Amanda Levete has urged architects to stop allowing project managers to ‘take over’ the design process
Speaking to a packed crowd at the annual New London Architecture lecture, held at the Royal Geographical Society in Kensington yesterday evening (6 June), the Stirling-prize winning architect said the profession must act to prevent the further ‘erosion’ of the architects’ role.
Echoing comments made by dRRM director Sadie Morgan, who earlier this year warned architects not to ‘sleepwalk into irrelevance’, Levete said: ‘As a profession, we have sleepwalked into it and we’ve let project managers take over the role we used to hold.’
She added: ’Once you’ve lost the direct relationship [between client and architect] it becomes a more transactional one, a more contractual one, and a much more defensive one.
‘I think we need to try and break down those preconceptions of defensive relationships because contracts are set out to be adversarial and it’s the wrong way of beginning. So you have to overcome that hurdle.’
Levete also spoke about issues surrounding design competitions and urged architects to be ‘more entrepreneurial’.
She said: ‘The competition system is so demanding of so many people, for very little money, but we’re obliged to do it. I think there are new ways we could begin to explore and I think that the role of the architect now is to be more entrepreneurial.
‘Can we, together with a network of consultants, not identify the unmet need, find the site, put together the funding and then do it? There is so much money out there.’
Levete also spoke about her award-winning work including a detailed presentation on the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT) in Lisbon and the overhaul of the Victoria and Albert Museum .
The event was one of the headline events of the London Festival of Architecture, which continues throughout June.