Dezeen Wire: Dutch firm Maxwan have circulated an open letter signed by architects including Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind and Frank Gehry to Mayor of London Boris Johnson, appealing to save architectural advisory body to the mayor Design for London from closure due to spending cuts. Read the letter below.
To the people of London, to the Mayor.
The attractive among the world cities are so to a wide audience. They are attractive because they have a lot to offer to residents and visitors alike. Large cities excel at being economically powerful, they are hot-spots of social activity, they absorb and transform cultural energy, and they exhibit the world’s best buildings and spaces. In short, they are the stage for what has turned out to be one of the biggest attractions to people in our age: the urban environment.
How good that stage is depends on the quality of its spaces and buildings, on the quality of the way these are arranged and on the diversity of the arrangements. Enter design guidance on an urban scale - enter Design for London. Working with London’s impressive development community, Design for London was set up to help nurture urban qualities, to seek ways to improve the existing townscape and to find ways to connect – to mutual benefit – the new and the old. It does so not by designing, but by making sure that design briefs and the people involved in their execution match, by facilitating their collaboration and by making sure that money is spent where it matters to the people of London. Its budget compares to that of the city as the price of the oil that lubricates an engine and keeps it running smoothly.
News has circulated the world (yes, the world) that Design for London is under threat. As architects from many countries, we want to encourage the Mayor to secure the survival of this remarkable team. We hope that he is aware of how widely admired the efforts are of this small group of talented designers. London should consider itself lucky to have a skilled, knowledgeable and creative organisation supporting efforts to make it a better city.
It would be a tragedy if Design for London were allowed to wither away.
Ben van Berkel
Alain de Botton
Xaveer De Geyter
Peter St John