Friday, 7 March 2008

Sustainability - good for the planet but bad for architecture?

The visit of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to Huddersfield last May will be remembered for widespread public celebration in glorious weather. The Royal pair were actually in town to open two new buildings – phase three of The Media Centre, and a social housing scheme in Primrose Hill. These developments were deemed extra special because they employ the very latest in eco-friendly building and maintenance techniques. Huddersfield is pleased to be acknowledged as a leader in the field of sustainable building and architecture, which everyone now agrees is the way forward. Or do they?

One man who certainly does not agree is Austin Williams, who will be telling us, in no uncertain terms, why. The London-based architect and Director of the Future Cities project, will be speaking at the March meeting of the Salon.

Williams believes that the job of architects is to design great buildings, but they are being prevented from doing this by politically correct box-ticking exercises such as the need to be sustainable. He says the " mire that architecture finds itself in today can only get worse unless it begins to break free of the low aspirational, sanctimonious, petty-minded, misanthropic, miserablism that sustainability represents."

Putting forward a rather different point of view will be Carl Meddings, who is Principal Lecturer in Architecture at the University of Huddersfield, a centre of excellence in sustainable architecture. Since qualifying in 1990 has also had considerable experience in private practice with Rod Hackney Architects, Hodder Associates and then his own practices Core Architects and Bareham Architects.

Thursday 13 March, 6.30pm

Venue: Cafe Ollo, The Media Centre, 7 Northumberland Street, Huddersfield