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Jim MacDonald appointed as A+DS chief

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April 30 2010

Jim MacDonald appointed as A+DS chief
Jim MacDonald is relinquishing his role as deputy chief inspector of Historic Scotland after being appointed as the chief executive of Architecture + Design Scotland.

Karen Anderson, chair of A+DS said: “I am delighted that Jim MacDonald is joining A+DS at an important stage in its development.  We had an impressive number of candidates for the post of Chief Executive and Jim has all the right leadership skills and background to take A+DS forward.

“Jim will work within A+DS to take forward our aims to promote good ‘place-making’, and better, more sustainable, built development in Scotland.”

MacDonald replaces previous incumbent Trevor Muir and will commence work with A+DS in August 2010.

36 Comments

Martin
#1 Posted by Martin on 2 May 2010 at 22:10 PM
Hmmm not sure this is will necessarily be a good appointment, in the interests of promoting contemporary Scottish architecture...
fiona
#2 Posted by fiona on 3 May 2010 at 12:49 PM
Hmmmm Architecture and design and good placemaking champioship, you appoint a planner...
not an architect and not a designer.

Hmmmm you want to promote good contemporary design and you appoint a chief inspector of a historic organisation
to promote lovely new urbanist settlements on greenfield sites

hmmmm you want quality but you appoint a manager and a town planner, without archirectural or private sector experience.

hmmmm surely the gentleman would be new blood and we can give the benefit of the doubt

but with all the youung unemployed architects with masters and phds surely we could invite them
to be chiefs of design in Scotland
nick
#3 Posted by nick on 3 May 2010 at 17:57 PM
Architects don't have a monopoly on good design in the built environment. Don't forget that quite a few planners are urban designers, and some of them are actually rather good at designing places - as opposed to buildings. Give the new man a chance, eh?
fiona
#4 Posted by fiona on 3 May 2010 at 20:44 PM
Yes Nick I agree we should give the new man a chance, and the benefit of the doubt. He seems nice,and young and passion and enthusiasm are important qualities too.

I have no problem with good planners, but if you do a google search what is the track record?

But as an architect you have seven year of design training staged in a professional exam set up both by the RIBA and the ARB, and if this body is the architecture watchdog that are aimed to look at private sector projects...
I have my doubts. The UK is the only country where anyone can build or design anything in Europe with Ireland.
In any other European country function for design is protected by law and only architects can build. That is why British architects build abroad.

But I am just a member of the public that is all, and I go to Berlin and Barcelona and I think if I have to pay 1 million pounds for an organisation to be a watchdog I might have the right as a citizen to ask the questions.

I think it was Aldo Rossi, or Alberti who said great cities where made of great buildings, Roman spaces and squares are not so great qithout the great buildings....



I am not critical of one person at all, I just think that this shows the commitment to a management planning role that is all which after the review it might be what is wanted.

Anon
#5 Posted by Anon on 4 May 2010 at 10:21 AM
Possibly it was his leadership qualities and his management experience which got him the job? He's not there to be an architect or a planner surely?
fiona
#6 Posted by fiona on 4 May 2010 at 13:46 PM
so why is it called architecture and design if it is not about design quality and about good places ? and why does it cost 1 million pounds of my tax money?

Leeds has a civic architect, Barcelona too, London has advisors for Boris. Rome was not built by managers, Paris was not built by leaders but by visionary designers, and architects. Even Edinburgh, or did Robert Adam aquire management and leadership skills to do the New Town? No he travelled to Italy and study with folk like Piranesi.....

We aim to improve placemaking surely leadership and management are necessary qualities, but good quality design is about knowledge, about experience, is about process, is about private sector knowledge....and does take time, and a track record......

There is nothing wrong about questioning particularly when I pay my tax and I want to know where my money goes....

But I wish anyone well and hope they do a great job particularly when it is my tax who pays their wages...and like politicians we pay them to do a job not the other way round.



Anon
#7 Posted by Anon on 4 May 2010 at 14:37 PM
But does it need an architect to be its Chief Executive? It's not as though he's designing buildings, he's running the organisation. Strategic overview, input into policy direction, managing people, finance etc, surely don't require an architect, but of course someone with some understanding is useful? There are many architects serving anyhow, in the appropriate roles.
Fiona
#8 Posted by Fiona on 5 May 2010 at 11:44 AM
Maybe if we are looking for a manager we should call Fabio Capello? He can leave England and add some Italian flair to Scottish architecture I agree with you maybe we just need a manager to manage the team and get lots of little new urbanism towns scattered through the Scottish landscape with lovely wind turbines and have no architecture
Anon
#9 Posted by Anon on 5 May 2010 at 12:08 PM
Not sure really that 'Fiona' has grasped the plot.
Auntie Nairn
#10 Posted by Auntie Nairn on 5 May 2010 at 13:42 PM
I'm sure 'Fiona' has grasped the plot exactly. Architects and the skills they possess are held in such low regard that protection of function does not come close to being a topic for discussion. Remuneration is the among the lowest of any similarly qualified professional (partly due to the previous point). Regulation of the profession is in the hands of mostly lay people, and now the chief exec of Scotlands' Architecture and Design watchdog / champion is a similarly 'lay' individual, management skills be damned.

And what do the RIAS and RIBA have to say on any of these issues...........que tumbleweed blowing across the landscape
Anon
#11 Posted by Anon on 5 May 2010 at 14:16 PM
Surely good architects need to be doing what they do best, ie designing buildings, and having input into A+DS where those skills can matter? Design Review etc? It's hardly as though there are no architects involved in the organisation, is it?
A good Chief Executive can give scope for all manner of professional input, while ensuring finances accounted for, the building cleaned, the paperwork kept up to date, Ministers mollified, and staff and committees managed appropriately.

Amber
#12 Posted by Amber on 5 May 2010 at 14:18 PM
Jimmy Mac has been part of the modernisation of Historic Scotland into conservation lite, maybe A&DS will become design lite. The difficulty he may face is a lack of respect from the architectural profession, but then the profession itself does not have the respect of the public due to the crud that blankets parts of Scotland. Whatever, it's another government body that's toothless and it will have to be seen to facilitate development at pretty much any cost.
Jade
#13 Posted by Jade on 5 May 2010 at 15:20 PM
As for conservation lite, this is an interesting read
http://business.scotsman.com/business/Cooper-has-modern-take-on.2833757.jp
Nothing should get in the way of profits.
Jade
#14 Posted by Jade on 5 May 2010 at 16:03 PM
It's interesting to look back though
http://www.urbanrealm.com/features/18/The_movers_and_shakers_in_development_in_Scotland..html



Fiona
#15 Posted by Fiona on 6 May 2010 at 00:35 AM
To be honest I do not pretend to grasp anything. I pay my tax, this organisation costs £1 million pounds, fair enough you need a manager to manage the boat which was according to the last year report was in need of a review. And for that you put a manager like Capello.

But architecture is a different matter, is not a lobby, is not the management of a team... is to create buildings and places.

And that takes training, experience, and to have a track record.

I do a google search and look at the track record, and please let me know how many buildings, hpw many projects???? How much knowledge of private sector???

If we want to be the best wee country in the world we have to honour the professions and the highest title chief exec has to be representative of that!

You do not see a chief executive of a bank that is a baker, or a chief executive of a hospital who is fisherman!!!!

Can someone justify me a £100K to manage a group of 20 people?

But without going into why architects are diminished as a profession...

the question lies is this is a clear move to have a manager?

As I say we are not great at football maybe we should
ask Capello or get Torres, Liverpool is selling £1 million would do per year...

That is the role of a chief executive stop crap like the hotel in George the IV Bridge is hideous!!!!!! or little golf courses in Aberdeen, or wee new little Disneyland towns and call them vernacular Scottish architecture.

At the end of the day is my tax money, and as a citizen is my right to know what is being used for and ask the questions, I do not care about anuthing else to be honest
Fiona
#16 Posted by Fiona on 6 May 2010 at 00:35 AM
To be honest I do not pretend to grasp anything. I pay my tax, this organisation costs £1 million pounds, fair enough you need a manager to manage the boat which was according to the last year report was in need of a review. And for that you put a manager like Capello.

But architecture is a different matter, is not a lobby, is not the management of a team... is to create buildings and places.

And that takes training, experience, and to have a track record.

I do a google search and look at the track record, and please let me know how many buildings, hpw many projects???? How much knowledge of private sector???

If we want to be the best wee country in the world we have to honour the professions and the highest title chief exec has to be representative of that!

You do not see a chief executive of a bank that is a baker, or a chief executive of a hospital who is fisherman!!!!

Can someone justify me a £100K to manage a group of 20 people?

But without going into why architects are diminished as a profession...

the question lies is this is a clear move to have a manager?

As I say we are not great at football maybe we should
ask Capello or get Torres, Liverpool is selling £1 million would do per year...

That is the role of a chief executive stop crap like the hotel in George the IV Bridge is hideous!!!!!! or little golf courses in Aberdeen, or wee new little Disneyland towns and call them vernacular Scottish architecture.

At the end of the day is my tax money, and as a citizen is my right to know what is being used for and ask the questions, I do not care about anuthing else to be honest
Anon
#17 Posted by Anon on 6 May 2010 at 13:18 PM
I'd stop posting now Fiona as it's making you sound a totally uninformed idiot. The man isn't designing buildings. He's going to be running an organisation which doesn't design buildings either. Architects do that. And no, it's not the role of the Chief Executive to 'stop' anything happening.
How about picking up the phone and asking at A+DS?
Amused
#18 Posted by Amused on 6 May 2010 at 14:51 PM
I have to agree with Anon, but please don't stop posting Fiona - your childish comments are rather entertaining.
Anon
#19 Posted by Anon on 6 May 2010 at 16:22 PM
"That is the role of a chief executive stop crap like the hotel in George the IV Bridge is hideous!!!!!! or little golf courses in Aberdeen, or wee new little Disneyland towns and call them vernacular Scottish architecture."
While I agree with the sentiments, Fiona (and perhaps we should name and shame some of the 'highly skilled' and qualified architects and 'urbanists' involved in those?) sadly, it's not the job of the Chief Executive of A+DS to stop any development. It's, you know, a little more complex than that, is planning...

But yes, do carry on. Clearly a great comedienne in our midst, having a wee joke?
Fabio Capello
#20 Posted by Fabio Capello on 6 May 2010 at 18:01 PM
I'm perfectly happy in my current job, thanks.
fiona
#21 Posted by fiona on 6 May 2010 at 21:48 PM
I am glad that my posts are so amusing, but I am not refering to anyone as an 'idiot' or 'uninformed'. I am neither an architect nor a planner, but I have my opinion and I am entitled to it like anyone else. I do not wish to name or blame anyone's work. But I am delighted you find my posts, like wee funny jokes, and I might try your suggestion to be a comedian like Billy Connolly!!!!

If the organisation is a watchdog, surely they aim to do good architecture and design. The problem and I understand now why they put a manager, is the fact that they have to manage a group of different folk with different opinions. But at the end of the day a manager can follow a certain agenda, where an architect would not.

And there is no protection of function so anyone can build in the UK, not just architects.
Maybe that is why some of the new architecture is so pastiche, or horrible.
I believe only 8% of the buildings are done by architects here. But they train for seven years.
But planning you can do a wee course with a mickey mouse degree and become an 'expert'
But maybe you can explain me the complexities of planning and architecture as I am not as informed as you all, but still find it interesting!!!!! I am in sciences but love architecture and planning.

stick to the day job
#22 Posted by stick to the day job on 7 May 2010 at 10:31 AM
Wind you neck in Fiona. Your comment "planning you can do a wee course with a mickey mouse degree and become an 'expert' " just proves how shallow and limited your knowledge of design and the development process is. There are plenty of architects that turn their hand to planning and it usually ends in tears with anything more complex than a porch extension or conservatory. Good planners see the bigger picture as well as the need for careful, detailed design analysis. Many architects see the built and natural environment on a building by building / site by site basis and as a drawing board for their egos. Many members of the public, such as those in sciences, simply see the built environment as an easily accessible opportunity to bang on about something they know a lot less about than they think.
fiona
#23 Posted by fiona on 7 May 2010 at 15:52 PM
I do stick to my day job, do not worry I make more money than being an architect or a planner.

But a planner used to have to do a degree and training to comply with the RTPI requirements. Now due to conversion courses and I say some in town, you can have any degree and get your masters in planning.

And for me a person who makes decisions that are so important to receive training for a year and join a LA is a bit of a joke.

I suggest you have a look at Germany or Spain where planners take an architectural course (for 5-7 years) then qualify as architects, then study planning policy and apply to a planning job by a government exam.

And then you compare the quality of what comes up in Barcelona or Berlin and you are really impressed with the quality. Barcelona won the RIBA award for a city.

You can not compare people like Renzo Piano, Oriol Bohigas, Leon Krier, Aldo Rossi, Richard Rogers, Pasquall Maragall, David Chipperfield, Christopher Alexander to help out this mess of what awrchitecture and planning have become.

You explain to me, how can you call Tornagrain sustainable when is built on a greenfield site?

How you can get UNESCO to threaten to remove world heritage status for the crap architecture planned?

But let me tell you one thing planners there are very good ones, Sir Peter Hall.....but we do not have that quality anymore....let's be honest.

You might think that i should stick to my day job, and I do and love it but the public can say what they think. you can ask the prince it is down to us not to you really.

And if not look at the government today it is the public who decides...wheter you like it or not.

And planning look at the tram in Edinburgh, a bloody mess.

Why does the chief planner in our government goes to Bavaria? There is a reason.

stick the day job up your bahooky
#24 Posted by stick the day job up your bahooky on 7 May 2010 at 16:41 PM
Good over the top rant, Fiona! I think you've certainly proved on thing. People like your good self, who are more concerned with money, are probably primarily to blame for terrible, commercially led architecture and design.

Additionally, how can you blame British planners for assessing / promoting the architecture / design presented to them by sub-standard architects? There’s only so much a planner can do to add value to a scheme before he / she either ends up refusing the proposals (and is blamed for holding up the development industry) or is accused of supporting poor design.

You say “used to have to do a degree and training to comply with the RTPI requirements”. This is still the case, as you are clearly unaware. Yes, it is more flexible now in terms of intense Masters courses being undertaken by people from a wide range of backgrounds, but this simply allows a wider range of interests, ideas and backgrounds to contribute to the decision making process. There might even be some scientists in there – stranger things have happened!

I don’t know of any planners who have finished a Masters course, joined a Planning Authority and have to decide where a bypass is going or decide whether or not a Grade A Listed Building should be demolished. Training is very ‘on the job’ as a planner, applying the range of skills learned in the educational environment.

As for the old greenfield argument, just because a site is greenfield doesn’t mean it is automatically less sustainable than a brownfield site. What about a greenfield site within walking distance of public transport, local services and with limited value in terms of biodiversity (because it’s been intensely managed i.e. farmed)?

Planning is not a science or a tick box exercise. You can’t just pour the failed experiment down the plug and bin the test tubes. There are no right and wrong answers, and everyone has an opinion. Maybe you’re just bitter because no-one talks about your science experiments down the pub or on the train on the way home?
Planning Blight
#25 Posted by Planning Blight on 7 May 2010 at 16:47 PM
You're right Fiona, Planning is the last refuge of the third class honours degree
stick the day job up your bahooky
#26 Posted by stick the day job up your bahooky on 7 May 2010 at 16:56 PM
I refer you to the two following definitions. The public has spoken.

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=architect

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=planner
fiona
#27 Posted by fiona on 7 May 2010 at 18:27 PM
I do stick to my day job do not worry. I do respect good architects and planners, as I do respect good scientists.

How much design training can a planner have in a one year masters course?

We are not talking the good old days where planning as a degree was consistant and to be honest with you development is only viable if you can pay for it.

The problem is the good enough is the rule and best practice looks at exemplars without all projects being exempplars of good design.

I tell you one thing if you look at the assesments that LA's have to assess good design is a merely tick box exercise.

Unfortunately if you tell me that things that get approved are great, I am sorry but I do disagree with you.

I really would suggest you to read the New Urbanist Charter and the Task Force Report and look at compactness, and at the fact that greenfield development is unsustainable when you have a lot of vacant brownfield sites. That if you expand a city you should do that in a compact way, Scottis cities are different to English ones.

We live in the city centre in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
But you see it is a scientific fact that without numbers development does not occur, and if planners do not get that fact they do not understand development.

I look at Sir Peter Hall and his books and his critical thinking and you tell me one single plannet that does the mickey mouse one year wee course and ask them, for God's sake to let you know theorists or best practice and wait for your answer!!!!!

But you are right I do make money and can afford to go away from home and see Barcelona, Paris, Orkney, Berlin and just happen to think that they get it right and we do not.

Why not giving opportunities to young architects and planners like in Holland for example?

Why not pay people a decent wage if they are in a profession and train them on design and development properly?

I tell you because when you have planners that are very good you also have the ones that do not give a damn if a developer goes down the pants just because of their delays????

I am very pleased that you are trying to educate me dear but I tell you science is empirical and quantitative, not qualitative like planning.

But architecture is everything, is where we live is where we stay, and do you think that tourists would go to Tornagrain? I actually quite like it really but is greenfield and suburban, so to be honest trying to say that Scotland is like Dalgety Bay or suburban LA and call it sustainable, do not make me laugh....

Particularly when 75% of British folk live in suburbia, drives their cars....but you see I am thinking about getting the mickey mouse course from science and do a wee planning course, and work 9 to 5 looking at projects!!! You are right much more fun, but I can not afford that.

I tell you haymarket even Alistair darling thought it was crap, so to be honest do not tell me and the plaaning got it approved...

planners like architects, need to listen to the people because we pay them to be in LA's exactly the same as the watchdogs.

And if they do not like it they can become scientists.
But I tell you is crazy you advocate for a world where bakers work as doctors, joiners as nurses and planners really can come from any background do a wee year course and become experts...

no convinced I am sorry, but give me a good old planner with proper training and then we can talk down the pub, but I am not convinced at all
stick to the day job
#28 Posted by stick to the day job on 7 May 2010 at 19:08 PM
Ooft, another over the top rant without much substance!!

We get it Fi, you earn lots of money, don't know much about planning, how planners are educated or work and you like to open your mouth and let your belly rumble.

Stick to the head in the clouds architectural chat and leave planning to planners. I think you're one of the many people out there who underestimate the number of variables a planner has to try to balance when making decisions. The environment isn't a lab, you can't change one variable at a time. Maybe you would benefit from working as a planner for a while, although I suspect you wouldn't like it; not enough control and people / things not doing what you want, in fact wanting to do the exact opposite.
John Kennedy
#29 Posted by John Kennedy on 7 May 2010 at 19:53 PM
Good for you Fiona, keep going. Many of us agree
fiona
#30 Posted by fiona on 7 May 2010 at 21:39 PM
Well I stick to my job because it pays me well, but I work hard at it. To be honest you think because I work in science I am not entitled to my opinion. But as you can teach me about planning I am willing to learn. You might want to answer some questions for those of us who do not have a clue and have to stick to our day jobs. I tell you i feel very priviliged to have one and live on it. But I also work hard, but this is not about us is about qualities to created good places and the people who are involved in it.

You can answer the questions

Why not giving opportunities to young architects and planners like in Holland for example?

Why not pay people a decent wage if they are in a profession and train them on design and development properly?

I tell you because when you have planners that are very good you also have the ones that do not give a damn if a developer goes down the pants just because of their delays????

Why the use my tax money to waste £1 million for a design watchdog and put managers to manage architects?

I love Scotland and i travel and I do not like the new places they are hideous, housing in greenfield land scattered all over the place without order. You tell me is only the fault of the architects.

I tell you know the architect in a way, the planner that look at the policy without a clue about design, who liked a stable job and did a wee mickey mouse degree and not the old fashioned good LA planner (there are many).

Then the masterplan approved by the architecture wee watchdog that meets up (with my money) anbd i tell you they pay well per day to have a wee chat and approve that crap.

And yes I do agree with the prince that the things that come up are crap, and i have a say and a right to say.

But i disagree with building on greenfield because is cheaper for developers and easy for politicians to assure social housing provision and get a wee MBE if necessary.

And then you tell me if decisions for chief execs are managerial or not????

Maybe when you answer questions and teach us (poor wee souls of ignorance) how planning and design works, maybe when you stop being patronising and calling me Fi, maybe when your attack is an answer to the questions we can learn something and be less ignorant.

But do not tell me that compactness is not important, that architecture and cities are not part of the same thing.

Look at the 60's and the separation of cars and people and housing and the crap as a result in social problems.

And let me tell you there is nothing work with earning money, that killed the architecture profession or otherwise look at the wee boys graduated from our good schools of architecture working in Mc Donalds, and after today the public sector will also suffer...

so do not tell me non sense

fiona
#31 Posted by fiona on 7 May 2010 at 21:43 PM
by the way do a google search and tell me the track record ...... just the announcement very very suspicious!!!!
Anon
#32 Posted by Anon on 7 May 2010 at 22:30 PM
Can I suggest again that Fiona attempts to gain some understanding of the proposed role of the Chief Executive of A+DS, and then the role of A+DS? It's so far a young organisation, it has not been without its problems, and hopefully it will develop its role into the future.
There does appear to be a great deal of confusion.
fiona
#33 Posted by fiona on 8 May 2010 at 17:32 PM
we all hope, we all hope but after 4-5 years and £4 or £5 million of tax money wasted, after a report from government looking at it. After trying to be cabe without the flair, after looking at manage the unmanagable. Really is hard to justify chief or non chief, you do a google search and there is not track record for justifying a choice, and to be honest to call a few pals to say I like this building or not and use tax money along the way the confusion lies in the question, is it worth it?

I would use 1 million pounds to do competition for the large amount of unemployed architects and students working in McDonalds to sit on expert panels?

Let's define what an expert is to be honest...vefore we treat every citizen as ignorant!!!!!

We as citizens vote and have rights wheter you like it or not, and we are entitled to our opinions and you lok at the buildings and masterplan that are coming out and it is crap. Some exceptions of course, but not much!

If I want experts to lead, I look at people with a track record in building, management, projects, private and public sector and of course experience managing people but all of those!!!Specially if I am gonna be paying a big salary, when most architects and now planners will be scrapping hard to get a minimum wage!!!!

But I agree with you let's wait and see and give everyone the benefit of the doubt!
fiona
#34 Posted by fiona on 8 May 2010 at 17:32 PM
we all hope, we all hope but after 4-5 years and £4 or £5 million of tax money wasted, after a report from government looking at it. After trying to be cabe without the flair, after looking at manage the unmanagable. Really is hard to justify chief or non chief, you do a google search and there is not track record for justifying a choice, and to be honest to call a few pals to say I like this building or not and use tax money along the way the confusion lies in the question, is it worth it?

I would use 1 million pounds to do competition for the large amount of unemployed architects and students working in McDonalds to sit on expert panels?

Let's define what an expert is to be honest...vefore we treat every citizen as ignorant!!!!!

We as citizens vote and have rights wheter you like it or not, and we are entitled to our opinions and you lok at the buildings and masterplan that are coming out and it is crap. Some exceptions of course, but not much!

If I want experts to lead, I look at people with a track record in building, management, projects, private and public sector and of course experience managing people but all of those!!!Specially if I am gonna be paying a big salary, when most architects and now planners will be scrapping hard to get a minimum wage!!!!

But I agree with you let's wait and see and give everyone the benefit of the doubt!
Trevelyan
#35 Posted by Trevelyan on 9 May 2010 at 16:34 PM
History
http://www.bdonline.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=426&storycode=3049376
Heady days. So much water now passed under the bridge.
simon jones
#36 Posted by simon jones on 17 Jun 2012 at 19:35 PM
Hey Jim,
I knew you'd go far. I remember you from the Bartlett (School of Architecture and Planning).I'm confident that you'll do a great job.
Simon

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