In Manchester discussing how devolving power to regions can lead to more effective and more appropriate solutions to the current housing crisis. Lots of support for this and lots of good ideas. I think Scottish devolution has opened people’s eyes to the benefits of local decision making but they haven’t yet experienced it’s overwhelming, empowering, energy.
Next day: Derby. We’ve started the design of Phase Two of Castleward so it’s a good time to think about the bits of Phase One that work (mixed use/ mixed tenure/ mixed typologies/ the biggest trees we’ve ever planted/ streets) and the bits that don’t. If being an architect is sometimes quite hard work, it’s all made worthwhile when you see things you imagined realised.
Facetiming (?) the kids from St Pancras Station, and David Cameron walks into the back of the shot. I say ‘Good morning’, he says it right back. Nice enough chap, but a series of giveaway policies aren’t what we need, I think.
His right to buy policy takes us back to the eighties. Thatcher sorted out manufacturing, but only by wrecking it. We need people who can make things: take materials and add value through creativity, design and manufacture.
I spent a pleasant hour (once everyone had gone home) sketching a workshop in the excellent Smiths of Derby. Their bespoke clock making and restoring business is highly specialist but the skills needed are fantastically diverse, and hence there’s diversity in the people employed too. Smiths would get my vote.
Earlier in the week I ran 10 miles around Edinburgh and watched a motorcyclist with less interesting work to do than either Smiths or Dave are faced with.
In Cannes for MIPIM. It’s our market, condensed. When I headed out I thought it might be about pitching, but it’s not. It’s a chance to talk to the people who’s needs will shape our business. But we can’t do everything for everyone so the trick, I think, is to work out who to listen most closely to amongst the 20,000 voices. Getting to do this on a beach in the south of France is nice, but it doesn’t make it any easier.
Some of this information gets delivered quite formally.
Statistics on places: design, value, people, quality, crisis etc. I imagined I might be sketching the beach and the boats, but there isn’t any time.
Most of the time it’s less formal discussion: breakfasts, lunches, afternoon beers, dinners, late night pints. I’m not sure copious coffee and alcohol consumption helps with clarity but it was my first time, so I went along with it.On the plane home, I see I’m not alone in finding it exhausting.
Scots on tour in London stopping for lunch at Grosvenor’s Neo Bankside
Innes’s third birthday: a Halloween theme.
In Derby thinking: ‘When you think about Derby, what do you think?”
Feilden Clegg Bradley, Pugin, Sir Hugh Casson, Smiths of Derby? None of that: Rolls Royce, Bass’s beer, trains, the industrial revolution and Bonnie Prince Charlie.
Andrew Heiton Junior was a good architect at a good time to be an architect. He built churches, houses, schools, hotels, clubs and other public buildings around Perth, helping the city build it’s late nineteenth century legacy.
We are converting his Caledonian Road School. I’m becoming a fan of the palette of stonework details he used across his projects.This is the recessed entrance to the Advanced Department. It’s crumbling a bit, but we’ll fix it up.
I went down to Derby for a lively workshop on the future of the city… … and watched this guy for a bit before getting on the train.
When the Midland railway came to Derby, Francis Thompson designed a hotel, 4 shops and a pub, along with housing for the workers and a brilliant railway station. The station is gone, and 140 years on the place has lost it’s connection with the original purpose but the development remains one of Derby’s finest. Borne out of ambitious spending on infrastructure, he created a beautiful, inspiring, long lasting and simple place. We are working there now. These are the sketches of the pub and the houses.