Where are the architects?


Sir, – The article “Bungalow Bliss” (Ticket, July 17th) is depressingly true, particularly for those of us emerging into the profession of architecture. To our great misfortune this period of construction has not ended, it continues unquestioned.

Where have the great and the good architects of Ireland been all this time? Or, the many institutions that represent them? The RIAI? The AAI? The IAF? Third-level architectural institutions? Perhaps they are distracted and happy with influence on less than 5 per cent of housing and the infrequent one-off public building. Who within our profession is genuinely questioning this status quo in Irish housing?

Blame for unsustainable and regressive type development is consistently directed towards county councils, the State, planners and politicians, yet, as architects our lack of input clearly denotes our non-consequential role in construction, something which we seem to accept, apathetically.

Engineers and surveyors have been given dominance, disregarding their limited training in housing design. Their photocopiers continue to churn out successive generations of blight upon our landscape. This is not speaking in opposition to these professions, they have been opportunistic, filling the void voluntarily left vacant by the profession of architecture.

Irish architecture stands in its strongest position ever on an international stage, surely then, we should be able to get our own house in order. Our only reaction seems to have been to synopsise with academic-type publications, read solely by the minute circle of Irish architects, with no engagement with the general population or institutions which control planning law, who remain wholly ignorant of our “greatness”.

As a naive graduate architect I have been expected with my many talented peers to work for a minimum of seven years in education and apprenticeship, to claim the coveted title of “architect”, whatever it now stands for.

Writing from Belmullet, the last significant fragment of unspoilt landscape in Mayo, wholly under-serviced, overlooking the demise of our neighbour, blighted Achill. – Yours, etc,


Belmullet, Co Mayo.