AJ columnist Will Alsop has replaced Lord Rogers as chairman of the Architecture Foundation. He has already mapped out a 'radical' agenda for his three-year term of office and intends to use the foundation to promote good design and start a debate on the value of architectural competitions.
The appointment was formalised last Monday by the 14 trustees. Alsop took up the position immediately and will be expected to chair monthly team meetings and quarterly board summits.
The offer of the position came as a surprise to Alsop. 'I didn't put myself forward, ' he said.
Although he praised the foundation for its work in identifying regeneration and urban planning opportunities, Alsop is keen to see a higher profile for the profession.
He said: 'Having worked with communities, what has become clear to me is that local people can be extremely creative. The question we need to ask at the foundation is 'how can we use that to explore what architecture and planning could be in their most creative sense?'' But Alsop was keen to stress that he would not be pressing his own brand of design and denied that he had a signature style. He is also set to use his new position to kick-start a debate on the role of architectural competitions. The weakness of competitions, he said, was that they could be 'rigged' in favour of a preferred client. It was conceivable that they should be abandoned altogether, he added.
Foundation director Lucy Musgrave told the AJ she hoped Alsop would remain in the chair, like Rogers, for the maximum of three terms.
Alsop's appointment was welcomed by Michael Manser, founder of the Manser Practice, who said:
'It won't be boring. He's not a boring fellow, is he?'