Will Alsop: He never stopped fighting for what he believed in

As the profession mourns the loss of one of its finest, we reprint this piece by Will Alsop from 2004, just after his Fourth Grace had been canned

Why Will has no Grace

If the axing of my Fourth Grace has taught me anything, it’s that politicians may demand iconic architecture but they actually want safe designs with no financial risk attached

I have written before about the effects of risk avoidance on architecture and design, but it is not a subject that suffers from overexposure. The consequences of too little design innovation and too much bean-counting are stifling our nation, and indeed most developed countries around the globe.

The picture is an increasingly depressing one, dominated by the banks and their line of least risk. True to their policy of only lending to those who already have enough money, they will not entertain the idea of underwriting a genuinely new idea. Having handed over the reins of power to these financial behemoths in the interests of capitalism, we now face a future run by fat cats at their most corpulent. The large become larger, but by the resultant cycles of consumption and easy money we store up a barren legacy of pollution and ugliness for a population characterised by obesity, ill health and poor education. How does this affect architecture?

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