Edwin Heathcote writing in the FT Weekend thinks so, with a few exceptions. On good form, Edwin sums up the current state of architecture, design and construction. For example, on PFI Schools and Hospitals:
Through its reliance on the Public Finance Initiative process to deliver the biggest programme of school and hospital building in two generations, it has effectively abdicated architecture to the builders. In PFI, economy comes first, design comes nowhere. Contractors employ architects as emasculated subcontractors. The schools and hospitals we are building now and which our grandchildren will still be paying for are a cultural disgrace. These are buildings in which we spend our formative years, our most emotional moments, from birth through childhood to death. As an ageing society we will all be spending longer in hospital yet we have no alternative to the bargain-bin architecture foisted upon us. I have seen brand new PFI schools that would be impossible to differentiate from low-security prisons: dim corridors and classrooms that would make you weep. For anyone who enjoys architecture and hopes that things will improve for the future, it is heartbreaking.
and on house building:
Finally, and most depressingly, the housebuilders of Britain continue to spew their brick sprawl, those depressing children’s archetypes, the toytown brick boxes. Where they attempt “contemporary” – usually for urban flats to be snapped up by buy-to-let investors – they employ the same disengaged modernist pastiche beloved of the commercial sector. This is modernism adapted as a lifestyle choice. Except for a few ambitious housing associations and developers who are employing bright young architects, the domestic architecture of Britain is an embarrassment.
Thanks to Mel over at Elemental for highlighting this for me. Ouch indeed !!