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Paul McGrath

Paul McGrath

Recent activity

Comments (28)

  • Comment on: The studio is critical, but it's not where all the magic happens

    Paul McGrath's comment 24-Apr-2015 3:42 pm

    If you start from a position which most architects who don't win awards would recognise, that as long as an exclusive club that comprises an elite intelligentsia exists, there will always be an unnecessary distinction between competent designers (which most architects undoubtedly are) and those supposedly having an exceptional design flair. The drive and desire to rise above the rest and join that club, starts in the studio. It is also clear, the higher calibre the school of architecture, the better the credentials become for being admitted to the club. The self-selected Russell Group of universities to which the Bartlett belongs, decidedly set themselves apart and some would say above other universities. Along with other Russell Group universities the Bartlett could be accused of having no interest in "everyday" architecture (even if it is excellent) and every interest in grooming the exceptional. It is not by accident that a guest presentation by a former student was an RIBA Silver Medal winner. Precisely because it is this type of plaudit that sets one person apart from another. Rightly or wrongly it is a fact of life in education and the wider architectural profession. The false assumption, if there is one, is not that everyone can be brilliant at design but that only a fortunate, favoured few are capable of good design. There are a vast number of good architects produced by an excellent education system who never get to exercise their skills to the best of their ability. Due in large part to constraints outside their immediate control or influence. Conditions they have no option other than to work under. Nor does the Architects' Journal appear interested in everyday architecture or the opinions of merely competent architects. (Inconsequential comment boxes excepted.) It would appear opinions are only newsworthy if they come from award winning architects or established personalities. Thereby continuing the virtuous circle that started in the studio.

  • Comment on: RIBA moves to scrap Part 3

    Paul McGrath's comment 25-Mar-2015 10:09 am

    The fact is, it is Europe, not the RIBA driving this review. The European dimension to UK architectural education is always downplayed almost to the point of being ignored. Our archaic route to registration has always been out of step with the aim of standardising architectural education across Europe. The anomalies that resulted from the RIBA and the ARB sticking to its guns when challenged on the validity (not content) of Part 3 for years look pretty hollow now following this debate. Whether this has any real impact on the ARB remains to be seen. Having looked in detail at architectural education 5 years ago, it was clear then how outdated the single, stepping stone route is/was. The sooner multiple routes to registration come about the better.

  • Comment on: Council rejects Grafton's contest-winning Kingston University scheme

    Paul McGrath's comment 24-Mar-2015 3:38 pm

    Why should a University be exempt from the vagaries of our planning system? As anyone who regularly makes planning applications will know, a scheme described as being too big and not in keeping with nearby buildings is a catch-all justification for refusal. That councillor's have invoked position this against its own officers advice shows that planning regardless of policy, is predominantly a political process. At least there is some consistency (from Council's) despite the fact that "award-winning" architects - no matter how good - were involved. Who knows (and I don't) the Councillors may even have a point.

  • Comment on: MIPIM: 10 things we learned

    Paul McGrath's comment 18-Mar-2015 10:44 am

    The AJ's subscription must be a bit too high if their journalists now expect haute cuisine on every assignment.

  • Comment on: MIPIM: 10 things we learned

    Paul McGrath's comment 18-Mar-2015 9:41 am

    From what I can see, MIPIM is simply a hedonistic jamboree disguised as a trade show. The I slap your back if you slap mine attitude couldn't be more in evidence. The AJ's oysters and champagne lifestyle continues.

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