Both the above comments are well meant (I think?) but both demonstrate architecture's inability to be plainly honest with itself... without equivocating. Architecture is horribly undiverse given it's ubiquity and effect over ALL our lives. It is a bastion of privilege which actively perpetuates itself while firmly excluding other groups, ostensibly because of some subjective idea of meritocracy (are the majority of new buildings really of such shiny quality?).
"we do encourage our architect teams to collaborate with smaller emerging practices where we think they have something special to offer"...
It could happen. It's been spoken about for years and hasn't happened yet though.
How has our profession lost it's collective memory...
It reminds me of being shown this in first year...
The Great British Housing Disaster (1984)
By the way you can always tell a community is being cleansed, when the original place name is replaced with some ridiculous arcadian branding like 'Camberwell Fields'. I wonder if that also reflects the original Victorian terraced streetscape, or some earlier pre-lapsian memory.
I am sure the architects and consultants for this scheme are people of integrity trying to do their best, but these schemes shouldn’t be rewarded with glossy spreads like this. I accept, nobody turns work away, especially when there are mouths to feed in the practice.
However, our profession acquiesces to these socially destructive impulses by developers (and the completely unaccountable development arms of HAs) with puff pieces in magazines all the time.
Here we are again with architecture celebrating the rapacious destruction of local communities through ‘blunt’ gentrification (as opposed to more judicious gentrification that caters for existing inhabitants on mixed-incomes). For instance, the article uses the word “affordable” seemingly without irony, suggesting, “The scheme focuses on creating a mixed community” – perhaps they can elaborate on how.
An alternative take is, the Elmington estate was decanted a decade ago, and the only reason it remained derelict for so long was the financial crisis and local resistance to the mix. Literally across the park from this development, it took a judicial review to halt an identical scheme; Involving the same client partnership. Why no serious attention to these issues in the article? Without having to confront these trade-offs with honesty, how will we ever change the conversation?
The profession will huff and puff and simper over the currents legitimising such institutional contexts. Contexts that allow Grenfells to happen. Then it will go back to making even better mouse traps.
The AJ should take a lead through its editorial policy and at least provide more penetrating balance, alongside the endless hagiography.