I should know by now not to read Colin Harding’s regular attacks on architects as they just wind me up, but he cannot go unchallenged.
As one who rightly condemns adversarial relationships it is ironic that he offers the most hostile and prejudiced attitude to be found anywhere in any construction magazine. His complete ignorance of the architect’s role knows no bounds: architects are NOT against an integrated construction industry, quite the reverse. Maybe he is confusing integration with subjugation. Unlike contractors, however, we DO have to face the public – at planning committees, public meetings, in the press and of course through our clients – and if our design is not top notch we get slaughtered. It may be painful for Harding to admit it, but most of society feels that architecture is important and that delivery issues, important though they are, are not the only considerations. Cheapest is NOT always best.
The target of Harding’s bile on this occasion, CABE, is just one body that is trying to raise the standard of design, and rightly so. As one who has no involvement with CABE I can say without fear of being accused of cronyism that his views are cheap, uninformed and insulting. Does Harding want to provoke architects into identifying the failings of small contractors? I think not: surely we have all moved on.
Meaningful debate to improve our industry is weighed down by the chip on Harding’s shoulder. Come on, Building, try an alternative columnist.
Rab Bennetts, director, Bennetts Associates