OLYMPIC BRIDGES WILL IMPOSE UNIFORMITY
Regarding 'Bishop blasts fiidentikit bridgesfl' in AJ 07.06.07, there's something we need to avoid - uniformity. This article indicates sadly what we do best: impose uniformity and replica to the lowest common denominator.
Instead of grabbing an opportunity to surprise we fall into a Health and Safety mindset and standardise. Do we have to produce 32 similar solutions for the Olympic Park bridges?
Couldn't we make it an opportunity for a theme, which could be given a basic framework and then worked in several forms? Jorge Schlaich has produced many cable-type bridge structures using similar technologies but inspiring forms. Or what about similar theme packages around a particular structural system or idea?
Living abroad, I often look at recent eccentricities of the UK architecture scene and have seen a hopeful change of emphasis based on introducing risk. Alsop, Cook, even Cecil Balmond with Arup, have produced innovative and inspiring work mainly outside the UK. Look at Balmond's bridges in Portugal and the USA.
I can sense a Millennium Dome muddle mentality creeping into the Olympics and the event being directed by accountants. That would be such a shame. We should stand on our heads more and surprise the world. There seems to be a culture of unnecessary rules and regulations with everyone more concerned with safety and getting home early and less with risk.
John Chamberlain, by email