and Australia.
  • Architectural students must be properly equipped to practise


    In deciding whether a professional has acted negligently, the standard against which courts measure performance is that of a reasonably competent person acting in that field. So think carefully before you claim skill or knowledge that is beyond that expected of an architect of 'average' competence, and do not let your ego override your interests! It is surprising that professional indemnity companies do not increase premiums for architects claiming special expertise - but that is another ...
  • Budgeting for a quantity surveyor's poor estimates


    A property development officer who rang me up last week claims that, with increasing regularity, his quantity surveyors are reporting tender returns substantially above their estimates. His organisation maintains, alters and extends a vast range of education buildings - some 220 in all - and it also frequently builds new facilities with construction budgets of between £1 million and £5 million.
  • Concorde and project viability. . . flawed from the very first take-off


    Apparently Concorde uses more oxygen during take-off than the entire Swiss nation breathes in a year and now, coinciding with Victoria Beckham's adverse comments on safety, the prospect of regularly consuming 32,000 gallons of fuel to fly a mere 18 people to New York - as happened again recently on a British Airways scheduled flight - becomes both a reality and a matter of national shame.
  • Searching questions should be directed to RIBA's living library


    Most people will remember David Rock's RIBA presidency for his tremendous achievement, with Rod Hackney, in negotiating the agreement with the Victoria and Albert Museum. This initiative will create the world's finest collection of architectural records and archives and work is now well under way in the detailed planning of this venture.
  • paul hyett


    Ex-gratia payments are not 'supply' in the eyes of the tax court - so no VAT
  • paul hyett


    My parents were reasonably relaxed about my wife and me living together before marriage, but mum did not want Auntie Gladys to know although my nan was in on the whole affair from the beginning; she loved young people, but then again, she encouraged smoking as well!
  • Expert mediation is the best option for dispute resolution


    The judges in the Technology and Construction Courts are apparently kicking their heels for want of cases to try, while requests for the RIBA to appoint an arbitrator have fallen this year by about 50 per cent. But don't conclude that there has been an outbreak of goodwill and harmony across the construction industry. If only that were so: the other side of the picture is that the number of adjudications is growing and the UStrend to resolve disputes by mediation has also taken root.
  • Keeping an open approach to foster the building of knowledge and ideas


    My friend Jeff Tidmarsh dropped into the office the other day for a chat. Such impromptu sessions are important: the opportunity to share experiences, and ideas, with another architect is precious.
  • Market demands must be tempered if family life is not to suffer


    James Callaghan's government was brought down by the Winter of Discontent.
  • Validation must allow architectural education the freedom to flourish


    This week I complete my periods as external examiner at Liverpool and Belfast schools of architecture. I am most impressed by the extraordinary diversity and tremendous energy evident in the work. The progressive nature of our education system and the liberal framework within which the projectbased learning experience is delivered clearly encourages the ambition, variety, and enthusiasm that is so typical of our schools.
  • Paul Hyett


    I was not surprised to receive criticism from some UK academics about my column describing RIBA/CAA 'overseas' validation work (AJ 18.5.00). This service contributes substantially towards raising standards worldwide in architectural education, assisting schools and their graduates, as well as offices within disadvantaged countries, in their efforts to compete in the international market.
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    No-one who witnessed the presentations by Marc Corbett and Nick Hayhurst to last week's RIBA Council Meeting could fail to be moved by their courage and intelligence. For over an hour they stood their ground as speaker after speaker contributed to this complicated debate. But their bid to establish mandatory minimum salary levels for year-out students working in offices was unsuccessful.
  • Paul Hyett


    'So', I asked my cabbie as we escaped the acrid stench of aviation fuel that drenches terminal buildings on a recent visit to New Zealand, 'how long have you lived in here?'
  • Praising primers from home and aboard for would-be architects


    Roger Lewis is a busy man: architect, teacher, writer, and regular columnist for the Washington Post where he manages to bring architecture to life for its readers. Through these efforts he does our profession a great service, improving the public's understanding of both the process and the product of architectural design.
  • Site inspection: how to avoid delegating your way into heaps of legal troubles


    Two weeks ago I suggested that the growing tendency under modern procurement methods (design and build, etc) to exclude architects from site inspection is leaving clients very exposed.
  • Site inspection duties are ill-defined by law and by appointment terms


    Alleged failure to 'supervise' construction work properly is still a common claim against architects. 'Ah', I hear many of you say, 'we are not responsible for supervision - merely for periodic inspection.'
  • If only building owners knew the fire dangers their buildings posed ...


    As the services content of buildings becomes more extensive and complex, arrangements for containing fire and maintaining the integrity of floors and walls penetrated by services becomes ever more difficult.
  • Let housing follow jobs - but to brownfield sites for sustainability


    Paul Barker was one of many academics, union leaders, businessmen, politicians and writers who used to 'drop in' to Cedric Price's office for a chat while I worked there, so it was with nostalgic pleasure that I read his recent piece in the Independent, where he argued that 'houses have to follow jobs'. He says that we should simply accept that a million new homes are needed in the South-east and get on with building them.
  • Expanding our role is the only way out of the problem of an over- supplied market


    A horribly hushed silence greeted my claim at last week's archaos conference that our profession is suffering from a chronic over-supply of 'architects'.
  • Unethical 'designers' and irresponsible clients make up-front fees the way to go


    'Please let me know if you would like some funds on account.'
  • Young architects are shortchanged by both employers and schools


  • RIBA enters the fast, wallet-wielding world of the domain name


    In early 1999 the riba relaunched its website ( as an arena to provide wide-ranging and invaluable information about its services. The initiative complements advances in the field by emap, with the launch of The riba website now receives around 2000 visitors a day. In addition the institute broadcasts three weekly e-mails to 7000 of its members, and operates Ribanet Conference - a set of online 'discussion' groups to which almost 3000 members are connected. ...
  • The disturbing rise of 'copywrong' and how we architects must fight it


    'Copywrong', the antithesis of copyright, has emerged as a significant threat to both architects and architecture in recent years. Initiatives to curtail this miserably corrupting process are long overdue and it's high time our profession woke up and took some action. Why has this crisis emerged so suddenly, and who is responsible?
  • Condominium living is the ultimate in control, from the Congo to Chislehurst


    In warning Mike Tyson to 'stay out of Brixton' the Lambeth Council leader, Jim Dickson, was speaking way beyond his authority. Indeed, even boxing promoter Frank Warren, not known for his expertise on civil rights, was able to assure tv viewers that only the courts can restrict the liberty of individuals who have legitimate 'business' in this country - as indeed was Tyson's status, courtesy of our Home Secretary.
  • Why life in the fast lane too often stops at the Tudorbethan front door


    Eddie Irvine is really quite a character, as was revealed in the tv documentary on his career earlier this month.
  • Your insurance details are a private matter for you and your insurer


    Obviously concerned that I had refused to reveal details of my professional indemnity insurance (pii) (renewal date, limit of cover and level of excess) in response to the arb's recent survey, the acting registrar has sent me a letter from which, due to its relevance to our profession, I quote:
  • Sustainability issues will grow in the new, warmer millennium


    Two architectural icons, in becoming the most memorable images of the New Year celebrations, demonstrated architecture's enduring capacity to capture the public's imagination and to lift the heart and spirit of the community.
  • Facing up to the challenges the next century will offer our profession


    Taking as his text the Parable of the Talents, Malcolm Porter, an architect and lay-preacher, recently argued that Christians have a duty to use their skills appropriately. He proffered a challenging question which we, as a profession, might usefully ponder as we celebrate the final Christmas of the twentieth century: are we using our expertise in the best interests of our clients and the community?
  • Sweden recognises the value of architects doing the whole job


    Our work, now nearing completion, on the restoration of the Swedish Ambassador's residence, has included renovation of the James Adam state reception rooms, together with the creation of a series of self-contained apartments for senior diplomatic staff.
  • American architects aren't being totally straight with us


  • Be precise and be polite and you will be better understood


    I think that David Suitor's plea (aj letters 14/10/99) that bad language should be kept out of 'any professional journal' must in principle be right, but editors often face difficult choices in these matters.
  • Why architects are just what the doctors should have ordered


    Some years ago my Dad (arb Registration No. 034189D) suffered the excruciating pain of a kidney stone. Before the advent of modern surgery there would have been no treatment. Those who 'passed' the stone lived to tell the tale - those who didn't could well die.
  • What the garage business can teach us about getting our image into gear


    A recent commission to design a showroom and service centre for bmw emphasised for me the extraordinary changes that continue apace in 'garage' design since I used to take my old Wolsley 4/44 in for service.
  • Giving in to planners can get you into serious trouble


    A claim for negligence against a design and build contractor resulted in a substantial payment by its pi insurers last week. It provides a sobering lesson for us all.
  • Americans establish themselves here. Shouldn't it work both ways?


    Overpaid, over-sexed and over here - thus ran the slogan that evidenced the ill feeling occasionally felt towards American servicemen based here during World War II. And there is increasing ill feeling against Americans working here again, this time because they are not playing fair over trade.
  • Architects and actuaries should be avoiding not just assessing risks


    Cedric Price once told me that actuaries are the highest paid of all professions - better even than barristers.
  • Just hope the rattling in that building isn't a skeleton


  • paul hyett


    Why A levels are irrelevant for aspiring architects
  • In praise of wartime spirit at the camp site and in the office


    When disaster struck during our holiday, my reaction was to 'buy' my way out of trouble.
  • The inspector and the missing colleague: a mortar mystery


    As a teacher and a practising architect C J Lim has a foot in both the conceptual and the practical world. While happy to experiment with ideas and solutions he is looking forward to actually running a project by mark david thomas. photograph by shaun blo
  • A sure-fire way to collect bad debts, architectural or otherwise . . .


    'Paul, can you take your wife away for a while, find a lonely hotel somewhere, we'll pay . . . .' This request, made some 20 years ago by a builder, was of course met with my bemused but firm refusal. He was distraught, but only later did I learn why, and in what danger I had also been. I'll change the names for obvious reasons, but essentially, the story goes like this:
  • Today's tutors, tomorrow's giants: the case for architectural research


    During the last 18 months I have visited some 25 uk and 12 overseas schools.Three things are particularly striking about these experiences.
  • Getting a better deal by buying buildings in the private sector


    Satire will never be better evidenced than in the headline 'Cock Robin Goes North' - the mischievous commentary on Cook's decision to take Gaynor to Scotland. Sensationalism and conciseness are also hallmarks of tabloid journalism, as in the brilliant '170 mph Schudini' headline following Michael Schumacher's escape of serious injury at Silverstone last Saturday.
  • Awful warnings on the pressing need for sustainable cities


    If the truth hurts, this, as Richard Branson says, is going to be agony! The awful lesson of Beijing, where the uia has been holding its Twentieth International Congress, is that architecture is currently on a disastrous track and that practice and education must refocus their respective agendas if they are to address this crisis properly.
  • When project liability issues become as clear as this ink


    Next time you're involved in a project where a specialist sub-contractor has a design responsibility, think carefully about your own position in the event of their failure - you may have more liabilities than you expect, and more than are suggested under the riba's Standard Form of Agreement (SFA/92).
  • Tony Blair and the RIBA should be at one on education


    I was grateful to David Dunster, head of school at Liverpool University, for alerting me to Tony Blair's new drive, reported in last Saturday's Independent, to attract an extra 75,000 foreign students to British universities and colleges. In pursuit of this objective, the prime minister has asked advertisers and marketing consultants to 're-brand' British universities and colleges in a concerted effort to capture the £700 million of fees that would accrue.
  • Wimbledon and the e-mail: a perfect match


    Wimbledon, upon us again next week, never fails to remind me of one of my favourite clients who has a fanatical enthusiasm for sport.
  • Business-led practice triumphs at the Millennium Dome


    'Without such an approach, architects cannot maintain the authority in design development or project delivery that they crave'
  • Follow the supermodel off the catwalk to find the path to success


    Christy Turlington was only 14, and still wearing braces on her teeth, when she was spotted by a California photographer. The rest is legend: surrendering her dream of becoming an architect, she signed up with an agency at 17, and was immediately launched into the modelling stratosphere alongside Naomi Campbell with whom she shared an apartment.
  • Valuing the work of all architects


    The great thing about the recent Munkenbeck and Marshall v. Kensington Hotel case is that Judge Wilcox has endorsed what everybody in our profession already accepts - everybody that is except the arb: you don't need to be a registered architect to design good buildings!
  • There's boundary trouble over at Home Farm . . .


    'Next time you determine the extent of a rural site, look carefully at the boundary - 'your' site might be 5 metres or so bigger than you think'
  • Trellick Tower - a giant among high rises


    'Gouldfeingeur speaking,' announced the impostor's voice, to the delight of the staff around him. 'Wrong,' boomed the voice on the other end of the telephone. 'This is Goldfinger, and you're fired.'
  • An Internet libel case with important implications for us all


    In January 1997 Laurence Godfrey discovered that some unknown person had 'posted' an article attributed to him on the Internet under the Newsgroup 'soc culture thai'. It was squalid, obscene and defamatory. Originating in the usa on 13 January 1997, the 'posting' invited replies to Mr Godfrey and gave his e-mail address. The forgery was read by Internet users in the uk and throughout the world.
  • Sex, education and secondary-school design briefs . . .


    There is a profound logical inconsistency in the arguments surrounding the new legislation currently under debate in Parliament which seeks to prohibit sexual relationships between young people and those in 'positions of trust', for example between sixth- formers and their teachers.
  • Common sense is needed when making provisions for disabled people


    I was astonished to learn from my 'cabbie' friend Gary that from the year 2000 onwards London cabs must be made suitable for wheelchair users: they will require a wide door, ramps, and secure positioning facilities for occupied wheelchairs.
  • Getting your fees paid may not always be straightforward . . .


    Exasperated by the continuing failure of my client to respond to my letters demanding payment, I decided late one evening to go and see him. It is some 20 years ago now, but I remember it all well.
  • Project finance should form an essential part of architectural training


    Nicola Horlick, the clever and energetic financial consultant who combines a dazzling City career with the role of successful wife and mother, is now to be seen on the new peps adverts which litter London's stations. A carefully crafted piece of marketing, the advert shows three sober faces: the confident Nicola; the young and highly groomed John Richards; and, in case John's too clever, Peter Seabrook, his cautious smile underpinning a furrowed brow and receding hairline. Personal ...
  • Why clients should not expect any recompense from the ARB


    A bill for £1,580,000 plus vat served last month on Princess Diana's troubled memorial fund by solicitor Mishcon de Reya brings that firm's total charges to over £2.3 million which, a Sunday newspaper recently claimed, is more than double the size of any donation that the fund has so far made.
  • People


    Eric Kuhne didn't realise the consequences of crashing a Christmas party at Michael Graves' house in 1985. He ran into Jeff Kipnis, 'who had just given a paper at a symposium to celebrate Mikey's 25 years in architecture . . . I had to tell him it was pathetic'. Kipnis, Kuhne remembers, 'admitted to running out of steam on all this decon stuff', and asked, 'What do you do when you get a universe without a centre?'
  • Human rights are an issue for us all - whether or not we are directly involved


    Seeing the B52s arriving this month, courtesy of News at Ten, reminded me of the 1980s when the Americans used our bases to bomb Tripoli.
  • Should entry into our profession be limited?


    Unable to wait any longer, I dashed from the Playbill Theatre, where I had been watching 'Forbidden Broadway', and made for Manhattan's most famous loo.
  • Thin line divides sharp practice and malpractice


    Many years ago, I designed a scheme that included a loft conversion which the client intended to use as a child's bedroom. Unfortunately, the 1972 Building Regulations required minimum ceiling heights to be provided over a prescribed proportion of a habitable room's floor area. Having consulted that wonderful illustrated text, A Guide to the Building Regulations, by A J Elder, I was in no doubt: the application would be refused. I pointed out to the client that the standards could not ...
  • Energy and new courses in architecture


    This morning my wife noticed a large bluebottle on our kitchen window.
  • Winterschool: whose career is it anyway?


    Winterschool, one of the most important events in the academic calendar, was organised this year by an enterprising bunch of Newcastle students led by Dave Watson. Its theme was 'The Line' - a brilliant, provocative, yet oh-so-simple title.
  • Why I want Marco for president


    I support Marco Goldschmied as the next riba president. As a practising architect, I need the institute to look forward and outward, and be alert to its members' changing needs.
  • The debacle of the Code of Conduct


    My first column this year criticised the arb's new Code of Conduct. In particular, I challenged Standard 11 (the 'whistle-blowers' clause'), suggesting this was an obstruction to normal justice as experts representing fellow architects in litigation owe a duty of confidentiality which would be threatened. I also argued that staff and partners would be dissuaded from the open reporting of mistakes to their colleagues for fear of being carted off late at night to the gulag; and I argued ...
  • Is registration really worth the candle?


    Thumbing through my local Thompson Directory, my eyes fell upon the section entitled 'Architects'. We all know the story - here among the legitimate entries of respectable practices is a long list of the non-registered - although in some cases it is very difficult to tell. For example, 'Praxis Architecture' - does the tell-tale use of the suffix indicate to those in the know that these are pretenders masquerading as architects but not qualified? And what of 'Cube', or 'atp Group Partnership', ..
  • Why we must heal the rift with the QS


    It was a sad day when, on 13 May 1834, the newly formed Society of British Architects disqualified 'architect surveyors' from our profession, as the paths of designers and measurers were irretrievably set on separate and diverging courses. These activities should, of course, have remained united, for building costs are inextricably linked to design and specification: architects must therefore be centrally involved in the money process, and committed to issues of economic viability and ...
  • Learning from the mistakes of others . . .


    When eight windows leaked in a new house extension, the architect instructed the builder to carry out remedial work, but he didn't check it properly.
  • The secret of mediation's success


    They say that mediation is no good, but I beg to differ. Earlier this year one of my colleagues spent a week in close session with three other parties in a multi-million pound dispute. The mediator was appointed by cedr, undisputed leader in this sunrise profession.
  • The secret of mediation's success


    They say that mediation is no good, but I beg to differ. Earlier this year one of my colleagues spent a week in close session with three other parties in a multi-million pound dispute. The mediator was appointed by CEDR, undisputed leader in this sunrise profession.
  • Why you can't compare cars with buildings


    £540 for repairing a scratch that hadn't even penetrated the base coat of two doors - I was appalled!
  • It's time to get rid of bogus competitions


    Imagine that you require the services of a barrister. Your solicitor, acting as dispute manager, suggests that a competition should be held: five barristers will be invited to propose strategies for your case. The solicitor also sets out the other conditions of this unregulated contest: there will be no prize money, no commitment to proceed with the winner, and the barristers will not retain 'copyright' of their work.
  • Architecture hits the right note


    Recently I watched a friend compose music. He worked and reworked the piece through his piano keyboard, constantly committing the emerging melody into record and amended record upon his scoresheet.
  • Health and safety still a distant dream


    I read with interest Simon Danischewsky's letter (aj 23.7.98) but lest it be inferred that I am insensitive, or worse, dismissive of site safety issues, I should set the record straight - few architects can match my experience in this field! As a student, I spent 12 months researching site conditions. The project was funded by Sir Robert McAlpine, who had two objectives: a philanthropic desire to improve site standards and a wish to anticipate the requirements of the 1976 Health and ...
  • How the Sun could help Mr Prescott


    The Sun newspaper recently heralded Mr Prescott's new transport plans, which include quadrupling the use of bicycles, as a Chinese-style cultural revolution.
  • What truly makes a 'professional'


    'Professional' is today an increasingly misunderstood and abused word. As architects, subject to high levels of client expectation and responsibility, we should give careful consideration to the conditions necessary for delivering a professional service. They are becoming ever more elusive.
  • Maxwell was more vulture than developer


    Last week, walking northwards from London's Liverpool Street Station, I was surprised to discover that Maxwell House is being demolished. And there, five storeys up in the party wall of No 66 Worship Street, the Edwardian building that I once shared with erstwhile partners Nicholas Lacey & Arno Jobst, a bricked-up window has again been exposed to daylight and public view. Back flooded amusing memories. . .
  • Adjudication and who carries the can


    If you don't know who carried the can for the adjudicator's wrong decision on the pile test I asked you to imagine last week, don't worry; we are now many months further on, and that particular case is going to the House of Lords.
  • Another boost for lawyers' waistlines


    Those of you who read my recent article on warranty agreements for professional 'sub-consultancies' will be interested in the way the now much-vaunted (and sometimes ridiculed) Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act impinges on professional appointments.
  • Lessons we can learn from Santiago


    A visit last week to Santiago in Chile again reminded me that it is all too easy for us to take for granted the benefits of the physical and institutional infrastructure that we have inherited here. For example, the intervention of military dictatorships inevitably affects the independence of the judiciary, and curtails the autonomy of the professional organisations, universities and colleges. In the wake of such situations a lengthy period of transition is inevitable: it takes time ...
  • Keeping tabs on your sub-consultants


    The increasing preference of clients to appoint a single consultant, who in turn must sub-contract work outside his discipline to other consultants, produces real difficulties often overlooked in the haste to secure new work.
  • Revision to SFA/92 is long overdue


    Surely the guys who drafted the sfa/92 documents never had to clinch a deal themselves. If they had, they would have realised that an architect needs appointment terms that are clear, brief, and easy to use. But intellect seemed to over-ride common sense during preparation of sfa/92, resulting in a document so complex that the riba now provides a 50-page guide to its use, costing £10. Here are some of sfa/92's most obvious failings:
  • Peace of mind from the right level of PII


    With the arb's requirement for professional indemnity insurance now mandatory, many architects, especially small practices (and perhaps those 'moonlighting' in parallel with their regular employment), will be arranging cover for the first time.
  • Living up to Brunel's legacy of innovation


    Those of you who pass through Paddington Station may have noticed that Isambard Kingdom Brunel's statue has been moved off the main concourse. It now sits in a side exit, on a brick plinth that lacks as much in presence as it does in craft. It is wholly inappropriate that his memory should be marginalised in this way - and of all places at Paddington, where the gwr line terminated.
  • Architects thrive on fellowship


    John Summerson opened his 1947 account of the history of the Architectural Association by describing its very antithesis: Charles Dickens' world of the early nineteenth-century drawing office, with the idle and pretentious Pecksniff masquerading as gentleman, scholar and artist, while living on the premiums extorted from pupils to whom he 'teaches nothing'.
  • Former AA president and practitioner John Smith dies


  • Acanthus hears Stampslam Scottish Parliament


  • Are we simply architects or Mystic Megs?


    Two years ago we signed practical completion on a commercial development which our client sold to a pension fund complete with a warranty against our services.
  • A taxing time ahead for the self-employed


    All architectural practices, unless they operate as limited-liability companies, should note major changes which will affect the basis upon which tax is assessed, albeit that the Chancellor's recent budget has delayed their introduction for one year.
  • Why can't we all live together?


    Last week's Panorama on bbc1 revealed hardening attitudes towards anti-social tenants by local-authority landlords. Surprisingly, most of the case studies involved inter-war and post-war traditional housing estates - you know: brick construction, gardens, proper front doors and pitched roofs. A far cry from the blocks of flats so heavily criticised by Alice Coleman.
  • Lessons about the behaviour of insulation


    Stuart Borland is an architect - Dundeetrained - who is busy carving a unique career for himself as a construction specialist, focusing on building performance (hence the additional affix Dip BP after his BSc/BArch and RIBA).
  • Great building needs a sense of purpose


    I shall never forget the puzzled expression that dawned upon Gottfried Bohm's gentle demeanour while listening to dear old Eric Sorensen describe the briefing and commissioning procedures for the Millennium Dome.
  • Exhibition has an important purpose


    Back in the 1920s, three judges sat in contemplation of the submissions of a wide range of amateur artists. One was Sir Kenneth Clark, the great art historian, and together they unanimously awarded first prize to 'a picture of a red house in the sunlight with snow on the roof, painted with great vigour'.
  • A privilege we can no longer afford


    So here I am, six miles up, somewhere over Nor th Afr ica en route to a site inspection of our latest hospital project.
  • Time to clarify registration's real purpose


    My last two columns addressed the confusion and inconsistencies surrounding registration as illustrated by the Hellard appeal heard in the High Court last week.
  • Baden Hellard, 50 years on from the Blitz


    'If a member of the RIBA has not applied for registration by 1 August, will he be legally entitled to use the affix FRIBA, ARIBA or LRIBA?'
  • Fundamental ambiguity over registration


    Win or lose, the ARB will get a bloody nose over the Baden Hellard appeal due in the High Court next Thursday. The hapless registrar faces costs of up to £60,000, and all in pursuit of zilch for public interest and even less for the profession.
  • A manual for the study of citizenship


    Nicholas Saunders, (sadly killed in a car crash in South Africa last week) was a product of his age. Coming to London, he immersed himself in the cosmopolitan life of the 1960s, and his contribution was at once extraordinary and brilliant.
  • Conservation register is a good move


    A longstanding deadlock was broken at January's riba Council meeting when David Yorke obtained agreement that the institute should 'establish its own specialist register in building conservation for its architect members'.
  • Lessons to learn from the past


    A relative gave me a lovely little book for Christmas which charted a sort of sabbatical taken by a developer during the recent property slump. The death of his father had left Charles Llewellyn responsible for the disposal of a water mill, in Essex. Anxious to find a purchaser who would properly respect the property, Mr Llewellyn set any ambitions for a quick sale aside, and a wonderful story unfolds as television producer Roger Tabor eventually enters the stage as buyer.
  • The ARB has a duty to artistic autonomy


    In stating that architects have an overriding duty to 'meet customers' requirements' (aj People 1/8.1.1998) the new arb registrar has, perhaps unwittingly, stumbled into an age-old debate.
  • Surveillance invades all walks of life


    A central theme of Winterschool 98, held last week at Sheffield school of architecture, was surveillance. While of course entirely coincidental, it is deeply ironic that the students should have adopted a subject very dear to the hearts of those at the Architects' Registration Board who have been so anxious to promote a duty of surveillance within the new arb Code of Conduct. In my previous columns I have warned of the dangers of a professional code that requires architects to report ...
  • ARB will make experts into 'informants'


    It is a basic principle of British law that a defendant is entitled to proper representation.
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