Plastic Pipes Conference Association # 1970 Southampton
in the original invitation to present this paper, I was asked to speak on Plastics Rainwater Goods. I am glad that I refused to do so : to have presented a paper as a knowledgeable authority on a particular product-group would have been dishonest and, in effect, a confidence trick upon the audience. Other authors presenting papers today, are authorities on particular products or construction elements in their own right. I do not possess that right.
The form of the invitation indicated a misconception of what an Architect is, and what he should, or is likely, to know. This is not to suggest that I should not possess some specialised knowledge of this component group : for my sins, I have spent seven years as a member of a particular BSI drafting committee which, ultimately, managed to produce those long-awai ted Standards on uPVC Soil Goods and uPVC Rainwater Goods - two non-events in the history of plastics in building. Today's Architect cannot be expected to possess that degree of knowledge which would entitle him to claim such technological expertise. To expect it, reveals a misapprehension of his function in society. Regrettably, there are many technologists in the construction and other industries who claim to know all about architecture and an Architect's function. They see it solely in terms of technological competence. Architecture means, and the Architect is concerned with, so much more than this.