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Alan Dunlop's comments

  • Student survey: Only the rich need apply to study architecture

    Alan Dunlop's comment 25 July, 2018 12:26 pm

    No, they don't Morag. In my experience of 30 years involved in architecture and teaching, schools of architecture do everything possible not to fail a student. Every opportunity is given.

  • Níall McLaughlin: ‘The day you start as a student you begin as an architectural practitioner’

    Alan Dunlop's comment 23 July, 2018 9:34 am

    Great lecture.

  • Mac will be rebuilt, says Glasgow School of Art director

    Alan Dunlop's comment 16 July, 2018 1:45 pm

    I'd also add that I am no admirer of Holl's Reid building and wrote for arq at the time of its completion, when it was being lauded by the governors of GSA

    "Holl’s idea of “complimentary contrast” is curious, what does it mean? For him, it means that “you don’t want to do the same thing, if you want to respect someone; you do the opposite. You do something in contrast” In this respect, Holl has succeeded.

    Mackintosh’s elegantly proportioned building details his development as a unique and talented architect over a twelve year period. Holl’s glass box seems too big for its site. It is uniformed in its elevational treatment and repetitive in its detail. Mackintosh’s art school, while functional, robust and clearly driven by the needs of students and influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement and the architecture of Japan, is firmly rooted in Glasgow and identifiably true to the materials of its construction.

    But Holl's "cold glass refrigerator of a building" William J R Curtis, should not be the reason why we do not have a full and honest debate that should also consider a competition for a new building.

  • Mac will be rebuilt, says Glasgow School of Art director

    Alan Dunlop's comment 16 July, 2018 12:38 pm

    I don't believe I'm missing your point at all Robert, I just don't agree with you. A study of Mackintosh's writing, his lecture notes, Italy tour and his letters to his mentor Francis Newberry make his opinions and quest for innovation in architecture quite clear:

    "All great and living architecture has been the direct expression of the needs and beliefs of man at the time of its creation, and how if we would have great architecture created this should still be so."

    "A fundamental responsibility for architects was the task of clothing in grace and beauty the new forms and conditions that modern developments of life- social- commercial and religious insist upon"
    Charles Rennie Mackintosh

    Consequently, I do not believe he would support the notion of a replication, no matter the conductor.

    John Byrne the renowned playwright, artist and one of the Mac's most famous alumni said today that school had “lost its soul”. " “I really don’t care if they rebuild it or not – the soul of the art school is completely gone, never to return.”

    I agree, and have simply argued that the "spirit" of Mackintosh has also been lost. That also can never be replicated, nor restored.

  • Mac will be rebuilt, says Glasgow School of Art director

    Alan Dunlop's comment 14 July, 2018 6:30 am

    "How absurd it is to see modern churches, theatres, banks, museums, exchanges, municipal buildings art galleries etc made in imitation of Greek temples."

    Charles Rennie Mackintosh

  • Mac fire: How could it have happened again?

    Alan Dunlop's comment 11 July, 2018 1:42 pm

    Thank you for this Stephen, that's very clear. I heard you also recently on BBC Radio Scotland giving expert advice on both client and contractor responsibility. Very impressive.

    Given Tom Inns comments yesterday about rebuilding the Mackintosh building and it being covered by insurance. Can you say something, if you can, about the likely hood of insurance cover if a temporary or phased permanent fire suppression system was not incorporated.

    Given the fire in 2014, that would seem to me to be good practice and what insurers would expect considering the significance of the building?

  • Chipperfield leads calls for Mac to be rebuilt

    Alan Dunlop's comment 6 July, 2018 2:22 pm

    If you recall, when the Holl building opened, the GSA were effusive in their praise and lauded the building and the architect. Now it has become the reason not to build a new building.

    Other views are that it has to be replicated "brick by brick" because there is no architect capable of living up to Mackintosh alive today, do we really believe that? If so, it's a desperate reflection of the profession and architects worldwide, for it seems to damn three generations of the profession, which for me is an Architecture of Despair.

  • Chipperfield leads calls for Mac to be rebuilt

    Alan Dunlop's comment 6 July, 2018 1:27 pm

    I did not know that for I've never posted a comment anonymously, on any website that was critical of anyone's opinion without having the courage to add my name.

    To answer your question, and take you initial comment more seriously than it deserves. My opinion on what Mackintosh would do is not a consequence of having a hot line to the ever after but instead is based on a study of his writing, sketchbooks, letters to Francis Newbery and his lectures. Particularly his tour of Italy and his contribution to the debate surrounding the rebuilding of St Mark's Campanile in 1902.

  • Chipperfield leads calls for Mac to be rebuilt

    Alan Dunlop's comment 6 July, 2018 1:04 pm

    Oh, Herbert has just chipped in and reminded me not to engage with flâneur types that don't give their names. He also wonders what's with the "tinder" image? "that seems a bit, well......... creepy"

  • Chipperfield leads calls for Mac to be rebuilt

    Alan Dunlop's comment 6 July, 2018 12:20 pm

    Sure, he's just asked me what is it with people who post their opinion anonymously and to tell them it's the Mac, not the Mack. When you bring in the k, you're starting on kintosh, which really is bizarre.

  • Chipperfield leads calls for Mac to be rebuilt

    Alan Dunlop's comment 6 July, 2018 9:41 am

    Sorry Chris, as a Scot and Glaswegian that's probably the most bizarre comment posted so far.

    A recent vox pop conducted by a national newspaper concluded that to most Scots, Hampden Park, the national football stadium, was more important.

  • Chipperfield leads calls for Mac to be rebuilt

    Alan Dunlop's comment 6 July, 2018 8:58 am

    It's heartening that Charlie Hussey, honorary professor and lecturerer at the Mackintosh School is the first from the Glasgow School of Art to break cover and offer an opinion.

    However. like Dresden, Warsaw, Barcelona Pavilion and even Neues, comparing Mackintosh's GSA, a working art school, with Japanese temples and shrines is also spurious. Traditional temples and shrines in Japan were made from wood, so more likely to be open to destruction or destroyed by fire. Therefore, it's no surprise that the Japanese philosophical attitude to the rebuilding of these historic buildings should be that it is the "preservation of the idea that is important"

    Also, just as significantly, we are not Japanese.

    I have been a frequent visitor to mainland China and have been guided around many reconstructed temples and other traditional buildings, which were demolished during the cultural revolution or destroyed by the Japanese.

    The reconstruction looks authentic, it's all very well done but you know it's a lie.

  • Stallan-Brand completes dramatic primary school in the Scottish Borders

    Alan Dunlop's comment 2 July, 2018 8:27 am

    A striking school Paul, not sure about the canopies for outdoor learning but a very interesting building nonetheless.

  • Glasgow School of Art has questions to answer over Mac fire

    Alan Dunlop's comment 18 June, 2018 11:55 am

    A great, well written and trenchant piece Robin.

  • Building study: RSHP’s Macallan distillery and visitor centre

    Alan Dunlop's comment 22 May, 2018 9:49 am

    "Despite its shapely roof, which looms up out of the hillside like something from the Teletubbies," .....mmm, indeed

  • Design and Build damned by Dumfries leisure centre probe

    Alan Dunlop's comment 2 May, 2018 12:14 pm

    The Council's End of Project Review Report on DG One from 2008 makes very interesting reading: This is just part of it:

    3.15 Conclusion 3.15.1
    The project performed well against cost targets.

    The Design and Build model successfully ‘capped’ the cost of the project, and transferred the risk of construction related cost increases to the Contractor.

    The total cost of f 12.67m represented good value for money.

    National building cost indices based on a rate per square metre of floor area for leisure and sports facilities including swimming pools are some 17% higher than that obtained for the Leisure Complex.

    Information provided by sport scotland also indicated that the cost of DG One compared favourably with that of a similar major leisure facility completed recently by another Scottish local authority.

    5.42 Conclusions - Proiect Strengths

    This review has highlighted strengths and weaknesses of various aspects of the project, but in a number of respects this was a very successful project.

    Strengths identified include:- * DG One, the end product, met quality requirements and public expectations.

    The cost of the f 12.67m project was kept within budget. Clear Project Brief and Contract restricted any scope for dispute over design details and transferred an appropriate level of risk to the Contractor.

    Good range of Council representatives on the Board, forming a team with a common focus and a shared commitment to deliver a high quality facility for the Council. Specialist skills and knowledge helped to produce strong applications for external funding which attracted the largest Lottery and ERDF grants ever secured by the Council.

    Efficient financial controls and monitoring, as verified by recent EU audits. Full engagement and support from Council services, including Finance, Planning and Environment, and Combined Services. In-house project management ensured appropriate direct ‘ownership’ of the project.

    PRINCE2 was used and core groups of staff also met regularly to ensure
    Client Kontractor issues were addressed and resolved quickly. Open and transparent approach - regular progress reports to Members and through communication with the press and the public. No significant Health and Safety issues occurred during project.

    Project design demonstrates Council’s commitment to Sustainability, for example through the inclusion of a number of energy conservation measures in the project design.

    Project design also illustrated Council’s commitment to Equality and Accessibility, for example through the input of the Disability Access Forum to the design of the facility

  • Expo 2020 Dubai UK Pavilion contest launched

    Alan Dunlop's comment 21 March, 2018 7:47 am

    Ha! I see what you did there, Phil.... very apropos.

  • Expo 2020 Dubai UK Pavilion contest launched

    Alan Dunlop's comment 20 March, 2018 1:26 pm

    Having just been stuck there overnight, it may be UAE’s most populous city but what's really incredible is that it has a 10 mile wide clusterf+ck of the ugliest, most tasteless new buildings to be found in any city, anywhere. One after another. Deeply impressive.

  • RIAS 2018 Awards shortlist revealed

    Alan Dunlop's comment 20 March, 2018 11:12 am

    It very much looks like almost everything that's been built last year, of any architectural merit at all, gets included. No omissions.

    Why does the RIAS persist in selecting a "shortlist" of 25, it's bizarre. Goodness knows what the other 51 were like.

    5 projects only:

    Barmulloch Residents Centre, Glasgow
    Collective Architecture for Barmulloch Community Development Company

    Nucleus, The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and Caithness Archive, Wick
    Reiach and Hall Architects for The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority

    Oriam – Scotland’s Sports Performance Centre, Edinburgh
    Reiach and Hall Architects for Oriam – Scotland’s Sports Performance Centre

    Perth Theatre
    Richard Murphy Architects for Horsecross Arts

    The Black Shed, Isle of Skye
    Mary Arnold-Forster Architect for a private client

    ’When shortlisting this year’s entries for awards the panel were struck by the continuing high standard of submissions. The quality of architecture being produced the length and breadth of the country is hugely impressive." Ripple Retreat.....really?

  • Politicians debate merits of Dunlop’s Celtic crossing

    Alan Dunlop's comment 21 February, 2018 1:24 pm

    How very droll Phil and once more just bursting with whimsey.

  • Politicians debate merits of Dunlop’s Celtic crossing

    Alan Dunlop's comment 21 February, 2018 8:12 am

    Yes, I agree Robert that would be extreme vandalism and a tunnel, not a trunk road the best proposal for this stretch.

    A precedent also exists for a tunnel to connect the Mull of Kintyre to the Antrim coast. As you will know, Japan's Seikan Sea Tunnel connects Honshu and Hokkaido and runs for 14 miles partly above a sea bed equivalent in depth to the sea around the Kintyre Coast. A tunnel here would be achievable and an engineering challenge but frankly less interesting, architecturally.

    I also agree about the social and economic benefits of the Kintyre route However, there would also be benefits to the Ayrshire coast in connecting Larne to Portpatrick. The once thriving towns of Girvan, Ayr, Prestwick andTroon along the A77 would be revived. Both routes are being considered.

  • Politicians debate merits of Dunlop’s Celtic crossing

    Alan Dunlop's comment 12 February, 2018 12:04 pm

    "All greatness stands firm in the Storm" Plato's "Republic"

    Although the public response has been staggering and overwhelmingly positive both sides of the Irish Sea and internationally, the economic case for a bridge connection between Scotland and Ireland is building and becoming more convincing, otherwise Scotland and Ireland's leading politicians would have given the idea short shrift.

    The proposal for a shorter 12 mile connection from the Antrim coast to the Mull of Kintyre then onward via a number of smaller bridges, Dunoon to Gourock for example and new road connections now seems possible. Thereby cutting the journey time to the central belt of Scotland significantly. The technology now exists to also span over Beaufort's Dyke.

    As for "encouraging fresh ideas and innovation" and students addressing the housing crisis, that is exactly what my own unit is doing in a two year MArch research and design study.

    https://homesssrgu.wixsite.com/unit2 If nothing else listen to the poem at the start, it is brilliant.

  • Politicians debate merits of Dunlop’s Celtic crossing

    Alan Dunlop's comment 10 February, 2018 3:24 pm

    Indeed Phil, just one damn thing after another.

  • Now Dunlop proposes bridge linking Scotland and Ireland

    Alan Dunlop's comment 26 January, 2018 8:22 am

    Phil, with respect. I was asked by a national newspaper last Friday if I thought it was possible to build a bridge between Scotland and Ireland. After much thought and research I considered that it was, suggested two options for how it could be done, where they would be best located and what such a project would mean for Scotland, Ireland and also the UK.

    My response was featured on a full front page Monday, took off later that day and went nuclear Tuesday. With a positive reaction from architects, politicians and frankly hundreds of comments online.

    You may well consider this scraping the publicity barrel but in my view, anything that gets national newspapers, tv, radio and so many people writing and talking about architecture and expressing an opinion, good or bad is a good thing for the profession.

  • Denizen Works lands approval for ‘new take’ on Scottish country house

    Alan Dunlop's comment 25 January, 2018 12:26 pm

    Denizen produce fine work. Interesting, well worked plan and section. Good luck with it.

  • Denizen Works lands approval for ‘new take’ on Scottish country house

    Alan Dunlop's comment 25 January, 2018 12:23 pm

    Ian, get a grip. This is the AJ not the Daily Mail. You too Penelope

  • Now Dunlop proposes bridge linking Scotland and Ireland

    Alan Dunlop's comment 24 January, 2018 10:44 am

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15893364.Northern_Irish_parties_want_a_bridge_built_from_Scotland/#comments-anchor

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/now-the-northern-irish-want-a-bridge-built-from-scotland-xghr95k2w

    https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/fresh-calls-for-bridge-to-connect-scotland-and-ireland-1-4668551

    https://www.belfastlive.co.uk/news/belfast-news/could-northern-ireland-scotland-bridge-14187864

    https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/bridge-between-northern-ireland-and-scotland-could-create-celtic-powerhouse-36519186.html

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-42772343

    http://irishpost.co.uk/bridge-connecting-ireland-scotland-result-celtic-powerhouse/

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09msd4c

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05vtylh

  • Now Dunlop proposes bridge linking Scotland and Ireland

    Alan Dunlop's comment 22 January, 2018 3:00 pm

    Maybe Whitehaven is a tad megalomaniacal Michael, how about Workington or Flimby?

  • PFI in the spotlight after Carillion collapse

    Alan Dunlop's comment 17 January, 2018 9:41 am

    "PFI does not seems to be a good way to go about things" Who knew, eh? Apparently it's toxic.

    https://lnkd.in/eJmZVVx
    PPP schools ‘little more than a roof’
    From The Herald - Thursday 08th December 2005 )
    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. Alan Dunlop, a Glasgow-based architect, will tell the Children in Scotland conference in Edinburgh that 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.

    Herald 2005 Several arguements against PPP
    https://lnkd.in/eHjSRMH
    Scotsman 2005
    https://lnkd.in/ec_8jv9
    Other stuff, too many too list
    https://lnkd.in/epTaATV
    https://lnkd.in/ecVW3xa
    https://lnkd.in/eC347ZE

  • Collective Architecture reinstates community centre at the heart of 1950s Glasgow estate

    Alan Dunlop's comment 29 November, 2017 5:23 pm

    I know Barmulloch well, it's an area of Glasgow that has experienced deprivation but has retained a strong community spirit. This is an excellent example of community participation and resolve and the commitment of the architects over a number of years to produce something remarkable. This is a true "masterpiece of regeneration". Congratulations to Collective Architecture and the Barmulloch Community Development Company

  • 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.

  • 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.
    https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/opinion/theprofession-is-not-blameless-in-its-loss-of-power/8683159.article

    "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

    http://www.hallmcknight.com/projects/34/hill-house

    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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