BOLD DESIGN HAS ITS PLACE, AND IT SHOULD PREVAIL AT THE OLYMPIC PARK
The story of All Saints Dulwich (see the Building Study on pages 23-35) is a heartening one, though it might cause Fellowes Prynne, its Victorian architect, to turn in his grave. After a massive fire in 2000, the church has been brought back to life with a sensitive reworking of its interior and an unashamedly contemporary west entrance - an approach endorsed by English Heritage and in keeping with its recent consultation paper (see Planning on page 43).
A recon-guration of the chancel, the relocation of the choir to a new mezzanine, the introduction of a steel access gantry, and a sophisticated lighting system combine to create an up-to-date and exible liturgical space.
Careful choices about what to restore after the fire - the chancel extensively and the nave minimally - show the kind of intelligent prioritisation inherent in this type of project, and the creation of a column-free space in the crypt for a nursery extends the life of the church.
All Saints' new west entrance does not live up to the careful reworking of the interior and provides a discussion point for future projects of this type. Perhaps the sheer force of Prynne's original structure demanded a bold architectural gesture, but the new grand entrance screen competes with, rather than complements, the Victorian building. A degree of subservience is missing here. This is architecture for architecture's sake, where it was not needed.
It is needed, however, at the Olympic Park, where bold design-led proposals should prevail.
As Barcelona's waterfront illustrates particularly well, a high-quality public realm is fundamental.
The news (see page 9) that 31 of the 32 bridges proposed for the Olympic Park will be embellishments of an Arup template is alarming, no matter how brilliant that template may be.
The Olympic Park must use every tool available, placing design first and foremost, to create a memorable new quarter for London.