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AR150 out now!

AR150 out now!


Ethics in business. How do you hold on to them? This isn’t just a question for the architecture profession of course, but every industry trying to compete in an ever-changing, ever ruthless economically uncertain and geopolitically unstable climate.

It’s just as much of a challenge in journalism, especially print journalism, where the tide of digital has long since swallowed up many of the physical incarnations of loved and respected publications. To survive, do you jettison long-held principles in favour of simply going where the money is? Or do you have to be more strategic, and indeed pragmatic, about how you approach the market – both your advertisers and your audience?

Our cover story this issue is a profile of the Danish architect Mette Lange, who would seem to be a one-woman exercise in living and working by the most admirable set of principles imaginable. Her work favours the sustainable and the simple. She champions local materials and small footprints. But she’s also managed to turn this ethos into a profitable business, by developing a template for Mini Houses, which tick all the right boxes ethically, while costing less because her template – adaptable and evolving as it is – doesn’t need to be reinvented for every project.

And she’s topped this by developing a remarkably altruistic project in India – the MovingSchool – utilising the simplest of ideas to bring real change to the disadvantaged children of nomadic workers.

You may have noticed that the word ‘simple’ and its derivations popped up several times in the preceding paragraphs of this editorial. Maybe that’s the answer to my initial question. How do you hold on to your ethics in business? Keep it simple. Take a breath, take a step back and think about Peter Singer’s ‘point of view of the universe’ – will your actions lead to more suffering in the world or less? I think Mette Lange can rest easy. Can we all do the same?


Madeleine Swain, Editor

Also in AR150

– Sara Kirby meets Alexandra Buchanan,
– have practices been affected by skills shortages when it comes to finding qualified tradespeople and labourers? And how have they handled it?
– debate: to specialise or diversify: what’s the best direction for an architectural practice to take?
– Catherine Baudet reflects on the changing status of women in the industry over the last 30 years,
– in an ultra-competitive marketplace, what is most valued: prowess in design or BIM, asks Deborah Singerman,
– Sara Kirby investigates flexible working arrangements for parents,
– Peter Saladino on government tendering,
– part II of how to write an effective business plan, by Simon Nelson,
– Melissa Rymer discusses vertical cemeteries – the only way is up?
– Lýtingur house, by Mette Lange Architects,
– Hawthorn house by Alexandra Buchanan.

Lead image: Our AR150 cover star, Mette Lange. Photo by Eamon Gallagher.

Get your subscription to AR magazine online or by calling 1800 804 160.


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