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Alan Dunlop's comments

  • AJ Student Prize 2019 nominees revealed

    Alan Dunlop's comment 25 July, 2019 12:42 pm

    "Keep calm and step away from the laptop" Louis Kahn

    Some interesting projects from clearly talented students. Good luck to those shortlisted. Great to see also one or two hand drawings amongst the 60 or so submissions.

  • Building study: Glasgow flats by Graeme Nicholls Architects

    Alan Dunlop's comment 18 July, 2019 12:35 pm

    Frankly I can think of many, many more depressing developments, where no consideration at all has been given to the context, nor thought of the design. Moreover, far from being one of the crop of colourless hairshirt architects, Nicholls is one of a number of very talented young architects now working in Scotland and we'd like to keep him here.

    Yes indeed, the black brick is subjective, I can tell you it looks much better in the flesh. The project has no doubt been value engineered to a centimetre of its life. Yet, the planning is clever and the amount of daylight getting into each flat is generous and well considered.

    " Glasgow is a city of wee men an big windows": Jack Coia and Nicholls is to be congratulated for that.

    As for the reference only to the city's great architects of the past, if you lift your head you'll see that other, more contemporary architects have also produced great city housing, Elder and Cannon, Page and Park, Henry McKeown, Ian Alexander are a few, there are more.

    I'm confident Nicholls will do the same.

  • Robin Lee Architecture designs 10 utility buildings for North West Cambridge

    Alan Dunlop's comment 4 July, 2019 8:00 am

    Extraordinary work. Design and Build too. Congratulations. Stirling contender.

  • Open City chief: ‘Extinction isn’t the endgame for architects – irrelevance is’

    Alan Dunlop's comment 25 June, 2019 9:08 am

    Trenchant piece, Rory.

  • AHMM reinterprets back-to-back housing in Greenwich Peninsula

    Alan Dunlop's comment 25 June, 2019 7:39 am

    Very interesting project and clever, tight plan, but "one of the key ways to deliver cost-effective and space-efficient housing"?

    Am I right in calculating that each of the three bed homes works out at 138m2 gross internal floor area? If so, it seems generous spatially.

    Currently working on similar cost effective and space efficient housing, classified as "Affordable" in Scotland with a maximum gross internal floor area of 113m2 ( set by RICS ) for a four bed home. 25m2 less?

  • Oliver Cooke on visualisations: Why we shunned CGIs for oil painting

    Alan Dunlop's comment 19 June, 2019 7:50 am

    The computer lies.

  • How we can change the culture of free design work

    Alan Dunlop's comment 29 April, 2019 8:07 am

    Number, there is a disconnection between what is being taught and what is happening now in the profession, I agree. The reality is that it is in the schools, in the main, that the most interesting and forward looking work is being undertaken in architecture, not in practice.

    I'm commenting as both a practitioner and teacher. With respect, I'm not sure of your background other than you appear to know little about teaching.

    As architects what we offer is our expertise in critical analysis, lateral thinking, expert critique, client engagement, place making, knowledge of history and research techniques. As Sean Griffiths writes "the most innovative and rigorous technical thinking" These are the most important elements that are being taught and remain at the centre of the best schools.

    As architects they are our expert skills, yet today in practice we give this expertise away for free.

  • How we can change the culture of free design work

    Alan Dunlop's comment 27 April, 2019 3:49 pm

    I usually don't engage with commentators who choose to be nameless.

    However, my graduates have all found jobs, a good number occupy senior positions in highly respected practices in the UK and abroad or are running their own offices. The reality is that it's the profession that needs a complete overhaul and must raise its game.

    Promoting critical engagement in schools and encouraging open enquiry, social responsibility and experimentation in architectural education above all else does not create a vacuum, in fact in my experience, it produces young architects of real value to society, not office fodder for a profession losing esteem and being driven to the bottom by PQQ's for projects that the majority have no hope of winning; speculative work, acceptance of ridiculous contractor and developer demands and low fees which result in low pay, reduced employment prospects and talented graduates working as interns.

    The profession must look to itself for reasons why architects are being marginalised, not the schools. As for competitions don't do it. People place little value on what they don't pay for.

  • How we can change the culture of free design work

    Alan Dunlop's comment 26 April, 2019 7:39 am

    Navel Gazing, really? Cheap shot in an otherwise well argued piece.

    The course of architectural education has changed. The pursuit of knowledge for its own sake was once encouraged. Today, critical engagement, open enquiry and allowing graduates the freedom to think is being driven out by the profession’s apparent need to create office ready employees.

    While it is important for students to learn basic office skills, the acquisition of administration and teaching project processes is the responsibility of the profession not the role of schools of architecture.

    It is important that practices retain strong links with education and forge connections with students, however in my experience Master of Architecture graduates are bright and capable and learn quickly, so should still be able to leave university confident that they can secure a long career in architecture.

    However, in order to respond to today's culture of low fees and low pay, there is pressure on schools, coming from the profession to make architecture graduates able to deliver professional skills right away and to ensure that more MArch teaching effort is diverted to administrate business, legal and client protocols.

    I believe that my role as a professor of architecture is not to help you find a job. Instead, it is to teach you what it is to be an architect.

    I have promoted free thinking and open enquiry and taught the importance of history, social responsibility and the importance of context and developed students as creative thinkers, who also have the expertise and knowledge required to make buildings of worth.

    This approach I also believe has produced many young architects of real value to the profession, many are now successfully holding senior positions in international practices.

  • ‘Tulip is an abomination’ says Gherkin client

    Alan Dunlop's comment 3 April, 2019 12:02 pm

    No, that's Dubai.

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