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Last edited 18 Jan 2021
Top 5 interviews of 2017
Over the course of 2017, Designing Buildings Wiki has interviewed numerous 'champions of industry' and other high-profile figures. In no particular order, here are the top 5 most popular interviews of the year:
"[A] really critical factor is the fragmentation of the industry and of the supply chain. There is a lot of 'passing the buck' - no one project team is ultimately accountable for the way that building performs. If you think about any other type of product, that’s really quite unusual. We’re effectively mis-selling the product, a product most people spend more money on than anything else they’ll ever buy."
We met with UK-GBC Chief Executive Julie Hirigoyen to discuss some of the wide-ranging issues facing the green building industry today, from the launch of their first Innovation Lab, and the government scrapping zero carbon homes, to the performance gap and the influence of President Trump on a sustainable built environment.
 Mark Farmer
"I do feel like I’m on a bit of mission; I realise changing things is not a ‘big bang’ process and there is a real need for personal industry-level leadership that, to be quite frank, I don’t see a lot of in construction. It’s going to take time to influence people and get them to recognise the seriousness of the challenges our industry is facing. I do truly believe we are facing some unprecedented problems."
We met with Mark Farmer for a wide-ranging interview that covered the worst-case near future scenario for construction, the skill shortage, the potential of off-site manufacturing, President Trump, and more.
 Kevin McCloud
"One of the things I come across again and again is the way in which positivity and hope are the principal drivers. I do believe that if you’re not an optimist you shouldn’t be building anything."
"In neoliberal conditions, where you have 'ultimate commodity fetishism', there's no need for any building to have a discussion with another building, it stands on its own value. And since its value exceeds its aesthetic or cultural load, it doesn't really matter what it looks like."
We met with one of the UK's most high-profile fiction writers and commentators on urbanism, Will Self, for a wide-ranging discussion that included the impact of new technologies on the contemporary built environment, architecture and the imagination, Grenfell Tower, squatting, the plight of Generation Rent, privately-owned public spaces, and much more. Not to mention, the building he'd most like to see demolished.
 David Orr
"We have to reduce the potential for game-playing. People argue against doing 30% affordable homes and they use viability assessments. This is absurd. It creates a genuinely perverse incentive for the developer to pay more for the land so they can say 'we've had to pay more for the land, so we can't now afford to do the affordable housing'. If no planning consent was ever given without the affordable housing then the price of the land would drop."
David Orr has been the Chief Executive of NHF since 2005. We spoke with David about the evolving political consensus around social housing, his controversial decision to support the extension of Right to Buy to housing associations, Grenfell Tower, and much more.
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