Does your practice have talent worth boasting about?
This year the AJ and Corus are organising the first '40 under 40' exhibition for 16 years. The roll-call of past '40 under 40' architects reads like a who's who of prominent personalities in the architectural world: David Chipperfield, Will Alsop, Future Systems, Robert Adam, Louisa Hutton and Allies and Morrison, to name a few. But the many talented individuals who have carved out distinguished careers within larger practices are notably absent, leaving a lopsided perspective of the architectural scene. Arts projects, interiors schemes and one-off private houses are in abundance, but there is little in the way of hospitals, large housing projects, offices and schools. Masterplanning and regeneration barely register at all.
The identity of the individuals responsible for many of our most successful buildings is one of the profession's best-kept secrets. Too often it is seen as unsporting and even unprofessional to seek individual recognition within the context of a team. But it is a short-sighted view. Individuals who feel their talents are not being recognised are quick to move elsewhere, leaving an immediate void, as well as long-term worries over succession. Practices that make the effort to celebrate the achievements of valuable members of staff are investing in their future and sending an important message to potential staff and clients; one sure measure of the calibre of an architectural practice is the quality of the talent it is able to nurture and retain. Promoting promising individuals is an effective - and generousminded - way of advertising the quality and ambition of the practice.
And the potential to spread the message is enormous.
This year's '40 under 40' exhibition kicks off at the new architecture gallery at the V&A and will be on show throughout the summer, before visiting other cities in the UK. It will be seen by an estimated 100,000 visitors in London alone. This is an unprecedented opportunity to showcase UK architectural talent. Should somebody from your practice be there?