One scoop or many?

I was both pleased and amused to see that Rick Mather Architects has won planning for its sixth-form centre in Newham, London. Pleased not only because this is a good practice that deserves to win work but because it is able to continue to do so after the death of its founder and figurehead – and after at least one client, the Peabody Essex museum, decided to replace the practice after Mather’s death.

So where is the amusement? It is in the headline ‘Rick Mather scoops planning for £14m Newham sixth form centre’. Life is difficult for journalists posting several stories a day. Only so many projects can ‘win’ at planning. ‘Getting’ planning is inelegant and dull. ‘Receiving planning permission’ is passive and turgid. So projects end up ‘scooping’ planning, as if they have dashed in grabbed planning permission unexpectedly by a sudden bold and unforseen act. This is so unlike the painstaking and lengthy process that is actually planning – but, in the context of journalistic pressures, so understandable. 

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