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Thursday, 3 February 2011

Loving your architect - not letting the bully kick down your sandcastle.

It has been reported that Mr Gove (Secretary of State for Education, in the UK) has been architect bashing, again. Last weekend he told a Free school conference that there would be no fancy architects involved in free schools. Indeed he rubbished the profession altogether he said “We won’t be getting Richard Rogers to design your school, we won’t be getting any ‘Award winning architects’ to design it, because no-one in this room is here to make architects richer.”
(Details at: http://www.bdonline.co.uk/news/michael-gove-in-new-attack-on-award-winning-architects/5012674.article#ixzz1Cw0a7GIn
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Why should we worry in healthcare? I have been engaging with the architect appointed recently to help us consider our new hospice building. He has won an award or two - but even if he had not done so I would still value what he brings to our discussion and ideas. The ideas of our team are given respect and considered. We get to discuss what care means; how we will deliver it and ways in which we can change our practice for the better.

The building will contribute to the future of palliative and end of life care; it will facilitate the delivery of our small revolution; the environment in which we will work will be vital to get right. Our architect has real skill in taking our words and making them come alive in drawings. It is a creative process I treasure; it will bring a result of richness and utility, a place to celebrate life and quietly care when life is ending.  Last month the BMA published a report about the psychological and social needs of patients and the importance of healthy designs. See: http://www.bma.org.uk/health_promotion_ethics/psychologicalandsocialneedsofpatients.jsp 

In this report architecture has an obviously important role to play. There is clear evidence of the importance that an appropriate environment will make significance for the person who is unwell.
I am sure there must be evidence that thoughtfully designed education environments will make a difference for those who have to work and learn in such places. It is evidently so for those in healthcare. It cannot be acceptable that buildings such as schools and hospitals that have a high impact on people's lives should be pieces of design influenced by an ideology based on prejudice and a real lack of respect for the talents, training and professionalism of those involved day by day in the provision of new buildings.
We are much more aware these days of railway stations and airports for example that work and those that don't; on that theme the ruination of Stanstead Airport concourse is a classic example of market forces taking control. Architecture can make a difference; there are lots of media examples that demonstrate the public appetite for design and good buildings.

So I believe we should love and support our architects; it is an often under appreciated profession that we belittle at our peril. The peril is particularly for those who are vulnerable; children and those who are sick. Let not the hooligan kick down your edifice because they don't like what you've built; the risk is that this is letting the bully win.

1 comment:

  1. It makes you despair for what makes an educated person.

    ReplyDelete