The architectural press has been predicting that I will use my position as chair of the above commission to impose a rigid stylistic conformity, and that my well-known love of the classical vernacular will become a kind of aesthetic dictatorship, compelling architects on pain of – of what exactly? – to build according to principles dictated by me.
In fact, in conjunction with the government and the civil service, I am putting together a group of commissioners and advisors who will represent a wide range of approaches. The purpose of the commission is not to dictate aesthetic values but to show how they might be placed at the heart of new developments. There is widespread public discontent with recent practice and a need to explore the ways in which people’s real needs and preferences can be reflected in their built environment.
Anybody with suggestions as to the nature of the problem and the best way to resolve it is welcome to contact me on this site. Meanwhile, when the commissioners and advisory board have been appointed, it will be plain that my own aesthetic stance will be only one input among many, to the exploration of design quality in all its aspects.