Trevor Philips had to stand in for Frank Dobson at last week's riba mayoral debate (see page 26) because, says Camden architect Chris Roche, 'obviously Dobson hasn't had time to consult his architectural adviser.' Roche should know, since he is the riba's paired adviser to Dobson, under the system where every mp has an architect in their constituency allocated to them.
Roche got no reply when he wrote to Dobson as minister for health, but now he intends to write to him again. This is in spite of the fact that Roche supports Livingstone for 'his tremendous passion, vigour, enthusiasm and experience.' But Dobson needn't worry: 'My political views and my professional views are quite independent.'
Roche has just taken over as chair of the Camden Society of Architects, following a dispute between the previous chair Ian Meek and the riba. He has ambitions to revitalise the society - by expanding into Islington. As Camden architects age, the 'younger more dynamic architects are in Clerkenwell and Shoreditch,' he says.
Roche himself is 'a youthful 40' and his practice is 10 years old. It is called 11.04 which, he explains, is derived from Ealing Comedies. In The Ladykillers a Scotland Yard policeman answers the phone 'Whitehall 1212'. Roche's number is Camden 1104. And he has a registered strapline 'Creative.Intelligent.Design' which is 'back to Scotland Yard' (think about the initials). So what does the three-person practice do? 'We specialise in diversity.' Roche describes himself in his cv as 'a synthetic modernist'. Challenged that this could mean anything, he replies, ' It shall remain an enigma.' Part Uncle William, part Lord of Misrule, Roche could do much to jolly up Dobson's lacklustre campaign.