Thursday, 6 June 2013

Time to do your homework - and what about health and happiness

June is of course exam season for many, but if you are a fully qualified working professional you might feel that those days are behind you. Of course you may spend a hideously disproportionate amount of time filling out PQQs. But they are more about what you do than what you know. Surely those days of desperately searching for the 'right' answers and the evidence to back them up are long gone?
Not if Terry Farrell has his way. The Farrell Review on architecture has just issued its call for evidence in a form of a set of questions. Members of the profession owe it to themselves and colleagues to try to contribute. And the answers seem relatively easy until you try to back them up. Why do we have great architects but some lousy architecture? (I paraphrase, but only a little). How can we promote design quality? What is the value of our historic built environment? These seem to be the subject of many late night discussions, not to mention letters to the specialist press. Proving your arguments though is harder.
And the questions seem to focus very much on buildings, with only passing reference to 'places'. And while there is talk of economic value and of tourism and of education, all of which matter, where are those two key issues of health and happiness?
Exam questions never were ideal though but that wasn't a reason to walk away. Sharpen your pencils, don't write on both sides at once and remember, for once, this is a test where you can choose how many questions to answer.

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