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GRAS host Yes Scotland photo-op with one month to go

August 18 2014

GRAS host Yes Scotland photo-op with one month to go
Grove-Raines Architects Studio (GRAS) have welcomed Scottish finance secretary John Swinney into their midst as part of a publicity drive designed to demonstrate small business support for Scottish independence.

The Edinburgh-based practice is throwing its weight behind efforts to break-up the United Kingdom on 18 September with just one month left to go until the historic vote, with GRAS director Gunnar Groves-Raines leading the charge.

Speaking to Yes Scotland Gunnar Groves-Raines said: “In a professional capacity I know independence is our only chance to stem the outward flow of Scotland’s most talented individuals who feel they need to seek professional opportunities elsewhere. With a Yes vote I believe we will see an explosion in the arts and the creative industries and an end to the 'you have to be in London to make it' psychology.

“In a personal capacity, I believe that an independent Scotland will be a fairer, more democratic country with more accountable politicians that walk in the same streets as the people they represent. We have a very rare and exciting opportunity to design a country from the ground up, creating a sustainable, progressive and outward looking Scotland that we can be proud of.”

Groves-Raines joins other supporters of independence including Alan Dunlop, Alistair Scott of Smith Scott Mullan and Malcolm Fraser. Others such as Alan Dickson of Rural Design and Adrian Stewart of DO Architecture are opposed, mindful of the potential impact on work south of the border.

The politically active practice has previously led plans to launch a mobile debating platform around the country to disseminate facts both for and against independence.


#1 Posted by hingwy on 18 Aug 2014 at 14:17 PM
Is GRAS actually a business?
cat flap
#2 Posted by cat flap on 18 Aug 2014 at 14:47 PM
@ #1
Looks like it - they seem to be doing some crackin' work too ....
dog flap[
#3 Posted by dog flap[ on 18 Aug 2014 at 16:02 PM
Aye, but is it Really though?
#4 Posted by Bill on 18 Aug 2014 at 16:55 PM
While I cant claim to know their work in detail, GRAS have been an active and talented practice for a number of years, and are affiliated with Groves-Raines who are most certainly an active practice. I fail to see why this matter though - if their business set up is what you are focusing on then you clearly haven't read or understood the points that Mr Groves-Raines is making.
#5 Posted by CADMonkey on 18 Aug 2014 at 21:35 PM
The link in this story to supporters of Independence takes you to a story dated August 2012. 2 years later do these architects still feel the same?
#6 Posted by Colin on 19 Aug 2014 at 09:26 AM
“throwing its weight behind efforts to break-up the United Kingdom”… is a rather politically loaded way of stating their position, and belies the author's own view. How about some impartial journalism UR?
Gin Bob
#7 Posted by Gin Bob on 19 Aug 2014 at 10:43 AM
@ CAD Monkey - Have those Architects said anything that suggests they've changed their minds?
#8 Posted by Egbert on 19 Aug 2014 at 10:49 AM
#6 agree - come on UR, at least have some pretence at impartiality.
#9 Posted by JB on 19 Aug 2014 at 11:31 AM
CAD Monkey - The link takes you to an article dated 12th August 2014. I doubt they will have changed their mind over the weekend!
Lee Ivett
#10 Posted by Lee Ivett on 19 Aug 2014 at 14:12 PM
all the opportunities to create a fairer society from the ground up already exist, just people don't take them. Local government and how that works and operates is the big issue for me in trying to do context specific, incremental, user generated improvements. Independence actually sounds like huge top down change rather than bottom up.

Being independent is going to have absolutely zero effect regarding the retention of talent as well. The opportunities for winning interesting work for young independent start-ups has definitely decreased during the time the SNP has been in power and attitudes across all political parties have moved towards a risk averse consortia led framework approach to procurement at almost every level and scale.

Contrast this with places like London with strong local boroughs, elected mayor and housing associations that actively seek and form frameworks that seek new, smaller and younger talent.

Big nasty United Kindom has also managed to create a society where places like Bristol are electing architects to positions of real power and effective responsibility.

There may actually be lot that we can learn in Scotland from how local and regional government in RUK is becoming increasingly empowered and active...
#11 Posted by CADMonkey on 19 Aug 2014 at 15:28 PM
#9 JB The highlighted list of long names takes you to a news story dated 4th August 2012. Trust me.

Has anyone actually carried out any research into the impact of Independence on Scottish architects future workloads?
#12 Posted by JB on 19 Aug 2014 at 16:22 PM
#10 Lee - this might interest you with regards to local democracy in Scotland

This election isn't about voting for an SNP government - it's about bringing a government closer to home so we can have more control over it.

This should lead to having more control over welfare, taxation, defence and foreign policy. I don't believe Scots are inherently better than others, however I do think it is normal and natural for the people who live in Scotland to make these decisions.

Scotland can shape a transparent, outward-looking political culture that reflects our diversity of opinions and our shared values, which will in turn make it a more attractive place to live.

In an independent Scotland we will still have different political parties in power, people who break the rules and recessions however we will have more control and be able to react quicker which will always benefit the poorer in our society.

At the moment we are stuck in a time delay of decision making and it's now time for a change.
cat flap
#13 Posted by cat flap on 19 Aug 2014 at 18:17 PM
@#1 and #3
Not really sure what you're getting at here. What's your definition of a "business"?
David Wilson
#14 Posted by David Wilson on 19 Aug 2014 at 19:28 PM
*10 - 'The opportunities for winning interesting work for young independent start-ups has definitely decreased during the time the SNP has been in power'

- yeah, it's called the economic crash, you know the one where the city elites of London decided to bankrupt the rest of the country. Public money is scarce.

'Big nasty United Kindom has also managed to create a society where places like Bristol are electing architects to positions of real power and effective responsibility. '

- quite what your comment has to do about society I don't know, but here's one for you. That Big nasty UK, or specifically England has managed to take away the responsibility of Westminster to provide citizens with public health. They have no responsibility to provide anyone with medical care. Now what's more important to me, being rushed into A&E and knowing that I'll be looked after no questions asked, or making sure George Ferguson in Bristol has enough pairs of red trousers in his wardrobe.
#15 Posted by Stephen on 20 Aug 2014 at 02:25 AM
I'm a Yes voter (or will be) but an independent Scotland won't stop the talent drain to London. The reason people go to London is that that's where many of Europe's top practices are (Caruso St John, Hadid, Chipperfield, Sergison Bates, Duggan Morris, 6a, Tony Fretton, Niall McGlaughlin, Witherford Watson Mann, Rogers Stirk Harbour, the list goes on...). There is nobody in Scotland able to compete with these practices for quality/pedigree and no city in Scotland that such practices could thrive in. Best hope is that some of those that have left come back one day with their experience.
alan dunlop
#16 Posted by alan dunlop on 20 Aug 2014 at 08:28 AM
#7 I'll be voting Yes in September 2014 for and for the same reasons given in 2012 only thing that's deepened is my resolve. I'm not an SNP supporter however, although we have a policy for architecture this has not led to an improvement in the quality of project with the same architects winning the same public projects with the same cookie cutter hub generated proposals and commissioned through a deeply flawed procurement system which eliminates the majority of very talented architects. Richard Murphy was absolutely right. I have been invited a few times onto hub submissions and have always refused, I would suggest other architects might consider the same.

# 15 What a lot of absolute tosh. People go to London because that's where the work and opportunities are. Our architects are absolutely as talented and committed to architecture and capable of producing excellent work given the opportunity. I've reviewed the work for various publications from many of the architects you mention. Don't swallow the PR guff.

#10 I agree with your point concerning the winning of work. Well made
#17 Posted by stephen on 20 Aug 2014 at 14:07 PM
#16 Mr Dunlop, you admit that people go to London "because that's where the work and opportunities are". That Scotland has lots of talented architects is not in question, my point was simply that if those (the top talents) that want to further their careers by gaining experience at really top practices then there is nobody in Scotland that can genuinely compete with those practices (and others) mentioned above. Which practices do you think do have portfolios to match those I mention? Where are the Stirling winning practices in Scotland, or the Pritzker Prize winners or Gold Medalists? London is another world with a bigger population than the whole of Scotland and projects and opportunities that allow these practices to thrive. Of course there are exceptional talents in Scotland (I rate GRAS very highly for one) but many many individuals have gone south. Your denial and dismissiveness of the above comes across as arrogant (and the comment about your having 'reviewed the work' of many of these practices doesn't exactly offer evidence against that assessment). Wouldn't it be better to see what we can constructively do to improve the situation?

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