I'd like to respond to Nicky Gavron's comments about 'dangerously elite architects' (AJ 12.6.03). Having recently qualified, it never ceases to amaze me just how complex and how many hoops one must jump through in the pursuit of delivering quality architecture.
While it is undeniably true that many housing schemes offer little in terms of architectural quality, and that some believe the specification of a new wall tie or roof vent is truly innovative, one cannot simply lay the responsibility of new housing design at the door of the architect.
The seed of an idea at feasibility stage can so easily become diseased through the planning process, underfunding, procurement and through clients unwilling to invest in the exploration of, and long-term future of, housing and its inhabitants.
Innovation and change comes not from 'as long as it can be delivered as quick and for the same capital cost' but through a desire from all parties to invest time and effort in design and procurement. All involved in the process need to pull together in the same direction, pushing forward in each of their respective specialist fields, if real change and innovation is to happen.
It would be foolish to suggest that the profession does not have a significant role to play, but it is far too simplistic to lay the blame solely with the architect because one sees the architecture.
Nigel Bedford, Aaron Evans Architects, Bath