The reason HS2 is losing the public's confidence is because it reinforces our centralised economy around London and diverts huge sums away from the neglected northern parts of the UK. The trains from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle southwards are now slower than 25 years ago and, unless they are radically improved, people will continue to default to carbon-intensive plane travel.
1991 Building of the Year was Broadgate I recall. Others on that list included our own first office project, Terry Farrell's Embankment Place and Manser's large hotel at Heathrow I think. (Can't find details on RIBA website....) However, I agree with the sentiment that major commercial projects are often overlooked, despite being extremely difficult to do well.
Can someone explain how an irregular pyramid with entirely glazed facades reduces environmental impacts?
Matthew, Architects do have a huge influence on the social and environmental impacts of buildings and there are quite a few really good firms around who can demonstrate that. Tell your correspondent to aim for a job with one of them to see how the science and engineering works combines with architecture in practice. Also, there's nothing to stop an architect being a politician and/or campaigner at the same time.
It's always a good idea to reduce CO2 emissions where possible, but making choices between materials needs a life-cycle analysis to be sure the reductions are real. We have used concrete structures on many occasions so that their thermal mass can help to stabilise internal temperatures and, in consequence, save energy in the long term. Various studies comparing timber or steel with concrete show a range of results, so it's not as simple as it sounds.