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between the price and the point

Part 1 Dissertation 1999
Carl Turner
Royal College of Art | UK
How are buildings conceived and produced at the end of the 20th Century? What is the role of the 'Architect' in this process? This essay explores these issues through a framework of case studies; examples of both good and bad patronage in the private and public sectors. Over the last 50 years motivations for building have ranged on a sliding scale from blinkered socialist paternalism (utopia!) to ouright profiteering. Money has played a gradually increasing role in the shapping of our environment, mirroring the trend ofprivatisation. Of course buildings have always been paid for, but by whom and why, are the interesting questions.

The essay questions the value of continued utopian ideals pedalled by schools of architecture, when these simulated economic, social and political realities no longer exist.

New models may be developed in order to initiate projects; tricking the bank manager about the real motives may be one technique. Technology may also ultimately lead to an implosion of geo-centric land values, rendering the notion of a high value centre as obsolete. The role of the architect is definitely changing!

Carl Turner

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