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Robert Wakeham's comments

  • GST: 'Making walls thicker could save £425 on build cost'

    Robert Wakeham's comment 29 April, 2016 11:00 am

    There could be resistance to this from developers who think that the greater the external wall thickness, the less the marketable floor area.

  • Why Sadiq Khan should be London mayor

    Robert Wakeham's comment 28 April, 2016 1:53 pm

    Full marks to Mr Khan for striving to find practical ways to tackle the desperate need for genuinely affordable homes.
    As for TfL, it's quite capable of acquiring a 'self inflicted finance shortage' without freezing fares - the collapsed signalling contract for the sub-surface lines (there was flawed evaluation and scoring during the bidding process, according to a London Assembly report) is estimated to cost £1,242m to TfL and £180m to the wider economy of London as a result of knocking back a 40% capacity increase by five years.
    Not exactly helpful to reining in London's relatively high fares for public transport, which hit the least wealthy hardest.
    I'd rather criticise Mr Khan for his apparent reluctance to face down the Garden Bridge mafia - that 'flawed evaluation and scoring during the bidding process' is perhaps just the London way of 'doing things'?

  • Threefold Architects wins planning for Kensington co-housing

    Robert Wakeham's comment 28 April, 2016 1:22 pm

    How do the Building Standards permit what will become a four storey house with no protected escape route from the four bedrooms in the uppermost storeys? The only exit would appear to be via the kitchen / living area.

  • Paul Finch: Why I'm voting for Brexit

    Robert Wakeham's comment 25 April, 2016 10:37 pm

    Would you really rather give Boris & Co (to take the worst case scenario) free rein to govern us how they like?

  • Exclusive: TFL told of Boris preference for Heatherwick before Garden Bridge contest

    Robert Wakeham's comment 21 April, 2016 5:55 pm

    One solution would be for Mayor Boris to do a reverse somersault as his 'swan song' and extricate TfL from this humiliating mess, and then Joanna's charity, with Thomas and Arup in tow, could take their bridge and stick it over a creek somewhere in Essex, where the construction cost would be markedly less than in central London and thus affordable to the private sponsors without help from Boris, or need for a VAT holiday from George.
    Boris and George could still experience the delights of the incredible bridge, by joining one of the coach tours that would cover both it and Grayson Perry's nearby folly.

  • Exclusive: TFL told of Boris preference for Heatherwick before Garden Bridge contest

    Robert Wakeham's comment 21 April, 2016 12:49 pm

    For Will Jennings:

    The same message needs to be sent to Richard Rogers and Ken Shuttleworth, architects of distinction who were very unwise to associate themselves with Boris Johnson's scam and risk bringing their profession into disrepute.

  • Will Central Hill be the next example of ambitious social housing to be razed?

    Robert Wakeham's comment 21 April, 2016 12:00 pm

    I hope Andrew Adonis gets to see this, because he has real expertise in public transport policy and shouldn't wander into talking rubbish about housing policy.
    Kate Macintosh is commendably polite in her references to developers - and the pernicious effect of 20% Vat (would that George Osborne had the same enthusiasm to heal this festering sore that he's shown in promoting the Garden Bridge) and her references to the 'mad casino' and 'kleptocracy' might soon prove to have been far too polite.
    Unless the government and the boroughs can get their act together fast and shut the stable door before even more horses have bolted there's surely going to be serious trouble in London sooner rather than later.

  • SOUP wins planning for Aldeburgh house

    Robert Wakeham's comment 21 April, 2016 11:29 am

    It would be interesting to see what the original house on the site looked like, because although the architect claims the proposals to be 'a more engaging design that responds to the existing context and site conditions', that 'the location is still rich with urban qualities and connections that the new design looks to embrace' and that 'the height and massing of the proposed house matches those of its neighbours and its modern vernacular is human in scale and proportions'.
    The first two images suggest otherwise (except for the height and massing) and surely this house is alien to its setting, and would be far more comfortable on its own rather than inserted in this townscape.

  • Astragal: Which clients are named in the Panama Papers?

    Robert Wakeham's comment 20 April, 2016 4:32 pm

    Interesting that Teddy Sagi - by his own reckoning a thoroughly wonderful chap 'creating wealth and prosperity around the world' - is able to acquire real estate in Britain - hoovering up the properties constituting Camden Market - despite having a criminal record in Israel and having served time in jail.
    Would that be considered acceptable elsewhere in the developed world - in the United States, for example? Isn't the 'free market' a wonderful thing?

  • Why the Garden Bridge debacle should concern us all

    Robert Wakeham's comment 19 April, 2016 2:38 pm

    To Chris Medland: If your bridge had been the 'brainwave' of a luvvie, and designed by the 'flavour of the month', then you'd have had more chance of the gift of a tax holiday from on high.
    It probably didn't help that your bridge would be a really useful addition to London's infrastructure, rather than a piece of frippery - and, don't forget, the 'spirit of fairness' probably only applies to the behaviour of naive and simple-minded oiks devoid of personal ambition..

  • RA debate: What is Britain's greatest maverick building?

    Robert Wakeham's comment 19 April, 2016 2:23 pm

    I'd propose the Dunmore Pineapple.

  • Outrage as FAT’s House for Essex denied RIBA East Award

    Robert Wakeham's comment 19 April, 2016 11:43 am

    The first of Grayson Perry's four Reith Lectures in 2013 - 'Democracy Has Bad Taste' (available on BBC iPlayer and as a transcript) should be prescribed listening / reading for all architects, as should the other three of his 'Playing to the Gallery' series - 'Beating the Bounds', 'Nice Rebellion, Welcome In!' and 'I Found Myself in the Art World'.
    If the jurors weren't aware of these they've missed out on their education.

  • Locals brand George Clarke’s Dorset beach huts 'a terrible idea'

    Robert Wakeham's comment 19 April, 2016 11:14 am

    'The chalets are exempt from planning permission under the 'permitted development' rule allowing garden sheds' - if a development of twelve holiday chalets can be covered by this rule, it looks as if the rules need fine tuning.
    I wonder how big the associated gardens have to be to qualify for getting a shed, or are we talking about virtual gardens, given that it's an SSSI?

  • Guardian scraps plans for King's Cross events space

    Robert Wakeham's comment 18 April, 2016 12:46 pm

    Surely someone can take over this project, which would be an asset to an area that's recently been featured in the AJ for Thomas Heatherwick playing tricks with listed buildings and for some rather bland new high density residential developments.

  • Careers: On the move

    Robert Wakeham's comment 18 April, 2016 11:21 am

    Nice to see one practice still using its real name.

  • First pieces of Orbit slide lifted into place

    Robert Wakeham's comment 15 April, 2016 11:21 am

    A video of Anish Kapoor being inserted at the top and ejected at the bottom might just become a popular work of art.

  • Why the Garden Bridge debacle should concern us all

    Robert Wakeham's comment 14 April, 2016 5:49 pm

    I wonder how long criticism of the Garden Bridge procurement affair will continue to be couched in polite language - implying (perhaps unintentionally) that the matter is just a minor aberration, on honest mistake by well intentioned servants of the people?

    TfL has recently mishandled another procurement exercise with breathtaking financial consequences - letting a contract for new signalling on the subsurface lines of the underground system to an inexperienced contractor by 'cooking' the bid analysis. 'Flawed evaluation and scoring during the bidding process' according to a London Assembly report (sound familiar?), which estimates the losses at £886 million for the increased cost of a new contract, £271 million in lost revenue due to a five year delay in the introduction of a 40% increase in passenger capacity, a £181 million hit on the wider economy of London due to the delay, and £85 million termination costs to exit the original contract.
    That's a total of £1,422 million, i.e. £1.422 billion.

    What worries me as much as London - and the country - being stuck with Boris's legacy of a monument that owes more to cronyism than anything else is the wider question of what Caroline Pidgeon refers to as a 'rotten procurement process'; is the Garden Bridge affair just the tip of a grubby iceberg?

    What of all fourteen planning call-ins that the developer-friendly Mr Johnson approved over the heads of the council planning authorities - all above board?

    Zac Goldsmith hardly encourages confidence in stating that 'Given that the public contribution has already been spent, it would be a great shame and waste if the project were shelved'. That's an interesting notion from someone hoping to take over the reins from Boris, and of the same political party - in effect, throw public money at a controversial project that you've been promoting 'on the sly' and then tell the public that they must accept it otherwise it'd be a waste of public money.
    I wonder if Jaroslav Hasek and Franz Kafka might accuse Zac Goldsmith of plagiarism?
    Doubtless Messrs Goldsmith, Johnson and friends are well aware that politicians and civil servants can no longer be surcharged for the cost to the public purse of their shenanigans - but there are other sanctions available, given the will to impose them. Perhaps it all depends on who your friends are?

  • Edinburgh schools contractor also blamed for closure of Glasgow school in 2012

    Robert Wakeham's comment 13 April, 2016 1:24 pm

    Interesting that the faults discovered in Glasgow four years ago apparently didn't ring any warning bells about other similar school buildings constructed by the same company. Perhaps there's scope for more joined-up thinking - and not just in Scotland.
    In the not so distant past the collapse of the West Gate (Yarra) Bridge in Melbourne and the Cleddau Bridge in Pembrokeshire led to reviews of the design and construction of box girder bridges, resulting in the need for remedial work on similar bridges worldwide.

  • New homes to replace locally listed Salford pub

    Robert Wakeham's comment 12 April, 2016 2:20 pm

    Back to the 1960's?

  • Four HS2 station contests to launch this year

    Robert Wakeham's comment 12 April, 2016 11:15 am

    I wonder if the brief for Euston requires provision to be made for reconstruction of that glorious arch?

  • Allies and Morrison under fire over Leamouth Peninsula plans

    Robert Wakeham's comment 11 April, 2016 1:33 pm

    Eric Reynolds' objections collide head on with the assessment of the Council's planning officers - and, looking at the second and (particularly) the third image, it's easy to see where Mr Reynolds is coming from, but a great deal more difficult to understand the planning officers' point of view.
    'Onwards and upwards' seems to be at risk of becoming a holy mantra in London, with dissenters viewed as spoilsports.
    And when does the incentive of affordable housing gain become a bribe?

  • Bishopsgate Goodsyard: Boris set to refuse first 'call in'

    Robert Wakeham's comment 11 April, 2016 9:59 am

    If Boris flies in the face of the blindingly obvious he deserves the same fate as Icarus.

  • Studio Egret West reveals plan to relocate Parliament to Bristol

    Robert Wakeham's comment 8 April, 2016 11:51 am

    Perhaps, in the same way that the increasing disparity between Singapore and the rest of Malaya eventually led to Singapore breaking away as a separate city-state, it's time to think of England (let alone Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) breaking away from a London city-state, the way things are going.

  • Wolfson Tree Management Centre by Invisible Studio

    Robert Wakeham's comment 8 April, 2016 11:38 am

    Intriguing - and what's that on the mess room gable, please?

  • Appeal victory for another 'country house clause' home

    Robert Wakeham's comment 8 April, 2016 11:23 am

    '...glulam timber beams grown close to the site.' - leaving aside the obvious question, did the timber come from trees grown close to the glulam fabricator's workshop, was this close to the site?

  • You'd think the RIBA had more important things to worry about

    Robert Wakeham's comment 7 April, 2016 7:45 pm

    Mr Finch, so would Disneyland, how about one for London - say in Kensington Gardens?

  • City to the rescue in Bishopsgate tower right-to-light fight

    Robert Wakeham's comment 7 April, 2016 2:17 pm

    So, if I read this correctly, the local authority thinks that minimising the financial risks to investors in a property development takes precedence over the rights to light of neighbouring properties.
    Surely the building and planning codes cover the validity of rights to light - and if PLP's design infringes the relevant standards, and the local authority responsible for policing the standards has chosen instead to overturn them, where does that leave Lipton Rogers, AXA Real Estate, and the the City of London - let alone PLP?
    I wonder if the original abandoned development on this site infringed rights to light - if not, is this a case of developers playing 'slowly slowly catchee monkey'?

  • Londoners need more say on skyline, says Historic England

    Robert Wakeham's comment 6 April, 2016 11:17 am

    I wonder if 'listing the Thames from Tower Bridge to Putney Bridge' would have seen Historic England intervening in the debate about the Garden Bridge?
    It's surely not just on the skyline that Londoners deserve more say.

  • Zac Goldsmith promises new city architect role for London

    Robert Wakeham's comment 5 April, 2016 10:54 pm

    I wonder if one function of a City Architect would be to help to add respectability to the antics of any future mayor who adopted the 'Boris Johnson' style of governance?

  • Grimshaw lands Crewe HS2 commission

    Robert Wakeham's comment 4 April, 2016 6:58 pm

    Presumably part of 'the strong economic case' for relocation the existing station is the real estate value of the site, and demolishing Crewe station is surely no great historic or architectural loss - unlike the flattening of the Euston Arch fifty years ago.

  • Threefold completes East London house and gallery

    Robert Wakeham's comment 4 April, 2016 2:03 pm

    I first saw a door dressed up as brick or tilework in the base of Stirling and Gowan's Leicester Engineering Building - exotic, but it made good sense in preserving the apparently solid mass of the building's base
    Over the years the desire to hide not only doors but structural support over openings behind a brick or tile skin seems to have become a fashion and sometimes just a fad. Is it now a gimmick?

  • Replicating Palmyra’s temples with 3D printers will not repair Syria’s hurt

    Robert Wakeham's comment 31 March, 2016 8:17 pm

    I dream of a day when destroyed artefacts - however large - can be re-created in situ as holograms, and so without disturbance to the post-destruction scene. Memories of Sci Fi films, I think - but maybe technically possible?

  • Delays over energy infrastructure projects threaten our national identity

    Robert Wakeham's comment 30 March, 2016 2:48 pm

    Scottish Power Renewables obtained the main consent for a ten turbine tide stream array in the fast flowing Sound of Islay, between Islay and Jura, five years ago - but there seems to be no progress with this demonstration project, and all it does is demonstrate the disarray in some of the new energy infrastructure management in this country.

  • London mayor ‘needs new powers to make buildings bomb-proof’

    Robert Wakeham's comment 30 March, 2016 1:00 pm

    Is this a higher priority than introducing legislation to render this country Boris-proof, before it becomes a joke democracy?

  • FaulknerBrowns submits plans for Newcastle tower

    Robert Wakeham's comment 26 March, 2016 11:02 am

    Slightly twisting the thing, rubik's cube style, doesn't turn it into architecture.

  • Rogers urges RIBA to rethink Garden Bridge stance

    Robert Wakeham's comment 22 March, 2016 1:25 pm

    Richard Rogers is absolutely right on one count - on the importance of this scheme - but it's important for reasons that he seems not to comprehend.
    For one of the most talented architects of his time to be fighting for a scheme born of a blatantly corrupted procurement process makes me wonder where his priorities lie, to put it politely.
    How would he like to have been one of the architects invited to bid for the bridge, and who were seemingly unwitting participants in an outright fiddle?
    The one feature of this saga that seems as odd as Mr Rogers' behaviour (and that of the TfL auditor) is the apparent silence from the experienced bridge designers whose track records were found to have been trashed.
    If TfL can corrupt their procurement process for this bridge design, what does it say for the quality of the rest of their procurement in recent years?

  • Jane Duncan: ‘The Budget fails to tackle the housing crisis’

    Robert Wakeham's comment 17 March, 2016 3:41 pm

    For Peter Bill (in his darkened room):

    So how do you suppose the Mayor, and his TfL team, think that their collection of framework developers are going to act in the development of the spare public land fringing the surface routes of the underground network?

  • Garden Bridge procurement panned by Lib Dems, Labour and Greens

    Robert Wakeham's comment 17 March, 2016 3:14 pm

    When the mayor of London quotes a TfL audit finding that the procurement process was 'open, fair and transparent' the honesty deficit has reached the point where sleaze in high office is taken for granted - but is it widely supported by Londoners, as well as the Conservative Party?
    How about architects? - some of the great and the good have come out in support of the project, and the architects whose bridge experience was rubbished in the procurement scoring remain strangely silent - the power of TfL patronage? - it's surely not believable that they were willing parties in the 'stitch up'.

  • London at 'critical tipping point' according to Deloitte report

    Robert Wakeham's comment 16 March, 2016 10:41 am

    'Bold decisions and interventions' - and the people with the vision and commitment to identifying both the opportunities for London, and the pitfalls? - this surely involves political leadership with integrity, at all levels from town halls to central government, and not just a bunch of councils of questionable competence and a part-time mayor who's focussed on how to become prime minister of a government that seems to be less than keen on him.

  • 'Flawed' policy sees business space lost to housing

    Robert Wakeham's comment 15 March, 2016 10:52 am

    Is it really baffling that the mayor isn't fighting these changes? The poor man's juggling his two day jobs with fighting to gather as much power as possible for our national politicians, earning a crust writing for the printed media - and (of course) looking after the interests of his developer friends in their struggles to get their own way against all sorts of spoilsports and idiots. So he's hardly likely to have the time or inclination to make life difficult for yet more developers - he's got far bigger fish to fry.

  • Guerrilla architects and courtroom fisticuffs: a tale from regeneration’s frontline

    Robert Wakeham's comment 12 March, 2016 11:32 pm

    If our politicians were really alert - and of sufficient personal integrity - not only would they be pushing to correct the VAT penalty that discriminates against repairing and improving in favour of site clearance and new build, they'd be doing less posturing and more really positive legislating and enabling.
    Kate Macintosh points to the lessons that can be learnt from the Lewisham self-build housing initiatives, and surely the current Transport for London initiative to build on spare land in framework partnerships with big developers could evolve hand-in-hand with release of 'awkward corners' for Segal-style enterprises, to help address the current scandal of the vast number of younger London residents with little hope of getting onto the breathtakingly expensive housing ladder.

  • Heatherwick's secret Garden Bridge meetings revealed

    Robert Wakeham's comment 11 March, 2016 4:34 pm

    I wonder if Johnson, Lister, Dedring and Heatherwick were all temporarily 'under the influence' of some mysterious corrupting power, or whether this garden bridge affair is just the tip of a public procurement rotten iceberg?

  • Collective reveals £3m Briggait revamp

    Robert Wakeham's comment 11 March, 2016 12:23 pm

    Not sure about the 'stacked boxes' effect , but it's difficult to imagine any elevation that doesn't compete or suffer from neighbouring a building as wonderfully exuberant as the old Briggait fish market - and creating so much space for the creative arts, making the whole ensemble viable, is a tremendous achievement.

  • Developers are cashing in while architects undercut each other

    Robert Wakeham's comment 10 March, 2016 10:28 am

    I wonder if, in addition to some London councils and David Cameron, the London mayor - as boss of Transport for London - is also getting a bad deal in the form of the framework contracts to develop spare TfL land? Mr Johnson's apparent sympathy for the interests of developers in contentious planning decisions doesn't bode well for the poor and the young in London.

  • Local MP urges 'landing site' leaseholder to block Garden Bridge

    Robert Wakeham's comment 8 March, 2016 12:55 pm

    Unlike the Pont d'Avignon - which still reaches the shore at one end - the garden bridge is inelegantly severed in the air at both ends, with steps and lifts down to ground level. If it were to be built in a parkland setting it could be designed as a credible bridge, albeit still a folly.

  • TfL withdraws plans for first site in new development drive

    Robert Wakeham's comment 8 March, 2016 11:13 am

    Greg Hands: '....much needed new homes and potential employment opportunities' - is this really the case, if there are worries about the impact on existing small businesses based on the site? And what of the proposed housing - would the 'private rented sector' (presumably TfL's unnamed developer partner) deliver the really affordable homes that are so desperately needed in London?

  • Farrell: Old Oak Common 'worst cock-up in years'

    Robert Wakeham's comment 4 March, 2016 11:19 am

    Mr Farrell must surely know - in the back of his mind - that whatever's best for London has to satisfy the 'what's best for Boris?' test.
    Hence Mr Johnson's record of overruling planning authorities who don't show proper respect for developers' interests..

  • China officially outlaws 'weird' architecture

    Robert Wakeham's comment 3 March, 2016 7:34 pm

    Meanwhile, in London - and now Manchester, if not elsewhere - the 'weird' band plays on.

  • Development Hell: the ongoing battle for Norton Folgate

    Robert Wakeham's comment 2 March, 2016 11:54 pm

    That the mayor can seek to simply ignore the quality of the conservation area, and squash the local planning authority's resistance to the redevelopment proposals, speaks volumes for the power of commercial interests to override the widely recognised need for real respect of the character of this area, for the good of the city.
    Mr Johnson seems to be more developers' agent than mayor.

  • Make completes £15m York office

    Robert Wakeham's comment 2 March, 2016 6:10 pm

    '....and brand experience.' does that explain the decommissioned soviet missile holding centre stage? they insure airlines?

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