About this talk

Running time: 26 minutes

David Rock studied architecture at Durham University. He then spent several years working for Sir Basil Spence, followed by 12 years with Building Design Partnership, the last eight as the partner who set up their London office and designed Surrey University. Since 1971 he has been in partnership with John Townsend (Rock Townsend) in London.

Rock is unusual among architects in that when the building industry in the UK was suffering badly from government squeezes, and when most of his peers were groaning for lack of work, he was never short of ideas for survival. He tells us in his talk how he got work by responding to society's needs. He calls this the "bottom up-approach", with architects being professional entrepreneurs, initiators.

It's all to do with making things happen, he says; it means new forms and patterns of economic activity, of professional service and professional codes. It brings in management and financial and other building-related skills. It's a whole new rich world for the architect -- in which his firm, Rock Townsend, has been thriving. He emphasises that the architectural profession must expand into other fields, and not allow other professions to infiltrate its workload. And architectural education will have to play its part by producing architects who are able to be enablers, project initiators, organisers, making-things-happen people.

Please note that a transcript of this talk is available - please contact us for further details.

David Rock


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