May I set the record straight with regard to the Building Research Establishment's (BRE) intentions to become an architectural practice. Two articles (AJ 30.9.04) have suggested that this was the case and I fear this was due to Ed Dorrell misinterpreting some of the points we discussed during an interview.
It is true that the BRE is getting more involved in the concept development stage, but we are doing this in partnership with established architectural practices - not in competition. We work alongside project architects helping to challenge concepts and decisions, thereby enhancing the end design. Also, the BRE is increasingly being asked to facilitate design charrettes, to ensure a new building or major refurbishment is genuinely sustainable.
The BRE has always employed a number of architects, but we have no plans to become an architectural practice. What we want to do is give design teams access to our specialist knowledge and technology, in order to optimise complex issues such as natural ventilation, passive heating/ventilation, daylighting, facade design, wind engineering, sustainable materials, energy efficiency and the integration of renewables. I hope this makes our position clearer.
Dr D T G Strong, managing director, BRE Environment, Garston, Hertfordshire