The government should remove VAT on this work so its on par with new build and that would act as an #incentive to kickstart retrofit building projects for those on smaller budgets.
Even if this review was essential, the tender for £100,000 of research seems an obscene amount to pay for it when the vast majority of registered sole practitioners or small architects practices would be pleased to have this sum as their annual turnover. I suggest ARB first buys a copy of Thomas Saunders recently published book “Thoughts on Architecture, Myths and Management” at £10.99 and I’m sure they will learn more about the education that 21st century architects require than any overpriced review would come up with.
Comment on: Alan Jones stands down as RIBA president
Hope all is OK Alan - keep well and stay safe in these unique and surreal times!
"Little boxes made of ticky tacky and they all look just they same."
This 1962 song immediately springs to mind when viewing these types of housing developments which haven't evolved greatly in the past 50 years. Boxes stripped bare of anything pleasing to the eye or the spirit with no joy, no soul, and no beauty.
Working on these types of residential 'estate' layouts as a Part 1 student, I remember being introduced to a wonderful book, 'Townscape' (1961) by Gordon Cullen, that pioneered the art of giving visual coherence and organization to the jumble of buildings, streets and space that make up the urban environment. We looked at applying the principles explored in Cullen's book within these suburban estate designs which were often green fields, and aimed to produce layouts with a sense of place that incorporated variety and visual interest, with clustered housing arrangements, shared vehicular and pedestrian areas, landscaped defensible garden spaces, and communal safe and secure play areas, whilst still utilising the developer's 'standard' house types.
In 1973, the "Essex Design Guide" appeared, encouraging high-quality development and aspiring to create distinctive places where people want to live. At the time, this seemed revolutionary and resulted in many developers rethinking their approach to the design of large residential estates across the country for fear of their planning applications being refused. The EDG has evolved since its first publication to take account of other important parameters of residential design and its ambitions remain the same. The concern for designers was that the guide promoted a certain 'style' for the new houses within the developments that encouraged a traditional vernacular, precluding the possibility for more contemporary materials and details to be incorporated.
Then in 2006, along came Alain de Botton's The Architecture of Happiness, a book which discusses the importance of beauty, and analyses human surroundings and how human needs and desires manifest their ideals in architecture. The book was then turned into a 3 part TV series, and Part 1 is recommended viewing to understand the diversity of views of people in the local community living next to these new developments and objecting to the anonymity of the designs of these large estates, and the thoughts of the developer confidant in giving the prospective purchasers "more of what they want"!
Fast forward to 2020 and according to the RIBA, only six per cent of new homes in the UK are designed by architects. That means, last year, over 200,000 homes were built in England without the input of an architect.
Shouldn't it be mandatory for architects to be involved in the design of all housing projects large and small, particularly as we head towards a carbon zero future. Your magazine has featured a number of larger scale estate developments where layout and building design combine to create sustainable and safe community living in landscaped environments incorporating modern methods of construction, renewable green energy provision, and smart technology that all combine to provide improved living conditions and the level of health and well-being appropriate for 21st century homes.
The skills and technology that exist in abundance should be applied to the design of these residential estates, and the legacy of the projects mentioned in the report needs to be firmly discarded to Room 101.
So far in the first week of 2020, we have been invited to attend design and construction events in Amsterdam next month, and in Milan in March where we will be networking with colleagues from all across Europe and further afield. On all our projects we are continuing to specify and negotiate competitive prices for the supply and sometimes installation of materials, fixtures and fittings, from a broad range of suppliers we work with throughout Europe and with whom we have built up strong relationships (and friendships) over the years. This will not change, and will very likely strengthen over the coming decade.