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Alan Dunlop's comments

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

    Alan Dunlop's comment 5 September, 2017 11:18 pm

    I'm not moaning Gordon and I've no idea where or what you teach but I find your assertion that "schools need to stop the rot of self-serving, inward-looking education, and actually look at what architecture as it is"

    That is absolutely not my experience and discredits the faculty, students and other talented professionals I work with in various universities, all of whom are committed and many are experienced, highly respected professionals, who can certainly "do it". Nothing to do with producing only skilled designers, that I only wish were ten a penny.

    It is the profession generally that needs to raise the bar higher not lower it further, take a stand, say no to rediculous fee bids, derisory procurement routes, absurd contractor demands and be more vocal..... that's why the profession is being marginalised and architects ignored.

    Bugger all really to do with what is being taught in schools.

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

    Alan Dunlop's comment 5 September, 2017 2:00 pm

    Hey ho.....here we go
    The profession is not blameless and our supine response to contractor demands and ever tighter fee margins is woeful.

    "Arguably, architectural power and influence started to dissipate in the 1980’s when the profession relinquished the role of the architect as leader and head of the design team to the project manager. The influence of the architect as strategist, designer and artist working for and on behalf of the client has decreased inexorably since then.

    The responsibility for interpreting the client’s needs directly and the delivery of architectural quality has been lost, and poor design solution coupled with cost over-runs on major public and infrastructure projects, like the Scottish Parliament, has seen public criticism directed not always unfairly at the architect. This provoked a backlash among politicians and other media pundits questioning the contribution of the architect and our role in civic society.

    The utility of the architect as thought leader and promoter of aesthetics and beauty has been squeezed by protocols such as value engineering and cost control. Architects are no longer trusted to be innovative and to deliver inspiring buildings. The work itself has been challenged on all sides and those charged with defending and promoting the profession such as the RIBA and RIAS have done little in response.

    It is schools of architecture, not architectural firms, that are addressing the power balance for they are the only places where architecture as art is still practised and where critical engagement, enquiry and placemaking, the real role of the architect, is encouraged seriously.

    The profession is not blameless and our supine response to contractor demands and ever tighter fee margins is woeful. There is a move also to lower the bar further by making architectural schools focus more on professional practise, BIM and preparing students to be ‘office ready’. This should be resisted as it impacts the time that students have to acquire essential design and draft skills which are fundamental. The acquisition of administration and project process skills is the responsibility of the profession and not the role of the universities."

  • Glasgow is butchering the Burrell

    Alan Dunlop's comment 24 August, 2017 8:11 am

    Indeed Barnabas, a superb article. In contrast, given the unequivocal reaction of John Meunier and Brit Andresen to what's proposed, Historic Environment Scotland's comments on granting of Listed Building consent seems lacking.

    "The applicant’s architects have gone to considerable effort to research the building, and to understand how its design evolved from the initial completion entry. It is clear that the architects and other consultants involved have the highest regard for the building and that their proposals respond sensitively to its original character."

  • Glasgow is butchering the Burrell

    Alan Dunlop's comment 9 August, 2017 9:11 am

    "Unlike the ‘iconic’ museums of recent times it was a model of restraint and tranquility created to serve the collection and the setting, not the egos of the architects."

    Created to serve the collection, absolutely. Great opinion piece.

  • Analysis: Grenfell tragedy highlights architects' marginalisation

    Alan Dunlop's comment 5 August, 2017 6:14 pm

    Yes indeed thanks for pointing that out Tim. First of all no mention is made by me of the architect being "employed" by both. That would be a stupid thing to say. Second, the quote should have gone on to say that the architect administers the contract as arbiter and " honest broker" that was part of my original quote. However aj have done such a brilliant job raising this as an issue, stimulating much needed debate I let it stand, until you brought it up as a half truth and a huge pity.

  • Astragal: Turnout and cheeseboard impress at Rogers' Wimbledon house

    Alan Dunlop's comment 4 July, 2017 1:41 pm


    According to their website Hall McKnight won the competition for Hill House. Don't know why NTS are remaining mute.

  • McAslan considers changes to contentious Burrell plans

    Alan Dunlop's comment 23 June, 2017 5:18 pm

    I agree Robert, this is possibly better news. However, if Glasgow Life has deaf ears, it may require the necessary intervention of the Scottish Government's Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop MSP. She is responsible for architecture and heritage and said this at the awarding of Category Grade A Listing for the Burrell Building:

    "The Burrell Collection is one of Glasgow and Scotland's most impressive buildings of its period and has contributed so much to our understanding of design thinking and the innovative use of interior and exterior space.

    The A-listing for the Burrell Collection is a fitting tribute especially in this its 30th year and recognises the significant contribution it has made to Glasgow's landscape and the aesthetic pleasure it has brought to many over the years."

    Let's hope Fiona Hyslop and the newly elected SNP leadership at Glasgow City Council will intervene to halt this crass intervention , force Glasgow Life to open their ears, rethink and save the building.

  • Original architect blasts McAslan’s Burrell plans

    Alan Dunlop's comment 5 June, 2017 11:17 am

    It will become clear over the next few days and weeks that a number of esteemed architects and respected academics are deeply concerned about the proposed changes, more than Patrick Lynch and myself and fully support John Meunier.

    With regard to the new entrance proposals and the removal of the Hutton Rooms, the previous keeper of the Burrell Collection Professor Richard Marks has written saying “Without seeing the alternatives, the proposals, especially the entrance arm, are of great concern, both as a former Keeper and an art historian. As for the Hutton rooms, it was always the case that their enclosed nature made them somewhat inaccessible to visitors, but it was a condition of (Sir William Burrell’s) Deed of Gift that they should be recreated. I dispute the notion that the entrance arm is off-putting when anyone approaching can see the building in toto.

    Catherine Croft of the 20th Century Society has also written to say "Very pleased to learn that C20 is not alone at being very concerned about this scheme. The Society is disappointed that the applicant has not been able to develop this scheme without impacting the Hutton Rooms to such an extent, particularly given the unique nature of the architectural response to the bequest and its status as a Category A listed building of this type.” The architects "did do very good research, they involved C20 extensively in pre-application discussions, but they persisted with the alterations to the Hutton Rooms and the entrance, in the full knowledge of our views that the alterations they were proposing were fundamentally unsympathetic to the buildings, and not something which could be addressed, or even significantly mitigated, by the level of alterations to those areas which they were prepared to consider."

  • AJ nominated for two major journalism awards

    Alan Dunlop's comment 24 May, 2017 10:58 am

    Indeed, many congratulations and good luck.

  • News feature: Are architects doing enough to tackle dementia?

    Alan Dunlop's comment 6 May, 2017 6:06 pm

    True, dementia sufferer is a poor term. Also true is that the average life expectancy of someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease is five years. Studies now indicate that good architecture and appropriate design of the physical environment for people with dementia slows the rate of decline.

    Which means care homes, particularly should be well planned to encourage self reliance and independence and designed with high levels of natural light and access to secure outdoor garden spaces, with visual cues, make it easier for people to find their way around without support.

    Other empirical studies on the importance of the physical environment have more recently been extended to cover many other aspects of the built environment and there are now multiple neuro-scientific studies which evidence that an individual’s well being and health are directly impacted by the quality of their physical environment.

    This research provides insights into how the mind and the brain experience architectural settings but is sometimes hidden away in academic papers or obscured by scientific jargon; impenetrable to most architects, overlooked by politicians, and easy to ignore in an industry with differing priorities.

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