Robert Wakeham's Comments
Comment on: Planning victory in Isle of Man for Foster Lomas
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.
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.
'Concrete and reinforced steel' - reinforced concrete, perchance?
Comment on: Cheesegrater’s public realm completes
'Escalator Central' - a remarkable contrast with what the Crossrail 'upgrade' of the Ealing transport hub is going to provide.
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!
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.
What sort of conservation area does this development sit in, and what sort of existing building does it replace?
A rather daft abbreviation - or is it initials?
P Buchan's comment ignores the very different geography of Southern England compared to Hong Kong.
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.
What do people find attractive about raw concrete ceilings, in a residential context?
Comment on: dRMM wins go-ahead for first City office scheme
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.
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.
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
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'.
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
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’
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
As 'a powerful new symbol' for a copper manufacturer the choice of cladding material is rather surprising.
Mark Boleat doesn't seem to understand that greed doesn't always pay.
Comment on: 'New' Aedas eyes London mega-schemes
Flashing photos of Chinese high rises as 'evidence of intent' in London might just be counter productive.
It's amazing how the prospect of Heathrow as juicy development land could entice Boris into promoting an enormous lemon.
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
A design that depends, for external effect, on creating an open wedge shaped space beneath the building is really rather banal.
'tenure blind' is what, exactly?
Comment on: Breaking news: Aedas splits
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
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
Walter Segal would surely approve - but does it really need braces on every bay?
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
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.
The credit rightly due to John McAslan for a fine development of Kings Cross Station risks being negated by this clumsy intervention at Smithfield.
If Gillian Darley says the brief is wrong, Boris should climb down off his gilded bike and listen.
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.
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.
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.
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
Nothing whatsoever like Parkhill in Sheffield - and hopefully it'll help bring the question of discordant high-rise building to a sensible conclusion.
All it needs is a penguin or two.
Comment on: The AJ's guide to Brazil's World Cup stadiums
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.
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?
'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.
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.
This saga reminds me of some of the pieces by Robert Fisk, in the Independent, over the years, on the obstacles sometimes placed in his way in the course of trying to comment objectively on the less attractive aspects of Israeli behaviour in the conflicts over land and human rights.
Foster shouldn't confuse London with Britain - the location might well be convenient for London, but that's not the same as being convenient for Britain.
Comment on: What went wrong at Oxley Woods?
RSHP's comment that 'The design of Oxley Woods was inspected and approved by the NHBC...' leaves me wondering if they approved the detailed design 'as built', whether they inspected the work under construction - whether it was built in accordance with the details that they'd approved.
Not enough information, perhaps due to ongoing responsibility issues, but it's important to know whether it's to do with site supervision, whether there's a material or systems failure involved - or whether it's down to a combination of factors. Uncertainty as to the cause could result in avoidable disruption of efforts to speed up the provision of value-for-money housing when it's desperately needed.
Comment on: C20 Society fails in bid to list Euston Station
Travelling through Euston station and forecourt certainly doesn't 'lift the heart', and to me it has a distinctly drab, communist-era East European feel to it.
Comment on: Glasgow School of Art by Steven Holl
A breath of fresh air. And the building doesn't seem to be riding on fashion - like the current vogue for twisted, bent and deformed 'look at me' towers in London, so very eloquent in their symbolism of the age of the dodgy 'financial services' culture. There's 'gallus' and there's crude, lumpen, late 20th century banality - like the apartment blocks flanking the tracks on the approach to Waterloo, and the assemblage of junk dominating the approach to Leeds Central from the southwest - monuments to extraordinary philistinism.
You haven't convinced me, Alex, - the part of the FGW network being electrified won't be that much faster or more comfortable than the existing service, and you've forgotten the well patronised long distance bus network that ties very smoothly into Heathrow. And your vision of Crossrail would translate, in my mind, to the hassle of transferring from Eurostar to the RER at Gare du Nord and then traipsing across Paris and a fair distance out beyond the far suburbs.