For a dyed-in-the-wool, sad old lefty I’ve still always believed in at least trying to see both sides of the argument. Two of the most fascinating and enlightening weeks of my life were when I did jury duty in London nearly 30 years ago.
I was put on one case, the details of which are hazy now, but I think a chap was charged with standing lookout while his associate stole the stereo from a car. While the evidence was pretty damning and my 11 colleagues had little hesitation in coming to a guilty verdict, I begged to differ.
Maybe I’d just seen Henry Fonda in Twelve Angry Men at much too young an age, but I simply wasn’t convinced of his guilt ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’. Without Fonda’s eloquence (or star power) I was utterly overruled by all around me and when the perpetrator’s guilty verdict was delivered, they also read out a list of priors that lasted most of the morning.
This is a long-winded way of saying that as a rule I totally believe in the ‘fair go’ and equal opportunity when it comes to the rights of both sides of an argument to air their opinions. As
a rule. But I also believe there actually are some exceptions to this. Sexual abuse of children
by the church, for example. Nobody gets to stand up and say no harm was done. They just don’t. Climate change deniers also fall into this category for me. Yes, you’re welcome to the one anecdotally driven, woefully uninformed viewpoint, as long as there are at least 99 scientists allowed to give their peer reviewed, highly researched presentations too.
So now perhaps you’ll understand why our Debate section this issue is totally one-sided. Before commissioning it I spent 45 minutes listening to the FPAA’s Scott Williams describe the current situation, and the things he told me about fire safety compliance in Australia were, quite frankly, terrifying. There is no argument here. No debate. Steps need to be taken and they need to be taken swiftly. Read what he has to say on page 64 of AR151.
Elsewhere in this issue, we’re all about marriage. Well, mergers to be precise – be they of small practices joining forces to become bigger ones, or Australian companies joining forces with like-minded outfits in Asia.
And we ask our esteemed Brain Trust what they look for when hiring new architects. The answer invariably is cultural fit – a happy alignment of personalities, talents and ideals. Again, just like a marriage really.
Oh and Stephen A Russell has talked to some of Australia’s best architectural photographers to find out how they create their magic. And there’s a fair amount of creative alignment between architect and snapper there too.
– Madeleine Swain, editor, AR