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Robert Wakeham's comments

  • Proposed Orbit super-slide rises three times over budget

    Robert Wakeham's comment 5 February, 2016 9:29 pm

    I think that Ted Happold would've been very surprised indeed if he knew that the team that bears his name had become involved in this.

  • Many small things add up to something significant

    Robert Wakeham's comment 5 February, 2016 8:43 pm

    'Many small things add up to something significant' calls to mind the AJ's recent news item - 'Developers selected for huge TfL property framework'.
    Given the massive and increasingly destabilising problem of young Londoners being unable to afford the ballooning cost of housing, I wonder if TfL might see their way to releasing at reasonable prices the huge number of 'leftover' small and more difficult to develop plots - those places unattractive to their big framework partners - to enable young up and coming practices to tackle small housing projects to enable young people escape from joining the homeless and disillusioned?
    I wonder if TfL - having become embroiled in the controversy surrounding their support for that irresistibly vital piece of infrastructure, the Garden Bridge, might see the opportunity to redeem themselves (somewhat) by helping to address the housing problem?
    The Mayor and his team might benefit from visiting the current exhibition at the AA on the small projects of - and inspired by - Walter Segal, and the current development on another backland site in Lewisham.
    Perhaps the 'great & the good' of our architectural profession who've been so ready to applaud the Garden Bridge might consider a TfL small housing projects initiative just as worthy of support?

  • Mayor demands review of rejected Duggan Morris scheme

    Robert Wakeham's comment 4 February, 2016 1:05 pm

    A big step-change in scale (and lumpen if the first image is anything to go by) so the mayor's call-in letter 'failure to promote appropriate development....' makes me wonder how much London risks suffering from a failure to elect an appropriate mayor, in terms of integrity, diligence and freedom from the diseases of deviousness, cronyism and overweening personal ambition.

  • Zac backs the Garden Bridge

    Robert Wakeham's comment 4 February, 2016 1:44 am

    The odds on London having another opportunistic mayor with his sights set on the 'main chance' must be increasing by the minute - and Mr Johnson is beginning to sound about as convincing as Mr Trump.

  • Piano's Paddington Pole pulled from planning

    Robert Wakeham's comment 2 February, 2016 6:13 pm

    Michael Sorkin, discussing the New York city skyline in last August's 'Architectural Review', talked of 'a rush of global starchitects energetically putting lipstick on a rash(er) of enormous pigs', and went on to liken the skyline to a bar graph of real-estate prices.
    Where Manhattan goes, central London follows?

  • Norton Folgate objectors granted judicial review

    Robert Wakeham's comment 29 January, 2016 4:13 pm

    Good news, because - however careful the choice of brickwork - the published images demonstrate beyond doubt just how much of the historic character of this area would be lost, and London isn't Ceasescu's Bucharest.

  • Heatherwick and Boris promoted Garden Bridge before ‘rigged’ TfL design contest

    Robert Wakeham's comment 29 January, 2016 3:20 pm

    Well, it's a relief that Apple - with its allergy to paying taxes in Britain - isn't involved in funding the Garden Bridge charity.
    But other multinationals with the same expensive (for us) allergy - Citi (aka Citigroup, Citibank etc), and now Sky, are giving the charity substantial sums of what might more logically be due in UK taxes.
    And the grotesque joke is that they're in partnership with the UK's taxpayers, who've made an involuntary contribution to the charity of £60m (and counting) courtesy of George & Boris.
    The grotesquery doesn't stop there - at least three of our best known and most gifted architects have been applauding the project in the full knowledge (unless they're brain dead) that the architectural design procurement process was quite obviously and outrageously skewed.
    I'm not aware that their own reputations have been 'helped' by winning fiddled design competitions, and It's a big surprise that integrity in these matters doesn't seem to be on their radar.

  • Boost for Scottish social housing as subsidy rates are hiked

    Robert Wakeham's comment 27 January, 2016 11:08 am

    Excellent news - for Scotland.

  • The Garden Bridge subverts the lessons of history

    Robert Wakeham's comment 26 January, 2016 1:42 pm

    The Garden Bridge might yet have another unforeseen effect - on British politics, not just on the London 'hot house'.
    I think that many people (and not just in Scotland, where I live) will see this project's history as symbolising a great deal of what they perceive as wrong with the country - a London-centric culture of cronyism, greed and excess set against a nation-wide climate of savage cut-backs in public spending, and of creeping poverty and hardship impacting on a steadily increasing proportion of the population.
    The potential for fuelling the growth of existing resentment and division is there - and will doubtless be exploited, particularly by fervent nationalists in Scotland (at least) and by those aware of the simmering resentment in the North and Southwest of England, where a severe infrastructure deficit is being treated by Westminster more with opportunistic and cynical hot air than any real commitment to action.

  • Palmyra arch to be recreated in Trafalgar Square

    Robert Wakeham's comment 22 January, 2016 6:25 pm

    I share Peter Kelly's concern, but I think that every time ISIS destroys something of great historical and cultural value it should be promptly recreated at full scale in a highly visible location.
    If holographic technology is sufficiently developed then this would be the ideal form - 3D ephemeral reproduction, and if there was any way of projecting such images (ideally many times magnified) onto areas of the Middle East occupied by ISIS this might just act as a form of aversion therapy against the further destruction of our heritage.
    Imagine the ghost of the Palmyra ruins hovering - Aurora-style - in the sky over Mosul or Raqqa.

  • Boris blames architects’ ‘jealousy’ of Heatherwick for Garden Bridge row

    Robert Wakeham's comment 21 January, 2016 3:19 pm

    Boris's arrogance knows no bounds - but then, what should anyone expect from someone who, in old-fashioned parlance, could be termed a 'bounder'?
    Actually, a blusterer might be more accurate just now - someone who's been found out telling porkies (more often than not a naughty child, but Boris is a powerful politician, and accountable for his behaviour to both the electorate and the law).

  • Audit office: Osborne sidestepped processes on Garden Bridge funding

    Robert Wakeham's comment 19 January, 2016 11:52 pm

    Who's going to tell the Department for Transport spokesperson the facts of life?
    That the river Thames in central London already counts as an 'iconic outdoor space' - about as iconic as it gets - and that we need this mega folly planted on it about as much as we need a machiavellian finance minister preaching one thing in public and doing the opposite (with our money) on the sly, we need a devious and manipulative trick-cyclist of a politician two-timing as both Mayor of London and a Member of Parliament while manoeuvring for the top job, or we need a Prime Minister from whom no-one in their right mind would buy a second hand car.

  • Bulldozing brutalism’s bad boys to balance the books won't work

    Robert Wakeham's comment 18 January, 2016 12:47 pm

    David Cameron's 'eye of mordor' has obviously spotted a chance to indulge in a headline catching populist gesture, but this might backfire badly at a time when the supposedly flaky Jeremy Corbyn is being perceived as a great deal more straightforward - as demonstrated by the news of phenomenal increases in labour party membership around the country.

  • Moxon submits plans for ultra-thin King’s Cross bridge

    Robert Wakeham's comment 18 January, 2016 12:31 pm

    Ben Addy's remarks show rather more sensitivity to the context than shown by Thomas Heatherwick's butchering of the coal drops.

  • SAVE mulls appeal after High Court allows Lime Street plans

    Robert Wakeham's comment 18 January, 2016 12:22 pm

    The dismal chunk of drab new development looming over the street appears to have about as much refinement as a high bay warehouse - but then maybe a lot of new student accommodation is just that.
    What on earth do Broadway Malyan think they're doing? - for the city council to believe that this is good for Liverpool adds to the suspicion that there's a serious 'civilisation deficit' in this city, further reinforced by the Mayor's belief that SAVE's bid for judicial review of the planning approval was based on spurious grounds.

  • Flood debate is economical with the facts and figures

    Robert Wakeham's comment 14 January, 2016 8:34 pm

    I hadn't realised that London is needing a new flood barrier, but there might be a great opportunity here to help those boroughs that are facing increasing public criticism of the fashion for digging massive basements under houses.
    How about legislation (preferably retrospective) to ensure that all such basements can act as flood containment structures in time of need?
    Should the Thames start to lap into a street, the basement capacity could make all the difference to the degree of flooding.
    Damage to basements would be minimised if they were were designed with robust materials and finishes (and not for underground living or sleeping accommodation) so that they could be easily pumped out and cleaned.
    Not so fanciful, when you consider that this dual use of basement space is already being promoted by the Dutch - and anyone in London creating an elaborate basement beneath their house is most unlikely to be able to plead poverty.

  • Sky signs up to sponsor Garden Bridge

    Robert Wakeham's comment 14 January, 2016 8:12 pm

    'Enrich London' my foot - if built it'll be a £175 million (and counting) government sponsored privately controlled vanity statement in a time of government enforced austerity - to be imposed on the existing river scape, and I suspect in time likely to be seen as a monumental folly, symbolising a 'look at me' culture of excess that valued superficial 'flash' over the nurturing of a fair and cohesive society in this land.

  • Is the ideological attack on the Cass part of a new Green Paper agenda?

    Robert Wakeham's comment 12 January, 2016 5:42 pm

    This critique of government policy just compounds the evidence of dogma-driven damage to a wide range of what until recently have been seen traditionally as core public sector responsibilities, from health services to flood protection.
    The excuse seems to be the need to 'cut out the fat' in a time of extreme austerity, but the main driver - the Treasury, in the shape of the ambitious and manipulative Mr Osborne - is now well into the process of 'throwing out the baby with the bathwater', and I wonder who will eventually be struggling to prevent the baby from drowning?
    Surely not Mr Osborne, whose own taxpayer-funded support for the vanity Garden Bridge projects suggests an underlying honesty deficit (to put it politely).

  • Campaigners take Boris to court over Blossom St call-in

    Robert Wakeham's comment 12 January, 2016 4:58 pm

    'Procedural irregularities'? - Boris Johnson? - whatever next?

  • Contest launched for Peckham’s ‘High Line’ park

    Robert Wakeham's comment 8 January, 2016 2:18 pm

    Compare this with the Garden Bridge - Peckham really does need all the help it can get, but - sadly - this project doesn't have the 'look at me' in-your-face 'wow factor' that's so seemingly irresistible to the vain, the greedy, the devious and the unscrupulous (especially when they can raid our pockets to help achieve their monumental ambitions).

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