Galway, City Architect?

Galway, City Architect?

Postby alan d » Mon Feb 09, 2004 1:19 pm

Hey FIN, what do you think of An Taisce's assertion that Galway needs a city architect?

....indeed, does any city need a city architect?
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Postby PVC King » Mon Feb 09, 2004 1:24 pm

Every City needs a City Architect.

Without a City Architect, the administrative process gets dominated by engineers and politicans.

The Dublin City Architects were instrumental in most of the good things that happened here over the last decade.

The prior two decades saw the Road Engineers in the acendancy, they also saw the guts ripped out of the city.
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Postby alan d » Mon Feb 09, 2004 1:34 pm

........what is a city architect then, other than an administrator......... anyone with talent should be building?

more red tape.............. maybe?
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Postby PVC King » Mon Feb 09, 2004 1:42 pm

Quote "anyone with talent should be building"

What if all Barristers decided to give Counsel there would be no Judiciary.

City Architect, Jim Barrett

"The City Architect's Division provides a multi-faceted service in relation to the City Council's development, building and urban regeneration programmes. Design briefs are formulated and agreed with client departments, sketch designs prepared and refined in consultation with technical departments and with local communities. Schemes are developed in-house, progressed to contract stage and supervised to completion. Where in-house resources are not in position to meet expanding building programmes, outside consultants are engaged to assist with meeting targets.

Multi-disciplinary teams under the guidance of the Division promote Urban Renewal through major civic works such as the Refurbishment of City Hall and by facilitating conservation and private sector projects, with notable success in the transformation of the urban centre.

In addition to the traditional housing programme, area regeneration schemes and modernisation of the City Council's stock of flat accommodation are increasing areas of activity. Such schemes are planned and implemented in close co-operation with resident tenant associations and local community interests."

http://www.dublincity.ie/servicesframe.html

Hard to argue with that role.
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Postby garethace » Mon Feb 09, 2004 1:54 pm

If we want to go down our president Anthony Reddy's route of only real architects, calling themselves architects - then we will have to do a much better job of cleaning up the mess, which currently exists in how an architect goes to higher level education and qualifies as an architect in this country.

Because in the current state of affairs, my best guess is that a very large chunk of potential talent just leaks away into web design, graphic design, economics, computer science, engineering...... areas with a much wider choice of employment and future career options. Rather than face up to the five years of bitch-i-ness grand central station that seems to have embodied what our architectural education system stands for.

I think the architectural education here, can give you wonderful insights in the process of designing the built environment - which you could never get doing economics, or engineering - but it only restricts you to the straight-forward narrow project architect prospective employment routine - and to a very large extent, just working with other project architects. This never expands into other areas, relevant to the built environment, which other vocations seem more adept in handling.

A generation of Architects in Ireland, during the 1970s, 80s and 90s, like the MOLA, group 91 etc, the Jim Barretts even, may have managed to burst out of that mold in some areas - but it is still a massive gulf to cross for most.
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Postby alan d » Mon Feb 09, 2004 1:59 pm

unequivocal Diaspora......as usual

Cities without City Architect:

Barcelona, Rotterdam, Paris, Berlin, Oporto, Manchester, London, New York, Tokyo, Sydney, Chicago, Glasgow, Copenhagen, Madrid, Rome, Toronto, Lyon, Stuttgart, Athens, Rio................
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Postby PVC King » Mon Feb 09, 2004 2:01 pm

So what do these cities have or is Dublin the only city with a stock of social housing and in need of urban renewal?
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Postby FIN » Mon Feb 09, 2004 2:12 pm

there is a city architect for galway. her name is rosie webb. there is also a county architect or several of them i think. now wether there is a need for them or not... i am not going to say on the forum but as far as i can see they just judge the bigger scheme's and that's it. we are doing a large project for the council and she thinks she is basically the client and project manager, but as they sold it to a private developer they are relegated to consultants no matter what she thinks.
that's beside the point.
"........what is a city architect then, other than an administrator......... anyone with talent should be building?"
they may have talent but there is a thinking in general here that government jobs are cushy and have gauranteed pension after you rot in the job doing bugger all for 40 years. kinda morbid but hey!

more red tape.............. maybe?"

exactly. that's all it is. someone else who offers there opinions on a design.
i wonder are the planners in other countries obligated to undergo a few years of actual architectural training or are they geography grads like here?
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Postby garethace » Mon Feb 09, 2004 2:18 pm

i wonder are the planners in other countries obligated to undergo a few years of actual architectural training or are they geography grads like here?



I would be very tempted at this stage of my life to consider a geography/economics arts degree - it would open up that whole planning area of employment in civil service, much moreso than years spent doing architecture in our decrepit old arch institutions. Probably be a lot easier than architecture too eh? :)

So i just makes me wonder, how many more Joe Bloggs like myself have had to come to the same conclusions over through the years?

I think the architectural education here, can give you wonderful insights in the process of designing the built environment - which you could never get doing economics, or engineering


This is all well and good but,...... :(
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Postby FIN » Mon Feb 09, 2004 2:22 pm

:D

it's not too hard to remember where places are on the atlas!!!!
i know very simplified but yeah! i wonder how many. not as much points needed and definetly not the same amount of years. although i know some of the better ones did do a course in town planning.
the question is of course... would you be happy!!!! :D
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Postby alan d » Mon Feb 09, 2004 2:22 pm

Planners, eh? that's another bone of contention.

Glasgow disolved their own architects department about 6 years ago and got rid of the title " City Architect" the years since have seen a period or unprecedented growth in urban renewal and new design talent coming through, I think.
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Postby garethace » Mon Feb 09, 2004 2:26 pm

Originally posted by alan d
Planners, eh? that's another bone of contention.

Glasgow disolved their own architects department about 6 years ago and got rid of the title " City Architect" the years since have seen a period or unprecedented growth in urban renewal and new design talent coming through, I think.


I am trying to pick up on that line of thinking here, that there are certainly good reasons, that engineerings, geographers and economists have suceeded in cornering the civil service appointments. While architects with huge talent, experience and drive have made precious little headway in that area down through the years.

This is why I think you need to look at it from the educational perspective - a young student looks at a Bolton Street/Queens/UCD course and says 'f*** that', and then sees a nicer qualification/employment prospects/course somewhere else - and at the end of the day - does just as well. Or better even.

Just look at architectural courses - you get nothing after doing three/four hard years in architecture except a gigantic boot up the you know where. And you simply cannot carry any of the benefits of that experience/training onto any other course. Talk about building yourself a nice wee lsland in the middle of the ocean....

whereas to the best of my knowledge, with a three year arts degree in economics, you can do a year course in planning in UCD and role on that Bertie civil service lov'in. :)
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Postby FIN » Mon Feb 09, 2004 2:31 pm

it certainly looks that way alright. it has improved greatly and credit to all there if that is what dissolving the city architect does. suppose it's the fact that they get rid of the old timers( by this i mean what i described in previous reply) who have just one vision in regards to the style they like and find holes in everything else. it lets the architect sit down with the planner and talk through the design and convince them it's good.! the choice of planners then is important but they tend to renew themselves after a few years ( going out and starting a consultants) .

gareth i think that the lure of private business and designing the "landmarks" is too strong to take rather than the endless paper shuffling of a civil servant job
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Postby garethace » Mon Feb 09, 2004 2:33 pm

Originally posted by FIN
gareth i think that the lure of private business and designing the "landmarks" is too strong to take rather than the endless paper shuffling of a civil servant job [/B]


I have to disagree completely, since there are people out there, who have both the skills to shuffle papers with the best of them, while also seeing where the architect, might be coming from - to a much larger degree than some economics arts graduate from UCD. :)
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Postby PVC King » Mon Feb 09, 2004 2:33 pm

Quote "I would be very tempted at this stage of my life to consider a geography/economics arts degree - it would open up that whole planning area of employment in civil service"

You would be joining the largest group in UCD planning as an architecture grad. The second largest are property economics followed by Urban Geography.

I think that the City Architects are a necessary part of the forward planning process, particularly urban renewal planning.

City architects also provide a valuable resource to the planning departments in analysing planning applications.

Quote "the years since have seen a period or unprecedented growth in urban renewal"

Halifax (HBOS) development indicators would point to a parallel growth across all comparible sectors in the UK property industry.
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Postby garethace » Mon Feb 09, 2004 2:36 pm

I don't know much about the UCD planning course, but I have heard precious little about it from various architects I have hung around with down through the years.

What I have heard a lot of, is the bickering and hostility shown on both sides of the planning process fence, in this country. A bit like teenager gangs scrapping down at the local disco.

What does worry me though, is the increasingly 'isolationist' mentality brough into the RIAI headquarters now, with the coming of the Reddy presidency - similar, in many ways to the Bush administration, contrasted to the Clinton one, in the United States of America.
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Postby alan d » Mon Feb 09, 2004 2:39 pm

Don't know why that is really, tempted to say that architects are insular and not team players, by nature and consequently cannot play or are not interested in a political game. Not motivated only by money, either. That's why you'll never find them as executives or directors in city institututions

FIN, The City Architect department in Glasgow was just another level of administration to get beyond and encouraged a job for life mentality.

The "City Architect" himself has disappeared without trace.
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Postby FIN » Mon Feb 09, 2004 2:41 pm

Originally posted by garethace


I have to disagree completely, since there are people out there, who have both the skills to shuffle papers with the best of them, while also seeing where the architect, might be coming from - to a much larger degree than some economics arts graduate from UCD. :)


not what i meant. i mean that the lure of private practice and designing these instead of watching them come across ur desk. i agree with u there. there are some people that can visualize what the architect is trying to do and the more the merrier i believe, besides these number crunchers. there is also some stigma attaced to civil jobs where they are kinda seen as the low of the low on the architectural food chain.
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Postby garethace » Mon Feb 09, 2004 2:42 pm

Originally posted by alan d
Don't know why that is really, tempted to say that architects are insular and not team players, by nature and consequently cannot play or are not interested in a political game. Not motivated only by money, either. That's why you'll never find them as executives or directors in city institututions.


Unfortunately, in my own personal experience of them as individuals - I would say the vast overall proportion of architects out there today, do fall into that one catagory.

I think, it has something to do with the 5-year course, and the fact, you can never take any credits/benefit from doing that course, and use it in an other area.

It seems to be a ship, you have to jump from very early, if you are not entirely satisfied with your plotted course/captain etc, etc.
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Postby FIN » Mon Feb 09, 2004 2:43 pm

Originally posted by alan d

FIN, The City Architect department in Glasgow was just another level of administration to get beyond and encouraged a job for life mentality.


absolutely. just what i was trying to say. with a nice pension afterwards as well. ;)
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Postby garethace » Mon Feb 09, 2004 2:45 pm

Originally posted by FIN
there is also some stigma attaced to civil jobs where they are kinda seen as the low of the low on the architectural food chain.


It is not that, you cannot control a civil service the same way as you can control people around you in a small architects practice.

Just look at Stephenson and Gibney - they decided they couldn't control one another and split!

Think rock bands, the BGs, Fleetwood Mac, Robbie Williams, Divas.... :)

So they end up building themselves, their little fantasy islands etc.

But having said, that you cannot dispute their in-built ability to visualise, something economists, accountants, geographers etc, haven't practiced directly as much as an architect has.
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Postby PVC King » Mon Feb 09, 2004 2:46 pm

Quote "there is also some stigma attaced to civil jobs where they are kinda seen as the low of the low on the architectural food chain."

Highly preferable to the Sealink to Holyhead in 1983. I think in fairness that the Dublin City Architects and to an equal extent Duchas architects actually do have an operational output.

Obviously in the higher profile schemes such as Ballymun they brought in private practice, but they are responsible for a large output of unseen work all the same.

There is the same attitude in all professions towards those who are chartered for private practice but settle for one (State) employer.

Then again is it any different than an accountant at PWC doing the IBM books for 25 years?
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Postby FIN » Mon Feb 09, 2004 2:49 pm

good point. i know the guy who went into the galway county architects job. and he was saying that he was there for a few years to stay quiet and then after they get to know u then u may be able to start pushing better design i regards to the planning submissions. i told him that they only way to see it quicker is to start seminars ( i was thinking small ones) where he introduces himself to different architects and underlines what his intentions are. this will increase the trust factor and then the expressions will come to the front. my good advice i fear fell on deaf ears. he wanted to fit in rather than ruffle feathers.
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Postby garethace » Mon Feb 09, 2004 2:51 pm

Originally posted by Diaspora
Highly preferable to the Sealink to Holyhead in 1983. I think in fairness that the Dublin City Architects and to an equal extent Duchas architects actually do have an operational output.


Where the shit hit the fan in Duchas, was the architects realised that 'hey, we can start to call the shots here', and their most destructive basic natural instinct, to control and call out orders just kicked into overdrive, as it always will.

Result: Duchas, pissed down too many peoples' backs and self-destructed in no time.

But like I always say - Fleetwood MAC, created their best work while tearing each other's eyeballs out, and then were no more.

Civil services inherently aim to stick around much, much longer than that.
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Postby PVC King » Mon Feb 09, 2004 2:52 pm

Quote "i told him that they only way to see it quicker is to start seminars ( i was thinking small ones) where he introduces himself to different architects and underlines what his intentions are"

If every planner did that We'd all know where we stood, it should be done at the start of every development plan coming into force.
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