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12/09/2012 ArchitectsRevolutionaryCouncil ArchitectureforHumanity
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In1974agroupofstudentsattheArchitecturalAssociationledbyBrianAnson,theirtutoratthetime
formedtheArchitectsRevolutionaryCouncil.TheystagedapressconferenceattheAAand
publishedamanifestocallingforthedestructionoftheRIBAandtheformationofaninternational
movementtowardscommunityarchitecture.

TheARCconsideredtheRIBAutterlycomplianttothewillsoftheprivileged,controlledbythepower
ofdevelopers,speculators,industry,banksandmultinationalsandtotallyunabletoactonbehalfof
communitiesandpeoplelivingininadequatesituations.

Thegroupdefinedthemselvesas,notcomposedofselfinterestedreformists,indulgentradicalsor
opportuniststudentsandacademics.ThemembersoftheARCarearchitecturalrevolutionaries,and
whenwordssuchasdestroy,enemyandoverthrowareemployed,theyaremeant.Theirpostersfull
offascistandmilitaryimagerybackthisstanceupandforcefullygettheirmessageacross.

Theybelievedthatarchitectsshouldstopworkingonlyforarichpowerfulminorityorthe
bureaucraticdictatorshipofCentralandLocalGovernmentsandoffertheirskillsandservicesforthe
localcommunity.Wewishtocreateasituationwherebyeverytimeastudentpassesabuilding

https://socialspacebrighton.wordpress.com/2012/09/12/architectsrevolutionarycouncil/ 1/3
2/27/2017 ArchitectsRevolutionaryCouncil|SocialSpace
suchasCentrePointhevowsthathewillneverworkinapracticethatisinvolvedinsuch
obscenities.Wheneverastudentwalksthroughagentrifiedareawheremassiveimprovementgrants
haveenabledlandlordstoevictlongstandingtenantsandraisethevalueoftheirpropertya
hundredfold,hewillvownevertoworkinfirmsthatindulgeinsuchactivities.

Theyalsoattacked,thenewbreedofofconceptualistarchitects,whowere,blindtothefactthatin
Britainthousandsarestillforcedtoliveinuglyandpovertystrickenenvironmentsandalsothe
architectsofAuthoritarianLeft,whoactedasthoughsuchpeoplelivebybreadaloneandhaveno
capacityfordreamingofbeautifulthings.AnsonevenchallengedPeterCooktoapublicdebate,as
hewasconsideredaspokespersonfortheconceptualists.

ReadBottomsfullarticlehere.

ItseemstomethattheissuesthattheARCwerechallengingaremoreacutetoday.Sincethe1970s
BritainhasenduredThatcher,NewLabourandnowtheCoalitionandthishasleftagapingClass
divide.Notonlythatbuteconomicliberalisationhasgivengreaterpowertoprofiteeringdevelopers
andmultinationals.

ItalsoseemsthatPeterCooksconceptualistapproachtoarchitecturehasbecomemainstreamwith
theRIBApushingforUniversitiestoadopthiswayofteaching,madefamousattheBartlett.Ibelieve
thatthiskindofarchitecturalteachingdividesstudentsfromtheneedsofthepeoplerightfromthe
startoftheirdevelopmentasarchitects,continuallychallengingtheconceptualpossibilitiesof
architecture,butneverchallengingthephysicalsituationthousandsofpeoplefindthemselvesin
today.IthinkwecoulddowithsomemorepeoplelikeAnsoninourUniversities,challengingthe
statusquo,openingstudentsmindstootherarchitecturalpossibilities.

In2012doestheRIBAreallyrepresenttheviewsofthemajorityofarchitects?Doestheprofession
reallywanttoremaininthethrallsofwealthyclientsandbigbusiness?Ifso,shouldsocially
consciousarchitectsandstudentstryandmakereformsfromwithin,ormusttheygoitalone?

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