The argument for design

Sadie morgan bw 2017

Architects risk losing the ability to influence if we don’t try harder to engage with the rest of industry and explain more convincingly the value of good design

I’m not one for snappy headlines, but I was recently the centre of one, when quoted from a speech saying “architects are sleepwalking into irrelevance”. Perhaps I could have been more careful with my phrasing, but the message is consistent and I’ve been saying it for some time.

Last July I wrote a piece here noting that as a profession architects have to think hard about our relevance in a world where technology and digital advances are likely to change the built environment beyond recognition. And I’m not alone in sounding the warning bells; my partners in crime are not disgruntled naysayers but friends and advocates of the profession. As such, their critique should be taken in the spirit in which it is given – in good grace. 

The developer Mike Hussey, sponsor of the Stirling prize, recently joined the debate by claiming that “the design industry [is] in danger of being, not just marginalised, but wiped out”. He went on to talk of the “massive disconnect” between designers and the rest of the industry, and urged them to engage more with the construction phase and with “the commercial pressures that we have as a client”, as well as with rapid change in the industry. 

This is premium content

Only logged in subscribers have access to it.

Login or Subscribe to view this story

Existing subscriber? LOGIN OR

Take out a Premium or Digital subscription and you will get immediate access to:

  • Breaking industry news as it happens
  • Expert analysis and comment from industry leaders
  • Unlimited access to all stories, including premium content
  • Full access to all our online archive

Get access to premium content subscribe today

Alternatively REGISTER for free access on selected stories and sign up for email alerts.