Chris Medland's Comments
I am a big fan of Cameron, and have met him several times and supported AFH for many years. However I think he may have misjudged this one.
sometimes it seems that people are scarred to say what they really think through fear of being shouted down. Nice scheme, wrong place. Nothing like the high line which essentially recycled an existing piece of structure - this is an expensive new 'park' that blocks the best view of London from waterloo bridge and the south bank. This is not a sustainability driven project and if it was there would be a multitude of better ways to spend £175million; and it is not a transport driven project (what is the cost:benefit ratio?). As great as it may be the existing situation is better. There I've said it.
This issue is very close to home for a small practice like ours. We lease offices in London, which the freeholder has plans to convert to apartments but will not say exactly when. It has to be said that some of the ground floor units which were initially designed as commercial space, make awful apartments, particularly those that lead onto the Thames path in Battersea as they is literally no privacy (perhaps the permitted development rights went too far in some instances). There is a shortage of smaller sized office space, i.e. less than 1000sqft but a lot of empty retail space around this size. Permitted development allows retail to be used as office for 3 years, however retail landlords are holding out for retail rents, even though the shops remain empty for years at a time. If the landlords rental expectations could drop then offices such as those required by architectural practices could be part of the solution to bringing life to local high streets.
Debate is of course important and ultimately will be beneficial. The AJ is taking up a lot of copy on this issue and although the recommendations are interesting I cant help by wonder who is best placed to give expert views on this issue. The issue is not as simple as height, density etc. - its not just an architectural or planning issue, its one of society, psychology and base human needs. There is a chronic housing shortage, there are limited models of providing space for new homes, I hear NO to highrise and NO to building on green belt, we cant all keep saying no to everything so lets find out what the best way of doing things are, at a human level, before rejecting ideas. Where is the sociological research? Too many opinions, not enough science?
https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/rivercrossings/garden-bridge/user_uploads/image-4.jpg as enchanting as the 3D views from a helicopter are please refer to above elevation on the TfL consultation website for the elevation that will be seen from the south bank...
Dear Frank, As a local Battersea practice we would be delighted to discuss how we can assist with your project at Battersea Power Station. Contact details available at www.one-worlddesign.co.uk I look forward to your call Chris
variety is the spice of life - there is no one size fits all
Comment on: Architects ‘squeezed out of middle class’
I cant help but think that over the next ten years, unless fees rise back to historic percentages, that the mix of long hours, average pay and (due to house prices) long commutes will lead to large practices having a shortfall in quality staff availability (people with 10 years experience who want to start a family for example). This will probably lead to the creation of satellite offices on the main access routes within earshot of London in places like Guildford, Milton Keynes and Brighton which will take on more and more of the work with lower overheads and less time spent commuting. This will be made all the easier by advances in remote data exchange over the web and superfast broadband.
Is this the same Yalding in Kent that has consistently flooded in recent years? Hmmm. I would also reiterate what I said in September last year - There are 22.0 million private homes in the UK serving a population of 60.5 million people. On that basis there are 2.75 people per house. If London requires 809,000 homes by 2021 this means that the current bed space shortfall plus the expected increase in population over the next 8 years is approximately 2 ¼ million people. If all the funding and policies are put in place then the most optimistic prediction means that of those people some 368,500 will be housed by the London Councils. This means that nearly 1.9million people will need to be housed by other means. Say we are lucky and 10% of these people are accommodated by extensions and alterations to existing housing stock in London, and another 10% are accommodated outside London by improvements to existing housing stock and commute in, there are still 1.5 million people unaccounted for. Now we look at brown field sites within the M25, let’s be cautious and say that there are enough viable sites to house a further 500,000 people in 200,000 new privately funded homes for sale or build to lets developments. We are still left with 1 million people to house - we need to build two whole new cities the size of Bristol within commuting distance of London. Perhaps 4 smaller cities, north, south, east and west of London. Given that cross rail will be complete I would suggest one to the west near Maidenhead or Reading and another near Shenfield or further out into Essex, or close to the M11, Stevenage could be expanded to the north and Crawley to the south. Let’s get busy…