PLACE, The Architecture and Built Environment centre, was established in 2004 to provide a facility which enabled the public to engage with those subjects and thereby generate a knowledge and understanding of their importance to the wellbeing of everyone.
Over the past 15 years PLACE has most effectively delivered that objective through outreaching to literally thousands through the organisation of: exhibitions; study-tours; seminars; talks; participating-events; architecture and urban visits and much more.
All of this has been delivered by a small number of skilled and dedicated employed personnel aided by a considerable number of equally dedicated and impassioned volunteers.
It is therefore outrageous that the Arts Council, who have been a prime supporter of PLACE over those 15 years should summarily announce the withdrawal of funding and do so with very little notice and without any forewarning, or good reason.
Indeed, if any reasons did exist which spurred this rash decision then the Arts Council surely should have addressed those with PLACE’s staff and Board of Trustees with a view to keeping PLACE going.
Both the Arts Council and the Department for Communities have Architecture and Built Environment Policies within which PLACE is quoted as being a key player.
What is more, the Arts Council have in writing stated: ‘The Arts Council recognises Architecture as an art form and has had a formal remit for the promotion of high quality architecture and design for the build environment since 1995.’
After August 31, when PLACE closes, there will be no such promotional undertakings.
It therefore looks as if those policies and statements are simply a lot of bluster.
Architecture and the Built Environment is most certainly an art form and one capable of influencing the extent of each and everyone’s wellbeing.
We all live, work and play in our buildings and urban places. Unlike most other art forms this is one which is inescapable and therefore deserved of appreciation and quality monitoring, especially by those who occupy it most — ie. the public.
Barrie Todd, Architect, Hillsborough