This House Believes the architecture profession has been let down by its press

Media debate


The summer debate, hosted at The Frontline Club in London, pitted heavyweights of architectural journalism and leading architects against each other to tease out the issues facing the profession and its relationship to the press.

Architectural writing, criticism and reporting undoubtedly has a key role to play in the profession of architecture – acting as both critic and champion of architecture and architects. But what is the nature of architectural criticism today? Increasingly, publications are heavily reliant on advertising, challenging their autonomous spirit and possibly their independence. As a result, publications tend to prioritise the visual and the technical, with aesthetics trumping more complex aspects of architecture. Furthermore, new media is encroaching into the traditional critics’ arena, with blogging and tweeting suggesting an alternative format for public criticism and debate. Are critics in the traditional sense necessary or have they been superseded by the more informal and autonomous tone of the encroaching blogosphere? Does the traditional architectural press merely reinforce the views of an inward looking profession – or can it still be considered a critical medium? Is this the natural evolution of the architectural journalist in 2011 – and if so, does this pose a threat to an already unstable profession?

Proposing the motion:

Hugh Pearman – Editor, RIBA Journal
Will Hunter – Deputy Editor AR
Will Alsop – ALL Design


Opposing the motion

Amanda Baillieu – Editorial Director, Building Design
Piers Gough – Partner CZWG
Paul Finch – Deputy Chair Design Council CABE


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Proposing the motion

Opposing the motion