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Atticus 's comments

  • Scruton sacked as chair of beauty watchdog over ‘unacceptable comments’

    Atticus 's comment 10 April, 2019 5:27 pm

    McKenzie Architects are correct.
    This is basically oppression of free speech. And we should all know where that slippery slope has lead in the past. Tyrannical regimes that in the last century killed over 250m people. Who is to judge and how are the boundaries between what’s "acceptable" and "unacceptable" defined. That’s a very dangerous one to attempt to answer.
    This is not hateful speech.
    His statement about the Muslim Brotherhood is factually correct. His statement about Hungary, Soros and Victor Orban is factually correct. His statement about the Chinese is an amusing personal point of view that can be accepted or discarded without having to be “triggered” or "offended".
    Freedom of Speech is not just another principle. It's the mechanism by which we keep our psyches and our societies organized, and we have to be unbelievably careful about infringing upon that.
    The generally negative comments represent an elitist media caste that is obstructing a great populist revolution. This caste is spectacularly ignorant of what constitutes a progressive civilisation. They reduce human interaction to tedious name-calling between the “woke” and the “red-pilled”, awake to the truth of reality.
    It cannot be said too often that the first amendment to the United States constitution was adopted with the explicit purpose of protecting minority opinion. Though we have no such jurisprudential protection in Britain, and we – like most democratic societies – curtail speech that is libellous, incites imminent violence or whips up racial hatred, our inherited presumption in favour of free expression is more important than ever. A pluralistic, diverse society needs more free speech, not less. It needs fewer safe spaces and bans, and more civility and resilience.
    Now, I know what some of you are thinking: what right does a white, middle-class, straight, cis male like Scruton have to say anything about this? And the answer is: he should say what he likes, within the law, and so should you.
    Object that “speech is violence”, and I reply: tell that to the 262 reporters who, according to the Committee To Protect Journalists were imprisoned last year – a record high. It has become fashionable to claim that the wrong kind of words can cause damage to our “neural circuitry”. To which I say – really? Are we really going down the road where speech is included in the same category as fists and batons? Because once you allow that philosophical elision, you essentially ditch the Enlightenment – which, speaking for myself, I still find quite handy to have about the place.
    Of all the delusions that grip our fractious era, one of the worst is the confident belief that greater restriction of speech will necessarily serve progressive ends. I see no logic in that whatsoever. Everyone finds something objectionable or upsetting. It would be a moment of maximum peril if the primary test applied to expression became its capacity to offend. Why assume that those setting the rules would necessarily support the powerless or the disenfranchised? The injunction “You can’t say that” leads just as plausibly to Margaret Atwood’s Gilead or to Oceania.
    To be a citizen is to engage, and as an intellectual Scruton is a model of that engagement. Unless you believe that history has a self-evident direction – and it really doesn’t – you must accept that almost all progress is achieved by the hard grind of negotiation, tough debate and busy pluralism. The aphasia of “no-platform” and the bedlam of the digital mob add nothing to the mix. To quote the great African-American scholar Henry Louis Gates: let them talk.

  • Proctor & Matthews ‘disappointed’ to be replaced as Thamesmead goes D&B

    Atticus 's comment 23 March, 2019 10:49 am

    A note to Paul Finch. Unless the employers requirements in the contract are sufficiently strong in defining what is required, usually a full old school stage E set of prototype detail requirements, and the contractor has not been allowed to circumvent or dilute them in his contractors proposals at tender stage, there will be insufficient contractual requirements to enable an Employers Representative Architect to have adequate control and influence. They can only work within the terms of the contract.

  • Proctor & Matthews ‘disappointed’ to be replaced as Thamesmead goes D&B

    Atticus 's comment 23 March, 2019 10:28 am

    What seems to be misunderstood in the comments is that whether its Proctor Matthews novated or Fourpoint working for the contractor, the imperative on quality in D&B is with the contractor rather than the client.
    Its highly unusual in such scenarios for an adequate Employers Requirements to have been provided to enable adequate control, as the client will not wish to pay the original architect to do a full, old school, stage E. And the contractor will not have been required to submit the equivalent of Stage E in his tender contractors proposals to enable standards to be negotiated and fixed in the tender. I hope I'm wrong in the this and the converse is the case. Durkan will have had to dumb down in order to win the tender and then later to put a profit back on it. You cannot fault them for this, its the scenario Peabody's naivety has set in motion.
    So it all ends up like Churchill placing Montgomery under Rommel's command on the eve of El Alamein. Pure insanity. Peabody have entered a lottery. They will get the result they deserve. Good or, more likely, not as good or bad. Unfortunately for Peabody very few if any housing architects have the skill to achieve the detailed design quality that Proctor Matthews consistently achieve when they continue through all stages of design realisation.

  • RIBA drops International Women’s Day cookery class after backlash

    Atticus 's comment 4 March, 2019 9:38 am

    Dear RIBA,
    My practice is 50-50 male female, with pay on merit. What we do need is for the RIBA to promote the value of architects to potential clients in the loudest way possible in the mainstream media channels. This way we may command better fees to be able to pay better salaries to all. Get to the root causes and not just pay. And stop just looking at equality in the workplace through the singular analysis of pay. Its far more complicated and needs a thorough multivalent analysis.

  • Architects being ‘pressured’ into opting out of Working Time Directive

    Atticus 's comment 2 March, 2019 9:47 am

    Paul Lewis is on the right tack.
    Once again the AJ's shallow SJW warrior journalism looks at penalising for the symptoms rather than burrowing down a few layers for real ways to stop the cause of this problem.
    I run my own small practice. I employ quality staff and pay them a decent wage. Most potential clients see us as a commodity and take the lowest bidder. We don't do that work. We market ourselves as adding value, reducing risk and start early to try and build such "can only go with you" compulsion in a client that we get +better valued and can charge more. The problem is the lack of appreciation of what architects value is to a project. As a small practice we cannot change the perception of a nation, neither can a trade magazine like the AJ.
    But the RIBA can. I would double my subscription to the RIBA if it embarked on a national campaign in all the most visible media to educate potential clients out there the value of architects and the need to pay well. If you go to Foster and Partners and want Norman on your job you pay a large premium.
    So for a while RIBA, less concentration on SJW campaigns and more effort on the root cause of those symptoms, directed towards educating the client base out there in the most visible ways possible. Just like car manufacturers do about their products. McLoud has done more for our business with Grand Designs programme and magazine than the RIBA have done in the 40 years I've been a member. I vote McLoud for RIBA president next time round.

  • Weekend roundup: A broken political system

    Atticus 's comment 23 February, 2019 10:34 am

    The Grimshaw building is grim, a blight on the public realm at pavement level where it presents no active or attractive frontage, only tat, wire fence and barbed security measures, more appropriate to the back of an industrial estate. for an excellent critique on such affronts to the public realm watch this. https://www.ted.com/talks/james_howard_kunstler_dissects_suburbia?language=en

  • Gender pay gap 2019: Foster + Partners reports small improvement

    Atticus 's comment 24 January, 2019 11:28 am

    This continual showcasing of a single factor, pay, is lazy journalism and meaningless without a multi-valent analysis of all the factors involved. Women make different life choices and as a whole have different aptitudes and skillset potential than men, although everything is nuanced and nothing is a 100% rule. I suggest the AJ carry out a detail analysis and updates across many influencing factors. That would be a really useful tool in, eg, helping to stop the marginalisation of women trying to get back into architecture after having young children, and determining what proportion of roles in architecture are suitable for each of men and women. It may find out that there are less suitable roles in the profession for the MAJORITY of women, not withstanding some will be better than men in the more "masculine" roles. Admit it, men and women are different. There, I've opened a hornets nest, but the default rejection of this without scientific evidence is getting tiresome. ps, our practice is 60% female at present, slightly under resourced in technical skill, and pay is by skill not gender.

  • Brexit deal defeat: Profession left ‘in an impossible situation’

    Atticus 's comment 16 January, 2019 6:46 pm

    Well said Paul. Our 2 European employees, one Sardinian, one Greek, are totally unfazed and glad to be here instead of in bankrupted Euro currency land. The Greek one hasn't a good thing to say about the EU, who are the cause of her exile to the UK to gain work. Less of the hysterical poorly researched rantings of the South East bubble inhabitants and more dispassionate in depth analysis, including reporting about the wider issues of Brexit please AJ.

  • Budget 2018: Hammond set to further loosen permitted development rules

    Atticus 's comment 30 October, 2018 10:37 am

    This is an ugly sticking plaster solution to the severe problem arising with the intellectually bankrupt planning system. Left to evolve naturally, conurbations intensify as the population increases. Where intensification occurs, an "invasion and succession" process of core uses replacing peripheral uses takes place, usually at much greater densities. On the other hand planning policy, and the manner in which it is tied up in local politics, increasingly flies in the face of this due to short term-ism and local political expediency. The planning system and its guiding policy does not adequately acknowledge this, instead increasingly tries to preserve a status quo. An intellectual bankrupcy and lack of appropriate oversight on the part of the planning system. Solving this by the blunt device of PDR is not appropriate. The way policy is evolved needs an overhaul. For instance, in the image above of possible sites, I lead the renovation of a building on the camera side of the piazza in front of Westminster Cathedral. There was no way the local planning dept would let us extend upwards, yet its shown as having a blue 2 storey uplift. I would say it should have more. Hence why I opened saying the blunt weapon of PDR to overcome the inappropriate local planning response is a sticking plaster not a solution. A more reasoned and intellectually considered approach is required, to encouraging or even demanding intensification when a building is renovated after 60 years of existence, to match population demands for the following 60 years

  • RIBA Stirling Prize reaction: ‘The money wins it’

    Atticus 's comment 11 October, 2018 9:21 am

    I wholeheartedly agree with Phil Parker. The mean mouthed social justice warrior reviews chosen above by the AJ and RIBA establishment, to the exclusion of others, does nothing to celebrate the spectacular things that architects can achieve that others cannot. The creation of a design company that can orchestrate such a building is not born overnight and it takes a determined and single- minded profession-leader to do it. So celebrate it instead of showing bitching envy. I think the pier was most unappealing and had none of the design bravura of a great Victorian pier. It didn't create a memorable icon and went un-noticed to the broader public nationally, and in that sense didn't have the ability to act as a flagship to show the public that architects should be used instead of the rag tag of others who are invading our role with less inspired outcomes. A tad harsh, but if the RIBA is to front the BUSINESS of architecture so that we can all prosper, it needs to seriously re-consider how it can affect the level of mediocrity in the areas where the bulk of the profession work: monster cottage private housing and dreary workplace buildings. Areas that are sneered at by the overtly left leaning sjw architectural media and institutions. However, I would applaud some of the above reviewers such as Alan Dunlop who straddle the divide with good outcomes.

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