Amanda Levete’s 22 January column suggesting a committee of architects be put in charge of planning was discussed by the online community …
What? Are you nuts?! Many architects (including most of those currently regarded as “rockstars”) are too busy building monuments to their own edification to contextualise their work or consider how it interacts with pedestrians and affects infrastructure. If there is to be a committee, populate it with a couple of architects (LEED-certified, please), a few city and transport planners, a couple of historians and someone representing small business. Can you imagine if Zaha Hadid were in charge of planning? (shudder!)
Mediocre outcomes? Get rid of planners – problem solved.
Only if Prince Charles gets to pick the architects … Oh, but that probably isn’t what you had in mind, is it? This might actually result in buildings tied to Britian’s culture and history, which would be pleasing to the public but painful to Lord Foster and his minions. Pity.
Architects most certainly do not know best. It’s that belief that has resulted in the monstrous, bland built environment we see around us. A couple of architects are touched by greatness, a few actually listen to what makes people tick, the majority are mediocre technical drawing staff.
Amanda writes: “In virtually every other cultural field, be it literature, theatre, film or art, work is judged (by and large) by critics who are respected in their field.” There’s an obvious difference between these fields and architecture. One chooses to read or view a novel, play, film, or painting. If you don’t like a particular book, you don’t have to buy it. In contrast, the built environment imposes itself on everyone, and so it’s reasonable to give everyone a say in its planning – even through the imperfect mechanism of local democracy.