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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).

  • Dunnett: ‘Historic England is failing in its mission’

    Robert Wakeham's comment 7 January, 2016 8:40 pm

    Chris Smith's justification for Historic England's behaviour is itself 'disappointing and incorrect' - there is no valid excuse for nodding through Studio Egret West's gratuitous messing with the elevations of Balfron Tower, or turning a blind eye to Heatherwick performing tricks with the Kings Cross coal drops.
    Is Historic England taking too much notice of developers' business cases, and distorting its perception of its statutory duty to protect historic buildings from damage?
    Is it perhaps also open to accusations of political correctness - of kowtowing to the clout of the great god Retail and perhaps also to a designer who might be clever, who seems to have gained the favour of some politicians, but who nevertheless shows scant sign of respecting or understanding the significance of historic buildings and landscapes?

  • Controversial Balfron plans approved

    Robert Wakeham's comment 22 December, 2015 10:25 am

    Looking at the elevations, Studio Egret West & Ab Rodgers Design could have replaced the windows without changing the frame colour from light to dark - compare the first image with the second - that's not 'sensitive design' (are Historic England & the planners sleeping on the job?). It's more like vanity.

  • Ebbsfleet garden city boss leaves after just five months

    Robert Wakeham's comment 22 December, 2015 10:09 am

    Perhaps his connections with George Osborne's aims and ambitions weren't close enough?

  • Approval for Heatherwick's King’s Cross shopping scheme

    Robert Wakeham's comment 18 December, 2015 12:48 pm

    No way to treat some decent buildings - quirky skyscrapers are one thing, and quirky bridges are another - but overbearingly quirky add-ons imposed onto listed buildings?
    This is a win for flavour-of the (more than) month vain and narcissistic design. Poor King's Cross.

  • Hoskins' contentious Calton Hill plans narrowly rejected

    Robert Wakeham's comment 18 December, 2015 12:41 pm

    Thank God - and common sense - for this.

  • Boris sought Garden Bridge funding before Heatherwick's appointment

    Robert Wakeham's comment 18 December, 2015 12:38 pm

    Boris seems to have been mighty keen to cover his tracks - until found out, courtesy of the (under threat) Freedom of Information Act.
    The destination of San Francisco suggests that the likes of Google might well have been a target - maybe the bridge is to get the name of one of the new breed of monster tech companies?
    And I wonder what Boris's pal George knows of this - he also is mighty keen, for purely selfish reasons, to get his name attached to high profile populist initiatives, in contrast to the long term damage due to the unraveling of the basic fabric of this country through his determination to be seen to be 'balancing the books'.

  • Conservationists hit out at Heatherwick's King’s Cross shopping scheme

    Robert Wakeham's comment 15 December, 2015 6:36 pm

    Has Historic England adopted the sort of 'light touch' philosophy that got Gordon Brown - and us - into so much trouble with those supposedly brilliant guardians of the country's financial sector not so long ago?

  • Hoskins' controversial Calton Hill plans set for refusal

    Robert Wakeham's comment 15 December, 2015 6:15 pm

    Two architects of proven ability fouling Edinburgh with inappropriate dollops of 'developer dung' and if the city councillors (and the citizens, if DHP's pollsters are to be believed) have taken leave of their senses and ignore the counsel of their own planners then we're back to those inglorious days of selfish contempt for this wonderful city in the last century - when the University, amongst others, did serious harm to the urban fabric with utter disregard for any but their own narrow interests. Shame on the lot of them.

  • CJCT wins go-ahead for Maida Vale 'mansion block'

    Robert Wakeham's comment 10 December, 2015 4:52 pm

    If the first image is of the main elevation, there's not a lot 'echoing the bays of the Edwardian mansion blocks....', while there's a fashionable display of gravity defying brickwork, and of ordered chaos in the pattern of solid and void - but the scale shows some respect.

  • Critics pan 'insensitive' Scottish Poetry Library revamp

    Robert Wakeham's comment 10 December, 2015 4:09 pm

    The building has lost its magic - Doug Binnie's justifications for the infill are unimpressive, to put it politely - however sympathetic the detailing - and sadly it's no real surprise that the Edinburgh city council approved such a blatant example of 'dumbing down'.

  • Piano slammed over growing Paddington tower

    Robert Wakeham's comment 10 December, 2015 3:50 pm

    It looks very much as if Piano, Sellar + co believe that they can 'push the boundaries' of the notion that the areas immediately around the larger London stations are ripe for high-rise office clusters, so the familiar spokesperson-speak of 'consultation blah blah...finest architects...blah blah blah...new landmark...blah blah blah' is entirely predictable.
    Yes, some areas - notably. Praed Street - around the station are really quite unpleasant, but that's no reason for the planners to open the floodgates to this sort of massive step change in scale & character - it isn't as if Paddington is a derelict brownfield site.

  • Boris rubberstamps PLP’s Helter Skelter replacement

    Robert Wakeham's comment 9 December, 2015 6:20 pm

    Image #2 - the street level view - calls to mind some of Karen Cook's responses in the interview published on 'we are trying to look at the building, which could house up to 12,000 people, in a more humanist way'
    In fact, it'll be a massive, inscrutable, people-stacking lump, however glossy - and is utterly alien to the scale, variety and real 'humanism' of the buildings in the foreground.
    Perhaps these uneconomic relics of the 'old order' will eventually be cleared away - with the street transformed to a 'humanist' canyon?

  • Mull suspended as dean of Cass

    Robert Wakeham's comment 9 December, 2015 5:44 pm

    Sitting, as they are, on some juicy London real estate, I'm surprised that the governors haven't decided to flog the lot - and decamp to cheaper pastures where, with the proceeds, they could build a truly magnificent monument to their genius - how about Canvey Island?
    They could prove to be in the vanguard of a new trend in higher education - the University of the West of Scotland is proposing to close its Hamilton campus and move to a business park on the M8,
    It's a brave new world, for sure.

  • Richard Murphy unveils rival plans for Calton Hill

    Robert Wakeham's comment 9 December, 2015 5:09 pm

    A welcome sign of civilisation in the city of light.

  • Design contest victory sparks new attacks on Nine Elms bridge

    Robert Wakeham's comment 1 December, 2015 11:03 am

    I'm puzzled by the comment from an expert bridge designer that urban locations call for more urban visual themes, because I think that the very 'lightness' of the chosen design is very much in its favour, to minimise the obstruction to vistas along the river.

  • Sergison Bates unwraps £2.45m suburban housing scheme

    Robert Wakeham's comment 30 November, 2015 11:18 am

    The houses in the third photo appear to be looking straight into each other.

  • London Assembly members slam Garden Bridge 'secrecy'

    Robert Wakeham's comment 25 November, 2015 12:48 pm

    Anyone get the impression that Boris thinks he's Teflon coated?

  • Study makes case for £88m east London crossing

    Robert Wakeham's comment 25 November, 2015 12:36 pm

    Good to see positive comments on an elegant, practical and ingenious design for a genuinely worthwhile project that really will be a public asset.

  • High Court forces Lambeth to rethink demolition of Ted Hollamby estate

    Robert Wakeham's comment 25 November, 2015 12:00 pm

    Two scandals - a crooked council administration, and gross failure to recognise the benefits of repair and conservation (including that of the community) rather than 'clear felling' and replanting.
    If this affair reflects the overall competence and integrity (or, rather, lack thereof) of Lambeth Council, there's a case to be made for it to be put into 'special measures'.

  • Norman Foster hits out at Heathrow expansion plans

    Robert Wakeham's comment 24 November, 2015 11:51 am

    An estuary airport might be the right long-term strategy for London, but it looks mighty like the wrong long term strategy for the rest of Britain's population - which, unfortunately, lies to the other side of London.

  • Council backs Knight's River Cam footbridge

    Robert Wakeham's comment 24 November, 2015 11:36 am

    As an aside, why hasn't anyone built a giant Anglepoise as an urban 'landmark' sculpture? - preferably working, choreographed say to the volume of traffic on a city roundabout..

  • PLP wins approval for 62-storey Helter Skelter replacement

    Robert Wakeham's comment 18 November, 2015 11:35 am

    At least it's not bent / warped / twisted / convoluted.

  • Campaigners march against new wave of New York towers

    Robert Wakeham's comment 16 November, 2015 1:16 pm

    The problem of being plagued by the shadows created by the imposition of tall buildings on a neighbourhood has surfaced much closer to home, where Boris is over-ruling the objections of Tower Hamlets and Hackney councils to plans for a cluster of tall buildings - on the old Bishopsgate goods yard site - that would overshadow Shoreditch.

  • Sadie Morgan: ‘Design quality is top of HS2 panel’s agenda’

    Robert Wakeham's comment 16 November, 2015 12:43 pm

    There have been 'concerns' about Euston ever since the arch was destroyed , so it'll be very interesting to see what effect the independent design panel has on what happens here.

  • Council set to back contentious plans for threatened East End oddity

    Robert Wakeham's comment 16 November, 2015 12:34 pm

    Quite apart from the treatment of Spiegelhalter's shop, there are surely questions to be asked about the rising fashion for plumping up London's real estate by adding more storeys where a structure will (hopefully) bear it.
    I wonder what Ian Nairn would've made of this?

  • Another Grimshaw building in listing wrangle

    Robert Wakeham's comment 13 November, 2015 12:18 pm

    Come on, Mr Grimshaw - we live in a time of change.
    Why not give the whole of London a certificate of immunity from conservation?
    Think of the money to be made from flattening everything and rebuilding to double the height (infinitely more on the school playing fields) with a set percentage of the profit going to the ruling political party and the rest being efficiently laundered offshore?

  • Farrell: 'Why are we not building new bridges in East London?'

    Robert Wakeham's comment 13 November, 2015 12:08 pm

    Both Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan are apparently in favour of the 'garden bridge' project, but I don't know whether their enthusiasm for a bridge that's more folly than anything else indicates that they're bridgaholics - and have the vision to push for more bridges downstream - or whether they're just two more politicians jumping on a vanity 'bridgewagon'.

  • Lyndon Goode Architects' West Bank visit overshadowed by Boris controversy

    Robert Wakeham's comment 12 November, 2015 11:49 am

    If Boris has time on his hands in Israel he could go and chase up Ori Kalif in Tel Aviv.
    Mr Kalif is the director of CLTX Ltd, who illegally flattened the Carlton Tavern in Maida Vale on 8th April while the landlady was out.
    Mr Kalif was ordered to rebuild the pub within 18 months from demolition - he's only got 11 months left and the clock's ticking.
    Actually, Boris probably has bigger fish to fry.

  • Way cleared for British Land to demolish Foggo buildings at Broadgate

    Robert Wakeham's comment 12 November, 2015 11:33 am

    Barbarians at the Gate.

  • Architype’s Lewisham self-build homes get go-ahead

    Robert Wakeham's comment 11 November, 2015 12:40 pm

    We need a lot more of this type of design & development approach - it would be wonderful to see the torch carried for Walter Segal by John Broome and others getting far wider recognition throughout the country.

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