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Architect your way to £££!

Ian Martin
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Ian Martin ‘thinks algorithmic, works lazy’

MONDAY Appalled that some Scottish schools I designed – just a handful, really – have been closed on the nonsensical grounds that they are ‘dangerous for purpose’.

Yet more mollycoddling political correctness. This obsession with so-called ‘safe spaces’ is ruining our children’s lives. How are they supposed to learn that the world is a volatile and capricious environment if we usher them out of the classroom at the first sign of a collapsing wall? Spineless.

TUESDAY Finish sketches for a residential tower. The client wants something ‘J G Ballardy’.

Accordingly it has tattooed Northerners on the lower floors, budget hotel guests a bit further up, vacant investor-readable air divided into apartments above that, and then my client, right at the top with his luxury split-level penthouse and rooftop garden. In the 1990s this would have ‘boasted’ views across Manchester. But we’re a generation on; boasting is considered vulgar and come on, it’s Manchester.

WEDNESDAY To a seminar, Architect Your Way To £££! A refreshing change from all those earnest highbrow events eschewing the pound sign in their title and using ‘architect’ as a stuffy old noun.

My fixer, Rock Steady Eddie, sensed an opportunity. So here I am in a room full of ‘gullibles’, as he calls them. Everyone seems to have a novel inside them, or could have been a pop star if they’d been inclined, or passed up certain success as a politician. Now, in early retirement, they’re all convinced that with the right ‘life tools’ they could design an award-winning building.  

Our host, celebrity presenter ‘Doctor’ Olly Cresswell, has an impressive CV, having appeared ‘in many locations’ explaining how ‘to turn the basic design skillsets you never even knew you had into cash – fast!’ Despite Cresswell’s ‘right to be forgotten’, my cursory internet search reveals a career in children’s TV cut short by a Metropolitan Police investigation. He remains plausible and optimistic, a heady combination for an audience of buffoons.

Doctor’ Olly’s Five Steps To Architecting Your Way To £££:

1. Realworld your dreams with simple lifehacks. Look at pictures of buildings you like and then try doing your own. Remember – if it’s not fun, it’s not work!

2. Think algorithmic, work lazy. Don’t worry if you don’t understand this right away, give it time, relax!

3. Don’t get caught up in the boring legal etiquette of who can and can’t call themselves an ‘architect’. Call yourself an archtect. Or an archatect. Or an arcUtect. Have fun. Who cares?

4. Once you have a client, simply hand the technical drawings, statutory permissions etc over to an architectural assistant. There are literally millions of them throughout the world.

5. Have fun and just go for it, with as many exclamation marks at the end of this sentence as you like…

How astute Eddie can be. After the plenary session I manage to sell fifty grand’s worth of ‘bonds’ for our Lunar Timeshare scheme.

THURSDAY Redesign perceived reality, giving it funnier subtitles.

It’s incredible to think that architectural debate was once dominated by this baffled fucking raincloud in a kilt

FRIDAY To Highgrove. The annual cultural reboot for HRH the loveably bumptious homeopathic tree-whispering Prince of Wales.

Purely decorative these days of course. His cultural stock is low. I don’t mean to sound disrespectful, but it’s incredible to think that architectural debate was once dominated by this baffled fucking raincloud in a kilt.

He’d jet round the world, guffing billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide, gargling on about how ordinary people deserved Georgian manses and organic paddocks. He helped turn community architecture from a political movement into a gentrification industry. He lectured us on the need to respect tradition. In particular the monarchy. In particular him.

Charles famously shook his fist at the tyranny of the right angle. He pleaded in an exasperated way for buildings to have more curves, so that a fire station or a dentist’s surgery might look more like ‘the natural world’. As it turns out, our hooting mockery was entirely irrelevant. In a few years technology would combine super-malleable materials and advanced design software to produce buildings with absolutely NO discernible right angles, more monstrous than he could ever have dreamed.

After a few hours of reboot freestyling we decide that for the next year he should mourn the following: symmetry, wooden wheelbarrows, chimney smoke.

SATURDAY Public Open House day. Wankered by lunchtime.

SUNDAY Deboot in recliner.

An anthology of Ian’s AJ columns will be published this year:

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