Last week the UK Government appointed a new housing design panel, intended to "ensure that new homes are not only lower-cost but also high-quality and well-designed." The panel will be led by Terry Farrell, classical architect Quinlan Terry and aesthetics philosopher Roger Scruton, as well as representatives from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), the UK Design Council and lobby group Create Streets. However, the profession was quick to criticize the selection of the three lead members of the panel.
As BD Online reports, architecture writer Gillian Darley described the government-appointed panel as a recipe for a "planning free-for-all blessed by the oddest housing design triumvirate ever conceived," while partner at Cullinan Studio Carol Costello said: "No disrespect to the panel, but if the scheme is for under-40s, then it would be wise for the panel to include some younger ‘experts’ and not be exclusively white and male."
While Farrell initially praised the appointment of the panel arguing that it builds on the recommendations of his review of UK architecture from earlier this year, he responded to the profession's criticisms in a statement on Friday, saying: "I agree with the overwhelming industry response that the government’s new Housing Design Panel needs to be more balanced."
"I would urge the organisations represented on the panel, in particular the RIBA and Design Council, to help address this. I would also urge the government to ensure the panel is as balanced as possible, not just reflecting the broad spectrum of architectural design, but also professions such as landscape and engineering who play a vital role in placemaking."