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2020 End of Year Review

Club Review | Michael Stiff, Chairman

Thursday 26 November 2020

Our 2020 Winter Party at Squire and Partners, Upstairs seems like a world away. It was a very enjoyable evening in early February, “Dry January” was over, and all who attended were in very good spirits. We managed a really fascinating trip to 1 Finsbury Avenue on the 24th of February with AHMM and British Land, and that was our last “real” event. Our visit to the RSHP’s LSE building was an early victim of the lockdown that came in March. This will be rearranged.

Everyone has been affected by this virus, and our lives have been transformed, we cannot shake hands, we have become used to wearing masks and many of us no longer go to work.
However, The Architecture Club is made up of a resilient and inventive group of people, and we set about finding ways to replicate the conviviality and conversation that makes our Club so special, but in a virtual way. As a committee, we felt that staying in contact with members was even more important during these strange times. The result was a series of online events that I hope many of you will have participated in and enjoyed. By May we were all getting used to working and meeting on zoom, which became the programme of choice for our events.

We held two debates; tall buildings were discussed at our Spring Debate with Barbara Weiss, Karen Cook, Peter Stewart and Robert Adam. Our Summer Debate discussed the planning system, something we would return to later in the year. We had an excellent panel of speakers, Steve Quartermain Victoria Hills, Paul Finch and Roger Zogolovitch.

Our younger members put together a really interesting panel discussion around PR and communications at the end of July, and they have followed this up with a series of three panels featuring the next generation of Club members. Further details of the two upcoming Next Generation discussions can be found at the bottom of this email.

In October the government’s planning White Paper was discussed over a series of three panel discussions which looked at Design Codes, Permitted Development Rights and Zoning. All these events can be viewed on-line via the Club website.

During Lockdown our website posted a series of fascinating pieces of writing by members in response to the changed circumstances around the theme of “Isolation”. This theme was developed and complemented by a series of self-portraits completed by members. Finally, Lynne and Richard Bryant organised a photographic competition which proved to be very popular and produced some beautiful entries.

It’s been a busy year, and there does at last feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel. We have decided to delay our annual Winter Party until early summer when there is a realistic chance of us all getting together and having a celebration and catch up to remember!

None of the above would be possible without the hard work of our committee who so generously give their time and energy. Thanks must go Kim Britten who has made sure we are financially stable, and of course to Rowena, who has not only continued administering the Club as efficiently as ever, but has mastered Zoom so well that our events run flawlessly.

Finally, I would like to thank you all for supporting the Club, subscription rates will be kept the same for next year, and I hope that you will all continue your support, and we as a committee will in turn continue to schedule regular events that both stimulate and, I hope, amuse.

Michael Stiff