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Alan Dunlop's comments

  • RIAS admits to 'lack of structured governance' but insists investigations were not covered up

    Alan Dunlop's comment 13 November, 2017 11:28 am

    What are the "legal impediments"?

  • Scottish revolt: leading architects demand shake-up at RIAS

    Alan Dunlop's comment 11 November, 2017 10:20 am

    This is all very worrying, with echoes of RIBA on governance and finances 2010 to 2016, right enough Owen Luder

    Published in the Herald 11th November

    "Schism in Scottish architecture as 100 architects accuse RIAS of secrecy and "insufficient financial accountability"

    MORE than 150 of Scotland’s leading architects have launched an unprecedented attack on their professional body, accusing it of being financially inept and a “secretive and autocratic” organisation.

    The group, calling itself A New Chapter, delivered the damning assessment of the 100-year-old Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) in an open letter.

    In it the architects, who includes luminaries such as Malcolm Fraser and Jude Barber said: “We are concerned at what we see as a lack of effectiveness, poor governance and insufficient financial accountability in Scottish architecture’s professional body."

  • Scottish revolt: leading architects demand shake-up at RIAS

    Alan Dunlop's comment 11 November, 2017 9:33 am

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15655469.Schism_in_Scottish_architecture_as_100_architects_accuse_RIAS_of_secrecy_and__insufficient_financial_accountability_/

    Published this morning.

  • First look: Heatherwick creates Cape Town art museum in former grain silo

    Alan Dunlop's comment 17 September, 2017 10:12 am

    True and the right client. Instead, The Lighthouse, the conversion of Mackintosh's Glasgow Herald building was the flagship project for 1999, the granaries demolished and Glasgow Harbour 1 created.

  • First look: Heatherwick creates Cape Town art museum in former grain silo

    Alan Dunlop's comment 15 September, 2017 1:14 pm

    A remarkable and strangely compelling project.

    In 1997, in the run up to 1999 Glasgow's year of architecture and design, we, a few members of the Glasgow Institute of Architects, looked at turning the Meadowside Granaries, at the time the largest brick built structure in Europe, into an arts complex but the engineering and construction challenges seemed too great and the cost for Glasgow too high to convert the silos. We should have stuck at it.

  • Claire Bennie: How architects can win back trust and influence

    Alan Dunlop's comment 8 September, 2017 1:29 pm

    This was published today by Project Scotland
    https://projectscot.com/2017/09/leading-qs-slams-cost-cutting-culture/

    a construction publication that does not have the prestige of aj but probably read more by contractors, developers and local authorities.

    "ONE of Scotland’s most experienced quantity surveyors has lamented the way in which the construction industry has allowed itself to become “cost and fee driven”.

    Aberdeen-based Michael C Hastie, who has headed up his own practice for 40 years, believes the way projects are procured has led to architects, quantity surveyors and civil engineers “scrabbling for fees”, resulting in a poorer service.

    Mr Hastie made his remarks in response to comments by architect Alan Dunlop in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy in the previous issue of Project Scotland.

    Mr Dunlop called for a return to more traditional building contracts following the fatal fire and said the role of the architect in a design team had been “marginalised”.

    Mr Hastie said the tendering of fees is a “recipe for disaster” that has “driven the professions involved to the brink over the past 20 years”.

    He told Project Scotland, “Everybody trims everything to the bone in order to achieve the contract, and in trimming it to the bone you have to affect the level of service you give.

    “The dilution of the service results in errors, mistakes and the product not being suitable.

    “In order to get the job you have to be competitive; now, competitive doesn’t mean competitive in quality, it means competitive in price and that is where the customer always lets himself down.

    “He looks at the bottom line, he doesn’t take into account, I believe, the true cost of cutting the fee, which is that the service will go down.”

    Mr Hastie continued, “The architect ends up working for the contractor, not the client, so the architect will specify what the contractor can afford to put on the job, to reflect the price for the overall contract, not what the client wants to see, and that’s where it all falls down.

    “In the old team, the architect was the specifying officer and the supervising officer and his word was law."

  • Claire Bennie: How architects can win back trust and influence

    Alan Dunlop's comment 8 September, 2017 1:09 pm

    "I too am proud to be a disenfranchised grunt" well of course you are. that's coming across in everything you're writing.

    My concern however is that you're teaching somewhere and also in practice.

  • Claire Bennie: How architects can win back trust and influence

    Alan Dunlop's comment 8 September, 2017 10:11 am

    "Most Architects under a certain age would rather run a mile than go on site and be asked a question about an un-buildable detail.
    It will take a generation to change that -starting in the architecture schools" Frankly, that's rubbish, get a grip.

    So is this, "if we think we are going to change it by organising ourselves in our member organisations to meet and discuss it, or by making nice little agreements as to how to treat architects, we are wrong."

    From The Herald - Thursday 08th December 2005 (Andrew Denholm)
    One of a number of media articles and public comments regarding PPP and building failures.

    A stark warning over the quality of new schools in Scotland built with the help of private money will be delivered today at a design conference.

    A leading architect will claim that rebuilding schools using public private partnership (PPP) schemes is rewarding cheapness over effective design.

    Alan Dunlop, a Glasgow-based architect, will tell the Children in Scotland conference in Edinburgh that the Scottish Executive's PPP process is "failing" children.

    "We are building schools for children that we wouldn't use as adults. The architects involved in the PPP process have no time for development because fees are cut to the bone so any idea of developing design is a non-starter," he said.

    "That means you get sub-standard buildings which are little more than a roof over your heads.

    "It is designed for the accountant and the beancounter and in 20 years' time these buildings are likely to become as bad as the schools they replaced because the materials are not good enough and the design is poor."

    This was the SNP response, SNP now in government

    Fiona Hyslop, the education spokeswoman for the Scottish National Party, said: "Many schools in Scotland are in desperate need of repair, but we are paying through the nose for it and we're not necessarily getting value for the public purse because the profits go to the private companies. Architects are the very people who know the value we're getting in terms of building quality, so when they raise concerns we need to listen."

    This was the consequence

    http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Built-Environment/AandP

    "The quality of the built environment affects everyone in Scotland.
    The purpose of architecture and urban design is not only to meet our practical needs in housing, our activities, but also to improve the quality of life for the people of Scotland.

    How buildings and places are made, the quality of their design and of the built environments they help shape, should be a matter of concern for us all.

    The key challenges for creating a high quality built environment are to:

    create successful, thriving and sustainable places and communities
    deliver well-designed public buildings which are greener - and which represent good value for money tackle the barriers to good quality development, through education, skills and advocacy"

    Admittedly the SNP's Non Profit Distributing still depends on private finance to work but so far no walls have collapsed and no child almost killed.

  • New RIBA boss Derbyshire pledges fightback against profession’s marginalisation

    Alan Dunlop's comment 6 September, 2017 11:38 am

    Gordon Gibb , you may be interested in this, or may not. It has nothing whatsoever to do with self serving inward looking education or creating only skilled designers, although that is part of it but instead addressing contemporary social, community and political issues and "what architecture as it is delivered has become and work out how to serve it or change it"

    I have set up new two year Masters project " Home " for my unit 2 at Scott Sutherland.Over two years we will undertake global research work into the design of Mass Housing - public, social, and developer led housing. This unit is a typologically based unit. To begin with we will gather information and conduct a comparative study of the following in a range of countries identified by students:
    - Housing Policy (Approach and Methods)
    - Procurement System (current and proposed, if any)
    - Programme (House Types, Densities, Shared Facilities)
    - Construction Methods

    Further, we will study the best public, social, and developer led housing projects from across the globe produced since 1918, and a study trip will look at mass housing from the 1950s, 1970s, and the past two decades.

    By the end of studies, students will detail and create an innovative housing project of their own, however the typological and international focus of the unit will be to position the students as extremely knowledgeable in the field of mass housing.

    I think you'll find that there are a number of great schools with highly talented students and very capable and committed faculty doing the same. I respectfully suggest you get out more.

  • Claire Bennie: How architects can win back trust and influence

    Alan Dunlop's comment 6 September, 2017 11:09 am

    This piece makes for a depressing read, much of it I absolutely contest and in my view the reason why the profession is struggling.

    As I've said we should be setting the bar higher not lower. At present architects are subsidising developers and much of these recommendations will continue this downward trend for you can never underestimate what a developer, contractor wants or considers appropriate or low enough fees. This is a particularly bizarre statement to make "The average customer is not demanding and paying a premium for good design. So it makes no business sense for speculators to provide it"

    The profession through the RIBA and RIAS needs to take a stand, call out bad practise and we all need to more vocal.

    However Claire does have a point about addressing issues related to developer, procurement and political interests and other elements effecting, particularly mass housing that need addressing.

    Gordon Gibb , you may be interested that that's why I set up new two year Masters project " Home " for my unit 2 at Scott Sutherland to look primarily at exactly those issues.

    Over two years we will undertake global research work into the design of Mass Housing - public, social, and developer ledhousing. This unit is a typologically based unit. To begin with we will gather information and conduct a comparative study of the following in a range of countries
    identified by students:
    - Housing Policy (Approach and Methods)
    - Procurement System (current and proposed, if any)
    - Programme (House Types, Densities, Shared Facilities)
    - Construction Methods
    Further, we will study the best public, social, and developer led housing projects from across the globe produced
    since 1918, and a study trip will look at mass housing from the 1950s, 1970s, and the past two decades.

    By the end of studies, students will detail and create an innovative housing project of their own, however the typological and international focus of the unit will be to position the students as extremely knowledgeable in the field of mass housing.

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