Post occupancy evaluation is the answer, every five years, using an approach such as Soft Landings or the Design Quality Method (DQM).
The only plausible reason for building new 19th Century technology railway infrastructure is for rapid troop movements. Linking HS2 with the bridge from Scotland to Northern Ireland confirms this. Many troops will be needed to put down the rebellion in Scotland and defend our land borders with the EU in Northern Ireland. Build the wall!
Postmodernism would be a good compromise and is now making a comeback, or has never really gone away. I think ‘ducks’ would be preferable to ‘decorated sheds’ for the Donald...so fire stations could be in the shape of fire trucks or fire hydrants, for example. Law courts could be shaped like Justitia (the blindfolded lady with the scales of justice), and administrative offices could be shaped like filing cabinets etc. This sort of architectural literalism would be appropriate for the present administration, and should allow for liberal use of gold colouring.
This seems very short sighted and might descended into the stripped classicism beloved of despots and dictators. Surely the only morally correct architectural style choice is Gothic? You only have to look at the Houses of Parliament and the Law Courts in the Strand to realise the appropriateness of the style for federal public buildings. The style contrasts sharply with pagan and barbaric classicism, and shows that Gothic or pointed architecture is the only choice for Christians?
I think it is important to reiterate that this was a PFI building procurement, in light of the comments above. The contract type was Design & Build, which is contractor-led. The building contractor is responsible for detailed design in this form of building procurement, and the architect’s appointment usually ends after they have completed their ‘fashion design’ and obtained planning permission.
In the absence of any ‘golden thread’ of design quality, or even competent technical detailed design (not to mention a clerk of works), it seems inevitable that incompetence rules, especially when the profit motive prevails above all else. Contractor-led procurement is meant to improve ‘buildability’ and control costs and programme. Architects and clerks of works often delay construction and make buildings more expensive though their pursuit of design quality and technical competence.
Consequently, it was deemed more economically efficient, for the past forty years, to appoint building contractors to lead the building procurement process and use design consultants, such as architects, as ‘fashion designers’ or ‘hair stylists’. The latter are useful for concepts and ideas to obtain planning permission, but not to be trusted with the practicalities of building construction and technical health and safety issues, as they are idealist dreamers who make everything more expensive than is necessary.
The architecture schools continue to respond enthusiastically to the role of the artistic stylist in the curriculum, leaving the practical experience phase of the acolytes’ training to fill any gaps in their knowledge (RIBA Part 3). It is no longer necessary to teach architects any practical or technical knowledge, as the self-regulating building contractors and their subbies possess all of this expertise.