Traditional Architecture Group
A Linked Society of the Royal Institute of British Architects

Subscriber Newsletter No. 10

18th March 2011

Queen Square Statement
February 9th 2011


On February 9th 2011 a group of 50 architects, urban designers and others gathered at the Art Worker’s Guild in Queen Square in London as guests and members of the International Network for Traditional Building Architecture and Urbanism (INTBAU) and the Traditional Architecture Group (TAG) to discuss the future of architecture and urban design.  Following presentations from chapters of INTBAU and others from 12 different countries, the group discussed the issues, problems and opportunities facing architects and urban designers today.  The meeting concluded with six progressive principles that should be adopted by all architects and urban designers to maintain a creative diversity, serve communities and advance the quality of life.

1.         Architecture and urban design serve the public.  The views of the public should be respected and expert opinion should be moderated by democratic principles.  Diversity in architecture and urban design should be encouraged and made freely available for informed public choice.

2.         Architecture and urban design are liberal disciplines.  In a liberal discipline different ideologies and principles will coexist and be practised and debated without obstruction or constraint.  While adherents of differing ideologies and principles will support their views with passion and vigour, progress will always depend on mutual respect and freedom of practice and expression. 

3.         Architectural and urban design education trains professionals who will serve the public.  Education should always be a liberal discipline.  Students should be given a full breadth of history, knowledge and practice in all building, architectural and urban design types and principles.  Education in architecture and urban design should provide positive support for the pursuit of different design philosophies without obstruction or constraint.

4.         Identity is fundamental to human society.  Identity of place is a key component in the make-up of individual and community identity.  Global uniformity is threatening the distinctive identity of local places. Architecture and urban design should support and promote the identity of place for local communities.  New buildings and places should be understood by communities as a contribution to their understanding of the identity of their place.

5.         The efficient use of energy, raw materials and water are major challenges for the future of mankind.  All avenues of research and understanding should be investigated to this end.  These will include scientific, economic and social studies.  An understanding of the techniques, practices and living patterns of periods before energy became easily available can make a significant contribution to the advancement of energy conservation today.

6.         Growing population, changing lifestyles and an increasing consumption of energy have created major pressures on towns and cities.  Urban life encompasses health, living conditions, employment, movement, social interaction and recreation as well as the design of buildings and places.  Architecture and urban design should take into account all aspects of urban life to create durable places that can be enjoyed by all sectors of society now and for the future.