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2023 End of Year Review

Club Review | Michael Stiff - Club Chairman

Friday 15 December 2023

This has been a busy and successful year for the Club, we have a healthy membership of just over 340 and our events programme has probably never been as vibrant and busy.    There is no doubt that the year was overshadowed by the untimely and unexpected passing of Michael Squire.  Michael was a long-standing member of our committee and a generous supporter of the Club, we are keen to continue the historic relationship with Squire & Partners, so I am pleased to say that Henry Squire has joined the committee, and that our annual winter party will once again be at The Department Store in Brixton on February 5th 2024.   We finally got our first Robert Maxwell lecture off the ground with a fascinating talk from Jeremy Dixon and Edward Jones which showcased their individual work and the significant projects that they undertook together as Dixon Jones. It was a fitting for the inaugural lecture that they were taught by Bob and are still great friends with Celia Scott, Bob’s widow. The event sold out in days and we had an attendance of 90 and a waiting list. We are already planning the 2024 event which will be in the autumn once again.   Our building visits have proved very popular, as well as Grafton’s Marshall Building, The Hall McKnight’s work at Kings College, Thistleton Waugh’s Black and White building, and Publica lead a walk of their West End public realm works. We also had visits to the Norman Foster retrospective at the Pompidou, Celia Scott’s RIBA show and the Herzog & de Meuron RA exhibition.   The Club undertook a study trip to Oslo in April which was organised with the invaluable help of Tomas Stokke of Haptic Architects. It was a memorable and fascinating trip that showcased the raft of recent development on the waterfront of Oslo Fjord.   Debates are always well supported and our Growth or Degrowth debate proved to be a lively and well attended evening. At the time of writing our AI debate, jointly organised with the WCCA is planned for December 14th. Our summer Party at Cecil Sharpe House was a convivial and popular event, we are already thinking about a fresh venue for the 2024 version.   I would like to thank Celeste Bolte who has stepped down from the committee to focus on growing her business. Celeste has really helped to move our commitment to the next generation of members on. This is a role that is pivotal to the future of the Club, so we are pleased to welcome Chrissa Stamatopoulou onto the committee to represent our younger cohort.   Finally these are challenging times for architects and allied professions, 2024 looks like it is going to be a tough year, with economic uncertainty, a range of elections in the UK and US,  and global instability combining to make our jobs even harder. The committee has, in this context, decided not to increase your annual subs.   Despite the challenges ahead, I am looking forward to another year of conversation and friendship at the various events we will have in 2024.  With best wishes, Mike