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Hard-up practices don't recognise RIBA high life

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The Evening Standard's piece on the RIBA's new restaurant facilities made me sick last week. Not for the piece you highlighted in your 'quotable quotes' section (AJ 5.3.01), but for its tone and the writer's apparent belief that all architects are seriously wealthy.

The journalist, Nick Foulkes, and his colleague mentioned twice in the short piece on the new cafe at Portland Place that they had never encountered a hard-up architect. Judging by a plethora of car and lifestyle adverts etc, it might be the image that advertisers hold of us. But it is far from the truth.

Practices up and down the country, like mine, have a weekly struggle for fees. This article came at a rather unfortunate time - with the Office of Fair Trading also seemingly viewing us all as rich professionals feeding from the same trough.

If the RIBA's cafe perpetuates that position, then more's the pity, but if that is the perception people hold of us, then the struggle against an inaccurate image may be a long one.

Darren Gallagher, Epsom, Surrey

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