Mather's South Bank ducks main problem Another masterplan for the South Bank. Last time it was Richard s glass Wave wrap - ping the existing art s complex between Waterloo and Hungerford bridges; this time the grand gesture is Ricks Wedge to the south of Hunger - ford bridge, incorporating a public park and a new concert hall .
As a lover and practitioner of serious music, I have to question this particular feature of the brief. The concert halls are of ten half empty; London needs another concert hall like a hole in the head.
Nevertheless, this riverside site certainly needs some attention, half being an inappropriately sited car p ark and the rest having been used as a construction site for the Jubilee Line and the Wheel for far too long.
Mathers plan for a sloping park overlaying new facilities and shopping uses along Belvedere Road is imaginative and skillful, but he seems, from what has been published to date, to have completely ducked the real problem, which is how to organise the sp aces between the existing concert halls and art gallery downstream so that approaching them is a civilised urban experience. This poisoned chalice is left as the prize for the winner of the competition for this part of the site.
Meanwhile the demolition of the raised deck on the land side of the Royal Festival Hall has cleared the scene at street level, but in the process the admittedly poor high level routes have been destroyed, leaving access to halls and art gallery from that side dependent on narrow and miserable spiral stairs.
A few have rediscovered the original RFH entrance at ground level at the side, but there is an urgent need for £50,000 or so to be spent on a decent stairway or two to get people up on to the upper level, still an import ant p art of the centre s circulation sys - tem, while the new masterplan is chewed over, more competitions are held and funding is fought over for the next five years or more.
N o r , despite a pretty plan showing pedestrian routes in two shades of purple, and a plan for a pedestrian tunnel under the river from Embankment Station, does there seem to be any serious attempt to improve the route to the centre from Waterloo mainline station, the easiest route for the vast majority of people coming from south of the Thames.
This, I would like to point out for the benefit of those living in Islington and Hampstead, includes the entire population of Kent, Surrey , Sussex and Hampshire. This may be out - side the control of the South Bank Board or even the South Bank Employers Federation, but it is probably the most import ant problem to be tackled in relation to the arts centre.
Maybe this is a job for the new London Mayor, as Lambeth seems unwilling or unable to tackle it.
Alan Kennedy, London SW12 New ARB must pledge to stop the squabbles Paul Hyett s assessment that ARB must act reasonably and in accordance with the Architecture Act 1997 is correct.
The remainder of his comments in his column ( AJ 17.2.00) follow his usual ARB stance, coupled in this case with electioneering on behalf of the RIBA nominees standing in the current election.
ARB was made temporarily inaccurate by the registration of the four architect members but that has now been rectified by the appointment, properly and in accordance with the Architect s Act 1997, of four new architect members to replace those who resigned for no better reason than their (and Paul Hyett s) preferred choice for registrar could not be supported by a large majority of the recruitment panel.
The reconstituted board, with its new architect members, has met, and after considering all the fact s surrounding the recruitment process, unanimously agreed that it had been carried out properly and should proceed.
The board has met the candidate recommended unanimously by the recruitment panel and unanimously agreed to appoint Robin Vaughan as registrar .
On 1 April, the seven successful candidates in the present election will take their places as the architect members of ARB.
Whoever they are, they must recognise they have been elected to represent all 30,000 architects on the register , not the RIBA or any other section of the profession. Also, not to continue this rather artificial battle between the RIBA and ARB. Their roles are complementary, not conflicting. Both bodies should be devoting all their energies to ensuring architectural education meets the changing demands of society and technology; raising the competence and professionalism of all architect s to new height s; and, where appropriate, lobbying government for a strengthened Registration Act that closes the loopholes that are not in the best interest s of architect s or the consumers of our services.
But above all, stop the squabbling.
Owen Luder, vice-chairman,
ARB needs to focus on the bigger picture As one of the candidates in the current ARB election I have followed recent event s with particular interest.
The recent resignations of four architect board members have polarised opinions and the ensuing rhetoric has obscured some fundamental issues. Principally these concern constituency, education, practice and the remit and authority of the ARB.
The ARB is a regulatory body and it s primary constituency is the public. Regardless of legislation, the profession can only exist if it is relevant to society s needs. To improve the alignment between society and the profession is beneficial to all, and it is in this vein that the ARB, with others, has a contribution to make.
I believe it is entirely proper that architect s, educators, RIBA of ficers and other interested stakeholders have a role in the direction of the ARB. It is also fair that non-architect s have a majority vote on the ARB board and that the profession needs to persuade these members with the social validity of their argument s.
Education covers four areas:
the university setting, internship, professional examination, and continuing education. I believe it would be improper for either the
ARB or the RIBA to have a monopoly role in any of these. Education is made more complex by the growing internationalisation of practice and the need to develop standards in harmony with major trading partners, principally the EUand North America.
The practice of architecture is evolving rapidly , and is further complicated by non-traditional procurement methods such as construction management, design and build and design-build-manage. The definition of who or what is an architect, particularly in the setting of an organisation providing services, and then regulating these services, is of long-term importance to the public. Title registration, dealing with individuals, misses this significant and complicated issue.
The ARB will be a central player in the evolution towards practice based regulation. It is incumbent on the profession to take the lead in defining, and on the ARB to implement (ultimately via Parliament), a set of procedures and relationship s that responds to the evolving nature of practice.
Finally, there have been differing opinions as to the role and remit of the ARB. It s remit and authority derives from the Architect s Registration Act of 1997, and is a protection of title. This is further defined by case law , particularly Jacobowicz v Wicks (1956), Munkenbeck & Marshall v Kensington Hotel (1998), and most not ably Jones v Hellard (1998).
The ARB must enforce the law as written. However , it has considerable discretion in the exercise of it s authority , albeit that this must be exercised responsibly, reasonably and fairly . This view of the Architect s Act and the ARBs discretion has been confirmed by a independent leading barrister who is an expert in government al legislation.
It is in these areas of discretion that the focus of the ARB needs to be realigned to address the relevant issues facing society and the profession. By being overly focused on prosecution it has missed the bigger and more import ant picture.
The legal mechanisms exist to accomplish this realignment.
What is missing is the institution - al focus. For this reason it is critical to have architect s on the ARB board who are dedicated to the profession, and who can help realign the organisation to be more relevant to society and the profession.
Lester Korzilius, Foster & Partners, London SW11 Put Brunswick Centre in Hodgkinson s hands The process of adapting buildings to changing needs and circumstances is a constant in the dynamics of architecture.
The principle that the most appropriate reconciliation and synthesis of all the conflicting rationales commercial, social, cultural, civic, formal, historical and technical can be most sensitively determined by the author of the building it self is self-evident.
Given the intellectual and moral integrity of Patrick Hodgkinson, he should be encouraged to find what he believes to be the most appropriate solution to the Brunswick renewal. And his proposal should be supported by all.
Gordon Benson, London N1 Even taste guardians can have their uses I think Patrick Hodgkinson might acknowledge the help he has already received from those he now chooses to dismiss as taste guardians (AJ 17.02.00).
When the Brunswick Centre was threatened by earlier, destructive proposals, the Twentieth Century Society opposed them and called for the listing of the complex; my impression is that Mr Hodgkinson was then glad that we supported him and fought for his baby .
Listing is an index of merit and significance; it does not necessarily inhibit change.
And if the Brunswick Centre were listed, it might in fact help the architect do the right thing and come up with a better scheme.
As for the original architect always being the best person to alter his own creation well, I wonder. Lutyens spoilt his own first work Crooksbury for a new client, and then could never bear to go back to see the result.
Gavin Stamp, chairman, Twentieth Century Society Erratum The structural commentary for 60 Queen Victoria Street by Foggo Associates ( AJ 10.2.00) should have been credited to Jim Fraser of Foggo Associates.