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The profession needs to win more people over to design excellence

Emily Booth
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We are all stakeholders now – and thank goodness for it, writes Emily Booth

Much of what drives architecture, and the ambition to make better places, means getting a lot of people on your side. Good architecture requires teamwork above and beyond the studio to get stuff done: working with clients and communities and councils; persuading, convincing and encouraging.

That annoying word ‘stakeholders’ often crops up when we think about who is invested in the future of our buildings – perhaps because they are usually the ones with money in the game. But we all have a stake in what our communities look like and how it is to live within them. For architects, it is part of their ongoing challenge, as connectors and influencers, to respond to and galvanise these varied groups.

Patricia Brown, profiled in the AJ by Christine Murray, is one of those people who gets stuff done. You might not have heard of her, but Brown is a key influencer who has helped shape major developments across London. Now she is saying that London needs to create a more equitable environment: ‘We were focused too much on physical regeneration, and not social regeneration,’ is her new message. And you can bet a lot of stakeholders will be paying attention.

As we congratulate Alan Jones on becoming RIBA president-elect, one of the key issues facing the profession is how to better engage with communities. It needs to get more people on side. Our communities need better houses, better hospitals, better schools. In his latest column, Paul Finch suggests exhibiting and celebrating the best British school architecture at the RIBA and in venues across the land ‘allowing local authorities to show off (or be shamed by) what they have commissioned for their communities’. We are all stakeholders now – and thank goodness for it. 

3040426 wia christine murray zaha hadid women architecture

3040426 wia christine murray zaha hadid women architecture

Our thanks to Christine Murray

Christine Murray (pictured above with Zaha Hadid), editor-in-chief of the AJ and its sister title The Architectural Review (AR), has left both titles after 10 years at publisher EMAP. She has been a transformational editor, first of the AJ from 2010, then the AR from 2015, and finally both titles from early 2016.

Among her many achievements, she is the founder of the Women in Architecture Awards and its associated campaign and partnership programme – work for which she was awarded an honorary fellowship by the RIBA. Christine’s insightful journalism, expert knowledge and inspiring leadership have benefited us all. It has been a privilege to work with her, and we wish her all the very best for the future. On behalf of the AJ staff, our readers, and the wider profession: thank you, Christine!

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