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We should delight in, not bemoan, architecture's invention and imagination


Ah well, if you dish it it out you have to take it. Throughout my career, starting in the unpromising Prince Charles years, I have fought for good modern architecture, but I also believe that the job of critics is to criticise. I want the best for London and for Britain, and feel that the abundant wealth of architectural talent in the country is let down by the sort of easy-going shrug that lets the half-baked and the compromised go through, and by the blurring of marketing with information and debate. I think NLA plays an important role and my recent criticisms are not a blanket condemnation of the organisation, which is why I have been happy to work with them on the Skyline campaign. As I said in my recent piece, there is also good work in the current show. But NLA's output does give a much stronger platform to the businesses and consultants who back it than to the credible and important voices that offer a different point of view. Many people, including architects and developers,have told me that they agree with my position. Re the AF Competition it was not a personal obsession that Zaha Hadid won. It was the decision of an independent and distinguished jury, with the help of professional advisers, confirmed by the AF's Board of Trustees. Clearly the ultimate outcome of the project was not good, but I have not been shy in talking about this - there is a large section on it in my book Why We Build. Re the Garden Bridge, I continue to find it outrageous that something presented as a free gift to London rapidly turned out to cost sixty million pounds of public money. There are many other cogent reasons for opposing it, expressed by many people. I often speak up for good design and have no desire to be miserable, but I'd like it if the self-satisfied wing of the architectural establishment gave us less reason to be so. Did Peter throw me out? I was leaving anyway. But I wouldn't have blamed him if he had.

Posted date

22 October, 2015

Posted time

12:08 pm