The government is being urged to take a much more pro-active approach to architecture by appointing a State architect to advise on policy and permitting local authorities to hire their own architects. A draft new policy on architecture, prepared by an advisory group set up by Minister for the Environment John Gormley, is being circulated this week to various departments for comment, prior to a final version going to the Cabinet before Christmas. The draft seen by The Irish Times sets out more than 60 actions to be taken in the period 2009-2015 to strengthen the State’s policy in this area. It would replace Action on Architecture, which was adopted in 2002 but not implemented in many respects. “A new policy is required because the context for environmental provision has been altered in a profound way”, it says. “The process of climate change will bring profound challenges in the production of new buildings and adaption of the existing building stock.” It recommends setting up a working group to oversee a major research programme on architecture and the built environment in general, including aspects of the Irish climate that would have an impact on the performance of buildings in the future.