It is often said and it may be apocryphal, that Le Corbusier did not talk about architecture with his clients but only about business. His mercurial ability to merge his business ventures whether publishing, fabrication or building with the integrity of his architectural genius and opportunism remain unmatched.
Charting his journey from the outset of World War, the economic cycles of the turbulent 20s and 30s, another world conflict and rebuilding perhaps give us confidence that irrespective of the machinations of the economic ups and downs and external forces it is possible to make an architectural contribution. We just need to box clever in the business of what we do.
So to for our current northern British economic climate, where our industry has been hit extremely hard by the economic maelstrom around us. A glance at the most recent Urban Realm Gazetteer of architectural ideas suggests however that within that context a wide variety of fresh and invigorating approaches have emerged in spite of the external conditions. The power of architecture to transcend circumstance and leave a positive legacy remains undiminished.
What characterises many of these approaches is an inventive attitude to the business of practice through unique models of procurement and delivery. And in that respect architects remain well placed to provide that creative attitude.
And it is found too in our universities. I am consistently struck with the unit I teach with David Reat on how imaginatively my final year group of Strathclyde students look at the world. In currently exploring the devastating impact of the MS and Alzheimer's seeming epidemic, the impact of the self-administered health crisis of addiction and obesity, the western pillaging of world food resources and at the same time the inordinate capacity to throw away resources, all the way to shining a light on the shadowy nuclear industry and to the extreme of surviving beyond the ‘pale blue dot’; what characterises the new generation is a desire to act.
Echoing Le Corbusier they recognise that it is their business to act and in doing so create the platform for a unique and relevant architectural contribution.