Are We Asking The Right Questions About Profit?

How We Hold The Keys To Innovation And Resolving The Climate Challenges Through Architecture


How badly is it all going in terms of climate change and development solutions? Nearly 40 years ago, the Brundtland report identified political and economic issues (rather than technological ones) as the greatest challenges affecting climate change - so has anything improved since then?  The answer might lie further back in time when de Tocqueville in the early C19th maintained that power may be more distributed than we think. We have agency, individually and together, to affect change.  

In today’s world there are already design solutions and approaches that we can use to tackle climate change, and this is both empowering, and a form of power and profitability.

Founder of Paul Vick architects, Paul Vick, tackles some shibboleths in a talk that looks at whether we are asking the right questions about profitability and value. They discuss some of the approaches they use to understand value and if they really are mutually exclusive; and how good design thinking can create value from the knowledge we have, and the knowledge we continue to gain.

One such question the architect focussed on was ‘what is the value of creating a building that helps you live longer (for you, your users, clients)?’  And ‘How do you create and innovate in a world which is often complex, uncertain, unaccounted and unaccountable?’ Where ‘art’ is the changing of perceptions and ‘design’ problem solving, good architecture addresses both. The talk illustrates with projects the practice has and is undertaking to create this profitability. There are questions it has going forward for us all.  


Paul Vick is a professional architect (RIBA, ARB) and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts who has lectured on architecture at University College London, MIT and the National Building Museum. His work has also been published in the Architect’s Journal and World Architecture News amongst others. He trained at Cambridge University and Oxford Brookes University with extended periods in Washington DC and Beijing.

He founded Paul Vick architects in 2007, and the firm won Build’s Best Commercial architecture Firm, London 2023, Most Innovative Architecture Firm London 2018, 2019 and 2020, Best Cultural Architecture Practice UK 2019 and Best Construction Adviser UK 2017 as well as others. Work includes with the City of London Corporation including at Innovation Warehouse at Smithfield Market, a glass bridge and additions for a global telecoms HQ, as well as ongoing 24acre and 5acre grade 2 listed regeneration sites, new build and retrofit low energy buildings. Prior to founding the practice he drafted an 8000home zero carbon development, drafted the British Museum space plan and masterplan, and ran Whitecity at Shepherd’s Bush.