Dezeen Magazine

Esther McVey

Architects mock UK housing minister for revealing that "3D architects" are doing it "on a computer"

British architects and critics have ridiculed UK housing minister Esther McVey, who gave a speech announcing that architects are using computers as a "new way" to design buildings.

Speaking at the Conservative party conference in Manchester today, McVey seemed to suggest that architects are moving into a new age where they will be creating 3D buildings for the first time.

"Well, if we have this new way of doing it, 3D architects... 3D visionaries... doing it with it on a computer," the housing minister said during a panel discussion with business minister Nadhim Zahawi and northern powerhouse minister Jake Berry.

The broad and confusing statement about modern construction techniques was widely mocked on Twitter, with Financial Times architecture critic Edwin Heathcote asking how we had lived without 3D architecture for so long.

"They have architecture on computers now?," asked former Its Nice That Editor Owen Pritchard.

Guardian critic Oliver Wainwright added: 'A thrilling day for @Conservatives >architecture policies – not only ushering in a brave new dawn of '3D architects doing it on the computer', but also a new 'right to fight ugliness' that will clearly solve everything."

Numerous commenters also mocked the idea that McVey had discovered 3D architecture.

"Esther McVey, the housing minister, thinks making houses in 3D is a recent development," said comedy writer James Felton. While Simon Constantine, tweeted a picture of an etch a sketch with a basic drawing of a house with caption "EXCLUSIVE: Leaked pictures of the architectural designs for Esther McVey's new home."

Political commentators were equally confused with Isabel Hardman, assistant editor of The Spectator tweeting: "I don't know much about the process of designing buildings but I thought that was quite normal, especially the 3D element."

Dezeen columnist Phineas Harper had a different theory about McVey's excitement.

"3D visionaries doing it with it on a computer" – Esther McVey has just returned from her first meeting with Patrik Schumacher and is very excited," he tweeted.

Being more constructive, Kendy Crush pointed out that AutoCAD was released 37 years ago.

Esther McVey is 52. She was 15 when AutoCAD was first released," he explained.

McVey is the ninth Housing Minister in the past nine years. She replaced Kit Malthouse in the role in July 2019 and serves in Boris Johnson's conservative government.

Johnson has also been making news in architecture circles as members of RIBA are campaigning to have is honorary title removed.