Lighting the blue touch paper, and building well

Christopher Platt, Steven Spier

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Architectural practice has become considerably more complex in the last 20 years. Many more professions are involved in realising a building, and the construction industry has become professionalised in areas such as health and safety, management training and continuing professional development. Procurement methods are proliferating and roles for all involved changing, especially for the architect. Shorter timescales are common and there is a general consensus that , in the UK at least, there is a serious skills shortage in the industry and a decline in the quality of the building trades. The industry has become more litigious and more international. the numerous government reports on the postwar UK building industry have the recurring themes of procurement, relationships among the building professions and industry performance. `No reports start from the fundamental question, however, of how we can build better buildings and spaces; in short, better architecture. Rather, the major criterion in such reports is client satisfaction or industry profit, neither of which necessarily contributes to a better built environment. This articles explores how the culture of quality construction in Switzerland has influenced three generations of architects in initiating and sustaining their design process.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)21-36
    Journalarq: Architectural Research Quarterly
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2009


    • construction
    • Zumthor
    • Bearth and Deplazes
    • e2a
    • Swiss architecture


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