March 2012

James Horan
James is a Founding member and Director of Design Strategies. He has been in architectural practice since 1978. He is a Professor of Architecture at The Dublin School of Architecture, DIT Bolton Street and is former President for the European Association for Architectural Education.


Plan: Well Jim, where do you see things at the moment?
Jim: I think that the architectural side of the industry can do quiet alot to address the current situation. Essentially, the value that creativity and design can bring to any project is true and valid irrespective of the economic climate in which the project is realised. It’s not always fully appreciated that design actually adds huge value to something and very often when there is an economic downturn and a shortage of funds, people have a natural inclination to cut what they consider the additional extra luxury, ie design.

Good design and good creativity brought to any project, whether it is architecture or further removed from the building industry, can have huge beneficial effects. That message needs to articulated far more to all stakeholders.

Plan: How does one drive home the message that good design has huge positive
impact and longterm benefits?
Jim: “I suppose as a starting position, I would be inclined to say that we in the architecture profession have two levels of responsibility. One is to make people aware of all of the activities we do and the qualities that we possess and then drive home the message that we can add value to projects with these qualities.

The second vital thing is for us collectively to begin the development of a culture of architectural responsibility.

Plan: What do you mean by that Jim?
Jim: What I mean is that to some extent during the real Celtic Tiger times when banks and developers lost the run of themselves, the word responsibility didn’t surface very much. If that principle is embedded a little more in people’s thinking about how they approach their everyday work, there is a less of chance of us falling into the same trap again.

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