Owen Luder's comments
`I played football on the Hackney Marshes. I designed players changing rooms there. Its an activity open space. Can't see how the adverts on the sphere are detrimental to Hackney Marshes. Owen Luder CBE PPRIBA
Yes overall a nice job that works well but externally the loft extension fits uncomfortably on the roof. Owen Luder
The lesson for UK architects working overseas is to ensure as far as possible you are working under UK law and whatever arrangements you make be sure you understand the potential legal implications of what you are doing and KISS - keep it simple stupid. Owen Luder PPRIBA
The Notre-Dame situation reminds me of the half joking, half serious joke line I used in the past when commenting on the battle between restoration or new build. The imaginary response of the chairman of the Planning Committee to Christopher Wren when presenting his classical design for the new St Paul's Cathedral. "Mr Wren. You cannot be serious. Our historic Gothic cathedral is burnt out but the structure survives. It is past of our history. Yet you want to replace it with a classical design. Why can't you rebuild our Gothic Cathedral within the surviving walls? . Mr Wren was given a hard time before he won the argument. The result is we have the present magnificent classical cathedral and not an old St. Paul's in reconstructed Gothic. Who was right? Food for thought with Notre-Dame. Owen Luder CBE PPRIBA
It is difficult to comment without knowing all the details of how this situation arose, and have sympathy for the architects who lost time and money being involved with competition that has been aborted - half way - not by the RIBA - but the client. The RSPCA are a long and well established organisation that reasonably would be expected to have done all their homework on the viability of the development proposed and resolving any planning or transport problems before they embarked on the competition process. It doesn't seem realistic for the RIBA Competitions Department to be expected to check those aspects of a competition unless the potential problems are or should have been reasonably obvious to them when setting up the competition. Or proceeded with caution if the potential promoters were not a well established and efficient business organisation. No doubt lessons will be learnt from this case - perhaps in future including a clause requiring the promoter to compensate entrants if they pull out after the competition has started. As for the general criticism of competitions they have always been welcomed as providing opportunities for younger unknown architects to win competitions and break through to the big time. That still applies. What has happened is that there are too many competitions. There are other less risky ways to get work. Part of the cause of too many competitions may be the RIBA policy to promote competitions widely and pocket the profit made from their role in the process. But also architects can and should limit the number and intensity of competitions they enter as speculative work balanced against projects obtained in other traditional ways like networking and publicity to what they are doing. When I was in practice we always balanced the cost and time of speculative work we could afford the risk involved against that were fee earning projects. How much work time and cost was involved in entering against the value should you win. The old "upside potential against downside risk test. Architects should be very selective on the competitions they enter judge your benefits of winning and the more likely outcome - not winning.. Owen Luder CBE PPRIBA
If the Tulip had the bulk of an office building at that height and location I think it would possibly be detrimental in the background to the views of the Tower of London from Tower Bridge but this is a slender finger pointing to the sky so surely this is an over reaction. Owen Luder PPRIBA
That was how I became a qualified architect. Scholarship to Brixton School of Building (gone) 3 year Junior course in how to Build. Then working in architects office full time and evening studies at the Regent Street Polytechnic. External Intermediate and final examinations at the RIBA and then registered as an architect and accepted as a member of the RIBA. With my background that was the only way I could do it. All that destroyed in making essential anArchitecture university degree degree in the 1960’s. I protested then. Reality has returned at last. Owen Luder CBE PPRIBA.
One of the truest sayings is that a horse designed by a committee is a donkey with five legs, two heads and three tails! A committee to regulate “beauty” is in the same caragory. Owen Luder CBE PPRIBA
Paul Finch is right, learn from the past - don't make the same mistakes again. Also for Council's to build the maximum number of new social housing from the capital available they must recycle that same capital over and over again not lock it up permanently in bricks and mortar. Owen Luder CBE PPRIBA
Excellent short piece. I have said for years that architects are not taught anything about one of the keys to a successful practice - the art of negotiating. I took a young partner with me to a fee negotiation and on leaving he said "the secret of negotiating is splitting the difference 50-50.
Not so - its when you suggest splitting the difference. Also silence is a very powerful negotiating weapon when you reach an impasse. Hold your nerve and the other side will break the silence and make an offer. Owen Luder CBE PPRIBA