Click here to send us material for publication

Welcome to Liverpool
James Woudhuysen writesIan Abley writesMartin Pawley writesJames Heartfield writesMiffa Salter writesRichard McWilliams writes



Return to Welcome

Click here for Architecture Week

Click here for Sustaining Architecture in the Anti-Machine Age, edited by Ian Abley and James Heartfield

Return to the front page of the website index for Why is construction so backward? by James Woudhuysen

Click here to buy Why is construction so backward?

Why is construction so backward? - Bluecoat in Liverpool 24 June 2004

We are pleased that the book is discussed at the Bluecoat Arts Centre, Liverpool, through a collaborative venture by Downtown Liverpool and the Centre for the Understanding of the Built Environment during Architecture Week 2004.

Why is construction so backward? James Woudhuysen, Ian Abley, Stefan Muthesius and Miles Glendinning

Architecture Week 2004 runs from 18 to 27 June and is the national public celebration of contemporary architecture that looks at issues around the built environment and the way we live. For a guide to the whole programme visit

Click here for Architecture Week

Construction has emerged as a mainstream political issue, with the UK facing a serious under-supply of new housing, yet some argue that the building trade lags behind other sectors in introducing innovation. A panel of critics and commentators discuss the present crisis in housing renewal in the UK, with a particular emphasis on Liverpool. How will the demand for affordable housing keep step with the inexorable demand for executive apartments? To what extent will regeneration of social housing be design-led? Just what future are we building for Liverpool? What will a few iconic buildings do for the city?

This discussion is part of Architecture Week 2004 in the North West, and is themed around Why is construction so backward? It takes place on Thursday 24 June 2004, between 6.00pm and 8.00 pm at the Bluecoat Arts Centre, School Lane, Liverpool L1 3BX. (see map below)

Although this is a free event tickets should be booked in advance.

Telephone the Bluecoat Arts Centre Booking and Reservations Box Office on 0151 707 9393 on Monday - Friday between 10.00am and 4.30pm, or email

Tickets are also available from Editions Ltd on 0151 709 2001, the Virgin Megastore Box Office off Clayton Square on 0151 709 7711, or from Ticket Line on 0151 256 5555 and

We are pleased to announce that the panelists at the discussion are:

Click here for more about John Elcock John Elcock

Click here to visit CubeThe organiser of this event, John Elcock is speaking for the Centre for the Understanding of the Built Environment (CUBE), the Manchester based architecture and design centre. He is a consultant providing Internet Marketing and works with a number of regeneration partners in the Liverpool City Region. A noted regional commentator, John has a consummate knowledge of Liverpool's built environment and has made numerous TV and radio appearances.

Click here for more about James Woudhuysen James Woudhuysen

Click here to visit De Montfort UniversityJames Woudhuysen, Professor of Forecasting and Innovation at De Montfort University, and principal author of Why is construction so backward? will consider the future for construction. He will suggest how the development sector might progress beyond present day risk aversion, reflected in the managerial, naturalistic and therapeutic perspectives of the construction industry.

Click here for more about Tony Siebenthaler Tony Siebenthaler

Click here for Downtown LiverpoolTony Siebenthaler is the director of Downtown Liverpool, an independent urban think tank, and '... an exploratory of the latest thinking in contemporary urban planning, architecture, downtown growth, and city life from the UK's most exciting city.' As an 'ideas incubator', Downtown Liverpool promote higher building density, more people, better urban quality, more businesses, more culture, more money, better architecture - simply more urban.

Anfield Road

Ian Abley, a practicing architect and co-author of Why is construction so backward? commented:

"The event during Architecture Week presents a wonderful occasion for people interested in architecture, engineering, IT and the wider construction industry - from the DIY enthusiast to the professional - to consider the question that nags all of us on a daily basis: Why is construction so backward?"

"We wanted to launch the book in Liverpool - a city where architects and planners frequently claim the power to be able to regenerate community through design. We are doubly pleased at that the panelists were keen to discuss the book and their insights on the question that James Woudhuysen so forcefully answers in Why is construction so backward?."

Will Alsop's superficial Supercities scenario Will Alsop's superficial Supercities scenario

For further details on the discussion please contact Ian Abley by telephone on 07947 621 790, or by emailing

For information about the venue contact Andrew Winder on 0151 709 5297, or by emailing

You can contact the event organiser John Elcock by telephone on 07990 553 710, or by emailing

To buy this book Shop

Click here to visit the Bluecoat Arts Centre

One of Liverpool's most distinctive buildings, the Bluecoat is situated in the heart of the city centre, within the busy Church Street retail area. Its elegant Queen Anne style architecture, cobbled front courtyard and beautiful 'secret garden' make it amongst the top visitor attractions in the region. This Grade 1 listed building is an architectural gem, and, over 280 years old, is the oldest building in Liverpool city centre.

Bluecoat Arts CentreIt began life as a school, however for most of the past century, it has been a centre for the arts and a meeting place for the people of Merseyside. As custodians of the building, Bluecoat Arts Centre Ltd is responsible for the upkeep of the centre, carrying out restoration work, access improvements, and maintaining a thriving community of artists, cultural organisations, shops and small businesses. The Arts Centre's own promotions have achieved a national profile, with an award-winning art gallery presenting a continuous programme of innovative exhibitions, and a wide range of contemporary dance, music and other live events.

Location of the Bluecoat Arts Centre

Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service.

Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey.

Sustaining Architecture in the Anti-Machine Age, edited by Ian Abley and James Woudhuysen

This website is maintained by and all material is Copyright © 2004 Audacity Limited where not copyright of the originator.