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I agree that the architect alone cannot deliver the solution to the problems raised here, and in reply to Tommy G’s question, “Do those of us who blame architects for poor buildings really believe that they deliberately design shite? If so, why would they do this?” – as I said in an earlier post, it is the developer who ultimately mandates the ‘shite’, but I think the architect is in a prime position to steer the developer onto the right path. After all, a good building (both in form and function) is ultimately a better investment than a shoddy one, as well as being a good advertisement for future work. Unfortunately, in Ireland today, the developer will not go hungry, however bad previous project have been.

High-density urban living requires government and legal support. When the planning authority allows basic design flaws such as those I mentioned in my last post, they are failing to do their job properly – that is, protecting the consumer from bad design. I would like to see a set of guidelines for apartment development, that should be met in order to obtain planning permission. Fergal MacCabe’s study “Planning Issues Relating to Residential Density in Urban and Suburban Locations” ( addresses a lot of these issues and is very encouraging for the future, if implemented.

Consumer awareness is another aspect – house and apartment buyers need to be shown what options they have, and to be made aware of the shortfalls in current housing product – how can this be achieved? I don’t suppose the Irish Times property section would entertain running an article that would be, per se, critical of the products of many of it’s advertisers.
I’m going along to the “Citizen & the City” symposium this weekend, and see if it offers any hope.

Does this discussion have a place in an Architecture forum? If architects see themselves merely as stylist, then no, it doesn’t.

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