Interview with Georg Pendl, elected ACE President for 2018/2019


On 1 December 2017 Arch. Georg Pendl was elected as new ACE President for the years 2018-2019. Mr Pendl has enjoyed a long collaboration with the Architects’ Council of Europe (ACE) and acted as Executive Board Member, Area Coordinator, Work Group Chairman and Head of the Austrian Delegation. 

1) What are the challenges that European Architects will face in the next years and how will the Architects’ Council of Europe serve their cause? 

The working field of architects shall change quickly under the growing influence of legal and contractual issues, the importance and role of claims and insurance, as well as  upcoming, new ways of and tools for planning. On behalf of the architectural profession, and as a representative organisation, we have to stand up to this fact and defend the people behind. The market is highly fragmented and the biggest proportion of offices is small and micro-offices in economic terms. The development described above includes is a strong challenge.

We can cope in two ways:

- Upskilling, developing good CPD, networking and partnering. The young generation is already showing this widely with best practise;

- raising awareness of the role of the planning sector, not only in the business of construction, but its responsibility in society. Good building, Baukultur, needs a holistic, comprehensive approach and thinking; architects need political awareness, readiness and will to get involved in public discussions and processes. If we allow our view to be reduced to technical aspects, we are already lost for the future. 

Architectural policy should be taught in every school; working and fighting for good architectural policy must be a goal for all of us.

2) What are the achievements of your work in ACE in the last two years, as Board Member, Area 2 (Practice of the Profession) Coordinator and Chairman of the Public Procurement and Architectural Design Contests?

In the field of Public Procurement and Architectural Design Contests we were able to  finalise a package of documents and tools, starting with a revision and update of our 9 Recommendations, or Rules, including a new paragraph about public participation in ADCs, the new Master Brief, a guideline for best practice in ADCs, the Vienna declaration, arguing for participants to deliver a slim package without any unnecessary documents for the evaluation  the projects (e.g. renderings, calculations going beyond the basic figures, BIM, etc)

3) As ACE President, what are your priorities? In which area should ACE take more effective actions in the immediate future and where should ACE focus its efforts to support European Architects more effectively? 

In line with my answer to the first question, and given that our basic activity – advancing policy positions concerning access to and practice of the profession – is well prepared and presented, though of course issues must always be followed and updated, I want to get ACE more involved in the field of culture, using the fact that 2018 is the European Year of Cultural Heritage as an opportunity to better show the role of architecture in society.

We want to use the opportunities offered by other events, like the European Cultural Heritage Summit in Berlin, and also to create our own events, together with our General Assemblies. The first (with a very short lead-in time), will be in Brussels on the theme “Europe and Architecture – ACE and the European institutions”; the second will take place  in Leeuwarden, one of the two European Cultural Capitals, on the theme of the adaptive re-use and transition of the built heritage (co-funded by DG EAC and part of the official EYCH programme). In both events, as in all General Assemblies, I would like to invite architects to make a short key note speech/presentation.

The basics of our work, the structures of our education and practice are like the bones; culture and architecture itself are the muscles needed get the whole body running. 

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