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Robert Wakeham's Comments

  • Comment on: Obama poised to begin search for presidential library architect

    Robert Wakeham's comment 19-Aug-2015 4:02 pm

    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?

  • Comment on: Historic England on hunt for best post-war pubs

    Robert Wakeham's comment 19-Aug-2015 3:55 pm

    Watch it doesn't get flattened by a spiv property company while the landlady's out.

  • Comment on: Ministers urged to overrule decision on Jestico + Whiles’ Edinburgh hotel

    Robert Wakeham's comment 14-Aug-2015 10:19 am

    Beam me up, Scotty.

  • Comment on: Architecture student reveals vision for ‘Mayfair New Town’

    Robert Wakeham's comment 13-Aug-2015 10:51 am

    This could inspire endless ideas - if Buck House sits empty for great portions of the year it could be given over to cross-channel refugees, with a tented encampment in the Gardens.

  • Comment on: Jestico + Whiles' Edinburgh hotel wins go-ahead

    Robert Wakeham's comment 13-Aug-2015 10:42 am

    How about the bronze colour? the image is presumably of the building just after the protective film has been peeled off the cladding, but it surely won't stay like that unless there's a full time bronze polisher, and the 'end product' will be much darker.

  • Comment on: Robert Sakula: 'Government has turned its back on zero carbon housing'

    Robert Wakeham's comment 11-Aug-2015 9:43 am

    Government by knee-jerk.

  • Comment on: C20 Society fights to save Arup Associates' 2 Finsbury Avenue

    Robert Wakeham's comment 10-Aug-2015 10:56 am

    In this age of increasing concern for 'sustainability' in the built environment (even if challenged by the recent antics of George Osborne) surely there's also the need to question the demolition of modern buildings on the 'sustainability' principle - unless their materials and components can genuinely be recycled.

  • Comment on: Fighting the preservationists

    Robert Wakeham's comment 6-Aug-2015 11:46 am

    I suppose it's all a matter of taste - I wonder if the brick choice for the new British Library really would have been different if Sandy Wilson had known for sure that St Pancras Chambers would survive? - architects are surely often in the habit of trying to 'fit in' with prominent neighbours (as described in the main feature in the brick magazine recently distributed with the AJ). I wonder if, in the case of the Blossom Street proposals, 'good architects' were seemingly unable to achieve the impossible, given the commercial pressures on their clients? The contrast of new juxtaposed with old in the last three images heading the architects' joint letter to the AJ today says it all. As for Tracy Emin's house - it's the artist who's intriguing; her proposed house is definitely not.

  • Comment on: Letter to AJ: Architects defend contentious Blossom St plans

    Robert Wakeham's comment 6-Aug-2015 11:13 am

    The images aren't labelled, but what is clear is the way in which the existing buildings are predominantly of human scale and have a variety, and richness, of detail that's absent in the new proposals - and all the brick in the world wouldn't make up for this. The architects are just reflecting the commercial pressure of their clients, the step-change in type of use and the drive to maximise floor area - but, whatever the skills of the architects, the result would be 'banalisation', and only in a febrile culture of 'onwards & upwards' could conservation be interpreted by some as a dirty word. . There's a built example of this not that far away, on the corner of Clerkenwell Road and Turnmill Street, where brick (deemed so beautiful that it recently occupied pride of place in a brick manufacturer's magazine distributed with the AJ) forms the character of a smart office development replacing a lower building, originally a multi-storey stable for the Great Northern Railway Company. The trouble is, the old stables had far more visual interest, and character (particularly at street level) than the new building - despite being of what looked like stock London brick. Apparently Islington wanted to see the old building retained, but the developer and their architect prevailed - managing to add another couple of floors - on the condition that 'the new building would make a more positive contribution than the old building in architectural and material terms'. Aye, right - there but for the grace of God goes Spitalfields.

  • Comment on: Shuttleworth: 'The Garden Bridge makes a statement about London's creativity'

    Robert Wakeham's comment 5-Aug-2015 5:28 pm

    Both Will Jennings and Chris Medland are clear about the objectionable aspects of this project - aspects that some well respected personalities in the architectural world seem oddly incapable of comprehending. This is not so much a revolutionary piece of pioneering design as an eccentric imposition on the river that - in times past - would have been built across someone's ornamental lake in their private demesne, and might (or might not) have come to attract public admiration as a curiosity, a folly.

  • Comment on: Maki's UK debut set for green light

    Robert Wakeham's comment 4-Aug-2015 12:38 pm

    Brilliant white limestone - in central London? - and what have they done to the windows?

  • Comment on: Steel chief warns Cheesegrater bolt costs may top £6m

    Robert Wakeham's comment 31-Jul-2015 11:43 am

    If the steel used in the Cheesegrater bolts had all of the correct certification, but the bolts were substandard, does this mean that the certification is unfit for purpose, or the bolt manufacturing process unexpectedly modified the steel characteristics post-certification, or the certification was falsified? Does this affair have wider implications for structural engineering?

  • Comment on: Julia Park: 'We have to end this schizophrenic approach to housing'

    Robert Wakeham's comment 31-Jul-2015 11:33 am

    Perhaps George Osborne will issue an edict 'repealing' Julia Park.

  • Comment on: Conservationists object to Chipperfield's plans for Emin

    Robert Wakeham's comment 30-Jul-2015 7:19 pm

    For Paul Finch - It's not a question of 'trying to punish' - but I don't see that it is more interesting, and for Chris Dyson, are you sure that the replacement building is a thoughtful and sensitive design? It might well be much better than the previously approved design for the site, but does 'an honest reflection of the interior spatial requirements' have to result in quite such a severe exterior? 'Form follows function', I suppose, but if this results in something rather too hostile for its own good? Fortress Spitalfields? It certainly says something of today - beautiful? - a new cultural landmark?

  • Comment on: Conservationists object to Chipperfield's plans for Emin

    Robert Wakeham's comment 30-Jul-2015 1:05 pm

    It's a pity that there are no images of the existing building, because - if you look on Google Streetview - its listing is clearly understandable, and it's 'holding the fort' against a really crude multi storey car park on the opposite side of White's Row, and a nasty sub-Jim Stirling office block on the other side of Bell Lane.. Regardless of the undoubted care that would be taken in the detailing and workmanship of the new proposal, it's bland and cold in comparison to the character of the other, older buildings in the neighbourhood, and as such certainly isn't 'very high quality design'. Maybe this is a bit like the 'garden bridge' proposal, with people being 'dazzled' by well known names into thinking that their ideas automatically deserve approval?

  • Comment on: Emmott: 'Londoners overwhelmingly want the Garden Bridge'

    Robert Wakeham's comment 29-Jul-2015 11:12 am

    I'm sure that Hans Christian Andersen would be smiling quietly to himself at such a classic example of 'The Emperor's new clothes'. Just how far will this project run, where is 'the point of no return' after which London - and national - politicians will be stuck with responsibility for the imposition of a colossal monument to their vanity? - and drain on a much abused public purse.

  • Comment on: RCKa wins planning for Lewisham Pocket homes conversion

    Robert Wakeham's comment 27-Jul-2015 2:40 pm

    No interior images of what 'pocket living' might be like.

  • Comment on: Ian Ritchie: 'What problem does the Garden Bridge solve?'

    Robert Wakeham's comment 27-Jul-2015 2:25 pm

    An excellent statement of the facts - and surely the planning approvals from both north and south of the river are inadequate, given the massive impact of this development on an important part of the character of the centre of what is still the capital of Britain, not just a Singapore-style city state where dissent is kept firmly on the leash. Viewed from a virtually Tory-free Scotland, this 'wonderful exercise in celebrity hype and hubris' could all too easily be used as another nail in the coffin of the UK.

  • Comment on: Campaigners halt British Land's Norton Folgate plans

    Robert Wakeham's comment 22-Jul-2015 12:47 pm

    'Too greedy and too destructive' , and maybe a classic example of the rising tendency to 'overstuff' sites in London with out of scale buildings - property assets being made to sweat beyond reasonable limits. The comments of the council's planning officers - and of Historic England, in favour of this redevelopment - look rather hollow.

  • Comment on: Revealed: Nine Elms bridge finalists’ latest designs

    Robert Wakeham's comment 21-Jul-2015 2:27 pm

    How on earth can any Westminster councillors object to this - Westminster having recently rubber stamped the Garden Bridge (just downstream from Waterloo Bridge), far more disruptive to Thames vistas but far less useful than this public pedestrian & cycle link at Nine Elms. It's a shame (and surely bad planning) that the bridge alignment will result in the northern landing biting into the Pimlico Gardens & Shrubbery - is the Nine Elms redevelopment masterplan that inflexible? It's surely no coincidence that in the AJ's online poll the most intrusive bridge design is the least popular. Compared with that the mass of the postmodern Garden Bridge design is far more intrusive..