chapter  4
Architecture and its ethical dilemmas
Pages 10

When I was first invited to contribute to the conference on “Architecture and its Ethical Dilemmas” in early 2003, I had considerable hesitation about accepting. Ironically, one of the reasons for such hesitation was that I am proud to be an Honorary Fellow both of the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland. So far as I know, the only essential qualification for being an Honorary Fellow of both these great architectural institutions is that one must not be an architect! I am not an architect. Indeed my degree from the University of Cambridge, 40 years ago this summer, is in history. So I thought to myself: what will I have to contribute to a learned discussion, much of it philosophical, amongst professional architects, both academic and practising, on ethical dilemmas? I was also affected (though much later) by a splendid cautionary tale told to me quite recently by a distinguished and very well-known architect, who was formerly with a large practice but now works in his own very small one. He was describing, with concern and regret, I would stress, that the architectural profession had not really bought in at all to the new agendas since Constructing the Team in 1994,1 let alone Rethinking Construction in 19982 and Accelerating Change in 2002.3 He then told a sad story – well, sad for me at any rate. He said how a very wellknown and substantial client, recently retired, had addressed a considerable audience of young architects in the large and very well-known practice to which my architect friend then belonged. He asked them, “Hands up who has ever heard of Michael Latham?” Not one hand was raised. He then asked, “Who has heard of John Egan?” About six hands were raised in a group of dozens.