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Architecture schools major in ivory towers

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Thanks to Astragal for observing the confusion at the heart of the 'does London need more office space?' debate at Bene (AJ 5.5.05). I was irked about this, as I was quoting from a good source (the EGI London Office Database) in claiming that 4.6 million sq m is available - available in the sense that around 200,000m 2 of this large total is not yet built, but has consent.

So if you want it, you can in fact have it in a couple of years' time.

As for Astragal's valid closing question 'why was all this dross built in the first place?' I would substitute 'who designed all this dross in the first place?' I bet if it's designed well, it's occupied.

Sadly my experience of architecture schools is that they steer almost entirely clear of anything to do with commercial architecture, choosing instead to fantasise about ivory towers and confirm developers' prejudices.

PS. I see in his latest column that Simon Allford is getting positively presidential about what the RIBA should be doing with itself. May I be the first to put some money on him being RIBA president (and a very good one) some time soon? He's not bothered with this protectionist tosh over title, because people buy what he sells, not the meaningless, bourgeois letters after his name. Death to the ARB!

Lee Mallett, Regeneration & Communication, London N7

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