If Will Alsop is looking for reasons why the RIBA is not knocking down his door to get at his drawings, he could do worse than turning back to pages 6 and 7 in the same issue (AJ 18.4.02) to review the images of his Barnsley scheme (pictured). Surely clients are now sophisticated enough not to be impressed by the kind of five-minute Photoshop montages that are presented here?
Regardless of the ideas behind the scheme, the mindless doodles encompassed within this 'generous' two-page spread mean nothing that could not be adequately described in a short paragraph of text.Have we really reached the day where a word is worth a thousand pictures? Perhaps if this is to be the sign of things to come from Will's flock, it might be worth him popping into the office now and again to check the time going into his output. The amount of thought and time going into the production of these works seems to have dwindled since the days of more worthy work, whose (presumably generously discounted) price the poor old V&A is unable to afford. Even recently, what criticism the Goldsmiths images attracted was certainly not for their evocativeness.
Or were perhaps the doodles regarded as being elaborate enough to impress the Barnsley folk, whose best talent had all gravitated towards London long ago?
Kenton Wilson, by e-mail