“I have always considered myself an anarchist”


Speaking on the first day of the AJ100 festival, Allford also revealed that he “often disagrees” with statements made by the institute.

He added that the white paper on planning, which current RIBA president Alan Jones has called “shameful”, is not necessarily a bad thing.

The co-founder of the AHMM made it clear that he is speaking to the AJ in a personal capacity.

“I have a fundamental concern with the RIBA statement: who are they speaking for? ” he said. “As a member of RIBA, I often disagree with statements. It makes me angry. So I’m not always sure their statements are so wise.

Allford questioned the institute’s response to the planning white paper, which was released by the government last month.

Last month, the RIBA released a response on Jones’ behalf in which it said the sweeping reforms proposed in the White Paper could create “a new generation of slums,” adding: “These shameful proposals do next to nothing to guarantee the provision of affordable, well-designed and sustainable homes.

But Allford told the AJ100 festival that he “doesn’t necessarily believe white paper planning is a bad thing.”

He said: “Architects complain – and rightly so – about incredibly complex, incredibly difficult and incredibly expensive planning. And, if planning is still insanely expensive, then it’s also incredibly elitist and unaffordable, which isn’t very democratic.

“The ambition of the White Paper on Planning to move away from some very related and very complex process is good. However, this is a white paper, in my book, that is written for housing across the country, not for development in metropolitan areas. It must be equalized.

Allford also appeared to suggest he was relaxed about extending permitted development rights, which allow landowners to create new homes without planning permission by converting or expanding certain types of buildings.

“The slums of the future, I’m afraid to say, can also easily be built in new buildings. […] A bad architect who builds a new building will make, I’m sure, a worse building than a very good architect who converts a building, ”he said.

And he told the AJ100 festival that he believes more architects should go to school and inspire children to join the profession.

“The reason we need a diverse profession is not to tick a box. A diverse profession is more likely to be a useful and engaged company, which can engage with [wider] the needs of society. It’s pretty obvious that this is not a position you can deny in any way, ”he said.

“Diversity, I believe, is probably a 10 or 15 year project to help transform the profession. [It is] not something we can expect.

“But someone in school now, aged 10, will be 25 by the time he graduates as an architect. So if you want to change the job and make it better represented and – [and therefore] more useful for society – you have to go to school; you have to tidy up your own house and make sure you take care of people, pay them, help them study.

The 59-year-old architect was elected the next RIBA president in August, after winning 58% of the vote in the fourth ballot to beat candidates such as Nick Moss and Sumita Singha.


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