Why architects should keep calm about the Scruton commission

Eleanor Jolliffe

The profession does itself no favours by rounding on the government, argues Eleanor Jolliffe

I’ve been following the furore around Roger Scruton and Kit Malthouse’s comments on architecture with interest. The Building Better Building Beautiful commission is a lovely idea. Whether it will achieve anything is another matter. In fact I don’t disagree with Martyn Evans, writing in BD recently, that the BBBB Commission may well resolve itself to be “irrelevant and ineffective… just chatter on the wind”.

However, I think to limit the insights that can be gained from this spat to just the commission is rather missing an opportunity to understand how the architect’s place in construction and the public imagination is perceived.

Firstly, and most worryingly, a governmental commission (no matter how eventually effective) with the headline stated aim “to tackle the challenge of poor quality design and build of homes and places across the country” has been formed, and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has researched and concluded that the most qualified person to head this commission is a philosopher.

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