Anatomy of an Architectural News Story

Last week, I got a call from Building Design asking about some new kind of group that Fat were apparently part of. The journalist had been at an exhibition opening and had overheard a conversation between Will Alsop and a couple of the AOC. He'd been saying that he'd do his best to help people like them out, and he'd mentioned us and Branson Coates too. The guy from BD wanted to make a news story out of this. So I said a few things about Will and Nigel - about how they have done some great things in their time, agreeing with Will that it might possibly be harder for people who make work that looks like theirs or ours to become mainstream in the current architectural climate. But I defiantly also told them that I wasn't quite sure what they were talking about. Its true that we know them all, and might go for drink now and again (and I'd bumped into some of the AOC at the Troy bar on the night of the exhibition in question), but that trying to group these people together - and especially to set us all up as though we are against anything else really wasn't right. The next day, I got a call from a CABE press officer, asking wether I knew anything about a story that BD were going to run saying how I was slagging off CABEs design review panel.

On Thursday evening, the story comes out in BD that we have set up some kind of association.

On Saturday, this has become a news story in the Guardian with a special opinion from Jonathan Glancy. This piece seems to be saying how this new association wants to usurp Foster and Rogers.

Meanwhile, I'm still in the dark as to what the actual story is.

I guess it says quite a bit about how a (total non) story works: from overheard (probably well lubricated) conversation to broadsheet in just a few days.

On the other hand, it is the silly season, and it is about architecture. Even BD, the architects trade newspaper, is written by people who on the whole don't actually know much about architecture.

Posted by sam at August 8, 2005 11:15 PM


Well that's the last time I believe anything I read in BD. I've been thinking about this all week! Disappointed to hear it's not true, but then who needs some formal agreement to usurp the establishment?

Posted by:
Rob Annable on August 13, 2005 8:34 PM

Fashions and stylists come and go. The model in a fashion show is reduced to mere object on twiggy legs.

Buildings for show and not for people belong to fashion and cannot be called architecture.

The Public continue to be misguided.

Posted by: Peter T Kou on August 17, 2005 1:12 AM


What happened in the end? Did the story above become self-fulfilling?

Its refreshing to hear the behind the scenes view of a story like this...

And did the story turn out to be in your interest?

I had to give a lecture recently where I tried to describe buildings with a high level of artifice. I used an Alsop building as an example and then thinking about other buildings with artifice, FAT space came to mind. There arent that many artifice fans out there, so you could conceivably be some kind of movement, which is certainly what the students who were asking questions at the lecture I was giving believed. I couldnt answer to the veracity of the news reports. So its nice to know a bit of the truth..

Best wishes,


Posted by: invisible servant on October 28, 2005 2:12 PM

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