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Thursday31 July 2014

Architects: cut the rhetoric

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I wish the young women of vPPR nothing but success (YAYA October 26)…

vPPR Architects

YAYA contenders: Tatiana von Preussen, Jessica Reynolds and Catherine Pease of vPPR.

…but I also wish that, when asked about their design philosophy, their response was not, “… focusing on the framing of dialectical relationships: the meeting of innovative digital technologies with traditional materials; the juxtaposition of innovative geometries with historical detailing; and the alternation between artificial and natural landscapes”.

If I thought about this for long enough, I am sure I could work out what it actually means. Frankly, however, life is too short.

It is time that architects gave more thought to how they describe what they do to people who are not architects. And people who are not architects read BD.

I have no doubt that vPPR are, as BD suggests, in the running to secure a major commission. However, they have to get through the presentation stage first. Most developers I know would glaze over if the answer to the question, how would you describe your approach, was as impenetrable as the above.

Louise Rodgers
Director, Quatro

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Could not agree more, Louise. Architects are dragged into this 'architectural dialogue' from a basic training of 'how to do a crit' in college. There is an onus to embrace this language, when surrounded by a like minded collection of people all trying to impress their tutors far more than their peers. They think have to do this by convincing everyone that they have conceptualised sufficiently well on the scheme for it to merit such language. It is wonderful that there is often the talent and skill behind such language, but sadly it can also hide a lack of genuine design consideration and skill, client empathy or, worse, basic common building sense. Until architects can communicate sufficiently well with anyone who is not an architect, we will be forever viewed by others as incomprehensible, aloof and rightly outsiders in the building industry disappearing up our own ...

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