Robert Wakeham's Comments
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.