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When a disgruntled resident is good news

It could have been a nightmare. Robert Evans of Evans Vettori was speaking at a seminar yesterday, organised by RIBA Journal, about Parkside, a smallish residential development in his home town of Matlock Bath. He discussed the planning and the interesting and complex stonework. What he could not have expected was that, when it came to questions, a member of the audience had an apartment in the buidling.

It could have been a nightmare. Robert Evans of Evans Vettori was speaking at a seminar yesterday, organised by RIBA Journal, about Parkside, a smallish residential development in his home town of Matlock Bath. He discussed the planning and the interesting and complex stonework. What he could not have expected was that, when it came to questions, a member of the audience had an apartment in the buidling.

And he wasn’t happy. The common parts, he said, were badly conceived and detailed and had led to lots of problems. Fortunately, he was not taking a pop at the architect whose work, he said, was excellent. Instead, he was arguing thatit was a great pity that the architect had not been allowed to have any influence on or involvement with the interiors.

Robert Evans, of course, agreed and said that he was doing more work with the same developer and arguing to extend his sphere of influence this time. This was part of the wide-ranging discussion at the end of RIBA Journal’s PiP seminar on housing and residential building which looked not only at design but at the development, specification and detailing of products and materials.

Stephen Proctor of Proctor & Matthews, who had described the practice’s Abode development outside Cambridge, was relatively philosophical about his lack of influence on interiors. Those won’t last he said, whereas the building envelopes and place-making should have a lasting influence.

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