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John McKean

Recent activity

Comments (31)

  • Comment on: Shortlist for £40k self-build contest revealed

    John McKean's comment 5 October, 2015 4:37 pm

    As ever sensitive, inventive ideas... in the world of fantasy unless the cost of land is included.
    Social ownership of land diminishes with every day Camerosborne is in charge, but why is the architectural profession not shouting for making what remains available - local authorities, MoD, NHS you name it - even CofE should feel really guilty banking land (refusing young households affordable dwelling is a more immediate sin than refusing welcome to asylum seekers). And then of course site value rating and any of many other ways of penalising land banking should be at the front of our campaigns before we struggle to slice a further £999.99p of the cost of constructing on it!
    40 years ago I watched site-and-service plots being offered to the homeless in Africa. It's appalling thought, but that is what is called for in Britain today.
    And THEN we'll all realise the wonderful economy (quite apart from the other, social, attractions) of self-build.

  • Comment on: Obituary: Dalibor Vesely (1934 – 2015)

    John McKean's comment 4 April, 2015 4:38 pm

    Shrewd Zeus

  • Comment on: Courtyard housing by Patel Taylor

    John McKean's comment 21 January, 2015 0:00 am

    Nice to see Owen Pritchard so praising of this Patel Taylor housing typology which is so refreshing to see in the AJ. Sane and sensible and modest. The fact that the house form and clustering is almost exactly that of Utzon sixty years ago is only to Patel Taylor's credit. The prototypes were called 'the most humane 20thC housing in Scandinavia," and my experience of frequently visiting friends in one only echoes that praise; well done Patel Taylor and Barking & Dagenham for revitalising a classic.

    Why, however, your review illustrates as precedent the irrelevant if lovely Harvey Court rather than Utzon (or a traditional almshouse or Scandinavian farmstead etc), is incomprehensible.

  • Comment on: What happened in Vegas should have stayed in Vegas

    John McKean's comment 15 January, 2015 2:16 pm

    As Tony Blair said to Nick Robinson on Radio 4 this week, people are just not interested in stuff about participation and decision making and such nonsense, they just want to feel safe and prosperous. (Or words to that effect) And as the Tories jumped this afternoon when the English archbishops both said the coalition was not interested in reducing inequality (or words to that effect), keep politics out of it! Out of the church, the workplace, out of architecture.
    Obviously no-one wants well-meaning Ralph Erskines to have a site office at Byker - or ASSIST in Glasgow or Giancarlo De Carlo in Terni - or the thousands in the 40 years since, listening to difficult moaning locals and wasting valuable time. And the more you ask them the less they know what they want anyway and they'll only complain whatever you give them.

  • Comment on: Dark-itecture by Sophia Bannert

    John McKean's comment 22 November, 2014 11:37 am

    Interesting musings on the blacked-out experience which, with your Pallasmaa and Eagleman quotes, feed much thought.
    But it immediately led me back to a very different musing - the haptic horrors in Jay Rayner's experience of the same place (The Guardian 26 May 2006); an intriguing comparison.

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