Call yourself Architecture?

Maria Smith takes to the moral high ground as Architecture stands in a fantasy dock

News Release

At a hearing of the Architecture Accusation Board on 30 January 1932, Architecture was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and issued with a reprimand.

The allegations considered by the Professional Righteousness Committee were that Architecture failed to adhere to its scope of services, repeatedly evaded responsibility for the construction of its projects, and withdrew into the production of drawings rather than the production of architecture.

Architecture attended the hearing and denied all the allegations but later accepted in evidence that it had made an error in respect of appointing others to oversee the building work, and acknowledged that once this became apparent it still only visited the site sporadically.

The committee found that while Architecture had provided some specifics regarding the construction methodology, it did not cover all the requirements as set out in the Architects’ Mode of Construct. It further found that Architecture had demonstrated a waning knowledge of construction techniques and processes, and that it failed to deal with countless related complaints from its clients.

In considering sanction, the committee took account of Architecture’s unblemished career, that it had fully engaged in the process, and had apologised to its clients. It also noted that Architecture had taken steps to address its failings and produced a copy of its amended scope of services.

In the circumstances, the committee concluded that a reprimand was the appropriate and proportionate sanction.

In defence, Architecture referred to problems that had been occurring in the world

At a second hearing of the Architecture Accusation Board on 30 January 1998, Architecture was again found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and issued with a penalty order of £5,000.

Architecture was appointed to design and act as contract administrator for a project in a city. Work was carried out but following completion, the client wrote to Architecture to notify of an obvious lack of technical design proficiency.

The two allegations brought were that Architecture failed to equip itself with adequate technical design competence (on the grounds that such knowledge was unnecessary owing to there being numerous specialist consultants available) and secondly, that Architecture showed interest exclusively in the conceptual basis for the project.

In defence, Architecture referred to problems that had been occurring in the world. It did, however, accept that it had permitted the quantity surveyors, project managers, design managers, development consultants, community engagement specialists, facade engineers, and party wall surveyors to undertake all aspects of the work that Architecture considered itself superior to, and focussed solely on the notion of justification for an abstract ideal.

The committee found Architecture guilty on both allegations. It considered that every profession should remain abreast of technical design knowledge and that it would not have been difficult for Architecture to simply read the technical information provided by the consultants.

In deciding penalty, the committee considered that the history of the complaint was a serious aggravating factor. It noted that the failings of Architecture had seriously affected its client, who had been forced into accepting what it felt to be an inferior project. In all the circumstances, it considered that a fine of £5000 was the appropriate sanction in this case.

The allegations faced by Architecture were that it had in effect failed to provide any architectural services whatsoever

At a third hearing of the Architecture Accusation Board’s Professional Righteousness Committee on 30 January 2025, Architecture was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and erased from the Register of Architects.

The complainants had purchased a property from a development company for which Architecture acted as architect. Architecture would also become the director of the main contractor on the development, an investor in the social enterprise that was to lease the property, and a member of the action group bemoaning a lack of indigenous craft skills in the local area.

Problems soon arose with the project when a technical hitch with the information sharing platform fractionally delayed communication between the networks of stakeholders, so preventing the co-design processes from maturing across all nodes. The consequence of this lack of communication was that the complainants could not complete their purchase because they could not secure crowd sourced mortgage money.

The allegations faced by Architecture were that it had outsourced not only the construction of the project and its technical design, but also the communication of design to a plethora of consultants, thereby atomising the processes of generating the built environment to such an extent that in effect Architecture had failed to provide any architectural services whatsoever.

Architecture denied all the allegations, asserting that it was merely acting according to the directives of government procurement policy, maximising the potentialities of web 2.0, and responding to emergent systems of accumulation and organisation of information. The Professional Righteousness Committee rejected these arguments due to a lack of understanding of the vocabulary used to describe them.

In deciding on what sanction to impose, the committee took into account that Architecture had two previous findings of unacceptable professional conduct against it in the last 100 years; had displayed a lack of openness in its dealings with the complainants and the AAB, and had shown little or no insight into, or remorse for, its actions. It was erased from the Register.

Maria Smith is a director at Studio Weave