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Make's Vortex is just a load of past wind


What a shock and incredible disappointment: the first building proposal to come out of the Make office (AJ 8.7.04) and, not only has it been done before, but it is one of the ugliest proposals for a tower I have ever seen.

It is a shame that with his first public image Ken Shuttleworth has only managed to contribute to the frippery of bad architecture bounding around at the moment; an architecture that wriggles out of the responsibility of shapemaking by blaming it on anything from the wind to the stars.

This is architectural thought at its weakest, at its most pedestrian.

It is as if the architect is saying:

'Dear public, I've made a shape, but it's not my fault what it looks like - the wind made me do it.'

There is no harm in being influenced by important factors like wind force, floor plans and structural solutions - even by aspects of abstract theory or stars, if you like - but don't hide behind them as if in apology for the mess you have made. Have we become so obsessed with rationale that we have forgotten the importance of beauty?

In the case of the Vortex Tower, the device of narrowing the floorplate at the middle to allow for a larger floorplate at the top just does not make basic common sense. Now the floorplate in the middle is unusable and undesirable, why not make a building that is desirable all the way up? It is purely a crude, postrationalisation of a bad idea.

Besides, if the end result is ugly, why bother in the first place? And painting it blue and pink ain't gonna make a difference.

Disillusioned young architect, via email

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