Robert Wakeham's Comments
Useful space, admittedly, but the roof lines are creeping inexorably skywards, aren't they? London only makes economic sense if it swells (or bloats)?
The architecture of money, rather than people - and neither the applied decoration nor the public garden design look as if they'll make much difference to what will basically be a rather sterile and anonymous environment.
I'm not sure whether the need for ethical standards in public life is taken seriously in Britain - or is just taken for granted - but surely it would be reasonable to expect Boris and George to stand as guarantors for the debt. After all, it seems to have been entirely their decision to bung public money into this folly - and their status as elected politicians (two, in Boris's case) surely doesn't give them free rein to throw our money at anything that takes their fancy. And exactly why does this folly qualify for charity status?
Comment on: Public funding for Garden Bridge slashed by £20m
If Boris, Sadiq and Lib - and all the others taking this folly seriously - think that a bit of financial manipulation defuses the situation, they're very much mistaken. The TfL view that this is an important addition to London's public transport infrastructure doesn't fit with planning approval being in the hands of a couple of local councils, Any new stretch of railway - however short and even if built on an old abandoned route, in the middle of nowhere, requires parliamentary assent in a hugely elaborate procedure designed to ensure that the full impact of the proposal is thoroughly examined. A very substantial and 'quirky' private bridge over the Thames in the centre of Britain's capital gets approved almost on the nod. How so?
Comment on: TfL unveils revised route for £27bn Crossrail 2
Given the unfolding scandal of TfL's involvement in 'monkey business' on the garden bridge project, it would be good to see that there's rational, logical and honest justification for the proposed changes of route of Crossrail 2. Why favour Balham over Tooting Broadway - why can't it serve both? Why the change of route in North London?
There's an analogy with the unfolding story of the public funding of Kids Company - politicians splashing tens of millions of public money with more than one eye on their public images. Whether cronyism is a factor in the Kids Company scandal as well I don't know, but it's become clear today that the bunging of £46 million (and counting) was at the direct disadvantage of charities who played by the rules in seeking help from the government. The garden bridge stands to soak up far more public money, in the long run, than Kids Company - so how long before Boris & George put their hands up to having made a mistake - or are they going to try and brazen it out? If they do, what chance that they're held to account? - they should mind those old adages that the bigger you are, the harder you fall, and that - if you're in a hole - stop digging.
Comment on: C20 Society demands Balfron Tower rethink
It's hard to understand why the revamp involves altering the tower's appearance by drastic change to the style of the windows rather than sympathetic renewal. This leads to the suspicion that the designers' desire to make their mark on the building is in direct conflict with respect for its existing character.
Could Boris Johnson's perception of the meaning of 'robust' be rather different to what the hoi polloi understand by this word? I wonder if Mr Johnson might apply the word to anything that he thought would be accepted as credible by the credulous - but how about the incredulous? If Mr Johnson has such a shaky understanding of the meaning of 'robust', I wonder if he can get his head around colloquialisms like 'watered down' - or the various meanings of 'whitewash'?
Thomas Heatherwick can castigate people who haven't 'seen the light' - 'Oh Ye of little faith' so to speak - all he likes, but he might one day understand that his proposed garden bridge across the Thames is not God's gift to man, any more than he is. Rather, he seems to believe that his inventiveness in creating a series of (mostly) successful quirky designs gives him the right for a massive intervention that will change the character of a much loved stretch of the river that bisects our capital. Not so much 'open up views and spaces in London that normal people have never seen before' as bugger up views and spaces that 'normal people' are very familiar with. If Heatherwick and friends are so keen on this project, they don't need to impose it on us - I really do believe that they could create it in a new park, to adorn a new stately home, for their private pleasure. And maybe public fame - who knows, maybe when we're all pushing up the daisies it'll eventually gain listed protection as part of a designed landscape of national importance. The trouble is, Heatherwick & friends are in a hurry, and want to impose their wishes on 'normal people' who apparently don't know what's good for them.
Capital sleaze, Boris - what a hoot.
The Terry confection would quite suit Nicolae Ceausescu's Bucharest - but London?
The Menier building shows this proposed neighbour up for the rubbish that it is.
Londoners? What about the rest of Britain, or is London now being floated by Boris, George, Joanna & pals as an independent city state? I doubt very much that it's just Londoners who are left cold by the notion of this expensive and intrusive piece of public-private frippery - especially when George is preaching belt-tightening all around (except, apparently, in London).
It's just such a shame that architects of the stature of Gareth Hoskins - and Jestico & Whiles, with their hotel project - have got mired in such insensitive 'interventions' in the city.
So Lord Mervyn Davies thinks that there's 'huge public support' for it - forgive me - I hadn't noticed, perhaps there should be a Swiss-style national referendum to establish exactly how huge, with the costs of the referendum covered by the National Lottery, if this is such a wondrous project to enhance the setting of the Thames in the middle of our capital city and create a vital connection between north and south banks (except when closed for private junkets and during the hours of darkness) .
'The tendency for the press to put Hadid centre stage when discussing the abuse of workers in Qatar' was amply demonstrated on the BBC Radio 4 'Today' programme this morning - repeating claims of many deaths on her site (despite the BBC's own 'More or Less' programme on 6th June counselling caution in assessing the facts). Zaha denied that there'd been any deaths on her site, and was clearly appalled at the BBC's repeat of a claim that had already been discredited in court.
Comment on: Revealed: Folly for London winner
I dream of a competition for a Public Inconvenience - financed by Boris & George (courtesy of ourselves) - but it's a nightmare, because it'd probably get built.
It's interesting to compare this redevelopment with that of the St James Centre in Edinburgh's new town. In that case something drab and unprepossessing is being replaced with an eye-catching and discordant building (to put it far too politely), whereas in Manchester it seems to be almost the other way around.
Comment on: TfL grilled over ‘unfair’ Garden Bridge contest
This whole affair is threatening to become text book material for students of the power of patronage, of how a theoretically democratic organisation established in the public interest can find itself being compromised without (perhaps) realising just how pernicious the process has become. And that's just TfL - the engagement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in this saga has still to be fully understood, but his enthusiasm for 'bunging' the promoters a big fat tax-break at the same time that he's putting the squeeze on tax breaks for the low paid speaks volumes. Perhaps some in the spotlight will blame the Manhattan High Line Park (and its precursor in Paris) - and the siren song of a high profile actress - for having seduced them into thinking with their hearts rather than their heads - but I doubt that the French notion of the 'Crime Passionnel' will be adequate defence.
'There's no such thing as an architect who's not on one extreme or the other' - an architect who tells a government that needs putting out to grass. Am I being 'opinionated', or is that the simple truth?
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..