By continuing to use the site you agree to our Privacy & Cookies policy

Robert Wakeham's Comments

  • Comment on: Yes vote 'would jeopardise' £7.8bn of Scottish schemes

    Robert Wakeham's comment 16-Sep-2014 9:30 am

    Gordon MacGregor might not be aware that there's already action by the renewable energy industry to put projects on hold pending clarification of government policy after this week's vote. Near where I live in Argyll a fairly large, but uncontroversial, wind farm project was about to start on site but has now been frozen - and the same company has frozen their other project in Scotland. Nothing 'vague' about it. As for Helen Lucas's comments about 'fantastic creative energy', it seems to me that there's plenty of that in Scotland anyway, and there does seem to be a notion fostered by the 'Yes' campaigners that Scotland is a poor, decrepit, hollowed out shell of a country. Really? This is not to say that there isn't the urgent need for radical reform of the governance of Britain - anyone living outside the London area (and not just in Scotland) must be aware of the extraordinarily unhealthy coincidence of concentrated wealth and political power in just one patch of the country. Without reform, there really is a risk of enormously damaging fault lines opening up within England, let alone between England and Scotland.

  • Comment on: Scottish architects favour independence in 60–40 split

    Robert Wakeham's comment 11-Sep-2014 8:30 am

    Walter Menteth's observation of the lost opportunity might yet prove to be premature, if Westminster gets a sufficiently hefty kicking but Scotland opts to remain within the fold - and the implications for the English regions could well be immense.

  • Comment on: Glasgow School of Art announces duo of symposia on restoring the Mac

    Robert Wakeham's comment 8-Sep-2014 3:54 pm

    I very much hope that these two symposia don't turn out to be forums for promoting the idea that to restore the School of Art 'as built' would be to condemn it to just a repro 'Mockintosh' sham. This view was being promoted last week by the former director of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society and chair of the Friends of the Glasgow School of Art, David Mullane - who seems to have got carried away by the concept of modern interventions in the fabric of historic ruins. The Glasgow School of Art is not a ruin.

  • Comment on: Frank Gehry dropped from World Trade Centre job

    Robert Wakeham's comment 8-Sep-2014 9:49 am

    I wonder, what are Maggie Boepple's credentials?

  • Comment on: Crossrail wins approval for Woolwich Arsenal schemes

    Robert Wakeham's comment 3-Sep-2014 11:37 am

    Interesting that the station incorporates escalators, unlike the proposals for Ealing Broadway - I wonder if the predicted passenger numbers at Woolwich Arsenal are greater than those for Ealing Broadway?

  • Comment on: Boris hits out at Heathrow as Estuary Airport plans face rejection

    Robert Wakeham's comment 3-Sep-2014 1:24 am

    Paul Finch refers to a massive disservice to London and Londoners; How about the massive disservice to the rest of the country if Heathrow were to be shut down? Johnson, Moylan and Foster seem to think that only London matters, so perhaps it would be best if London were to be 'floated' as a separate city state, Singapore style, leaving the rest of Britain (including Scotland, to my mind) to pursue more balanced physical and economic development strategies.

  • Comment on: Hawksmoor-inspired beach hut unwrapped in Folkestone

    Robert Wakeham's comment 1-Sep-2014 9:31 am

    I wonder how many people would guess 'its presence as a beach hut' (despite its location) in the face of such strong architectural references - which, to me, suggest some early Victorian public utility, probably a pumping station, and not a lighthouse (despite its location).

  • Comment on: Planning victory in Isle of Man for Foster Lomas

    Robert Wakeham's comment 28-Aug-2014 8:42 am

    Poor cottage.

  • Comment on: Mayor says Thames Airport would 'support more jobs'

    Robert Wakeham's comment 27-Aug-2014 9:50 am

    Great Britain needs its main hub airport shifted to the other side of London like it needs a hole in the head. This is not about Great Britain, and it's not even really about London - except in the sense that it greases the way for Boris to further his political ambitions by gaining election to a parliamentary constituency - Uxbridge & South Ruislip - that would be a much quieter place should Heathrow be removed. True, land would be released for more housing, with good transport connections, but the commercial development - and very substantial employment - created by Heathrow would all move out, shifting to the 'empty spaces' (green belt?) of Essex or Kent. The London urban splodge would expand massively to the east, mainly to the benefit of developers, builders, designers - and, of course, Boris.

  • Comment on: Stirling-shortlisted supermarket listing bid rejected

    Robert Wakeham's comment 21-Aug-2014 9:33 am

    It would fit IKEA's professed image of social enlightenment if they - and Sainsbury - funded the reconstruction of this pioneering building on another site. If it's too small for Sainsbury's full range this suggests to me that the client bungled the design brief, but I bet that the likes of Aldi or Lidl could find it eminently useful.

  • Comment on: Revealed: first image of Battersea Power Station chimney disassembly

    Robert Wakeham's comment 20-Aug-2014 9:47 am

    'Concrete and reinforced steel' - reinforced concrete, perchance?

  • Comment on: Cheesegrater’s public realm completes

    Robert Wakeham's comment 19-Aug-2014 9:57 am

    'Escalator Central' - a remarkable contrast with what the Crossrail 'upgrade' of the Ealing transport hub is going to provide.

  • Comment on: A lesson from history - the untold Eden project scandal

    Robert Wakeham's comment 15-Aug-2014 10:56 am

    So what was their reason for trying to 'freeze out' Jonathan Ball - I remember him as clearly having a big personality - but then the people who 'get things done' very often do, so was it simply a clash of big personalities that escalated into litigation? And what of Stroh - I see he's still a partner in Druces LLP. A senior lawyer caught lying through his teeth, so that's all right then!

  • Comment on: Contentious Ealing Crossrail station approved by planners

    Robert Wakeham's comment 15-Aug-2014 9:23 am

    If 'hugely improved' doesn't include provision of escalators for a transport hub as busy as this then there's something far wrong with the procedure - it's quite simply substandard.

  • Comment on: Work to start on Baca's £7m ‘scientific’ Passivhaus rural home

    Robert Wakeham's comment 12-Aug-2014 11:10 am

    What sort of conservation area does this development sit in, and what sort of existing building does it replace?

  • Comment on: First new building approved within massive Wirral Waters scheme

    Robert Wakeham's comment 12-Aug-2014 10:59 am

    A rather daft abbreviation - or is it initials?

  • Comment on: Foster + Partners launches last ditch bid for Estuary Airport

    Robert Wakeham's comment 12-Aug-2014 10:54 am

    P Buchan's comment ignores the very different geography of Southern England compared to Hong Kong.

  • Comment on: Revealed: Shortlist in RIBA’s ‘Tomorrow’s Train’ contest

    Robert Wakeham's comment 5-Aug-2014 10:04 am

    Interesting, and apparently for widely varying market sectors - with a predictable tendency for those tedious inward facing seats in high-volume urban trains, and one proposal - from Creactive Deisign - that's really quite nasty.

  • Comment on: Doone Silver Architects completes Clerkenwell apartments

    Robert Wakeham's comment 31-Jul-2014 10:51 am

    What do people find attractive about raw concrete ceilings, in a residential context?

  • Comment on: dRMM wins go-ahead for first City office scheme

    Robert Wakeham's comment 31-Jul-2014 10:41 am

    This looks to be a building that adds variety to the street, in contrast to Farshid Moussavi's nearby offering - which, if the illustration is anything to go by, would be a dark, overbearing monster. It'll be interesting to see the planners' reaction.

  • Comment on: Yentob claims reconciliation for MacCormac over BBC snub

    Robert Wakeham's comment 31-Jul-2014 10:32 am

    I wonder if Mr Yentob is at all aware of the irony in the work of such a very good architect being 'dumbed down' by the BBC, to cut costs, at a time when the BBC's own senior management - Yentob included - was busy maximising both their numbers and their 'compensation'. No wonder they fired their architect, but is it really seemly for Mr Yentob now to behave in a way which reads (to me, at any rate) as self interest? I hope the BBC seeks the 'no objection' of Peter Jamieson, David Pritchard and his son before installing a plaque to commemorate Richard MacCormac - for the quality of the buildings commissioned by clients of integrity, who believed in him, stands as eloquent memory to a very fine architect. And this in the same week that 'Private Eye' contrasts the firing of the Panorama team with the further padding of BBC management.

  • Comment on: Growing pressure on RIBA over 'dismissed' Israel motion

    Robert Wakeham's comment 23-Jul-2014 2:30 pm

    Since when has taking a basic moral stand in relation to the activities of members of the architectural profession been essentially political activity?

  • Comment on: Richard Rogers renews Crossrail criticism

    Robert Wakeham's comment 23-Jul-2014 2:14 pm

    The references to Ealing Broadway station should also include the blindingly obvious need for escalators there, and the lack of their inclusion in the 'upgrade' speaks volumes for what seems to be wrong with the Crossrail approach to station design - which, in the case of Ealing Broadway, could be fairly described as 'all fur coat and no knickers'.

  • Comment on: Architects reveal proposals for Heathrow new town

    Robert Wakeham's comment 17-Jul-2014 8:54 am

    When is Boris going to commission designs for housing on the site of Buckingham Palace? - no need to rehouse the existing part-time residents, they've got alternative premises at Windsor and it'd reduce their bedroom tax liability.

  • Comment on: Architects welcome Gove's departure

    Robert Wakeham's comment 16-Jul-2014 9:02 am

    There'a good Scottish term - 'A wee nyaff', but in fact Gove did have a reforming zeal which - if applied intelligently - could do an awful lot of good in a variety of directions, not just in education..

  • Comment on: Pickles ‘poised to exit DCLG’

    Robert Wakeham's comment 15-Jul-2014 8:47 am

    So Mark Boleat thinks that the market demand for office space should override decent planning policy. City of London = City of Mammon and that's all that counts?

  • Comment on: Fosters unveils designs for Russian headquarters

    Robert Wakeham's comment 14-Jul-2014 8:09 am

    As 'a powerful new symbol' for a copper manufacturer the choice of cladding material is rather surprising.

  • Comment on: City chief slams Pickles over 'ridiculous' Smithfield decision

    Robert Wakeham's comment 14-Jul-2014 8:06 am

    Mark Boleat doesn't seem to understand that greed doesn't always pay.

  • Comment on: 'New' Aedas eyes London mega-schemes

    Robert Wakeham's comment 9-Jul-2014 9:41 am

    Flashing photos of Chinese high rises as 'evidence of intent' in London might just be counter productive.

  • Comment on: Estuary Airport is 'huge financial and environmental risk'

    Robert Wakeham's comment 9-Jul-2014 9:33 am

    It's amazing how the prospect of Heathrow as juicy development land could entice Boris into promoting an enormous lemon.

  • Comment on: Pickles throws out John McAslan's Smithfield plans

    Robert Wakeham's comment 9-Jul-2014 9:27 am

    It's difficult to understand how this proposal could have gained the support of CABE, let alone English Heritage.

  • Comment on: Mecanoo completes Rabobank offices

    Robert Wakeham's comment 8-Jul-2014 9:21 am

    A design that depends, for external effect, on creating an open wedge shaped space beneath the building is really rather banal.

  • Comment on: Hawkins\Brown scoops planning for Southwark resi scheme

    Robert Wakeham's comment 7-Jul-2014 10:10 am

    'tenure blind' is what, exactly?

  • Comment on: Breaking news: Aedas splits

    Robert Wakeham's comment 7-Jul-2014 9:37 am

    Does the unlabelled photo of the largest development (hopefully in Southeast Asia rather than London) represent an actual project, or a vision of a nightmare future?

  • Comment on: Lochside lookout

    Robert Wakeham's comment 4-Jul-2014 8:35 am

    This looks great - in a tranquil setting - but is there a risk of rams, or stags, charging their own reflections?

  • Comment on: In the forest: The ‘house’ that £15k built

    Robert Wakeham's comment 4-Jul-2014 8:27 am

    Walter Segal would surely approve - but does it really need braces on every bay?

  • Comment on: Denton Corker Marshall wins planning for City office

    Robert Wakeham's comment 3-Jul-2014 9:09 am

    I think I prefer the existing building, this seems to be about stuffing the site to the absolute limit - and with demolition of a relatively modern building, how does this project score in the sustainability stakes? I can't help thinking that Denton Corker Marshall are capable of a great deal better than this.

  • Comment on: Heatherwick to help shape HS2 design legacy

    Robert Wakeham's comment 3-Jul-2014 8:59 am

    This might be all about HS2 but hopefully there'll be a quality of design 'dividend' that can inform future development of the railways - some recent design has been of patchy quality, for example the improvements to Newport station.

  • Comment on: Martyn Evans: ‘You’d have to be gaga to rip the heart out of Smithfield’

    Robert Wakeham's comment 1-Jul-2014 9:51 pm

    The credit rightly due to John McAslan for a fine development of Kings Cross Station risks being negated by this clumsy intervention at Smithfield.

  • Comment on: Boris accused of bias over Mount Pleasant overhaul

    Robert Wakeham's comment 1-Jul-2014 9:46 pm

    If Gillian Darley says the brief is wrong, Boris should climb down off his gilded bike and listen.

  • Comment on: Davies speech means Thames airport option is still on cards, claims Boris

    Robert Wakeham's comment 26-Jun-2014 10:04 pm

    Is it within Boris Johnson's gift to close Heathrow? - He's mayor of London, not England boss (yet); Heathrow serves a great deal more of the country than just London, and serves it far better than an airport down the Thames estuary ever could. To be perfectly cynical, property developers might call the shots in London, but they don't pull England's strings to the same extent.

  • Comment on: Hodder’s presidential agenda derailed by dysfunctional RIBA

    Robert Wakeham's comment 25-Jun-2014 9:39 am

    Interesting that John Assael is one of the trio, because he himself has (I'm sure unwittingly) dropped a clanger in his own practice information. As a board member of ARB, he should surely have realised that to describe all the directors of his practice as not only being registered architects but also being members of ARB, is really not on.

  • Comment on: Revival of Alsop's Supercity? Osborne unveils HS3 vision

    Robert Wakeham's comment 24-Jun-2014 9:56 am

    Some supercities creep up on us unannounced; for example, it takes no more time to travel between central Glasgow and central Edinburgh than it can take to go from Holborn to Canary Wharf. How much of the South East's economic success is down to a financial services sector so loosely regulated that it's costing the country (not just the South East) astronomic sums to rescue it, with every sign that mainland Europe could well start to make inroads on this business? George Osborne's pronouncements have to be seen in the light of rising disaffection in Northern England with the policies of the Department for Transport in denying the provision of adequate numbers of trains (rather like the situation in the Bristol / Bath area a year or two ago). Despite this shortfall, the DfT is overseeing the transfer of some of the best quality trains from Northern England to services out of Marylebone, and it's probably no coincidence that it's the Treasury minister, not the Transport minister, who's promising jam tomorrow. Many in the North of England compare their situation unfavourably with that in a devolved (let alone independent) Scotland, where improving train services isn't dependent on the vagaries of the DfT and the (frequently dead hand) of the Treasury.

  • Comment on: Fosters' partner hits out at 'lack of vision' over new Thames Estuary airport

    Robert Wakeham's comment 20-Jun-2014 10:49 am

    For 'benefits for the country' read 'benefits for London', because the proposed site would be less accessible to the rest of the country. There seems to be 'paucity of the interrogation of the opportunity' in the minds of Thomas and Johnson - unless, of course, they're entirely fixated on what's best for London and references to 'the rest of the country' are just a cynical gesture to public opinion. There is also the question of weather - I've been stuck in Schipol waiting half a day for the fog to clear at London City when flights to the other London airports were unaffected, so just how sensible is the idea of an airport on the Thames estuary?

  • Comment on: Row hits Studio Egret West tower

    Robert Wakeham's comment 20-Jun-2014 10:34 am

    Nothing whatsoever like Parkhill in Sheffield - and hopefully it'll help bring the question of discordant high-rise building to a sensible conclusion.

  • Comment on: BIG scoops contest to design museum for Swiss watch-maker

    Robert Wakeham's comment 16-Jun-2014 8:12 am

    All it needs is a penguin or two.

  • Comment on: The AJ's guide to Brazil's World Cup stadiums

    Robert Wakeham's comment 13-Jun-2014 9:26 am

    I hope that none of these stadiums ever find an alternative use in the way that Chile's national stadium was used by Augusto Pinochet.

  • Comment on: Buckley Gray Yeoman bags Southwark office victory

    Robert Wakeham's comment 9-Jun-2014 9:02 pm

    An interesting interpretation of 'landmark' - not much more than just an apparently fairly slick re-imaging of the existing building, whereas the ORMS scheme appears to respond to a very different brief, presumably a good deal more costly but also a good deal more of a 'landmark'. - I wonder what the AHMM proposal looked like?

  • Comment on: Glasgow George Square report 'a whitewash of a shambles'

    Robert Wakeham's comment 6-Jun-2014 9:46 am

    'Officers working on the project didn't identify any issues relating to elected members' English translation: Nae cooncil staff welshed on their boss. I wonder why - 'see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil'? The last Glasgow council boss seemed to benefit from this 'code of practice' - until he landed in rehab and the whole mucky story of his regime suddenly exploded in the media.

  • Comment on: Architects and engineers behind RMC HQ rally on listing bid

    Robert Wakeham's comment 4-Jun-2014 9:34 am

    I could have sworn that the building regulations have - in recent decades - increasingly embodied the need for energy conservation, carbon neutrality, sustainability, etc etc, to help ensure that this planet remains habitable for as long as possible. And yet there's really nothing to stop a very attractive, energy efficient, well-built, pioneering modern office building from being flattened to realise the perceived real estate value of the site. It's surely very difficult to ignore the fact that Barton Willmore should be ashamed of themselves for taking on this commission, but unfortunately they're just following in the footsteps of other 'good' architects who, in recent years have collaborated in the destruction of sometimes excellent modern buildings because there's money to be made from redevelopment, and to hell with the sustainability etc that the profession might be expected to respect these days.

The searchable digital buildings archive with drawings from more than 1,500 projects

AJ newsletters

Job of the week

Transport for London


£42,000 - £46,000 dependent on skills, knowledge and experience


AutoCAD Mad - AutoCAD Technician

£120-£170 per day