Can the value of design be measured? This house believes it can.

Yesterday evening’s debate at the Royal Institute of British Architects addressed the following motion:

“This house believes the value of design is not measurable”

The motion was overwhelmingly defeated. Rightly so – for, as long as architects claim that the value of design is intangible, the profession does itself a disservice. It is unsurprising that the real worlds of institutionalised politics, social activism and finance undervalue the contribution of design when designers claim that their importance is not only immeasurable but unmeasurable. This sounds hollow in the ears of people used to setting targets, taking action and measuring outcomes.

Speaking for the motion
Robert Adam, ADAM Architecture
Denise Chevin, Freelance journalist

Speaking against the motion
Patrik Shumacher of Zaha Hadid Architects
Bill Hillier, UCL Space Syntax

Chaired by
Angela Brady, incoming RIBA President

The debate was designed to cover the following key issues:

– how can the unquantifiable qualities of design compete during a downturn?

– is poor design a poor investment?

– is there a link between architecture and well-being?

– as the drive towards sustainability and low cost building bred a generation of cautious designers?

– would a school benefit more from a high calibre architect or a well-trained teacher?

– is the era of design for design’s sake over?

On blogs
The Engineer’s Blog covers the debate (although fails to mention that the motion was defeated). The blog itself is behind Building Design magazine’s free paywall [?] but the post itself is accessible here: http://www.bdonline.co.uk/is-the-value-of-design-measurable?/5013413.blog

On Twitter
markhurrell  Wow, Bill Hillier really grabbed my imagination at tonights RIBA Building Futures Live Debate. Have a hunch @adactio would have enjoyed it

LouiseDowne  Bill Hilliard of Space Syntax ‘ the debate of what is beautiful hasn’t moved on since Plato’ #surfacethinking

denisechevin  Heading home after RIBA Futures debate on measuring value of design. On the loosing side boo hoo.

Background
Annually RIBA Building Futures hosts 4-6 debates, each attracting up to 200 attendees, typically- of architects, general public, developers and urban delivery enablers and managers. Previous speakers at the debates include Ken Livingston, Will Hutton, Mark Whitby and Will Alsop.

Contact
Building Futures
www.buildingfutures.org.uk

Royal Institute of British Architects
www.architecture.com

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