The Truth is Powerful
A new generation of young architects is calling out exploitation in education and practice. Not everyone is happy with their methods.
The UCL Bartlett School of Architecture, designed by HawkinsBrown Architects. (© Jack Hobhouse/Courtesy UCL) “We break you and build you into a Bartlett Army,” one student was told during a crit at the U.K.’s most prestigious and influential architecture school , according to a recent report .
The 119-page investigation by consultancy Howlett Brown, published in June, has lifted the lid on a “toxic culture” at the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment at University College London ( UCL ) stretching back decades. In response, UCL has apologized for an “inexcusable and pernicious underbelly of bullying” and suspended several unnamed staff.
The Bartlett controversy, which arrived months after controversy at SCI-Arc in L.A., is the latest reckoning over what UCL described as “longstanding problems with the culture of the architecture sector.” However, some senior industry figures have branded the report a “debacle” and accused UCL of initiating a social media “witch hunt.” This backlash reveals intractable ideological and generational divisions within the profession—with no clear way forward.
Howlett Brown’s report found what it called “deeply concerning” allegations of racism, violence and bullying, and a “toxic culture” led by a group of senior staff. It claimed this “old boys club” wove unaccountability into […]