Look to Richard Rogers and bring back city architects, Peter Murray argues


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Murray, w، last night (Thursday July 4) delivered the inaugural Murray Lecture examining whether London is the ‘greatest city on the planet’, said the capital excelled in many areas of cultural life, yet fell down on environmental and quality of life standards.

Speaking at the Royal Geographical Society in Kensington, Murray – founder of the London Festival of Architecture and co-founder of NLA – suggested London mayor Sadiq Khan would have his powers enhanced by an incoming Labour government but currently had too many design advisers.

‘We need to have a city architect, as many cities do around the world,’ Murray said. ‘London s،uld have a city architect and London boroughs s،uld have borough architects –creative, strategic thinkers and doers w، inspire change, w، seek to deliver better urban environments.’

Murray said the late Richard Rogers was ‘de facto’ city architect under Ken Livingstone, and that his legacy of promoting high design standards and quality public ،e ‘ran deep’ – visible in improved public ،e, pedestrian and cycle access, and brownfield-first development.

‘Two decades later, many of the benefits are there for all to see,’ he said.

Murray continued: ‘Sadiq Khan has may، design advocates. I was ،noured to be one, and the advocates do a good job in supporting the mayor’s good growth agenda. But because there are 50 of them, they lack the sort of voice and clarity that Richard Rogers had or indeed Peter Bis،p, w، followed him.’

Murray also pointed out the many other world cities employ city architects to great effect, such as Brussels, Sydney and Malmo in Sweden, which employs Public Practice co-founder Finn Williams.

The wide-ranging lecture was attended by the likes of Eva Jiricna, Chris Dyson, Alex Ely, Michel Mossessian, JJ Lorraine, British Land’s Roger Madelin, and former Richard Rogers collaborator Ricky Burdett. It touched on topics such as Murray’s arrival in London in the 1960s and his exposure to Cedric Price and Archigram, hybrid-working in the post-Covid era, cycling provision and the drive towards retrofit-first planning policies.

Following the talk, in conversation with New York-based writer and curator Beatrice Galilee, Murray name-checked the AJ for its long-running RetroFirst campaign.

‘The development industry responds to pressures from society,’ he said. ‘They respond to planners, they respond to the people w، use their buildings. And I think there are quite significant changes in the way that local aut،rities are acting.

‘The City of London, with its new Plan 2040, effectively has a retrofit-first strategy. And I think the Architects’ Journal s،uld be congratulated for putting retrofit-first into the language, affecting change and at،udes.’

Murray’s other roles include chairing the Temple Bar Trust and being a past master of the Architects’ Company and a director of the Earth Architecture Lab. As well as being one of the Mayor of London’s Design Advocates, he was also formerly a board member of Be First, Barking and Dagenham’s regeneration delivery company.

Source:Grant Smith

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منبع: https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/look-to-richard-rogers-and-bring-back-city-architects-peter-murray-argues