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Master constraints to use them creatively . . .

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Letters

Your editorial on working as a team neatly cut through the oppositional stances which are struck in relation to the postEgan reforms of the construction industry.

Marco Goldschmied is right, architecture schools must train students to design things first and foremost, and the architect's primary task is to ensure that good and great design wins out over the pragmatics of the construction industry.

But of course, this does not imply that the latter should be ignored in order to gain a design education or to design well;

quite the contrary, it is the understanding and mastery of those pragmatics which will ensure that they do not get in the way of inspirational design.

So too with collaborative working and networking among other designers and specialists in the construction industry; as the AJ's seminar on detailing last week illustrated, many, if not most, of our big name practices see the early involvement of specialists in the evolution of designs as informing and stimulating their work.

Yes, constraints can be inspirational, and Tschumi's work at the AA in the 1980s is one example of a theoretical response to this fact.

Another, outside the architecture field, is the work of the French Oulipo literary movement, where one member, George Perec, wrote novels after setting himself severe constraints which he felt stimulated creativity rather than limited it.

The most famous example of this is A Void, a book which completely avoids the use of the letter 'e' all the way through - even in English translation.

So, yes to the ultimate authority of creative design over any process or pragmatic issues;

but let us, as architects and architecture students, master those processes and issues the better to ensure that the voices of those with narrow agendas are not respected more than ours.

Tim Gough, Austin Winkley & Associates, London SE1

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