Newcastle Station Clock

Newcastle Station Clock

Monday, 23 July 2012

Fast Architecture

In the recent weeks there have been some shocking news articles about architecture that places the profession in an area of the public mind-set that most would rather it wasn’t. This week The Architects’ Journal announced the results of a new survey which shows that 15% of the public don't know what architects do. This comes after last week's news that an architecture practice in Scotland has been offering a 70% discount on the deal website Groupon; so it now seems those who do know what architects do aren't going to know the true value of the profession.

It's easy to complain about these revelations, as many people on the comment sections of the websites have, but in true reflection of the pioneering spirit of the profession and in the face of the economic climate I think we should embrace it. And here's how…
One of the few industries to be thriving in the recession is the fast food industry. The cheap and tasteless production of food at speed with little consideration of the long term impact perfectly reflects the current consumer mood. Hence their success; success architecture could emulate.
No longer should practices be shut away in offices but should take the prime slot on the high street between Primani and Poundland. Big neon signage and glossy posters advertising the latest cut cost, multi-buy deals on schools will not only draw in the public but make it clear what we do and most importantly how cheaply we can do it.

The interior should be identical to every other practice in the chain,  the feeling of being somewhere unfamiliar disturbs the client,  it fills them with fear that they could be about to order something different to what they would get from the practice in London,  New York or Dubai. The layout is simple and, of course, generic.  Rows of tables and uncomfortable chairs for clients to review the designs which are identical to last time they came. The key is to make this area slightly, but not obviously, grim in order to encourage fast turn over.

At the rear is a backlit portfolio showing a variety of unappealing designs at rock bottom prices, each claiming to contain 100% real design. Several combo design services are on offer reducing the price as well as the ever popular Kids School Design Pack with free ‘break out space’ included. It is of course considered good parenting to send your children to a school that bares no relation to its actual geographical location.

After making your choice, being asked the contractually obliged "do you want open space with that?" and getting your BREEAM loyalty card points, a small wait is required. It is a small wait as all the architect needs to do is drop a pre-approved design into the plotter before throwing the results at the client and shouting NEXT! Meanwhile the client wanders and off grumbling something about having a pound for every time they had to scrape the Foster off even though they asked for it without.
Another mildly satisfied client.

Naturally there will be some controversy. A celebrity TV architect will kick up a fuss and get … banned for school design but after a while a government minister will decide its ok as long as it’s a free school or academy. And some critics will enquire into the claims of 100% real design, but design is an ambiguous term and a TV adverts showing tempting renders that don't look anything like the final thing will quieten them down.

No comments:

Post a Comment