Monocolumn: How Do We Value Design?

Royal Institute of British Architects launches a report explaining that ‘design is not some kind of luxury.’


Monocolumn is Monocle’s daily bulletin of news and opinion. Catch up with previous editions here.

July 18, 2011 — London
Writer: David Plaisant

Architects, perhaps more than any other design professionals in Britain, have had a rough ride lately. Not only have commissions large or small been hard to find, but in mid-2010 education secretary Michael Gove accused architects of “creaming off cash” under the Labour government’s much-lauded Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme.

The scheme planned to rebuild or refurbish every one of the United Kingdom’s 3,000 publicly funded secondary schools. Since then Westminster has played a cat-and-mouse game with architects, contractors and educators alike.

As a measured response, last week the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) launched “Good design – it all adds up”, a report citing the implicit value, monetary or otherwise, that good building design can bring. When it comes to the built environment, “design is not some kind of luxury,” says Anna Scott-Marshall, the RIBA’s head of public affairs.

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Monocolumn is Monocle’s daily bulletin of news and opinion. Click here to read more, or here to subscribe to the monthly magazine.

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