Architect, Expert Witness, Course Leader
Of course it is remote. It was located where it was for its remoteness. It was the idea of the remoteness of the building that became obsolete almost as soon as it was opened that caused the building's demise.
The three listed historic bridges that will not take heavy traffic that you have to cross over to get to the remote part of the remote site where the building sits make it difficult to access. I remember this being an additional obstacle for previous schemes. It needs a great deal of money to bring it back, probably around 30 million, and it probably needs an access road across ground owned by others. There are very steep gradients on the adjacent ground and there is a golf course.
It would never be a community building. You don't get a train and then walk uphill through a remote wood to a community building. You don't pay 30 million pounds for a local community facility for 2,200 people. There has never been any need expressed for one of the scale of St Peters in Cardross.
It needs to have an ideally-suited purpose first, that is both national and international in appeal, not a local appeal. Until you have that perfect world-scale match, it won't happen. Because the building's restoration is parasitic upon the process at the outset, you have to justify it by showing it to make that perfect sense. If you attract the initiative there will always be competition from new build on a new site at a third of the cost. I would love to see it restored. Wouldn't we all? But we have to get real and make the business case first, even if it is to be subsidy led and for the arts. Wishing won't make it happen.
Good luck. I can't see it being a community building, because there is no community near it. It could be a national resource though, and it is well suited to being a residential centre for the arts or music. The acoustics are amazing, even in its current state. Although it is mostly roof and it has a very similar acoustic quality to the Borders abbeys, which still ring, even though mostly de-roofed.
Andy and Isi were known by the contractors as "The Alter Boys" during construction, because they kept on changing their minds and altering the design. It seems to me that this building is destined to present a challenge to anyone who wishes to alter it from its current status of honourable ruin.
Quoting from the Architects Registration Board website:
“Architects are proud of their title, and do not want to see it used either to mislead the public or in a way that could damage their professional reputation.”
Under Section 20 of the Architects Act 1997, the title ‘architect’ is protected. It can only be used in business or practice by someone who has had the education, training and experience needed to become an architect, and who is registered with the ARB. The Act protects the public from dishonest individuals who deliberately mislead people by calling themselves something they’re not. ARB advise that they restrict actions to those against persons who may lead one into thinking their role had something to do with the design and construction of buildings.
In this case Mr Roger Scruton holds himself out to be an architect, in the context of architectural design and the construction of buildings, and indicates that there need not be architects involved in the very important and high profile process in which he is engaged because he is one, using the words, "I am an architect".
The relevant Wikipedia page states:
Sir Roger Vernon Scruton FBA FRSL (/ˈskruːtən/; born 27 February 1944) is an English philosopher and writer who specialises in aesthetics and political philosophy, particularly in the furtherance of traditionalist conservative views.
The above indicates no engagement in architectural education and the ARB register confirms that Mr Roger Scruton is not an architect. Therefore in my view there is cause to believe that he may be found guilty of a criminal offence under the Act.
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, ARB will prosecute in the magistrates’ courts. ARB apply two tests before deciding upon whether to prosecute, which are evidence and public interest. In this instance there is recorded evidence and I would suggest that there is a strong public interest in preventing the profession being brought into disrepute.
I am making a complaint to the Architects Registration Board asking the Registrar to investigate the misuse of the title "architect" by Mr Scruton. Should you wish to do the same, the link to the be followed is: https://title-complaints.arb.org.uk/
Is the level that we have fallen as a profession to one where the press using our name can think it appropriate to put a profanity in a headline and then repeat it through an article? It seems that the reporting is of a person swearing. It has no other merit. With just what gravitas is this content delivered? This is shameful and embarrassing for us and for you. When a student decides to review AJ for research purposes in years to come, what are they going to think when they find this? Do you have so little respect for us and for those who follow after that you think this appropriate communication for an Architect? Take this down right away AJ, and reflect upon your conduct.
If those involved in public procurement want architects to be accountable for their buildings, then those who procure those buildings must also be prepared to be held accountable. When public procurement prioritises transfer of all risk away from the public body onto the hands of the contractor, that accountability is subverted. Architects would like to take back control. Local authorities, other government agencies and those involved in getting a cheap job, thrown up quickly, value engineered down to the lowest common denominator, with no need for any administrative involvement or risk, prevent architects from being in control. There is a serious conflict of interest in politicians seeking to blame others, when they have all of the control.