Stay safe but remain sceptical
Mar24

Stay safe but remain sceptical

Regardless of the UK government’s twelfth-hour assurance that these new powers will be reviewed every six months, a potentially worrying precedent may have already been set.

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Mad, bad and dangerous
Aug08

Mad, bad and dangerous

The media reports that more than a quarter of architecture students in the UK have reported mental health issues. This reply points the finger at where the real lunacy lies. In May 2016, the National Union of Students (NUS) issued a report that concerns about debt are affecting the mental health of 36 per cent of students. A 2015 report by Universities UK titled “Student mental well-being in Higher Education” says that “every year one...

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Pledges for a new narrative
Jun28

Pledges for a new narrative

We are a group of architects, designers, planners, artists & creatives brought together in the aftermath of the EU referendum. PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE: www.newnarratives.org.uk BREXIT has created profound uncertainty. But do we see it as a moment of crisis or of opportunity? We choose the latter. As a result, we are positive about democracy and the freedom that it reflects, and see a world of possibilities if the UK takes steps...

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Brexit
Apr16

Brexit

Brexit is is not a triumphalist moment but one for constructing a better future, one in which we have the autonomy to make decisions outside the technocratic framework of the EU. For those who are fearful, it is understandable – and there is inevitably going to be business difficulties in the months ahead. But let’s not forget that things were far from rosy before the referendum. For those who have experienced home-grown recessions or...

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In defence of a Defence of Stars and Icons
Apr15

In defence of a Defence of Stars and Icons

Austin Williams | 20 April 2015 It is a sad indictment of current architectural debate (as well as critical political debate more generally) that Patrik Schumacher’s latest article is creating such a fuss. Fans of Walter Benjamin – the unread darling of the Situationist mainstream – wouldn’t dream of criticising his statement “The public must always be proved wrong, yet always feel represented by the...

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3-d Printed houses?
Mar24

3-d Printed houses?

In February 2015, The Washington Post announced that “a team of Chinese construction workers used a 3D printer to construct houses. By day’s end, there were 10 (houses) standing.” Meanwhile, UK newspaper The Guardian reported “A Chinese construction company is building houses that can be mass-produced using a 3D printer.” Not to be outdone, Time magazine claimed that “A Chinese company (had) unveiled a five-story apartment building...

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The fatuous infatuation with well-being
Jan12

The fatuous infatuation with well-being

Further to a TES article “Schools should appoint heads of well-being, charity says“, I tracked back the report being cited… then the citation of the citation of the citation within it. Here’s what I found. First of all, what is the TES doing uncritically reporting that “75% of mental illness is unreported”. What could that possibly mean? At best it is a projection, at worst it is guesswork.  The actual survey...

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Critical Subjects
Apr16

Critical Subjects

Higher education is in crisis. This summer sees the launch of Critical Subjects, a new architectural Summer School placing the pursuit of knowledge and critical thinking at the core of education.   These are troubled times for higher education. In recent years the idea of pursuing knowledge for its own sake has found little support. Instead of creating an atmosphere supportive of open enquiry and free thinking, universities have...

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Dear Chris…
Apr26

Dear Chris…

This is a series of letters between Chris Twinn, Arup Fellow & Senior Sustainability Consultant in Shanghai; and Austin Williams of FCP, after the publication of Williams’ article in China Daily (here)   Dear Austin Having read your article in the China Daily criticising sustainability and sustainability consultants, I would like to say that I agree there are there are too many Western consultants peddling low level...

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McC-arch-yism
Mar16

McC-arch-yism

By Austin Williams | 16 March 2013 In her book, “Back To (Civic) Life, Back To Morality: An Architectural Fable For Our Modern Times”, Elly Ward proposes – somewhat caustically – that a series of ‘moral rehabilitation” centres be built around the UK that are “open to anyone lacking in moral values and showing signs of civic disengagement.” Satire works when it mirrors reality and indeed, we...

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