Schoolchildren and teachers need to be educated about design to drive up the standard of buildings and places, the Farrell Review recommends
Ahead of the formal launch of Terry Farrell’s independent review on the future of architecture and planning later today, The Telegraph reports that the document recommends the public, alongside councillors and planners, play a greater role in securing good design with all planning applications on show in ‘Urban Rooms’ around the country.
The Review - commissioned last year by architecture minister Ed Vaizey – also calls for the establishment of a chief government architect and a new ‘Place Leadership Council’ similar to the newly formed Construction Leadership Council (CLC).
The work of this new national council could be supported on the ground by local ‘Civic Champions’ and volunteers, the Review adds.
In terms of the planning system, the Review says that it must be reformed to focus on the importance of Place with a capital P rather than the design and location of individual buildings.
Under this new system, developers will have to submit applications that clearly respond to properly thought-through local plans.
Place, according to Farrell, can be read as an acronym: Planning, Landscape, Architecture, Conservation and Engineering, The Telegraph reports, because these are the areas which need to be brought together to “make the ordinary better” as well as respecting the past.
Other suggestions include reducing VAT on conservation and refurbishment of buildings to 5 per cent, better joined up government and a statutory protection of title for architects.
Comment: Terry Farrell
‘The issues covered by this Review are not of academic or specialist interest. They are relevant to some of the most pressing and important issues of our time like the shortage and affordability of housing; the urgent need to reduce our carbon emissions and the flooding crisis that recently afflicted so much of the country. Through proactive, rather than reactive, planning we can tackle these problems.
‘We have some of the best architects in the world in this country yet it is hard to see how this translates into the everyday experience in our towns and cities. Industry leaders and built environment professionals should connect to the everyday much more and focus on making the ordinary better, not just one-off exceptional projects.
We risk becoming an elitist profession
‘The Review also discusses access to architecture. We risk becoming an elitist profession and, at the same time, losing our world-ranking status if we do not radically overhaul architectural training and open it up to a wider range of people.
‘This is the century of global city making and urbanisation on a scale never seen before with an amount of development equivalent to a city the size of Birmingham being built every week around the world. At the same time, a new era of intellectual and cultural exchange between cities is emerging. Our world-renowned institutions, agencies and professionals should be at the forefront of this, whilst recognising we have much to learn from others.
‘The digital age that we live in presents extraordinary opportunities and affects every aspect of our personal and professional lives. Global communications, new technologies and citizen participation will transform the way we plan, design and manage our built environment.
‘I hope this Review will be the catalyst for change and the start of a big conversation about our built environment, making it a major public issue like health and food. There are few things that are more important to us than the places we live in. I look forward to continuing to work with government and industry to translate this vision into a reality.’