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Robert Wakeham's Comments

  • Comment on: Douglas and King wins planning for Cricklewood apartment block

    Robert Wakeham's comment 15-Apr-2014 6:17 pm

    'Faceting and sculpting' in an urban environment - apparently to include the roof, as if the whole building has been carved out of one chunk of brick - surely risks differential staining if roof rainwater just runs down the walls? Or are there to be gutter 'grooves' along the wallheads?

  • Comment on: Israeli architect defends RIBA’s motion

    Robert Wakeham's comment 11-Apr-2014 7:46 pm

    Anyone passing themselves off as someone else should be exposed and identified for who they really are - the AJ is usually mercifully free of the 'faceless ones' so, please, could we have a bit of honesty?

  • Comment on: Shock at Commonwealth Games bid to demolish Glasgow towers for opening ceremony

    Robert Wakeham's comment 7-Apr-2014 1:32 pm

    Jonathan Meades refers to 'even the most half witted elected representative...' - the trouble is, this is Glasgow, and the electorate seems perfectly capable of electing a parrot if it's wearing the right colours. In the case of the current leadership, it seems to be following in the footsteps of the previous disgraced one.

  • Comment on: Revealed: 10 shortlisted designs for HS2’s overhead line structures

    Robert Wakeham's comment 3-Apr-2014 4:32 pm

    Perhaps by the time that HS2 is completed our friends the electrical engineers will have worked out how to pick up power from the two rails - like toy trains - by induction or whatever, thereby avoiding the need for posts and wires.

  • Comment on: RSHP picked to design scheme to replace firm’s own HQ

    Robert Wakeham's comment 31-Mar-2014 10:48 am

    I wonder if this'll be an example of an attractive riverside site, with a variety of contrasting buildings and uses, being 'dumbed down' by the pressure to maximise the return on providing more very, very high value residential space? No reason why an architect shouldn't benefit from their investment, but will it be at the expense of the 'place'?.

  • Comment on: Brady defends RIBA Council Israeli motion

    Robert Wakeham's comment 26-Mar-2014 12:00 pm

    None of the human rights abusers listed by Stephen Games have such a close association with Britain, and to my mind there's a great deal of obfuscation being employed to justify condemnation of Brady's motion and the RIBA Council's vote. This reminds me of the controversy in the pages of the Architectural Review a few years ago, and at the risk of being accused of anti semitism myself, I think that no-one should lose sight of the fact that racism and prejudice can work in two directions, and is especially insidious when it's fed by misplaced loyalty, religion, selfishness and outright greed.

  • Comment on: High Court rejects challenge to Chippo's Elizabeth House scheme

    Robert Wakeham's comment 24-Mar-2014 9:51 am

    Gherkins, cheese graters, walkie-talkies - and now a pile of carelessly stacked boxes? What next in the novelty store?

  • Comment on: MIPIM is good for business, but the investment focus distorts UK architecture

    Robert Wakeham's comment 12-Mar-2014 7:08 pm

    The mismatch between 'London values' and national values was brought home to me last week when it was reported that the long disused Brompton Road underground station on the Piccadilly line had been sold for £53 million, while down in Somerset the 'fixing' of the flooding problems, including a barrage to protect Bridgwater, would cost the almost unimaginable sum of £100 million. £53 million pumped into the London economy (from the Ukraine economy) while it's anyone's guess whether there'll be a 'business case' for pumping money into Somerset. Enjoy MIPIM.

  • Comment on: Highlander. House at Camusdarach Sands by Raw

    Robert Wakeham's comment 7-Mar-2014 11:49 am

    'Sculptural architecture' involving wrapping timber cladding over the roof, looks as if, even with really careful detailing, it could be a real challenge to keep the building looking sculptural in any climate, let alone what'll get thrown at it at Morar.

  • Comment on: 'Let's go really big': Chancellor signals another Euston rethink

    Robert Wakeham's comment 24-Feb-2014 11:00 am

    Whatever the outcome, it'll be a monument to philistinism if reconstruction of the Euston Arch isn't an integral element in the work.

  • Comment on: Flood debate: Should we build on floodplains?

    Robert Wakeham's comment 18-Feb-2014 11:19 am

    The Thames valley tv news footage has clearly demonstrated how some residential areas are inundated with calm water whereas others, presumably nearer the river, are exposed to flowing water - and surely the former would indeed be candidates for floating houses.

  • Comment on: Fraser rubbishes Scottish Poetry Library revamp

    Robert Wakeham's comment 14-Feb-2014 10:23 am

    I'd like to know why Fraser and the client 'parted ways'. If the SPL really has outgrown this fine building maybe the ideal would be for it to be sold to someone who'd give it more respect, and for NRS to design a new building - which would hopefully be less of a dog's breakfast than their current proposal, and would better reflect their undoubted design skills.

  • Comment on: Speculative Diamond Jubilee Bridge gets planning go-ahead

    Robert Wakeham's comment 22-Nov-2013 10:11 am

    The smaller central arch accentuates the larger scale of the two side arches, and while the alignment of the piers with those of the adjacent Battersea Railway Bridge is clearly essential, I don't understand why the two 'double span' arches couldn't have been four smaller arches - which would surely have been a more elegant solution and avoided the over-scale and clumsy appearance of the big arches.

  • Comment on: Stirling-shortlisted Sainsbury’s eco-store faces demolition

    Robert Wakeham's comment 18-Nov-2013 1:53 pm

    There's also the question of whether IKEA stores are truly 'fit for purpose', given their standard design formula with inadequate provision for 'shortcuts' in the upstairs maze leading to unnecessary overcrowding, and failure to provide for acoustic damping in the restaurant creating too much noise for comfort.

  • Comment on: A steal in steel city: SOAR Works by 00:/

    Robert Wakeham's comment 13-Nov-2013 9:48 am

    For a different 'take' on the headline illustration see Google Streetview

  • Comment on: Historic site will be 'trashed' by National Rail scheme warns engineer

    Robert Wakeham's comment 11-Nov-2013 9:38 am

    What would the 'Middlewoods Lock site' route entail, compared with the demolitions and alterations listed above?

  • Comment on: Maggie's Aberdeen: ‘It didn’t start with a pebble’

    Robert Wakeham's comment 11-Oct-2013 9:36 am

    'The contractors found their own way' - there's surely an opportunity for research on just how builders over the last century have successfully tackled radical and challenging construction; a few years back at Ronchamp I asked the visitor centre manager who it was that had risen to the challenge of making such a revolutionary design real, but she couldn't enlighten me. The 'knowing how' must have surely uncovered some construction industry geniuses over the years, particularly before the rise of computer aided design.

  • Comment on: Union Terrace Take III: Brisac Gonzalez scheme could return

    Robert Wakeham's comment 26-Jul-2013 12:02 pm

    This is really good news, if it results in the original competition winning scheme - that respects the character of the setting - being realised. It might also go some way to restoring confidence in the governance of Aberdeen city.

  • Comment on: SHH wins go-ahead for black-fronted Mayfair home

    Robert Wakeham's comment 16-May-2013 11:14 am

    I wonder why this locality was designated a Conservation Area? Variety might be preferable to total uniformity, but isn't an apparently black building here more than slightly incongruous, and arguably just representative of what might well turn out to be a short-lived fashion fad?

  • Comment on: Euston demolition plans dropped

    Robert Wakeham's comment 22-Apr-2013 8:49 am

    11 new platforms, but without expanding to the west, and the probably irresistible pressure for over-station development - does this all add up to a multi-layered cavern that fails to learn the lessons of the past?

  • Comment on: Work to start on 'less radical' George Sq revamp

    Robert Wakeham's comment 19-Mar-2013 9:21 am

    The whole affair is all the more grubby when you realise that anyone walking around Glasgow city centre rapidly becomes aware that the fine Caithness flag paving in the pedestrianised streets isn't being cared for, and that in some streets the pavements are in such an appalling state that they're wheelchair aggressive and have clearly been neglected for decades. Pedestrians have been further abused in recent years by the arrival of large on-pavement sponsored information / advertising panels that in many places block more than half the pavement width, and create massive and dangerous obstructions to pedestrian visibility. In this context, resurfacing George Square is akin to Nero fiddling while Rome burns.

  • Comment on: The Wright stuff: Newlands School by Wright & Wright

    Robert Wakeham's comment 11-Mar-2013 10:06 am

    Good to such architects who can design a new school, to tight budget, so very well. London's gain is Glasgow's loss - the architect comments 'with too many materials you get a fruit salad, you get Building Centre elevations', and the reviewer refers to 'Pseudo-modernismn. CABE-ism. The kind of buildings a wolf could blow down'. A classic example has recently appeared in Great Western Road, Glasgow - St Peter The Apostle High School, Kilbowie, Clydebank. I wonder what Isi Metzstein would've had to say about that confection?

  • Comment on: Sheffield’s Don Valley Stadium faces uncertain future

    Robert Wakeham's comment 7-Mar-2013 8:46 am

    Emblematic of the state of Britain outside London.

  • Comment on:  RMJM legal battle intensifies

    Robert Wakeham's comment 14-Feb-2013 11:58 am

    Isn't it time RMJM's behaviour attracted the attention of ARB?

  • Comment on: Fragments and dreams: Downley House by Birds Portchmouth Russum

    Robert Wakeham's comment 14-Feb-2013 11:52 am


  • Comment on: Plan to save Preston bus station revealed

    Robert Wakeham's comment 13-Feb-2013 10:29 am

    It'd make a good IKEA within the existing structure and without losing its character.

  • Comment on: Newt halts work on Ryder's £14m Durham police HQ

    Robert Wakeham's comment 12-Feb-2013 10:33 am

    For a protected species, the Great Crested Newt seems to be remarkably widely distributed given the frequency with which it's found to be 'in the way of development'.

  • Comment on: City Garden Project dealt final blow as Aberdeen moots £20m alternative

    Robert Wakeham's comment 12-Feb-2013 10:27 am

    If only the different factions in the city of Aberdeen (and Holyrood) could bury the hatchet and see their way to resurrecting the fine scheme by Brisac Gonzales, which would be an asset to all (and absolutely worthy of Sir Ian Wood's largesse)

  • Comment on: McAslan vies for public support over George Square

    Robert Wakeham's comment 6-Feb-2013 10:20 am

    Let's hope that good design can prevail - but only the people of Glasgow can 'clean the stables' of cynical, self-serving politicians. Glasgow deserves miles better.

  • Comment on: What a week for Glasgow

    Robert Wakeham's comment 31-Jan-2013 10:24 am

    21% of city centre shops empty, but meanwhile plans to double the size of the city centre Buchanan Galleries retail centre are forging ahead, including the provision of 1700 parking spaces and £80m of 'public realm improvements' funded by the city council, who see the project as a key to regeneration in this area of the city centre. Meanwhile, the 'public realm' in other areas of the city centre - some already the subject of past improvement - is left to degenerate. It just doesn't add up.

  • Comment on: George Square: Matheson ditched contest after jury snubbed Burns + Nice

    Robert Wakeham's comment 29-Jan-2013 11:47 am

    In favouring Entry 6 the disreputable Mr Matheson showed scant regard for the historic qualities of George Square, let alone for the informed opinions and advice of the distinguished jury. Perhaps his greatest contempt is for the people of Glasgow.

  • Comment on: Ex-Lighthouse boss weighs in: 'George Sq should become urban laboratory'

    Robert Wakeham's comment 24-Jan-2013 12:10 pm

    Perhaps, before any more moves to start tinkering with George Square, it might be a good idea to repair the damage caused by gross neglect - and botched reinstatement after street excavations - of all the fine Caithness flag and Brazilian granite paving in the city centre. This was installed, with great fanfare, in a makeover associated with the 'City of Culture' and previous 'Glasgow's miles better' initiatives. There is also the question of the extensive city centre pavements that never 'got the treatment' and are spectacularly neglected, as well as the quite astonishingly squalid back streets in the city centre. And the more recent installation of pavement-blocking advertising panels further indicates a very real lack of civic integrity in favour of superficial gesture. 'Public participation' will require wholesale reform of the city council, if it is to have any meaning.

  • Comment on: Platt: 'The George Square U-turn represents a catastrophic loss of nerve'

    Robert Wakeham's comment 23-Jan-2013 10:30 am

    Surely the arched structure depicted in Entry 4 - apparently of considerable size and mass - would be far too prominent and over-scale in the setting of the square? But this is a minor point in the context of the sheer awfulness of the recent government of the city of Glasgow, and this bungled competition is just one aspect of the problem.

  • Comment on: George Square debacle has roots in 80s 'City of Culture' campaign

    Robert Wakeham's comment 23-Jan-2013 10:16 am

    At the time of the 'miles better' and 'city of culture' campaigns some (but far from all) of the city centre streetscape was overhauled, with prominent use of fine Caithness flags and Brazilian granite setts. There has been considerable wear and tear, with flags left damaged and broken by vehicles and cack-handed 'restoration' of areas after excavation. No sign of reasonable care in maintenance. Some of the central streets - let alone the spectacularly sleazy back alleys - were never given the 'treatment'. More recently large advertising panels have been installed on many pavements, obstructing pedestrian movement and creating hazards for the disabled, blind and infirm. Meanwhile the city council has been led by people who've proved themselves devoid of integrity. 'All fur coat and no knickers' could be a fit description - and it's a rat-eaten fur coat.

  • Comment on: McAslan wins George Square prize - then contest is scrapped

    Robert Wakeham's comment 22-Jan-2013 10:40 am

    The history of this - and the previous competition - just reinforces the impression created by the historic whiff of cronyism and corruption in this council, that the citizens of Glasgow deserve far better.

  • Comment on: Anger as Strathclyde school of architecture leaves Brutalist home

    Robert Wakeham's comment 15-Jan-2013 11:01 am

    'Engineering hub' sounds suspiciously like 'engineering ghetto' - since when has architecture (in the developed world) been classified as engineering, and is it part of a university's function to encourage polarisation of disciplines? What sort of an investment programme actually degrades the quality of accommodation - investment in empire building?

  • Comment on: Niall McLaughlin scoops King’s Cross gold

    Robert Wakeham's comment 9-Jan-2013 10:24 am

    Surely whoever's responsible for making this work structurally also deserves credit.

  • Comment on: RMJM's UK companies go under

    Robert Wakeham's comment 26-Oct-2012 11:39 am

    I wonder what the 120 employees think, and whether the reported removal of computers from the London office by bailiffs has affected their work?

  • Comment on: vHH completes another nature reserve scheme

    Robert Wakeham's comment 3-Oct-2012 10:09 am

    Am I alone in lamenting the days when practices - especially ones as good as this - were known by their real names (regardless of whether the founders still played an active part) rather than just by initials?

  • Comment on: Council referendum to decide Union Terrace Gardens’ fate

    Robert Wakeham's comment 21-Aug-2012 9:24 am

    'Oligarchs rule' might seem excessively cynical, but hasn't this been true?

  • Comment on: AJ's Hattie Hartman defies Olympic ban in protest dress

    Robert Wakeham's comment 10-Aug-2012 9:42 am

    Off with her head! / Prison -The Tower / Botany Bay.

  • Comment on: Lego Games - the Olympic park in mini-bricks

    Robert Wakeham's comment 8-Aug-2012 12:35 pm

    Is it just me or does the Orbit bear a passing resemblance to someone's entrails? - no offence to Warren Elsmore, he seems to have done an excellent job of capturing the character of the Olympic structures.

  • Comment on: DC CABE and Moylan join RIBA in battle against Olympic marketing ban

    Robert Wakeham's comment 6-Aug-2012 10:55 am

    Good for Angela - I wonder what would happen if the RIBA ran a members-only survey (with the widest possible publicity) to rank the Olympic buildings in order of merit? Hanging, drawing and quartering, or despatch to a slave labour camp to build the new airport on Rainham marshes?

  • Comment on: Capita Symonds' £4m Blackburn bus station plans submitted

    Robert Wakeham's comment 3-Aug-2012 10:03 am

    And how does the architect propose that the floor is cleaned - an irrelevant detail?

  • Comment on: Sturgis unveils Reading tower plans

    Robert Wakeham's comment 15-Jun-2012 11:54 am

    Distinctly underwhelming.

  • Comment on: Union Terrace Gardens faces new threat

    Robert Wakeham's comment 17-May-2012 9:23 am

    Surely, if Peacock Arts and Brisac Gonzales are still prepared to deal with not just the new Aberdeen city council but also a local population that seems to be deeply divided, then the ideal outcome would be to resurrect what was clearly an excellent project. It's time for Sir Ian to swallow his pride, stop leading ACSEF by the snout, accept that Aberdeen's not some post-communist central Asian thug-state blowing its wealth on monuments to the great and the greedy, and put his very substantial reputation - and money if necessary - behind the proposals that promised to deliver much needed arts facilities while showing genuine respect for the character of the gardens. Proposals that won the original competition, and the vote of the people. If Sir Ian has been persuaded that the key to reviving the truly crummy state of Union Street is the replacement of Union Terrace Gardens by a fragmented building of sub-Hadid style (sorry Zaha, no insult intended) that has only its stone in common with its setting, he's been had. For my money the key to the problems in the city centre are traffic management - you've only got to walk up from the station into the city centre to see how traffic engineering in decades gone by has shown scant regard for the quality of life in the city, and if Sir Ian wants a really effective legacy he could promote an international ideas competition to sort out the traffic and bring back the quality of urban life that the centre so desperately needs.

  • Comment on: Allies and Morrison’s Elephant and Castle tower rejected

    Robert Wakeham's comment 14-Oct-2011 10:53 am

    'Thrown out by the planners' - no, thrown out by the councillors, and the Ministry of Sound seem to have the same power to impose a 'cordon sanitaire' that is historically associated with the Ministry of Defence's attitude to development near dangerous munitions storage sites. Perhaps the Ministry of Sound should relocate to an industrial estate where they'll disturb no-one. Planning blight by an airport or NATO base is one thing, but by a nightclub?

  • Comment on: Architect fights back over claims Donald Trump clubhouse design is 'gross'

    Robert Wakeham's comment 28-Sep-2011 7:38 pm

    Perhaps Mr Forrest could now turn his attention to the design of the close inshore 'offshore' windfarm planned for this stretch of coast, and currently giving Mr Trump apoplexy. May I suggest that the proposed clubhouse chimneys - reminiscent of the vent stacks on some of our more forbidding Victorian prisons - could inspire treating the wind towers as cotton mill chimneys, and adorning the turbine blades as traditional windmill sails; that should keep Mr Trump happy.

  • Comment on: Donald Trump clubhouse scheme by Acanthus revealed

    Robert Wakeham's comment 23-Sep-2011 10:10 am

    Reminds me both of a Victorian tram shed in Knightswood, Glasgow, and of one of those 'asylums' of old, tucked away in various corners of Scotland - except that the tram shed and asylums are architecture, and have substance, whereas this isn't, and doesn't.

  • Comment on: Jim Eyre: No Modernist conspiracy in architecture

    Robert Wakeham's comment 5-Aug-2011 12:42 pm

    Reproduction architecture has it's place - like reproduction furniture - but how on earth do you apply 'traditionalism' to Olympic venues? All I can think of is giant Roman amphitheatres, and I wonder if this is what TAG would like to see, or is it just that the athletes' village should be another Poundbury?

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