British Council Architecture Design Fashion

Menu Show search

Fundamentals Debates at Central Saint Martins

Fundamentals Debates at Central Saint Martins

14 January 2018

Join a series of debates focusing on challenges facing the profession of architecture at Central Saint Martins. Fundamentals: The way we work

25 January-3 March 2018

'The architectural profession is broken at every level – how can we fix it?' Oliver Wainwright chairs this series of debates.

LEARN | Thursday 25 January, 6.30pm

Is architectural education outmoded, overpriced and increasingly irrelevant? After five years of full-time education, architecture students can now expect to graduate with £100,000 of debt, a high cost that is leading many to question what they're getting for the money and if it's really worth it. Often accused of being detached from reality, driven by fulfilling tutors' own theoretical agendas and encouraging masochistic working habits, architecture schools are facing vocal pressure for change. From the rise of live projects and collaborative studios that engage with real development sites to practice-based models of education that do away with the school all together, how can architectural education evolve to remain relevant?

Speakers: Mel Dodd – Central Saint Martins | Robert Mull – University of Brighton | Deborah Saunt – London School of Architecture | Bob Sheil – The Bartlett, UCL

WORK | Thursday 8 February, 6.30pm

Are architects overworked, underpaid and losing their agency? Once enjoying a lordly position at the top of the tree, architects have found their status progressively eroded, with every stage of the design process taken over by specialist consultants, or else absorbed by design-and-build contractors. Working ever longer hours for ever lower fees, fuelling a culture of internships and temporary contracts, architects have become hopeless pawns at the mercy of their clients, their staff precariously employed with no union to support them. How can labour practices be reformed to avoid the architect's exploitation and extinction, or will an unregulated market ultimately correct itself?

Speakers: Architectural Workers – campaign group | Lucy Carmichael – Director of Practice, RIBA | Harriet Harriss – Royal College of Art | Peter Morris – Allford Hall Monaghan Morris | Patrik Schumacher – Zaha Hadid Architects

BUILD | Thursday 22 February, 6.30pm

Is procurement too bureaucratic, risk-averse and a barrier to the best design? Stuck in a quagmire of pre-qualification questionnaires, turnover requirements and professional indemnity demands, many practices find much potential work is out of their reach. Unable to get on to framework agreements and denied the chance to design a certain type of building if they haven't built one already, architects are stuck in a hopeless catch-22 situation. Even when they are eligible, they are often forced to compete on price, rather than design quality, leading to a detrimental race to the bottom. With the cost of procurement to both clients and bidders now reaching up to 30% of a contract's value, how can these cumbersome, prohibitive systems be overhauled?

Speakers: Claire Bennie – Municipal | Russell Curtis – RCKa / Project Compass | Kay Hughes – Khaa | Malcolm Reading – Malcolm Reading Consultants

LABOUR | 2 - 3 March

 A two-day symposium to catalyse public debate on architecture and labour. 

All debates will take place at:

LVMH Lecture Theatre
Central Saint Martins, Granary Building, 1 Granary Square, King's Cross N1C 4AA
View on map

To book your tickets visit