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Architects for YES set for Edinburgh launch

August 19 2014

Architects for YES set for Edinburgh launch
A new campaign group encompassing pro-independence Scottish architects is to be formally launched on Calton Hill, Edinburgh, at 1pm on Thursday after fifty architects signed up to a declaration for independence issued by Architects for Yes, part of a late push to win over crucial undecided voters.

One of those to sign the petition, Malcolm Fraser, said: “It feels that, in today’s Britain, my primary responsibility as an architect is to serve Big Business, and that the best I can aspire to is to build big, aggressive towers in London. But I believe, instead, that an architect’s primary responsibility is to society, building places where all of us can share in the wealth of Scotland’s built and natural environment, and that I share that care and concern with many.

“I hope that this “Architects for Yes” initiative will resonate with our fellow Scottish architects and convince them that the simplicity and self-reliance of Independence would embolden us to win a renewed focus on the social and environmental aspects of our craft.

“But I also hope that it will convince others, outside architecture, that the benefits of Government close to us, focussed on the needs and potential of all of us, should have a major, and positive, impact on their built environment. “

Architects for Yes organiser Alasdair Stephen, partner of Dualchas Architects, added, “There is growing excitement within the profession in Scotland as to what a Yes vote might mean.

“Firstly, there will be huge investment into our country and that should have a great impact on our industry. However, the real opportunities is the chance to help build a fairer, more equal society. I think architects are ideally placed to influence this process. Good housing, safe communities and a wonderful built environment is something we should all enjoy. We can help design a new, better Scotland.”

Signatories in full:

Dorian Wiszniewski    Architect and Academic
Honor Thomson    Architect
Iain Malcolmson    Partner
Crichton Wood    Architect and Academic
Bruce Danraj    Architect
Jill Andrews    chartered architect
Graham Hogg    Architectural designer
Michal Scieszka - M.Arch, BSc (Hons), ARB part 2 Architectural Assistant
Gordon Smith    Sole Practitioner Architect
Rory Wilson    Landscape Architect
Ruth Arlenne Mclennan    Architect
Margot Stoddart    Architect
Christine Graham    Undergraduate Student
Gary Paterson    Practice owner
Declan Hendrie    Architect's Assistant
Jordan Byrne    Architecture student
Felicity Coleman    Architect
Ruairidh Moir    Architectural Designer Part II
Jonathan Mennie    Architectural Designer Part II
Sally Ruel    Architect
Sue Manning    Partner
Richard Thompson    Architect
I. Duncan Porteous    Architect
Charles Strang    Consultant Architect-Planner
Graeme Ditchburn    Architect
Patrick J Cronin    Partner
Rory Flyn    Architect
Andrew Squire    Architect
Philip McLean    Principle architect
Alasdair Stephen    Partner,  Dualchas Architects
Neil Stephen    Partner, Dualchas Architects
Laura Stephen    Part 2 architect, Dualchas Architects
Peter Wilson    Director, the Wood Studio,
Institute for Sustainable Construction
Edinburgh Napier University
Mark Williams    Director, HRI architects, Inverness
Director, JNESpace, Inverness
Bruce Newlands    Director Kraft Architecture + Research
Roger Emmerson    Senior Architect, 3DReid, Edinburgh
Nick Domminney    Director and architect
Stephen Riley    Architect
Andrew Douglas    Apprentice Architectural Technician
David Somerville    Director David Somerville Architects
Tom Sneddon    Principle architect
Liam O'Shea     Architectural Designer Part II
Ann Nisbet    Architect
Peter Caunt    Director + architect
Sandy Anderson    Principal, block 9 Architects
Archie MacAlister    Architect
Ian Parsons    Principal, Ian Parsons Architect
Harman Scott    Principal,  Harman Scott Architecture
Roland Reid    architect
Gail Halvorsen    Principal Architect
Ross Aitchison    Architectural Designer Part II
Peter Bowman    Partner, Cre8 Architecture
Richard Heggie    Director, Urban Animation
Neil Sutherland    Architect & Managing Director, Makar
Willie Miller    Principal, Willie Miller Urban Design
Suzanne  McIntosh    Director, Suzanne McIntosh Planning Ltd
Robin Livingstone    Associate / Architect, 7N Architects
Design Tutor, ESALA, University of Edinburgh
Duncan Gammie    BIM Coordinator and Architectural Assistant, Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands Architects
Euan McLaren    Associate Director / Architect, 3DReid
Calum Duncan    Senior Architect
Michael Laurie    Michael Laurie Architect
Clare Armstrong Architect
Helen Lucas    Principle, Helen Lucas Architects
Malcolm Fraser    Principal, Malcolm Fraser Architects
William Smith    Architect
Gunnar Grove-Raines    Principal, GRAS
Jonathan Charley    Academic


#1 Posted by Robin on 19 Aug 2014 at 17:39 PM
This is a nice idea. As a floating voter, it's good to see architects starting to get involved in the debate at last.
Pre-empting the pasting this will get from the Nay sayers, it would be refreshing to see them doing something similarly positive within the profession.
cat flap
#2 Posted by cat flap on 19 Aug 2014 at 17:51 PM
Great stuff. Nice to see a few finally sticking their head above the parapet. Good luck!
Ian Nairn Jr
#3 Posted by Ian Nairn Jr on 19 Aug 2014 at 21:32 PM
"Architects for Yes organiser Alasdair Stephen, partner of Dualchas Architects, added, “There is growing excitement within the profession in Scotland as to what a Yes vote might mean."
Hopefully a rise in the number of expensive Skye holiday homes for non-Scots?
Jimbob Tanktop
#4 Posted by Jimbob Tanktop on 19 Aug 2014 at 22:11 PM
Good luck to you! Here's to better days!
#5 Posted by cill on 20 Aug 2014 at 07:40 AM
Question. Do you have to have sat your Part3 to join?
#6 Posted by Egbert on 20 Aug 2014 at 08:40 AM
Very worthwhile and I shall be signing up.

Minor niggle - the logo looks a wee bit amateurish. Surely a design-based profession can choose a nicer font than Arial?
#7 Posted by KS on 20 Aug 2014 at 09:42 AM
I doubt it, architects are as useless at graphic design as they are at politics.
Malcolm Fraser
#8 Posted by Malcolm Fraser on 20 Aug 2014 at 10:22 AM
To #5: “protection of title” has been raised; but I’d say that this is about the future of architecture in Scotland, and as students of architecture you should make your own minds up.
#9 Posted by James on 20 Aug 2014 at 15:21 PM
#8 As a Yes voter I find this subversion of the democratic process to be a brilliant piece of PR. The inference being that architects in general support independence. Not sure how I'd feel if I were a no voter though. It's also an obvious misrepresentation of the facts due to the reasons raised above (and not all the non-architects on the list have an intention to become such by the way Malcolm).
#10 Posted by CADMonkey on 21 Aug 2014 at 09:25 AM
#8 Just to point out that actually there is very more to the Independence Referendum than "this is about the future of architecture in Scotland". That comes across as a very naïve statement.

#9 Not at all clear on the value of this "brilliant PR"

Just a general point, but who is in control of deciding who can sign up to "Architects for YES". Many on the list are not architects "academics", "planner" and many other unqualified architects are listed.
To have credence this needs to be accurate.
Or is this following the general theme of the SNP campaign of smoke and fudge.
Gin Bob
#11 Posted by Gin Bob on 21 Aug 2014 at 10:50 AM
#10 with comments like that it sounds like you're a subscriber to the Bitter Together campaign. For your ease of understanding though, just consider it as Architects & related design professionals for Yes. A bit of a mouthful though eh?
The Bairn
#12 Posted by The Bairn on 21 Aug 2014 at 12:20 PM
Is anyone interested what way a 'apprentice architectural technician' votes? Lets go down to Greggs and sign up a few more strangers who intend to vote YES.
Personally the architectural profession should concentrate on designing better buildings and making the most of the opportunities now before President O'Salmond opens Scotlands borders to all and sundry thus allowing 'incomers' to take all your jobs. Open your eyes as well as your minds folks. Its a NO vote for me.
#13 Posted by CADMonkey on 21 Aug 2014 at 12:54 PM
No, I am a subscriber to the Better Together campaign. And even more so having visited and read various items on the "Architects for Yes" web site.
#14 Posted by CADMonkey on 21 Aug 2014 at 14:34 PM

An organisation that calls itself ‘Architects [are] for YES’. It’s like saying ‘Doctors for YES’ and including signatories of nurses, porters, paramedics etc.

It is simply misleading. Architects, students, academics, planners, designers, etc for YES, is a mouthful, but it is also more accurate representation of the signatories and importantly highlights how small a percentage of that much larger demographic are actually ‘...for YES’.

Similarly if you strip out the non Architect proportion you come to the same conclusion, that the ‘Architect for YES’ percentage is actually pretty low and is in fact a bit more bluster to try to grab a headline rather than having any real substance. It is currently more likely to be beneficial to the ‘No’ campaign.

So thanks!
#15 Posted by Jim on 21 Aug 2014 at 15:13 PM
Unsurprising to see the usual line up of negativity from obvious no campaigners with nothing constructive to offer, as per the standard Better Together template. Really tedious guys, unless you have something constructive to offer from either side of the debate, take your bile somewhere else.
#16 Posted by Martin on 21 Aug 2014 at 15:18 PM
#12 Nice to see the Naw we Canny brigade out with their compelling arguments for the retention of the Union. Suggestion of anti-Irish bigotry "O'Salmond"? and a not so subtle attempt to disguise a fear of immigrants, it's just those "incomers" taking our jobs now.

#13 I know, all that aspiration for a better society pfft. Humbug!
I heart Gourock
#17 Posted by I heart Gourock on 21 Aug 2014 at 16:08 PM
Disgusting comment from #12

#14 Not every Architect is voting yes will have put their name on the list! It is a personal choice.
Not sure why this list is better for the no campaign? Would you care to enlighten us?

Alba gu bràth
I heart Gourock
#18 Posted by I heart Gourock on 21 Aug 2014 at 16:10 PM
#15 well said!
#19 Posted by Jim on 21 Aug 2014 at 16:45 PM
# 14 CAD Monkey

By my count, there are 67 signatures, comprising of:
33 Architects
18 "Principals" (for arguments sake, I have excluded these from Architects if you want to be pedantic about titles. However, this list includes Malcolm Fraser, Neil Stephen, Helen Lucas etc who I know are architects)
12 students/assistants who most likely are on their way to becoming Architects
1 Landscape architect
2 Academics

(I think I have missed one somewhere)

Point being, you have no point. The significant majority are either architects or on their way to becoming architects, or have active interest in the profession.

While I am at it, why shouldn't technicians, planners, academics and students be allowed to participate. This affects them just as much and they have equally valid contributions to make.
#20 Posted by Jim on 21 Aug 2014 at 17:09 PM
My mistake, I count 71. However, my point stands.
#21 Posted by Jim on 21 Aug 2014 at 17:12 PM
Correction (again - sorry, been looking at window schedules all day, mind is going numb)
67 signatures. Again, my points stand.
#22 Posted by Cadmonkey on 21 Aug 2014 at 19:26 PM
I wonder what the thousands and thousands of other "architects and other vaguely related people" are waiting for?
#23 Posted by James on 21 Aug 2014 at 23:15 PM
I honestly think it's subversive and anti-democratic to have a petition misleadingly titled 'Architects for Yes' when half of the assignees aren't Architects. And I'm a Yes voter!! Petitions at any rate are dubious from a democratic perspective; just because one side of an argument shouts louder or is better organised doesn't mean they represent the majority. Just look at Ukip and the immigration debate. Imagine the reaction if it was Architects against Immigration...
David Wilson
#24 Posted by David Wilson on 21 Aug 2014 at 23:50 PM
Instead of asking yourselves about a yes/no answer to a question on independence, why not ask yourselves this.

'If you had the chance to start the country again would you take it ?'

This is not about A. Salmond or the SNP, or immigration or whatever, it is the simple choice of where you wish to be governed from.

If you think we are governed better from Westminster then vote no, if you think Holyrood is better then vote yes, but for God's sake drop all the rubbish in between because it's embarrassing to read.
#25 Posted by CADMonkey on 22 Aug 2014 at 09:22 AM
Mr Wilson
The answer to your question is not surprisingly no, if given the chance I would not start the country again.
I'm proud of the unique heritage this country has. I believe there is a mutual benefit being part of the UK. Scotland only has 8% of the population so it obviously makes sense for the central government to be at Westminster. Another important reason for staying I the union is that I quite like my house. Starting again would probably mean I couldn't afford my mortgage. Food for thought for architects I'd have thought.
#26 Posted by Anon on 22 Aug 2014 at 10:15 AM
#24 Mr Wilson

Ever since 1999 we have been governed from Edinburgh for the majority of domestic policies and in 2015 we will be given tax raising powers irrespective of the Indy result under the Scotland Act 2012.

If you have been happy or unhappy with the way our country has been governed to date then you have to proportion it correctly between Westminster and Hollyrood and in doing so appreciate that party politics and the personalities behind it are the reality of our modern day system.

The SNP are here to stay either way until the next referendum in 2016 and if you have read their white paper then they plan on sticking around a lot longer after that.

Personally I voted for the SNP in the last election as I agree on many of they're policies, and I would love to see an independent Scotland. However I think it's a shame that the politicians, the majority of who share a very similar social democratic outlook, are not working together to achieve meaningful social reforms. Also, I do not think Mr Salmond has given the voters the the respect we deserve to make a reasoned decision. Going by the white paper and given the fact that most aspects of independence still have to be bargained for with the UK and Europe - it will definitely be Salmond's Scotland which he delivers. As someone who is proud to be Scottish, I do not think this is best for my country or myself.

Something to bare in mind was that prior to devolution in 1999 a Scottish Communities Commission (need to check name) was set up in 1992 to look at transitioning to devolution. Where has this process been for independence?

A better model and one lacking from the debate would be a federalised government across the UK, like Europe or the States. Fully devolved powers but combined resources for a stronger representation on the international stage. One can only dream...

#27 Posted by James on 23 Aug 2014 at 15:48 PM
@ Mr Wilson # 24. We don't all need the indy debate simplified for us thanks. It's also about a lot more than where the seat of government is. This article at any rate is about a petition. Plenty of other forums have already descended into Yes/No mudslinging and condescension.
David Wilson
#28 Posted by David Wilson on 23 Aug 2014 at 23:00 PM
Thanks for the comments everyone, and for proving my point.

25 - ' The Starting again would probably mean I couldn't afford my mortgage'

- scare story that mortgages would go through the roof. Evidence please ?

26 - 'Ever since 1999 we have been governed from Edinburgh for the majority of domestic policies and in 2015 we will be given tax raising powers irrespective of the Indy result under the Scotland Act 2012.'

- major policies that require the redistribution of taxes are made in Westminster, namely the Welfare state, spending on infrastructure, defence and so on. Scotland gets a block grant that is directly related to the amount of public spending in England. Large domestic policy areas such as law and the NHS have always been independent of Westminster. They did not 'happen' in 1999.
The tax raising powers you mention are useless, and are a mere extension of the current powers that no Scottish Govt of any colour has used since 1999. They are designed to be useless.

'it will definitely be Salmond's Scotland which he delivers.'

- so elections will somehow cease in an independent Scotland despite the fact that there is a Scottish election due in May 2016 some two months after the proposed date of independence. If you are not happy with him, vote him out. That's democracy.

'A better model and one lacking from the debate would be a federalised government across the UK, like Europe or the States.'

- so what was the AV vote in 2011 about ? On a 40 % turnout 68% of people said they wanted no electoral reform whatsoever in the UK by voting against AV. That was the public's opportunity to say to Westminster that there is a desire for electoral reform, regardless of how good AV is, or isn't as is the case. There is no reason for Westminster to offer any kind of federal UK simply because the people of the UK have clearly said they don't want it. Electoral reform is not an issue.

27 - 'Plenty of other forums have already descended into Yes/No mudslinging and condescension.'

- I didn't think my post was particularly 'mudslinging' - I simply offered an alternative view in how to look at the question of independence, which could be useful or not. I myself was reacting to the 'mudslinging' that I considered un-necessary in the posts above mine. 'President O'Salmond' is a particularly un-necessary comment, which i would regard as rubbish. Cad Monkey had also posted comments suggesting that the number of signatories was so insignificant that it actually helps the 'No' campaign, which reminded me of the '79 referendum which counted non-voters, and the dead, as No voters because of the rather undemocratic 40% rule. Again, it's rubbish. It's a cheap shot and not encouraging of debate.

Yet you decide that my neutral comment that offers an alternative way of looking at the question is somehow 'mudslinging' and nothing that appears above it is.

I'm not an architect, just an interested member of the public. What this topic does prove is that there is a significant hole in respondents knowledge of current affairs regarding the referendum, and yes, it is still embarrassing to read.

#29 Posted by Cadmonkey on 25 Aug 2014 at 23:24 PM
As you are advocating a split from the UK.
Should you not be explaining why my point re. Mortgages is nothing to worry about.
Whilst doing so could you remind me what currency I'll be using to pay it.
#30 Posted by James on 26 Aug 2014 at 02:36 AM
Think you killed it David. Condescension, lack of concision and not on topic = tumbleweed.
#31 Posted by Robin on 26 Aug 2014 at 18:31 PM
Now this has all calmed down a bit, as I suspected and mentioned in the first post, once again there is very little in the way of positivity or initiative on the No side. As opposed to picking holes in others' campaigning, why can't you project a positive vision for the future of Architecture in Scotland and the future of Scotland within the UK, rather than insulting the intelligence of others in the profession, whether students, technicians planners or someone who shops in Greggs for that matter.
As with Alistair Darling in last night's debate, it's just the same old negativity rolled out again and again, and even when you do get pertinent answers, they're dismissed and you move on to the next scare story hoping that the mud's stuck and repeddled by the mainstream media.
You really are going to have to do much better to convince the floaters over the next 3 weeks.
David Wilson
#32 Posted by David Wilson on 26 Aug 2014 at 21:23 PM
29 - Cadmonkey

I'm English, live in England and don't have a vote, I think the Scots should do whatever they want - it will be their choice and it should be respected by all parties. I don't advocate one thing or another.

All I'm merely pointing out is the lack of knowledge displayed by earlier posts, often just scare stories, backed up with no evidence, repeating what people read in the press and hear on the TV, much like your currency issue. Repeating political rhetoric is does not make a rational debate. It kills real debate.

30- James, just replying to posts that had questioned me including yours. If avoiding answers is your thing, good luck.
#33 Posted by James on 26 Aug 2014 at 23:31 PM
I didn't question you David, or accuse you of mudslinging. I do think your posts have been condescending. At one point Malcolm Fraser was making comment on this topic about the petition that he started. It was a relevant and interesting topic. Now it's another unverifiable referendum snore-fest with only about three people left. Just like last night's debate.

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