Tag Archives: construction

Ask The Architect – New team member


I would like to welcome Structural Engineer David Sharpe to the Ask The Architect team.  David will be helping out and with structural questions and chats as part of the Twitter service and we look forward to his input.

Idea for British Gas


On Thursday night last week I had an idea to help promote modern architecture in collaboration with British Gas and the RIBA.

The next day I decided to start things off using Twitter.  I found @BritishGas, tried tweeting them and soon discovered that they were not really engaging with people on Twitter, but that’s another story.

I changed my approach and tweeted for help and got some great responses.  David Sharpe sent me the press/media number for Centrica so I called them and sent them an email.

Yesterday I called the RIBA and had a telephone call from Centrica, which gave me the chance to explain how I thought my idea could promote modern architecture and be a great marketing exercise for all concerned.

I now have a bit of a dilemma as I am reluctant to explain my idea at this stage and risk losing control of it.  If anyone has been following my tweets and this story they have probably been able to work out what I am banging on about so I may have given it away already!

Once more I turned to my twitter network to ask for help and advice on what to do and got some good ideas and offers of help from Michaela Hardwick, Su Butcher, Graham Norwood and Keith at Pa Group.

The purpose of this post is to start telling the story of my idea and get something out in the public domain.

If you have any ideas on what I should do next I would like to read them.  Thanks

Professional Stereotypes


One of the discussions on Twitter during last Friday’s Ask The Architect was about people’s experience of stereotypes and how they can affect a profession, so I thought I would follow it up with this post.

So what are some of the Architect stereotypes?  Off the top of my head I have listed some below which can affect how the public sees us.  You are more than welcome to add to the list with your comments.

 1 Architects are expensive or a luxury

Imagine trying to order food in a restaurant when only the wine menu has prices on it.  How would you know if the wine was good value or not when you don’t know how expensive the food is?

Architects are used on all sorts of projects that vary in size and cost and we can help the client get better value for money from their budget.  The cost of an Architect on a project is normally relative to the overall value of the job.  However, as we are often first to be approached and first to give a fee proposal the client has no other costs to compare our fee projection with.  This is where a lot of sucking of teeth can occur!

2 Architects specialise in modern buildings or new houses or offices or public buildings, etc (delete as required)

As a creative person an Architect should be able to turn their hand to design anything.  The reason some companies or individuals specialise is the same reason why some musicians play blues or some novelists write thrillers, they like it and are good at it.

Obviously there are commercial reasons involved with specialising in certain project types but a specialist practice often undertakes other projects too.

So why do people think we are like surgeons and do the same thing for our entire career?

3 Architects ignore their clients and design what they want

So how would this work?  I don’t even need to use the restaurant example to show you that this doesn’t make sense.

Part of our job is to advise our client in their best interest and this can lead to having to say what people don’t want to hear.  For example, a client might like to have an ornate wall mirror in a minimalist kitchen, or one of their design ideas contravenes legal protections.  As a result, we end up being the bearer of bad news by saying things like ‘Sorry you can’t do that’ or ‘Do you think that is appropriate to your brief?’

Everyone has a stereotype and I could go on but my black turtle neck is back from the dry cleaners!

Green shoots?


I know it’s a much used phrase at the moment, but I have heard that some major developers are considering mobilising on sites again as they think the market has or is ‘bottomed out’.  Add this to the refinancing of  Taylor Wimpey and you may have a serious bit of good news for the economy.

Lot’s of if’s and buts there.  Fingers crossed though eh?