Letters and Fixes

"There are some avaricious architects, but there are many more unprincipled developers who will milk the system to the full." - John Duncan.

This is an article from the Architecture Australia archives and may use outdated formatting


Twenty-five years ago the RAIA founded the Institute of Arbitrators and Mediators, Australia.

This initiative recognised the building industry’s preference for having disputes and differences resolved by someone conversant with the industry.

The IAMA has flourished over these twenty-five years, always with eminent architects on its Council, and it has evolved a training and accreditation system which ensures all IAMA appointed arbitrators and mediators are well suited to the specific dispute for which they are nominated.

Arbitration does not preclude mediation or conciliation options - disputing parties are always tree to agree between themselves, With or without help, a mutually satisfactory “no fault” compromise commercial solution. But not all mediations (or conciliations) will be successful. It is, disturbingly, wrong of the RAIA now to write new dispute resolution clauses, as it has with both the July 2000 Long and Short Form Client Agreements, on the assumption that mediation is the best, and only, resolution route.

There is no reference to the revised clause in the User Guide Differences. There are no interleaf commentaries in the new Guide Note AN01.100 as there were in the now obsolete Practice Note AN01.100. It was not raised in the Seidler Committee’s brief as a matter for investigation. There was no mention of this change during the discussion with Chapters on new “complaints” procedures. There is just the changed, single concept under the heading “Dispute Resolution” - go to mediation with an RAIA mediator and share the costs.

It shouldn’t be an RAIA appointed architect who manages the mediation (or arbitration) process concerning one of its members, and that was recognised in previous agreements by leaving it to the IAMA to nominate a OS, an engineer, a lawyer - or an architect - depending on the circumstances.

There are some avaricious architects, but there are many more unprincipled developers who will milk the system to the full. The Institute is playing into their hands and not helping its members with the new settlement provisions.
John Duncan

RAIA Reply
The matters outlined in John Duncan’s letter have been raised with the National Practice Committee and a working party has been established to look at them. John Duncan, along with Pat Finder and David Standen, has prepared suitable clauses for both the Long Form and Short Form Client Agreements. These will be considered at the next Practice Committee meeting.
Michael Peck, RAIA CEO


Davina Jackson’s comments on the Australian Pavilion in Venice (Radar Biennale, AA September/October 2000) show her ignorance of the constraints of the building envelopes required by the Venice authorities, and her reference to Murcutt style (whatever that means) ignores the vast body of work produced by our office over many years.

If we are going to increase architectural awareness and criticism let us have a more informative, less mean-spirited approach than usually comes with Jackson’s outbursts.
Philip Cox


Thank you for your issue covering the National Awards (AA Nov/Dec 2000). While 1 have no argument with the jury’s selection and though that the photographic presentation of the winners was generally excellent, 1 found the lack of drawings and diagrams a serious drawback to an appreciation of the projects.

In the presentation of John Wardle’s Kew House, for instance, it is impossible to gain an understanding of where Horace Tribe ends and where Wardle begins, and therefore it is impossible to appreciate what Wardle was actually awarded for, Surely in a magazine for architects some drawings - which are surely on hand anyway as they form part of the entry for the awards - would not go astray.

Drawing is, after all, the main mode of architectural communication.

I would also suggest that where the statement of the jury verdict largely repeats what is said in the project description, as with Seidler’s Wohnpark Neue Donau, that one or the other could be substantially reduced to allow extra space for drawings and/or extra photos.
Peter Hogg

Bungalows and Anastylosis

Michael Neary is probably correct in saying there isn’t much California in our Californian Bungalows (AA Nov/Dec 2000). However he is wrong to say the style does not occur all over Australia. In Tasmania the pitches tend to be lower and in Queensland examples are often up on stumps. In fact it is almost the last of the Australian cottage styles to show some regional variation.

Incidentally, anastylosis is the re-assembly of displaced components, what ICOMOS calls restoration, in particular re-erecting pieces of a stone column. ICOMOS defined the words “restoration” and “reconstruction” so we would not get mixed up with words like “replacement” as the National Awards jury verdict has in fact done.
Ian Stapleton


- Renzo Piano Building Workshop asked that none of the team be singled out in the review of Aurora Place in the last issue. RPBW prides itself on a collaborative working method that involves many people from a range of disciplines, coming from diverse backgrounds. Diverse collaborators all bring important contributions. However, to clarity the article they point out that the Sydney team was led by Christopher Kelly and Ken McBryde, while the Genoa team was led by Mark Carroll and Olaf de Nooyer.
Will Joske advises us that the rendering of the Concord Hospital by Woods Bano published in the last issue, right, should have been credited to Bozig Design.
- The Westpac Trust Stadium in Wellington was incorrectly attributed in the 2000 RAIA National Awards. The correct attribution is Bligh Lobb Sports Architecture (a joint venture between Bligh Voller Nield Sport and HOK Sport and Architecture Warren and Mahoney.



Published online: 1 Jan 2001


Architecture Australia, January 2001

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