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Fraser calls for new council house construction

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May 17 2010

Fraser calls for new council house construction
Writing in the Sunday Herald architect Malcolm Fraser has queried the likely recipients of the Scottish Government’s “National Housing Trust” largesse, a body set to inject £130m into the house building sector.

In targeting “shovel ready” schemes from volume builders Fraser warns of a ”back-to-business-as-usual, no-strings-attached bailout for our house building industry.”

Fraser vividly depicts the prevailing form of residential construction over the past decade as “suburban diddy-boxes, car-dependent and decorated by the sort of pediments, half-timbering and carriage lamps that the industry itself, revealing their contempt for the public, refers to as ‘gob-on’s’" and “’stylish urban living’, meaning lumpen flats with bolted-on, sticky-out 'Juliet' balconies jutting into our bitter winds and car fumes.”

Unimpressed by housing minister Alex Neil’s assurances that only schemes which are “likely” to meet the 2007 Scottish Building regulations will be funded Fraser rounded: “Big deal! So the only requirement for those diddy boxes and urban lumps is that they are “likely” to meet the bare, lowest minimum technical standard. The bar could hardly be lower, and my heart sinks at the dismal poverty of our aspirations.”

Fraser also lambasted the circumvention of an army of publicly funded watchdogs which have been left toothless in the face of these changes.

Instead Fraser wishes to see this money allocated toward the construction of a new wave of council housing which “actually creates communities – not pediments and wiggly streets, but awareness of sunshine, south-facing living rooms that open into gardens, public places for our kids to play and places to meet, and engage with, our neighbours.”

Reform of VAT was also in the architects sights with Fraser wishing to make the refurbishment of existing housing stock more cost effective in relation to new build.

33 Comments

fiona
#1 Posted by fiona on 17 May 2010 at 14:42 PM
what a lot of rubbish, like the wee houses he has created do not attract suburban living, like the Caltongate project was not crap!!!!! he is nicer when he keeps his mouth shut to be honest, is he gonna provide the money himself?
Anon
#2 Posted by Anon on 17 May 2010 at 14:58 PM
Malcolm Fraser didn't design any housing for Caltongate. MFA designed a small part of the development, next to the arches, not the whole thing. His Princes Gate housing and his housing at Bo'ness won awards, however, amongst other MFA housing, and MFA has two homes being built for the Highland Housing Expo.
No, we are providing the money, the taxpayers; should we not be demanding, as Malcolm Fraser is suggesting, decent minimum design standards?

Here is the full article

http://www.heraldscotland.com/business/markets-economy/scotland-should-aim-higher-than-clusters-of-urban-lumps-complete-with-useless-gob-ons-1.1027961
Anon
#3 Posted by Anon on 17 May 2010 at 15:13 PM
Was it not Fiona who last week was complaining that A+DS has achieved not a lot so far? Is this not an issue Mr Fraser has also raised?

"Alex Neil, the Scottish Government’s housing minister, responded to my concerns over quality, published in the architectural press, by assuring doubters that, to qualify for a bail-out, the Government “…are likely to require that all proposed homes meet, at the very least, the 2007 Scottish Building Regulations”.

Big deal! So the only requirement for those diddy boxes and urban lumps is that they are “likely” to meet the bare, lowest minimum technical standard. The bar could hardly be lower, and my heart sinks at the dismal poverty of our aspirations.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, while the housing minister’s civil servants channel our money to such unworthy recipients, whole other armies of civil servants – in the Planning Directorate, the Architecture & Place Policy Unit and our built environment design quango, Architecture + Design Scotland – have no powers to do more than look on aghast. Established and paid for out of the public purse to raise the woeful quality of new housing in Scotland, this bailout bypasses them."

That's the Malcolm Fraser who resigned as Deputy Chair of A+DS in despair over its inability to do anything about the wasteful way school buildings were being funded, and who raised the issues about the poor design standards of many new schools.

I'd not shoot the messenger, Fiona.
fiona
#4 Posted by fiona on 17 May 2010 at 16:29 PM
Hi Annon,

I don't have to agree to everything I am just entitled to my opinion. Bo'ness is suburban and car oriented, with a wee bit of home zone and that but crap.

However no one doubts the capability as a good architect and his reasoning of leaving ads, what annoys me is the self publicist that a he is.

but you have a point Annon, and whilst I do agree with you I think that the days of the Poetry Library, or the dance space were great architecture but since then not convinced.
But as Philip Johnson used to say architects are the greatest whores.

I do agree with him about the directorates and all the quangos, but it is easy to criticise without offering solutions, and if ads was so crap why joining the club?

It is easy to advocate things when you have a great wee house in the country and in the city, and you went to public school wearing colourful trousers but criticising the system for self inflicted publicity!!!! I know things are hard for architects but there are limits....
Anon
#5 Posted by Anon on 17 May 2010 at 16:55 PM
Well, possibly it's passionate belief not self-publicity. It's useful is it not that some people with more than a passing interest are able to make informed comments, and those people might be taken some notice of? I don't think there's a great deal anyone with any sense would disagree with is there?

However, I think that in setting up an organisation it's starting out in hope, is it not? Or had you not realised the history of Mr Fraser's involvement and then principled resignation from A+DS?

Can the world have some details of your lifestyle then 'fiona', and what you do (your claims to be a scientist are not totally convincing), so that snide personal comments can be made about you and your background?

You are of course able to express any views you like about architecture; however, those are only your views. Further awards have been made since then.

fiona
#6 Posted by fiona on 17 May 2010 at 21:53 PM
Hi Annon,

Well I am very happy of not being an architect and working in Science, even though have close friends and family who are architects.

However I am interested in the subject because of the crap that has been built in the best wee country in the world.

Well the gentleman here is passionate, let's give it that particularly in pointing out that the PPP Schools were shite, so they were. You just have to go for a wee walk in Holyrood and realise.

Regarding Caltongate I am aware his highness was not doing housing but whatever it was it was shite, and call yourself a champion of design and proposed that shite with other practices id crap.

Regarding self-publicity well do you remember the Prospect article criticising the planners? That was cheap self-indulgance. The building in the high street the story centre inside is a nice double height space but outside is a more contemporary version of the Royal Crown Hotel. I also like the Pizza Express in the new town, and the Poetry Library they are lovely.

However why do you architects and planners assume that someone who is not an architect but knows a wee bit about the subject, has to be one? is that not a bit elitist?

Regarding suburban housing his black boxes in fairmilhead are nice but bo'ness is shite. And the black houses are nice but cost £5 million pounds (I wanted to buy one, but thought it was too pricey).

But what sucks is that someone that aims to be on the left, and looking for the greater good, sometimes designs crap when money is tight!!!!!

I am very pleased I can express my views, have a nice day

Anon
#7 Posted by Anon on 17 May 2010 at 22:47 PM
Well, I hope you feel better now fiona for that. It's not terribly insightful, nor is it sophisticated, but good that you got it off your chest.

Why not go and meet Mr Fraser and say it all to his face? Have some dialogue? Or is it so much better to rant a little uncontrollably and rather shallowly here?

Your English is quite poor, is it a second language?

I suppose you do realise the Storytelling Centre was a conversion of an existing twentieth century building.

But do, please, let us all know where you work and what you do, so we can say how sh*te it all is, in the most banal manner possible, using a great many exclamation marks to not very good effect.

Is it also not strange to assume that others who post comments here are all either planners or architects?

I do recall the Prospect article, by the way, and I thought there merit in raising the issues for discussion.
fiona
#8 Posted by fiona on 18 May 2010 at 00:14 AM
everyone is entitled to their opinion. It is not about personal questions, really. I am so bored, particularly when you do have a personal agenda. It is not my fault that I seem to be criticising your favourite architect.

By the way the world is a diverse place and the best cure for ignorance is travelling....
Anon
#9 Posted by Anon on 18 May 2010 at 00:30 AM
Of course you are entitled to an opinion, no doubt family and friends are delighted to hear all your opinions, but do try a little harder to hold informed and informative opinions before leaping into print to express them, and not terribly cogently at that.

Clearly you have a personal agenda; last week, the new Chief Exec of A+DS got your own brand of small-minded spite, today it's Mr Fraser. Who next?

Possibly you should take your own advice and travel? It might expand your horizons.

A course in learning to write in decent English could be useful for you also.
fiona
#10 Posted by fiona on 18 May 2010 at 06:54 AM
Comments about someone's language skills is what happens when you run out of ideas. I have travelled enough to realise that diversity is a great thing. Maybe as your English is so good you might want to invest dome time in learning another language. The days when architecture and planning are only to be commented by architects is long gone! I do like very much this gentleman's architecture but I also dislike some of it. And like everyone we are all entitled to our opinions.
Anon
#11 Posted by Anon on 18 May 2010 at 09:24 AM
I certainly have not run out of ideas, but you do write badly, and so much is sideshow. Arguments that buildings are 'crap' are hardly persuasive, and that is your subjective opinion. Much of what you write merely sounds spiteful and also you make assumptions not backed up by fact. I wondered if this paucity of expression and failure of understanding is because English is not a first language for you. It seems that is the case.

The issue here, however, is that the taxpayer is handing certain housebuilders a large sum of money, to build housing which the minister cannot even guarantee will reach minimum regulatory standards. Those standards are not high in the first place. Is this to be accepted with a shrug of the shoulders, or should we be learning lessons from the banking fiasco and demanding than decent housing is built as a result? It is indeed true that huge amounts of soul shrinking housing is built; why not raise the bar? And if public cash is being invested, why not invest directly and not by giving it away to volume housebuilders to carry on as before?

I think those are the issues which should be the subject for discussion.
richard
#12 Posted by richard on 18 May 2010 at 10:06 AM
It seems to me that if we have successive Governments which have expressed commitment to improved design, including an intention to change the way volume house builders deliver their product, then distribution of these funds is as good a chance as any to exert some serious influence.
From what I've seen, Scottish Government policy issued recently in Designing Streets is not being effectively applied by all local authority planning departments. Equally, the requirement for a Design Statement to accompany all major planning applications and some minor ones may be adhered to at face value... but the quality of the Design Statements is often grossly inadequate.
Persuasion is not enough to convert the volume house builders to embrace good design - and planning departments may not always have the skills or inclination to hold out for schemes that comply with Designing Streets and PAN68.
What's the point in having a policy agenda that puts in place requirements for improved design unless we are willing to apply it? Money talks, so let's see it used to eloquently persuade the volume house builders to jump higher. The alternative is to stand by and watch the house builders roll out more of the same garbage.
fiona
#13 Posted by fiona on 18 May 2010 at 11:01 AM
you must defenetely be running out of ideas, when your only attack is personal, and is just a wee guess about your perception of someone.

Because there are spelling mistakes you make the assumption someone is a foreigner. Of course if they can not spell, they must be either stupid or foreign, two sides of the same coin.

If you disagree with someone surely, you could build up an argument for discussion, not an attack based on your own assumptions of lack of ideas.

It is very good to travel, and open your mind to the fact that even most people speak English, Scotland is a diverse country, with folk from Italian, Asian, Polish descent. Surely cultural diversity is not the theme of this discussion, and personal remarks are not the basis of a discussion.



Anon
#14 Posted by Anon on 18 May 2010 at 11:17 AM
Fiona, the personal attacks come from you. You have made personal remarks about Mr Fraser, which are not relevant to the article, and assumptions about me.

Describing everything as 'crap' and shite' is not useful discussion. Much of what you write is not relevant and is banal.

Richard has raised relevant issues; do you agree or not? Should the taxpayer be funding volume housebuilders to build yet more poor quality homes with little or no discernible design quality in return, or should we be expecting decent standards? It would seem from the Minister's remarks that not even the basic regulatory standards are to be insisted on. Is this not bizarre? And why should we not go back to building 'council' housing? If there is public cash to spend, why not spend it wisely?
Anon
#15 Posted by Anon on 18 May 2010 at 12:36 PM
And actually, I think, all things considered, that I could not agree with Fiona that this award-winning small development is 'shite'. In fact I would go so far as to say that the 'volume' housebuilders building boxes with 'gob-ons' could do well to take a closer look, as could the Minister. These are simple, modern, and spacious family homes. If we are to build for the new century, especially if the taxpayer is paying millions, perhaps we could do well to look more closely at what can be achieved on a budget.

http://www.edinburgharchitecture.co.uk/drum_boness_housing_malcolm_fraser.htm
gh
#16 Posted by gh on 18 May 2010 at 13:30 PM
another unfortunate decent into an online verbal abuse.....pity.
i think that there are two issues here : one, theat malcolm fraser has made a published condemnation of the standards of housing (both public and private) in scotland. I would find it incredulous for anyone to disagree with him here, it is truly woeful, led by developers and space standards that are the lowest in europe (and beyond). I can find nothing to complain about what he wrote, nor the language he employed.
The second issue is less clear: Mr fraser is a huge self publicist, along with another well known edinburgh architect, it is near impossible to seperate his writings on architecture, urbanism and the city, from the inherent sub-context that he is engaging in self publicity as a prime reason for picking up the pen in the first place. It is also inevitable, that as an architect with his own practice (which he promotes extensively in the media) that when he speaks about architecture issues his owbn work wil be judged against the issues he is rallying against. Personally, i think MFA is a really decent practice, but do not register in quality terms outside of a very small pond. There are far, far worse schemes than boness, and if the appaling standard of developer housign was lifted to the standards opf boness it would be a vast improvement. However, it is absolutely no exemplar, and when it comes to looking for quality to aspire to in our housing i hope architects will look harder (and possibly further afield).

Anon
#17 Posted by Anon on 18 May 2010 at 19:29 PM
I think the issues are clear; they are raised in the article. I think beyond that, it's possible to consider that it was written not for self-publicity but through passionate belief.

It's a shame when comments get sidetracked into being critical of the messenger rather than discussing the important message.

Surely all developments should be placed into their contexts, and the input of the architects are limited by those contexts. Bo ness did win awards; given a different context, given a wider budget and remit etc, then it may be that a different scheme could have ensued.

The small development of 28 houses won the 2005 EAA Silver Medal and Saltire Award and was an attempt to improve design quality with volume housing builders. I think that as a such, it isn't a bad exemplar. I think it can hardly be described as 'shite'. If the architect putting forward his views had not won any awards, and was considered by his peers to be out and out poor, would that be better?

However, the thrust of the article is the large amount of taxpayer's cash which is to be spent on housing which it appears the government is happy to hand over to volume housebuilders without any guarantee that even the minimum standards will be met.

Should we not be protesting about this, should we not consider that the money could be better spent? Why not council housing?










Finty
#18 Posted by Finty on 18 May 2010 at 20:49 PM
Aye Anon, oor Malc's an absolute god that speaketh only gold in silver carvings.
Anon
#19 Posted by Anon on 18 May 2010 at 20:55 PM
Is there anything to disagree with in the article then? I don't see it.
fiona
#20 Posted by fiona on 19 May 2010 at 07:48 AM
I do not disagree with the article as such. I do not disagree with the language of the article either.

It seems clearly that you have a clear agenda that means that everything this gentleman does is wonderful, and anyone who disagrees is either foreigner, ignorant or not too clever for holding up a conversation. Maybe you are his PR, or his assistant to promote it. Apart from this we can talk about the point of debate.

The fact that tax payers money can be wasted with volume house builders is a fact and that housing standards are not good enough, anyone who has ever work for a developer knows that. The Technical Standards in Scotland do not have minimum spaces for a kitchen, living room etc. They are more about activity areas that are creating what we have seen before the crunch. So yes Mr. Fraser has a point and there is no way about that. But other European countries are on the same situation. Other southern hemisphere countries like Mexico, for example Mexico DF Social Housing Programme had minimum standards for good quality housing. However to incorporate Building for Life Standards like in Housing in the UK, costs money and developers are interested in complying to the bare minimum.

The project in Boness has won awards, and no one does argue qith the architectural skills. However is suburban, car dependant and this is better than your average house building typology, but does not really promote compactness, or sprawl of existing settlements.

I personally think that the project in Fairmilehead is much better, but that is my opinion. The project is in a kind of suburban neighbourhood in Edinburgh, and if you visit it is so much better than the surrounding housing that hits you like the punch in the face about how good it is compared to your box standard house builder banal architecture (this must sound better for you than shite).

However then if a normal citizen will try to buy a good susburban house like the one in Fairmilehead, you are talking about £5 million for a two bedroom property, which is not really what anyone can afford but an elite.

The problem as the article says. is politicians need to do something about house numbers, and they do ot use our money wisely unfortunately. Asking for higher standards of housing comes at a price and too expensive to do at the biggest credit crunch since 1929.

I also do think that with statements there is a degree of self publicity, or self promotion. To be honest with you the first time, like with the criticism of the Schoold programme over quality you agree, but when then you hear this every day you start asking yourself if is a passion or a calculated PR exercise?

You want to think that is a passionate statement particularly as one of the guys said before there are one or two very good architects who do that.

However you have to acknowledge that all architects even good ones do good work and less good work. The poetry library, the dance space are all great projects but bo'ness and caltongate are not of the same calibre architecturally speaking I do not think. One is very suburban (much better than the usual boxes), and the other one well not for anyone to comment as it is off the drawing board.

I do agree with the points, but how can we really achieve better housing, and how can we make sure our money is not given to the house builders that build not all this lovely boxes in our landscape? You can go to Fife and see some of the typologies I mean.

I



fiona
#21 Posted by fiona on 19 May 2010 at 07:50 AM
i meant a fairmilehead two bedroom propert is half a million not 5 million typo error
Anon
#22 Posted by Anon on 19 May 2010 at 09:41 AM
No fiona, you are again very mistaken. And here lies the problem. You make all manner of wrong assumptions. I have no 'clear agenda', not at all connected in any way with PR, and you didn't exactly debate the issues. At last some thought.

Of course some architectural practices' projects are 'better' than others; money no object and few design restriction projects are bound to have the edge over those with a different/restricted/cash restricted brief. You might wish also to look beyond the limited number of projects you seem familiar with. However, that's not the issue here is it? We've established the writer is part of a decent practice with a sound track record of good buildings, so speaks with some amount of authority.

So, we are giving volume housebuilders millions of taxpayers' cash to carry on as before, without, according to the Minister, even demanding that the housing we are propping up with our cash conforms to the bare minimum standards, and is that acceptable, or should be an opportunity to raise the game?

And is there possibly a better way to build 'affordable' housing than this?

As for passion or PR, I'd suggest that you try picking up the phone and asking. Some people do stand up for what they believe is right, even if at times that makes them unpopular and fair game for all manner of low-level jibes as knee-jerk reaction.
gh
#23 Posted by gh on 19 May 2010 at 11:58 AM
...mmmmmmm....
could 'anon' please confirm how you ensure that placing the taxpayers 'million' inot building 'public' housing will inherently improve the standards.
there are numerous, countless examples of dreadful public housing in Edinburgh, built under the remit of the public authorities, but still failing woefully in terms of definition of public space, quality of public realm, space standards, design standards adn construction quality. Anybody who has lived in one (i have) will know that. Turning over the money to a public body is no guarentee for quality.....just look at the buildings that the public bodies (council for one) have commiisoned in the past ten years.

i think the issue remains one of quality...be it public or private. The mechanism will not determine that.
And, to return to a related discussion point : boness wining a slatire award and an EAA commendation is to set the bar so low that you display your own ignorance in what standards we should be setting.
SIGNIFICANTLY better than this. I have visited it (have you anon?)......the denisty is so low as to be absolutely irrelevant to the issues at hand, it is suburban (in the extreme), the enormous front gardens are un-used, irrelevant, and destroy the streetscape. Apart form a few bolted on zinc clad windows i fail to see a drastic improvement in what goes on elsewhere. ANd, therefore, it is not in any way an 'exemplar'......it is possibly less poor than the very low standard currently set
Anon
#24 Posted by Anon on 19 May 2010 at 12:37 PM
I won't ensure it, as unfortunately I'm not in any way in any sort of power to do this.
However, it's no reason to then shrug shoulders and dismiss the idea and carry on giving great sums of cash to private housebuilders without some guarantee that the houses bult with input of public cash at least meet the minimum woefully bad standards.

And as for ignorance, possibly claims I am ignorant displays your ignorance.

So, the awards in question are not good then, in your opinion. All past EAA winners will no doubt be gnashing their teeth to hear this. Clearly, not worth having.

I wasn't suggesting that Boness was the best exemplar for this type of housing; I was pointing out that it wasn't 'shite' or 'crap' architecture either. I believe it was an attempt to raise the bar a little higher. So much built would certainly not win any awards at all.

But we can agree to differ on that.
gm
#25 Posted by gm on 19 May 2010 at 13:33 PM
in my opinion, some EAA award wining projects are good, some are very ordinary indeed. An EAA award is given anually.......it covers a geographical and population area which (to any national or international standard) is miniscule. An award (or commendation) is given every year, and on certain years the standard of entries wil be pretty poor. What i do argue with is that you seek to justify the projects quuality because it has won such a commendation. Winning this award is no guarentee of real quality, and certainly does not justify the twerm exemplar. I am not suggesting that all EAA award winners are bad buildings........indeed there exists the possibility for the best piece of architecture built in the world in one particular year to be built in edinburgh and therefore to win an EAA commendation. What i do argue is the presumption that such a n award is a definitive statement that the project is of an exceptional standard, nor that it should be held as model for future developments. I think the architect in question speaks (and often shouts) louder than most, and it is this, rather than quality that is being recognised. I may also be wrong, but is it not the case that the EAA awards (like most others) has to be entered by the practice?......usually involving a submission fee (paid by the architect), and time in photographing, presenting and submitting presentation boards and text for an award. So what an award can equally represent (especially when it is representing sucha small area and competitors) is that it was judged the best project (which is subjective) of the projects submitted that year by architects who were especially keen to publicise their work by paying for the chance to be chosen.
Furthermore, i have been to two seperate presentations, where mr fraser was one of a number of speakers, where he has raised issues such as the qualitiy of public housing or xschools and then instantly 'answered' the problem by showing his own practices work as a supposed answer on what we should be building.
Perhaps he could show truly inspirational projects, internationlly recognised and universally recognised as exemplars........he may then find himself less open to criticism of self publicity and alterior motives
Anon
#26 Posted by Anon on 19 May 2010 at 14:15 PM
No, I justify the project (and I think it won other awards/recognition) on the grounds I don't think it at all as bad as you are trying to make out it is. It may not be perfect, but I can see a number of positives.

I do understand awards and the limitations of those. Although the results may be patchy, of course, I don't think anything positively bad has ever won.

I also understand the limitations placed on an a practice by the brief, the limits of funding, and all manner of things ouside the control of the architects involved.

I can think of Malcolm Fraser commending the work of others, actually; very recently at a major conference Graeme Massie for masterplanning, for example.

Perhaps you need to get around more.

But again, that's bringing the issues around to what seems to be a personal prejudice, at least it's coming over in that manner.

Are you an award winning architect by any chance?

And do you agree that we should simply hand over many millions of public funds to housebuilders without even the guarantee that the woefully inadequate minimum standards will be met?
gm
#27 Posted by gm on 19 May 2010 at 14:34 PM
awards...yes......

but does that mean the buildings i designed were any better the day after the award than the day before...no.
Do the awards truly reflect the quality of the buildings..no.

HAve i lived and worked in one city (or country) and therefore based my views on the very small (though beautiful) pond that is edinburgh.....no.

do i agree public millions should be handed over to developers.......no.
do i think automatically transferring this to the public sector will guarentee quality.....no

do ti think that the 16 point HQI (housing quality indicators, the Lifetimes Homes Qulaity standards, the Code for sustainable homes (above Grade 4) and the DTI standards for urban develpment make a difference....yes.

DO i think that these standards can be equally aplied in the private sector as well as the public, here public money is injected....yes

do i think that the view that the standards wil increase because the money is directed and distributed through a woefully under achieving public sector infrastructure....no

do i think building developers know more about construction methodologies and positive value engineering than architects (or certainly politicians)...yes

so

i think that the imposition of tighter and higher standards is important...not that the commisioning or (god forbid) construction of these new communities is in the hands of the public sector.
The public sector should regulate (to a higher standard).
And we should use the highest standards for out exemplars

eca
#28 Posted by eca on 19 May 2010 at 14:43 PM
Malcolm Fraser does repetitively beat his drum and must bore himself on occasion but is one of the few from within the profession to do so. The downside is that the audience examine MFA's work for principled purity and of course find anomalies. MFA have contibuted to "car dependant" housing schemes, aside from the ones mentioned the Highland Housing Expo and Calderwood are on agricultural land. The architecture may be above the low bar set by volume house builders but no matter how pretty it is such low densities will still marr the landscape. The further downside for the outspoken architect is the vituperative comments that appear online, none more so than those that appeared over the MFA proposals for Jeffrey Street. As to the value of awards, the Civic Trust awarded one to the Missoni Hotel in Edinburgh and the Doolan went to the Small Animal Hospital in Glasgow, need I say more?
Anon
#29 Posted by Anon on 19 May 2010 at 14:49 PM
Right. Is gm gh? So we have some context, and of course architects are so rarely nice about other architects and their work. It is so easy of course to be critical.

Who are you referring to as having only lived in one country ?

At last, we get past the personal prejudice and onto some sensible response to the issues. Such a pity that wasn't what happened initially, although I think quite some time back richard managed it...
gm
#30 Posted by gm on 19 May 2010 at 15:05 PM
gm is gh.........i have no idea why the letters changes....this portal does wierd things...and the size of the text box leads to many typos (for which i aplogise).
Indeed criticism is easy........although with architects i find self criticism is the most difficult (or certainly the rarest commodity). In scotland we so often set the bar at such a low level....that is what truly saddens me...and we have absolutely no need to.
As regards the reference to 'one country'....you said i 'should get around more'........(interesting that you talk about 'sensible responses'!). For your information.....(not that it justifies anything i have said, nor should it).....i was born in manchester, studied at the mac....worked in scotland, spain and england.....now live and work in london. This gives me no greater insight into architecture than someone who has lived all their life in one village...but you seem to suggest this in your questions.
And as you were interested in me.....maybe you can say which room in south bridge studios you work in?
Anon
#31 Posted by Anon on 19 May 2010 at 15:24 PM
I've never set foot inside 'South' Bridge Studios, actually. Nor indeed North Bridge Studios. And no, I am not in any way related either.

The 'get around more' was in regard to lectures, conferences etc; I think that possibly two isn't comprehensive enough to judge someone by.

The context of what you said implied that it was Malcolm Fraser who had never been outside Edinburgh; I presume five years in the US doesn't count. It wasn't seeking your bio, interesting though it is.

That, however, is back to getting back to personalities and not the issues raised. I'm pleased, frankly, that people like Malcolm Fraser are prepared to speak out about issues of public interest as this surely is, and I suspect that being so outspoken/contoversial is not always easy. It's a pity that others don't, although I can see why they don't.

Fiona
#32 Posted by Fiona on 20 May 2010 at 02:56 AM
Well gm made some clear suggestions about a way forward and I agree with Annon but I think that you must work or be best pals with the architect concerned.

Solutions raise the standards for all new built, put affordable housing standards to all private housing, make the exemplars standard and make sure that we know that design quality adds value

and ultimately protection of function for architects like in all eu countries and make sure planners have some architectural training at least at degree level

if the missoni wins a civic trust award our world is upside down!!!! But let's look at solutions about the issues raised
Anon
#33 Posted by Anon on 20 May 2010 at 08:48 AM
Do you fiona? You are wrong. I neither work for, not am I 'best pals' with the architect concerned. So forget your assumptions.

The Missoni today won a RIBA Regional Award, as did the Small Animal Hospital, as did Malcolm Fraser's Infirmary Street Baths.

Malcolm Fraser also raised in his article the probems with VAT being charged on re-using and repairing buildings, while new build is zero VAT rated. This is something he has long campaigned to rectify, a campaign which others have taken up and it is to be hoped that eventually enough pressure can be brought to rectify the situation.

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