Owen Luder's Comments
I remember the fire which destroyed Paxton's original Crystal Palace as a young lad living in South London. The North Tower survived the fire and was a landmark on the horizon until blown up in 1942 as it was considered a landmark for German bombers. While very successful originally, after the end of WW1 it had been in financial difficulties and had to be rescued from bankruptcy. Immediately after the war an international architectural competition was held won by Lanchester & Lodge but fortunately never happened as it was a heavy neo classical design and totally out of character with Paxton's design. When the Crystal Palace as the centre of the 1851 Great Exhibition was dismantled and re-erected on the heights of Norwood the Victorians developed two railway stations to bring the visitors to the Crystal Palace. The upper level station was closed after WW11. I moved to the In the 1960's I lived close by and when the old LCC put the site out for competition I submitted a scheme for a conference and leisure centre. This was abandoned when the then Government decided it should be redeveloped as a the National Exhibition and Conference Centre. At the time I was deeply involved in the Local Amenity Society - The Norwood Society - their planning and architectural advisor and we objected to the Exhibition scheme mainly on the lack of public transport accessabilty to the site. We put on a very successful Local Exhibition "Living with the Palace". The National Exhibition Centre scheme was abandoned and eventually built in Birmingham. Those top terraces have stood empty and lonely since. It is a magnificent site that if it is to be redeveloped should be an icon building that is of this century and not an attempt to re-create Paxton's iron and glass Victorian Crystal Palace. Public Transport acessabilty has improved with the new rail link to Croydon but is still questionable whether a similar size "new" Crystal Palace in whatever form has sufficient public transport facilities to ensure success. I was involved in the consultation in the preparation of the master plan for the whole of the park. and broadly support its objectives. But the "green" part of the park is very large and I do not believe the loss of open parkland is a valid reason to object in principle to redeveloping the top level terraces. But if it is not possible to redevelop it with an iconic building of this century I will be happy to continue to wander nostalgically among the remains of the old Palace taking in the magnificent views and what still remains of the motor racing track with memories of the top driver and cars that raced there in the 30's and the 40's. Owen Luder CBE PPRIBA. Past President Norwood Society.
Congratulations Jane. Very Well deserved recognition for a life time dedication to promoting highest standards of design and architecture. Owen Luder CBE Past President RIBA.
I have no problem with architects who design in the classical idiom. If that is what they and their clients want then so be it. But they have an obligation to, and indeed no excuse not to get it right. The principles of classical design are clearly there to follow and apply. Successive generations of architects have interpreted those principles to design to satisfy the requirements of their time. Whether with the classical orders, the Renaissance, Baroque and Georgian the principles that make this architectural "style" so acceptable are, scale, balance, elegance and proportion. I leave your readers to judge how this Knightsbridge proposal meets those principles? Owen Luder CBE PPRIBA
Victor. I am aware of that and I am well aware that supporters do not want to move from their long term historic venue that is part of their lives. But the present Stamford Bridge is hemmed in with the surrounding 1980's commercial development which would be extremely expensive (unless money is no object) to acquire control and demolish these to enable it to expand from 41,000 to 60,000 that Chelsea as a major European Club needs. This is very much the Arsenal situation where we were faced with a historic stadium limited to 38,000 that no supporter wanted to leave but accepted we had to move and were able develop 60,000 super stadium close by. If Hertzog & de Meuron and the other consultants involved can identify a and acquire a viable development site nearby that will enable Chelsea to move to a 60,000 new super stadium I have no doubt the Chelsea supporter who own Stamford Bridge will agree to be part of the move. Owen Luder
I wish them luck as the exiting stadium is hedged in with a Hotel and other commercial uses that it will be difficult to demolish to make space to redevelop the existing stadium into all covered 60,000 capacity super stadium. Prior to the redevelopment masterminded by Ken Bates the then chairman in the 1980's Stamford Bridge was a very big ground surrounded by a circuit used in the early 19390's for Speedway. When I first went there supporting Arsenal as a lad there was midget car racing and athletics. It was a ground with "elbow room" for expansion to the 60,000 capacity needed for a club of Chelsea's stature. That was lost in Ken Bates redevelopment the funding of which nearly backrupted the club. Now Chelsea probably have to move as Arsenal did in the early 200's when Highbury was to small and could not be extended. When Ken Friar was masterminding the new Emirates Stadium I warned him - remember you are building in Highbury - no hotels. Supporters will always vote against moving from their historic ground but I suspect that Chelsea will need to and hope that the planning study of the surrounding area will throw up an alternative site suitable for the super stadium Chelsea need as it did for Arsenal. Owen Luder CBE PPRIBA and author "Sports Stadia after Hillsborough.
Comment on: AJ named Magazine of the Year
I have taken the Architects Journal since I was a student in 1944. I got my first job as a Junior Assistant in an Architects office in 1945 as a result of a student free advertisement in the AJ. Over the years consistently a great magazine covering all as aspects of architecture, architectural practice and the profession. This award confirms what has been its consistency over the years. Owen Luder PPRIBA
ARB seem determined to give those whose campaign for its abolition the ammunition they seek to support their case. To change the rule we established when I was a founder architect member of ARB and its Vice-Chairman that, as with most other organisations there should be a period of grace for architects who - despite warnings of the renewal date - for good reasons or bad had not paid up by December 31st, There will be genuine cases where late payment an be justified. Ill-health, away abroad or just overlooked. It can happen. Not to allow any period of grace is brutal and unnecessary. Who complained that some architects were gaining an advantage by not paying until March? Or was this an internal decision - as was the internal decision to charge and find guilty George Oldham for what was alleged to be an unprofessional statement? ARB could possibly justify reducing the deadline to say a month, but abolish it completely and then charge a reinstatement fee - the costs created by their own decision to strike off - was unreasonable and unnecessary. This with the way ARB have incorrectly and unfairly applied disciplinary procedures makes it difficult for us who believe ARB has a very useful and necessary function working with the RIBA difficult to defend. Owen Luder CBE PPRIBA Past Chairman ARB
Terry Farrell lacks vision in ridiculing the concept of a hub airport. He is also compromised - or should be - as he has a vested interest in supporting the opposite approach tacking extra runways on various existing airports as he is involved in promoting an extension at Gatwick. We have the opportunity to create a new hub airport on the Thames Estuary with all the obvious advantages. Take off is over water. Not landing over a heavy populated areas. It will also create the catalyst - as airports always do of development - regeneration and employment to the deprived Eastern side of London regeneration The Western side of London is already congested and over developed. Had Maplin been built in the mid 1960's that regeneration would have happened then. The long term future of Heathrow can be decided when the estuary airport is under way. I suspect it will still have a future as air travel will still be growing and it will be used far less intensively to cater for the continued growth in short haul flights. Or will we lose our nerve and lose the opportunity to solve two long term problems. Restricting the growth of Heathrow in an already over congested part of London and a new hub airport that will not only avoid flights over heavily congested densely residential areas and bring regeneration to where it is still required without creating the problems Heathrow has created for West London. Owen Luder CBE PPRIBA
You refer to my concern about the changes in membership structure and particular the use of the affix Associate to advanced students who are not fully qualified. When I was told that at the Council meeting that the members in the membership survey had voted for that change - I said they were wrong as they had not thought through the implications. It also depended on how the question was asked. I am afraid the changes are there to increase income, are of doubtful value to the majority of members and most importantly will increase the confusion that already exists with the public as to who are properly and fully qualified architects. Owen Luder PPRIBA Nationally elected Council member.
I have concerns about the use of an affix AssociateRIBA by students who have reached Part 3 stage. Not that they should not have recognition and encouragement but that the use of an affix AssociateRIBA will create uncertainty with the public and be abbreviated to ARIBA which will cause problems and very difficult to monitor. However Council agreed to what it was said was a change supported by members in the membership survey but that depended on the question was phrased and whether members in giving their reply and thought through the implications. However Council has agreed to he use of that as an affix and we should accept that but keep the situation under review. Owen Luder PPRIBA