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I found myself sitting among highly motivated architects at the Architecture Week late-night review event, looking forward to crits from Duncan Baker-Brown of BBM Sustainable Design and Pascale Scheurer of Wilkinson Eyre. They were to be grilled by the panel on the subject of their design and sustainability.

Following their presentations, everyone insisted on using the opportunity to preach about the need for sustainability. I found it very disappointing that the debate has not moved on.

Where we did talk about architecture, we seemed to be tinkering at the edges rather than looking at how we might make a significant impact through strategic policies. Is this the architect's role? The majority of us need to know how to continue being good architects rather than playing at being politicians or activists.

Unless architects can maintain their professional integrity, we will lose respect. The questions about how the requirements of sustainability can be achieved, how they affect the design process, the form of architecture, the planning process etc, were all forgotten as we ranted on about doomsday scenarios.

This low level of debate will help neither the profession nor sustainable design. It's a subject that needs professional help.

Paul Beaty-Pownall, BPR Architects, London

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