Tag Archives: SA

British Gas part 2


I’ve been quite busy since my last post but I am happy to say that British Gas want to use my idea and thanks to the hard work and efforts of John Kirby and the RIBA  things are moving on. 

I hope to be able to report more in the coming weeks and would like to thank everyone who has supported me and helped me so far.

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British Gas – The idea


In July I had an idea for British Gas.  I have now decided to describe the idea on my blog, in the hope that something positive comes from it.

As I have said before the aim of this is to promote architecture and design in the UK.  If those who take part benefit from the exercise too then that’s all well and good.

This all started when I was watching television and the British Gas ‘our world’ advert came on the screen.  If you want to see some pictures of the advert look at Helen Butterworth’s blog.  As I was watching the animation I found myself thinking that there wasn’t much of a representation of modern architecture in it and in a little while I had the following idea.

A national competition supported by British Gas and the RIBA to design your ideal home based on the theme of the advert.  The winners could be featured in an advert or two and the other entires could be showed on a website.  There could be a number of categories based on age to widen its appeal and keep it fair for entrants.

I have contacted both British Gas and the RIBA and sent them a few details of my idea and with a bit of luck it might come to something.

I would love to hear what you think…

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!

Good Architecture


Following my guest blog post as part of Architecture Week at the mypropertymentor web site I thought I would add to the story.

I had this idea in December 2009, when describing the benefits of good architecture to a client.

Good Architecture is like:

A bespoke suit: Individual, special, comfortable, unique

A good book: Engaging, inspiring, has a clear narrative

Good music: Structured, harmony & discord, fun

A good film: Dramatic, uplifting, memorable, emotional

Good Art: Beautiful personal, spiritual, reflective

Good Photography: Composed, interesting, scene setting

What does the title Architect mean to you?


I saw this article from Su Butcher and it stirred something in my mind, but I couldn’t recall it, until now.

Not only is the image of an Architect misconceived I think that the title is having a bad run of luck too.  Apart from its verbal use in phrases like ‘lash architect’ or ‘architect of his own downfall’ a more recent example is used in IT.

The world of IT uses phrases like systems architect, project architect, solution architect, data architect and so on and there seems to be an increasing number of references to ‘architects’ in IT, which sometimes gets in the way of my roaming for my intended subject.  Surely it must cause problems with those in IT as well?