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The jurors were right (AJ 15.06.06) - the behaviour of the organisers of the Warsaw Museum of Modern Art contest is disgraceful. Despite having met all technical criteria and the requirements for translation into both English and Polish, we were also rejected on an unfathomable technicality and we will protest.

The whole exercise appears to be a sham and an insult to international architects. Poland is a member of the UIA and should do these things properly.

Keith R Williams, Keith Williams Architects, London

EDINBURGH NEEDS TO STRIKE A BALANCE I ought to correct a view mistakenly attributed to me regarding the future of Edinburgh (AJ 01.06.06). Edinburgh's future rests on achieving a balance between preserving its historic environment and allowing new development. If the desire for conservation leads either to mediocre or no development, we will do a disservice to the World Heritage Site and to its future inhabitants. Achieving informed change is essential for protecting the historic environment without stifling the creation of innovative buildings which will eventually become listed buildings themselves.

In the case of Caltongate, I certainly do welcome the decision to seek regeneration in this area and a master planning approach seems entirely appropriate for this sensitive location within the World Heritage Site. But to imply that I entirely support the content of the masterplan is not correct. We have serious concerns about elements of the plan which we have raised directly with the local authority and stand ready for further discussion once the consultation phase is complete.

Malcolm Cooper, chief inspector, Historic Scotland


Your article on reform of the ARB exam system ( ajplus 14.06.06) contains many inaccuracies and some fanciful rhetoric by Ian Salisbury.

Firstly, the exam is not a two-day procedure. It consists of a 45-minute assessment of a portfolio of work and a 30-minute interview. For candidates who require both Parts 1 and 2 these timescales are doubled.

Secondly, the cost is not £2,000 per student, but £998 per part. For some students the total fee may be £1,996, but many candidates do not need to be examined for both Parts 1 and 2.

Thirdly, the ARB has no 'reciprocal deals' with any country, nor any power to make them. The ARB does automatically recognise qualifications from EU states, but this is a matter of law - not reciprocal deal-making by the ARB.

Finally, not unsurprisingly, we have had no complaints from the EU that the ARB exam acts as a stumbling block to establishing reciprocal agreements with other countries, or from the Government that UK exports are suffering.

Jon Levett, Head of Education, ARB


Sorry John McKean (AJ letters 15.06.06), I go back even further regarding the first-ever architectural stamps - see AJ 24.04.69!

(above) By the way, I never knew you designed the Leicester Engineering Building; Stirling & Gowan must have pinched the idea from you. Scumbags!

Louis Hellman, London


Peter Phillips started his 10-minute speech at this week's Presidential hustings hosted by RIBA London, stating that he did not plan to stand in the race for the top job at RIBA, and certainly did not expect to win. He does, however, feel that there are issues that need to be addressed. While we do not have to agree with him, we should challenge and win over his ideas and issues through constructive debate. Immediately after the hustings, Archaos spoke with Peter Phillips regarding his views. We found his opinions and manifesto, particularly with relation to education and students, to be outdated and unrealistic.

Archaos supports the right of any person to express their opinion: that is part of the essence of democracy, as, crucially, is protection for minority groups. Archaos represents all architecture students in the UK and welcomes greater ethnic, gender and age diversity in the profession. We don't agree with Peter Phillips' views but we would never want to find ourselves in a position where a minority is not heard.

Let's start some interesting and engaging debates about the candidates' visions for the institution and the profession, and get back to the issues that matter to the election. Archaos would therefore like to begin with the following question for the candidates: what strategy would they take to tackle the issue of student pay in architectural practices?

Statement from Archaos Executive

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