The profession faces a Gordian knot

RIBA HQ Portland Place_Hamish Champ

Tackle the thorny issue of procurement and everything else will unravel, argues Nick Moss

In 333 BC Alexander marched his army into the Phrygian of Gordium in modern day Turkey. In the city, he found an ancient wagon, its yoke tied in several knots all so tightly entangled that it was impossible to see how they were fastened. An oracle had declared that anyone who could unravel the knots was destined to become ruler of all of Asia.

More on that story later.

I believe that architects are in a Gordian knot. We find ourselves in the position of having responsibility without control or influence, working in a flawed system that results in tragedies such as Grenfell. We are marginalised to the point where there is no architect on the new Housing Quality Board, or on the Grenfell panel. Even our own institute is no longer led by an architect. Yet we remain nervous about challenging the structural issues that have the gravest impact on our ability to do our job. This marginalisation has helped to create an underlying belief it is pointless to attempt to change the system. That we are on our own, and the RIBA will remain broadly ineffective and continue to elect presidents with woolly, unachievable platforms that, in trying to solve everything, solve nothing.

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