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Funds pulled from architecture centres as CABE winds down

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The architecture centre network will lose almost £1 million a year with the forthcoming closure of CABE

The commission has already pledged £879,319 towards the 22-strong group of independent centres for 2010/11, however those handouts will stop once CABE is finally wound down. On Wednesday CABE’s governmental sponsor, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), pulled its funding for the quango, spelling the end for the design watchdog in its current format.

The biggest losers will be Urban Vision North Staffordshire, which was handed £60,000 this year, and Yorkshire’s Beam which received £50,000 of commission funds.

A ‘disheartened’ Bridget Sawyers, chief executive of the Architecture Centre Network, could not rule out the closure of some centres.

She said: ‘With the cuts across all public funding and in this climate it would be wrong to think that architecture centres can survive with just commercial funding and partnerships, however we are a network of local organisations who can deliver on much of the localism and Big Society agenda – but will still need some financial support. It is a reality, like many other businesses, that some centres will survive and others may not.

Like many other businesses some centres will survive and others may not

‘Most of the architecture centres have a range of funders and in many cases CABE is a minor funder. The collective impact of the Comprehensive Spending Review on the centres is a far greater challenge.

She added: ‘The loss of CABE’s financial support for architecture centres through the Regional Funding Programme had been anticipated, but a greater loss will be their national strategic role and partnership – for example for the affiliated design review panels; Engaging Places, the built environment education resources; and the Spaceshaper toolkit amongst other initiatives.

The loss of CABE is perhaps reiterating a message that design no longer matters

‘There is a concern that the loss of CABE is perhaps reiterating a message that design no longer matters. However, we will attempt to continue to do what the centres have always done and to help people make better places.’

How the CABE funds were allocated:


Northern Architecture 
Arc (pictured)
Places Matter
AC Bristol
AC Devon + Cornwall
Shape East
Solent Centre
Kent Architecture Centre
Transform MKSM
RIBA Trust
Urban Design London
New London Architecture
Open House
Building Exploratory
Architecture Foundation
Architecture Centre Network
Doncaster Design Centre £12,500
Design Liverpool £20,000
  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • I am sure Bridget did not mean for this story to come out quite so gloomy.
    The directors of MADE, the architecture centre based in Birmingham and covering the West Midlands, met on Wednesday, just after the CABE announcement. We deeply regret the likely demise of CABE but because we are losing an important national partner and knowedge resource. However, the CABE regional funding only provided a small proportion of our income and we had already been told that we would not get it next year.
    The meeting ended in optimistic mood about the future of MADE. We have been talking to all the local authorities in our region and there is strong feedback that they see us as part of the solution as to how they can deliver design quality on a reduced budget. We are redesigning our services to me more local and affordable. We are developing our learning offer in our own area and internationally. We are pursuing a range of other income sources.
    The economic and social imperative to create better places has not gone away and we will continue to bring the sectors and professions together to do it.
    Thankfully, as an independent not-for-profit organisation, nobody can close us down by decree.

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