Westminster Talks is proud to continue the series with a talk by Stephen Brookhouse.
Procurement - the process of ‘making buildings’ and shaping the built environment - is a global enterprise that crosses professional boundaries and national borders. However the architectural profession - in common with the professions generally - continues to promote itself as the source of domain specific excellence perpetuated by a silo-like approach to the professional skills supported by static statutory control and the mutual recognition of other professionals. In contrast, the global procurement of construction projects has changed almost immeasurably over the last twenty years. As the centre of commercial activity and investment shifts from the ‘old world’ to the ‘new’ the majority of infrastructure and architectural projects are now carried out in the economies of the Middle East and Far East at a sustained pace unknown in established western economies. UK-trained architects and construction professionals are in demand as never before.
How have architects responded to these opportunities? This lecture will critically review the current models of architectural education and discuss how architects and other construction professionals from across the world have crossed borders - physically and figuratively - to collaborate in international project teams to deliver world-class buildings. Location is no longer a barrier to teamwork and advances in the power of information technology have allowed the integration of design decision-making and fabrication. However these new models of working have highlighted the need to develop other professional skills that underpin creative thinking and design excellence.
Stephen Brookhouse is Professor of Professional Practice in the Department of Architecture at the University of Westminster.
After completing his architectural education at Liverpool University, where he won the Lord Holford Memorial Prize in his final year, he worked for a number of architectural practices on complex projects in central London including plans for St Georges Hospital, Hyde Park Corner. He then completed a postgraduate degree in Management Science at Imperial College and co-founded a multidisciplinary design consultancy specialising in strategic briefing, design and project management for a range of international ‘blue chip’ companies and professional organisations in London and Brussels.
Following a ‘round robin’ request to members of the Association of MBAs he began teaching Design Management and later Project Management for the Open University Business School, combining this with his work in architectural practice. His experiences led to an interest in work-based education and involvement with professional education at the RIBA where he subsequently chaired the Professional Education Committee.
Stephen joined the University of Westminster in 2001 as the RIBA Part 3 course leader and has since built the course to a position where almost forty per cent of all UK educated architects qualify at the University of Westminster. The largest course of its type in the country, it was singled out by the RIBA as ‘a strong exemplar for other institutions.’ The ‘Part 3 Handbook’, based on his teaching experiences at Westminster, and now in its third edition, is a standard reference text in the UK and internationally and ‘Professional Studies in Architecture’ has helped to frame the subject area. He is series editor and a contributor to a new set of guides for practitioners on professional skills in practice. His current area of research concerns how architects adapt to the changing world of global procurement and the skills required to maintain excellence in building design.
Stephen is also in demand internationally and currently lectures to students and practitioners from the UAE and Oman to Hong Kong and mainland China on international professional practice and project procurement in architecture.
The talk will be followed by a drinks reception for all guests.