Robert Wakeham's Comments
Would that there were more people like Michael Bloomberg commissioning civilised buildings - there's a desperate need in Edinburgh right now.
Comment on: TfL probe defends Garden Bridge procurement
'Lost or destroyed key documentation' - now where have I heard that before? And as for the rating of design experience, TfL is smelling of something, and it's not roses. But surely the statement that 'TfL's role in the Garden Bridge was unclear from the outset' is the killer, and if this project goes ahead - let alone if it's part financed by Boris & George looting the public purse - it'll stand as a rather naff monument to grubby government and twisted democracy.
We have a government that 'thinks of the scheme as an object' - think 'garden bridge', think 'iconic', think Boris & George, think 'what's in it for me and my pals?'
Comment on: Foster unveils plans for Rwandan ‘droneport’
If Norman Foster eventually goes to Heaven, he'll get a pat on the head from Hassan Fathy.
The history of this project surely demonstrates that the power of patronage, and privilege, are thriving - and seemingly harder to challenge in our supposedly more enlightened and democratic society than in the days of the Royal Fine Art Commission. CABE has come and gone, and we apparently have the Design Council to look to for guidance in such matters these days - they say that they conducted a design review at the pre-planning stage, but that this is not in the public domain. So, now we have a Chancellor of the Exchequer energetically promoting what he considers to be an 'icon' , and in the same breath preaching a rigorous (iconic?) brand of national austerity. He seems to think that he's inherited the mantle of the RFAC - and that deserves energetic challenge, Mr Osborne needs holding to account..
Comment on: Y:Cube by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
Interesting space planning - I wonder when Ivan Harbour last had to use a kitchenette mini sink for washing his face, outside a yacht or a caravan? - and the external stair balustrade is surely unsafe for residential access. In stark contrast the stair structure appears to be wildly over designed.
Very topical, in the current talk of rapid change on London's periphery, so are these proposals indicative of what's happening on the metropolitan fringe? The penultimate image, of the town centre as existing, indicates a pace of reassuringly human scale - and the images of the 'revamp' indicate something very different, a drastic step-change in scale that can be seen either as natural evolution in response to commercial pressures, or a massive step towards the recasting of the centre of Maidenhead as a very different place. The 'Crossrail effect'?
This piecemeal approach does seem very short sighted - and is there no thought of how to provide for a reconstructed Arch?
I see problems for the elderly and infirm, and emperors with no clothes.
Surely there's a more appropriate re-use for this fine building, or is the City of Edinburgh going to the dogs, courtesy of a complacent and perhaps philistine council? They recently ignored the advice of their planners and approved Jestico & Whiles' 'Golden Turd' in the city centre - God help Edinburgh, which deserves far more respect than some architects seem prepared to acknowledge..
Comment on: Hyde + Hyde wins planning for Welsh home
Refreshing to see images that don't assume bright sun and cloudless skies.
Comment on: Historic England lists 21 inter-war pubs
Excellent news, and long may they flourish - I wonder if there's any progress with expediting the reconstruction of the scandalously flattened Carlton Tavern? This deserves maximum publicity, as a warning to others - in particular to citizens from elsewhere who maybe think that they can get away with enriching themselves at our expense, and as a cautionary tale to architects who should take care who they jump into bed with - and to a large contractor who seemingly doesn't check the legality of its demolition work.
I wonder if we've reached 'the point of no return' on the 'garden bridge'? Whether all the high profile participants - from Joanna Lumley through politicians, newspaper proprietors, nameless (?) financiers with deep pockets and various members of the design professions - are going to have to live with the consequences of their high-handed and anti-democratic imposition on us of this monumental bit of self indulgence. It'll be constructed at a time of drastic and sometimes very damaging cuts in public expenditure, but will rely on public finance to make it possible. There are some architects among the designers, and they must be very hungry for work to get involved in this most conceited and dishonest example of public-private partnerships.
The anticipated stepping down of Gordon Matheson from leading Glasgow City Council will hopefully clean the air, but it does remind me somewhat of the much hoped for departure of other controversial political leaders - for example, Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen, or Matheson's predecessor - Steven Purcell - which haven't turned out well for their fiefdoms.
Comment on: The Death and Life of the Architect
Perhaps, up there in Paradise, there's an EDIT button - and it'd be nice if it wasn't just for fixing comments to the AJ, if it could be used to edit buildings too.
Comment on: Tread softly for you tread on my dreams
I wonder, if the analytical skills of Suzi Hall were to be applied to the Hub 67 community centre in Hackney Wick (featured in this month's 'AJ Specification') what she'd have to say about that building? Composed 80% of materials and components recycled from the London Olympics, designed for a life of only 3-5 years, but having to comply with current construction regulations, this building apparently cost more than a new-build. Admittedly this was a pilot project, but 'writing a watertight specification which transferred the risk of the many unknowns involved in re-use to the contractor' rings warning bells here in Scotland, where the same risk averse philosophy turned the construction of the Edinburgh tram system into a financial and programming disaster area. There must surely be some hard thinking to work out how best to maximise re-use of redundant building fabric - and hopefully Hub 67 will be in use for much more than 3-5 years, or will be capable of economical re-use elsewhere.
The image suggests a pool rather more than 5m wide, but even so I'd like to know just how such a large glass floor is fabricated, and presumably jointed.
The apartment building appears to rise about nine storeys above the High Line, so the 'silver metallic fabric' is hopefully up to the job of arresting the progress of a dropped monkey wrench or whatever.
Perhaps, if architects competing for the chance to design 'iconic' buildings were at risk of diminished fees in the event of inflated costs due to contempt for the budget it would concentrate minds. But surely the competition assessors should be keeping a sharper watch on the credibility of both the budget and the design's predicted construction costs?
If there are 'several disused development sites' close to Washington Park would it be really essential for the new library to occupy part of the park, or did Olmsted allow for large buildings to be inserted in it?