This House Believes Too Much Consultation Inhibits Great Design

Consultation Saturation

This House Believes Too Much Consultation Inhibits Great Design Event

Wednesday 14 October 2009

All building schemes, masterplans and projects of scale are obliged to consult and notify the public of how it may affect them. It is part of a democratic process in the UK that also covers policy legislation and law making and is aimed at upholding transparency and fairness, but what has been its impact on the process of design?

Architects and urban designers now have a huge range of methodologies with which to engage and consult the public. Town meetings of old characterised by who shouts loudest, egos, propaganda and heckling have been replaced with a set of community driven programmes, frameworks and charrettes, on top of which lie reviews, public audit, evidence gathering and ever expansive inclusive agendas. Consultation has empowered communities and individuals to have more of a say and in many cases reigned in heavy handed authorities, but what has been its impact on what gets built and at what speed? Building Futures itself has invested heavily in bringing a new and creative method to designers with the aim of establishing its own brand of non-confrontation and alternative engagement through the Building Futures Game, but in the pursuit of democratic ideals have we over ‘bureaucratised’ design?

Building Futures hosts an evening discussing the merits of consultation. Have we overcomplicated the process? Have we applied a system of design that imbeds mistrust in the abilities of the professional to deliver? Have we reached consultation saturation?

Chaired by the new RIBA President Ruth Reed and featuring contributions from Stephen Bayley, author and cultural commentator with Alex Lifschutz, Director of Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands with John Twitchen, Managing Director of Sauce Consultancy and partner of The Consultation Institute and Anna Minton author of the recently released book ‘Ground Control’.

Supported by BDP and Jascots Wine Merchants

Start Date:

Wednesday 14 October 2009 7.00pm

End Date:

Wednesday 14 October 2009 8.30pm

Event Address:


16 Brewhouse Yard, Clerkenwell, London, EC1V 4LJ, United Kingdom

Event fee:



RIBA Building Futures,