When architecture is a waiting game

There was great joy when Ditchling Museum won the Gold Award at the Wood Awards last week, as well as winning its category of exisitng buildings. Such was the pleasure that Jenny Kilbride, chair of the trustees of the museum, took to the stage to give an impromptu speech (is this event turning into the Oscars?). She reminded the audience not only what an achievement the building is, but also what a trial such projects are for the architect and other members of the professional team.

‘Once the design has been done,’ said Kilbride, ‘they have to wait for us to raise the funds.’ In the case of Ditchling, this took about six years. Adam Richards, the architect, had only just started his own practice. He had a wonderful project but one for which he was no money was coming in and, crucially, for which he was not garnering the publicity.

Murray Kerr, who founded Denizen Works, appears to have had all the luck in the world with his House No Seven in Tiree. Designed for his parents, it has garnered an amazing profile. But it has not quite led to the next job, and Kerry, when I spoke to him at the awards, was aware that he may be flavour of the year, but the spotlight will soon move on elsewhere.

Large practices can cope easily with jobs like this as they are only part of their workload. When a single job IS your workload, life can be tough.

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