Robert Wakeham's Comments
Comment on: Shigeru Ban to make UK debut with timber scheme
So the council - the planning authority - sells a plot with 'oversail rights' to the developer to allow building over Potters Field Park? Is this a new way for councils to raise money?
I wonder at the definition of 'carefully curated' when you look at the elevation of the existing building on this site.
It's easy to sympathise with both sides of the argument - an Iconic building needing to pay its way - and surely one good move would be for two of the most prominent objectors to the proposed alterations to 'stand up and be counted'. Both Norman Foster and Richard Rogers have plenty of experience in the art of designing efficient office buildings. Their last 'joint venture' as Team Four, the Reliance Controls factory in Swindon, fell victim to changing times and was (very regrettably) flattened, and Foster's Renault Distribution Centre in Swindon has survived by change of use. What would they do, if landed with the challenge of improving the viability of Number One Poultry? Or can they suggest a new, perhaps more fitting , use for the building?
Comment on: Work begins on Libeskind’s Berlin apartments
The 'trademark angles' seem rather superficial, compared for example with the trademark angles & curves of Zaha Hadid's work. And the quote about its holistic character etc etc could qualify for inclusion in 'Pseuds Corner' in Private Eye. It's surely got as much in common with Dali's 'Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil War) as with a saphire - with the analogy being that of buildings, rather than humans (or a country) being torn apart.
There's surely a case for concerted legal action by a whole range of affordable housing providers who are going to be shafted in the populist (read selfish) interests of one political party.
It would be interesting to compare the latest proposals with the abandoned efforts of Holder Matthias / CZWG / Will Alsop.
People don't seem to understand that George Osborne's short-term trajectory through the firmament is way more important than setting any long-term trajectory for national energy conservation policy and legislation.
The government's finance minister seems to be morphing into Minister of Social Engineering - as well as Minister for Silly Bridges. Perhaps he'd like to be Minister for Everything?
Really good news for this building, and Plymouth - which got a phenomenal battering in the early years of WW2, with the city centre looking like Coventry, Dresden or Hiroshima, and this building signalled the substantial completion of reconstruction, to a masterplan drawn up in 1943/4, while the bombing continued. Only two buildings in the city centre remain from before WW2 - the shell of Charles Church, now a memorial to the civilian dead, and a 'misaligned' shop (now Argos) in New George Street.
Comment on: Wilkinson Eyre wins Copenhagen bridge contest
It would appear that in Copenhagen - rather than in the London of Osborne & Johnson - they have no difficulty in assessing bridge designers on merit. But then, in Denmark they're creating an elegant, ingenious and above all useful structure that respects its setting
Comment on: Moxon brought in on Garden Bridge project
The recruitment of Moxon, with their ex-Wilkinson & Eyre partner - and Flint & Neill - will certainly help make up for the blatant skewing of the 'ranking' process that was applied to Heatherwick Studios, but it will do absolutely nothing to legitimise the sheer arrogance of imposing this development on the Thames in the centre of our capital city - and the outrageous diversion of substantial sums of public money to a vanity project by the very person who is driving through a policy of severe and increasing austerity in public spending.
'City of Culture' is, in Glasgow's case, all too easily seen as a place that's 'all fur coat and no knickers'. To add to Alan Dunlop's list of bad planning decisions and cack-handed architecture threatening the quality of George Square, Network Rail's EGIP (Edinburgh - Glasgow Improvement Programme) involves extending Queen Street Station to a new frontage looming over George Square - and the original sensitively designed glass curtain wall has now degenerated into a sloping glass monstrosityl topped with a massive eaves projection, maybe appropriate for an airport terminal but utterly alien to the setting of George Square. That the designer of this is a qualified architect beggars belief.
Rowan Moore is on the right track - there's a well known problem with constructing filling stations anywhere that groundwater is not far below the surface, whereby - if the new underground storage tanks aren't filled with water before a concrete ground slab is cast over them - there's the very real possibility that they'll float upwards, breaking out of the backfill. So you'd think that the Farnsworth house doesn't really need elaborate hydraulics in the foundations, just carefully designed closed-cell rigid foam footings just below ground with minimal separable fill above.
Comment on: Chancellor urged mayor to fund Garden Bridge
For a Chancellor of the Exchequer to describe this bit of ill advised froth as 'iconic' suggests to me that he's been casting around for supposedly populist causes - and has perhaps succumbed, unwisely, to some rather questionable siren voices. The 'Northern Powerhouse' is one thing, but the 'Garden Bridge' is something else - and in egging on his Bullingdon pal Boris to participate in this jape he's surely stuck his neck out a good deal further than is prudent.
At first sight both Foster and Farrell's comments seem to make a lot of sense - in the context of London. But if you've ever been stuck at Schipol for half a day because London City is closed by fog, or if you've suffered from your plane ingesting a bird on take-off - or you just like estuary birds - Foster's project is unrealistic. A Thames estuary airport would likely be even more difficult of access from most of the rest of Britain (unless you fly) than Gatwick is. Gatwick's transport connections with London are not as good as Heathrow's, but adding another runway would appear to be a lot less damaging to the locale than adding one at Heathrow. Does London really need more airport runways, or is the existing capacity struggling to cope with too many transfer passengers who don't really need to go anywhere near London - or maybe even Britain?
Comment on: Ivor Smith: What makes a house a home?
I too thought that the Smithsons had a 'total disregard for humanising anything' - but was then intrigued to see their domestic interventions (in their later years) for their friend Axel Bruchhauser in his garden in Germany - the witch in his Hexenhaus looks to have been suspiciously human.
'The project is really just two planters which sit in the river' - I can't help thinking that there enough planters sitting on London pavements, demarcating outdoor eating & drinking space, without sticking a couple in the Thames - but it does lead to tempting thoughts of planting Boris & George (plus a few others) in the Thames, as a Gormley-style art installation (but biodegradable).
Comment on: RIBA and ARB ethical codes attacked
When one of the members of the ARB has all his architect partners listed as board members on his practice information you can be fairly sure that the organisation is in need of a little gentle kicking.
Helsinki is nothing like Bilbao, and although both cities share the experience of 21st century redundancy and re-invention, in Bilbao it was the heavy industrial raison d'etre of the city that was melting away, whereas in Helsinki it's the migration of shipping activity from the original 'downtown' waterfronts out to the new harbour to the east that has left a relatively small, but prominent, void in the city's built fabric. Helsinki just doesn't need a Guggenheim intervention in the way that Bilbao did, and the city councillors are absolutely right to question the impact of this proposals - I'm surprised if no-one raised the overall darkness of all the cladding - the forms are reminiscent of the Mareel Arts centre in Lerwick, at the same latitude - bur there the architects had the good sense to resist the current fashion for overall drab.
Comment on: Ivor Smith: What makes a house a home?
'Expression of the whole dwelling rather than the repetition of separate windows can order the scale of a large building' - this helped greatly to 'humanise' Park Hill, as can be seen when the deck access elevations are compared with the opposite, 'human', side. The Park Hill elevations are surely rather more successful than those of the Smithsons' Robin Hood Gardens - and if you wander around the back of King's Cross the new Saxon Court / Roseberry Mansions blocks by Maccreanor Lavington show what happens when rigorous repetition and order rule the day (at least, on the street elevations) and the influence of Louis Sullivan is obvious. But then, he wasn't designing homes for people in Chicago - and it's intriguing that the mix of housing types and communal facilities at King's Cross are in fact not that much different from that at Park Hill.