Your article "For whom the (school) bell tolls", (28 April, page 24) raised the point that budget overruns associated with new academies can be attributed to extravagant and ill-considered design.

While there may be some truth in the assertion that spiralling costs are design-related, this does not need to be the case. Good design doesn't need to be complicated and it doesn't need to be expensive. The key to inspirational architecture is knowing where to spend the money on design and where to economise. Imaginative materials selection will also achieve integration of functionality and visual coherence.

Good architects use "appropriate" materials in inventive ways. The high-cost option is rarely the one to go for and often the best innovations result from a creative response to budgetary pressures.

Your article also referred to the perceived problem of academy designs being "signed off too early". At RIBA Stage C, architects should be very cautious about costs, and if the design team is thorough, the Stage C costings should stack up.

Ray Phillips, architect, Atkins