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Alan Dunlop quits Glasgow to focus on Liverpool studio and education

May 25 2016

Alan Dunlop quits Glasgow to focus on Liverpool studio and education
Alan Dunlop is to close his Glasgow studio by the end of the month after withdrawing from his sole project in the city, a children's home in Maryhill.

Instead Dunlop will be heading south to focus on his Liverpool office in addition to positions as visiting professor at both Liverpool University’s School of Architecture and the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture, Aberdeen.

Dunlop told Urban Realm: “I’m splitting my time between Liverpool, London (where I' m helping to set up a new department) and Aberdeen.

“Education is, for me, where the most interesting work is being done in architecture, that retains any sense of critical engagement. I've not given up on practice but have lost faith in public procurement in Scotland, have given up PQQ's, ridiculous fee bids and pointless interviews. I can't get my fees low enough for commercial work.

“I withdrew from East Park because the value engineering was damaging the project, the QS wanted to make 500,000 quid deductions on the budget after planning submission, that seems to be how things are done these days. 360 Architects stepped in, they're building it now from my design. I now have an office in Liverpool and have set up a new studio here at my home, so no need to keep an office going in Glasgow.”

Dunlop established his studio at James Morrison Street in Glasgow's Merchant City back in 2010 following the dissolution of gm+ad architects.


#1 Posted by tara on 25 May 2016 at 11:42 AM
Alan has not prospered since the demise of GM+AD. This is a real loss to Scottish Architecture. Conjecture would say that he seems to be able to operate without the support of a practice/partner that can match his talent with commercial reality. Whilst his comments on procurement are bang on there are plenty of other types of job he could bid for. GM+AD was a power house in its hey day. Their legacy for Scotland was incredible. I think it is a terrible shame that Alan will now relegating himself to ‘education’ and not likely see many of his buildings come to life. Architecture doesn’t need more thinkers it needs doers. People that can make good buildings actually happen - we also need these people in education so that new generations of architects know the commercial reality of their trade. Whilst I wish him all the best I also urge him to find a way to stay in commercial practice. Find a partner, someone to help you meet the fees, run the business, do the maths….but don’t spend your time naval gazing in some uni. Architecture needs you!
#2 Posted by ta-ra on 25 May 2016 at 12:54 PM
With such a sense of entitlement, words fail me.
By the way, who was Alan Dunlop?
#3 Posted by Re-ality on 25 May 2016 at 13:43 PM
No QS "wants" to make £500,000 worth of savings! East Park School is a fantastic charity which unfortunately has finite funding - obviously Mr Dunlop has an inability to work within such constraints. To blame the QS is deflection at best.
#4 Posted by David on 25 May 2016 at 14:44 PM
Professor Dunlop certainly needs to climb down from his high horse I very much agree for we are all struggling but also very disappointing for architecture in Scotland that he is leaving Glasgow and I wish him well in this regard.
#5 Posted by QS on 25 May 2016 at 14:55 PM
# 3 Too true. It is the QS profession and our project management that is keeping architecture going in the UK. Dunlop is a prima donna!!!!!
#6 Posted by David on 25 May 2016 at 15:07 PM
QS, hahahahahhahaha..........brilliant!!!!!!
#7 Posted by Who on 25 May 2016 at 15:14 PM
Whatever one may think of Alan's influence and legacy as an architect (fairly significant) in Scotland, he certainly has plenty to offer as a professor; architectural education and the profession will benefit from his increased involvement in academia. His no-nonsense passionate approach and rigorous testing of ideas and convictions will do young architects-to-be a world of good, he is likely to motivate and encourage many with lessons that will stick well into their careers. all the best to him.
Devil's advocate
#8 Posted by Devil's advocate on 25 May 2016 at 15:28 PM
In my opinion architecture really does have a problem with low fees, but that doesn’t seem to be the consensus among architects. Between contractor/market led VE and bureaucratic procurement (of design services and buildings), it’s becoming increasingly difficult to do good work outside London, and not easy there. Architects as a group don’t seem to agree on that opinion though. Perhaps partly because we don't even agree on what good architecture is.

More often than not the response to the above is ‘dry your eyes’ and a dismissive argument about being naive and incapable of running a business; this almost always from people (usually men, often in suits) working for bigger commercial firms (GM+AD were one, P/P, Keppie, Atkins, Ryder, Aedas, LDN, 3DReid etc). These are the same firms that undercut everyone in order to buy work in their race to the bottom and that between them made hundreds redundant in Glasgow when the recession hit.

Public frameworks like Hub are disastrously bad for building quality (both the design and the physical building) and we’ve all seen the results of bad procurement on Edinburgh’s schools. The RIBA meanwhile, far from helping us to rally to a cause or argue at any meaningful level in government or elsewhere, organises competitions so that we can give away our ideas without charge.

To me, these issues seem obvious, but if the majority of other architects don’t agree that the above are problems, then there is no hope to change them (or need to). Unless there’s consensus to argue in favour of investment in real architecture (time and money for a proper design process and material quality in a realised physical product) then there will never be a change.

Most architects will (or could now) be rightly replaced by technicians and architecture will be the preserve of a few underpaid puritans, commissioned by wealthy private clients (as sustains most of the really good London practices - hence the already observable brain-drain from Scotland), with a few others pretending (often even to themselves) that what they’re doing is actually architecture - these are often directors (see previous suited-men comment) at the above companies.
Alan's Mother
#9 Posted by Alan's Mother on 26 May 2016 at 15:15 PM

Now that is a word I could use with reference to say someone at random like Martin Luther King, or Galileo, or Thomas Cromwell, but Alan Dunlop, poor soul?

Can we please keep it real?
#10 Posted by David on 27 May 2016 at 11:28 AM
Mmmm...legacy? I was in the Radisson Blu on Tuesday picking up an SDA Award the building still looked incredible brilliant entrance space
There would have been no Radisson Blu without Dunlop.
QS's do it for the lurve
#11 Posted by QS's do it for the lurve on 27 May 2016 at 16:42 PM
David, doesn't appear to be that poor either, saw him leaving the hotel Tuesday and getting into a new range rover.

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