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Robert Wakeham's Comments

  • Comment on: Zaha unwraps polished steel Middle East Centre extension

    Robert Wakeham's comment 29-May-2015 11:03 am

    A refreshing contrast to the surround buildings, but the 'cheek by jowl' juxtaposition of the 'cut end' of the new with the facade of the old makes the new look crude and overbearing - unless the two buildings aren't as close as the photos suggest.

  • Comment on: Garden Bridge to be built 'within 1,000 days'

    Robert Wakeham's comment 29-May-2015 10:50 am

    'Bullish' is about right for a rather private project that is getting a big fat boost of £60 million of public money from a couple of 'old pals' from the Bullingdon club, and their perception of values at this time of drastic 'national belt tightening' in the public sector seems to be remarkably warped, to put it mildly. True, the Festival of Britain was staged at a time when the country was worn out, but this bridge is no morale-booster, it's a grand folly that might be fine in someone's private park but - if built - will go down in history as a very expensive (and intrusive) monument to some preening public figures at a time when the general population was being expected to accept massive cuts in the welfare state.

  • Comment on: Historic England changes tack on King's College Strand plans

    Robert Wakeham's comment 22-May-2015 12:24 pm

    So... 'King's College said it was 'sensitive' to the 'architecturally significant environment' in which it operated'. They could've fooled me.

  • Comment on: One St Peter’s Square by Glenn Howells

    Robert Wakeham's comment 21-May-2015 6:37 am

    It looks as if the designer has symbolised the developer's push for maximum floor space by exploiting the apparent weakness of the planning authority and extruding three more floors out of the top of this building, literally 'lifting the lid' on it. These architects are capable of much better than this.

  • Comment on: Coalition of critics slams the Garden Bridge

    Robert Wakeham's comment 21-May-2015 6:28 am

    Is Paul Finch wearing blinkers?

  • Comment on: Garden Bridge Trust reveals planting vision

    Robert Wakeham's comment 19-May-2015 1:46 am

    To answer Jacky Stevens, according to the blurb on the garden bridge website (questions & answers - fact vs fiction), cyclists are welcome as long as they push their bikes. So that's OK, then.

  • Comment on: Grimshaw’s Ship saved from demolition

    Robert Wakeham's comment 19-May-2015 1:29 am

    Very good news; whether or not this building is listed the fabric will surely be far easier to maintain 'as existing' than that of a much older building - and surely whatever alterations are required for its new function will be carried out sensitively, given the comments from the new owner.

  • Comment on: DCLG places Strand plans on hold

    Robert Wakeham's comment 18-May-2015 11:40 pm

    Good news, surely, for anyone hoping that enlightenment - and common sense - will prevail.

  • Comment on: Stop moaning, the Garden Bridge is fabulous

    Robert Wakeham's comment 18-May-2015 11:19 pm

    'Imagination' is one thing, and Lumley & Heatherwick seem to have plenty, but there's too much of the 'Emperor's New Clothes' about the pushing through of this project, with its rather selective attitude to who can actually use it as a route (and when) - as well as who's competent to design it. I don't think that a new private bridge in the centre of the capital city of a possibly truncated Britain, procured by sleight of hand, aping the physical form of neighbouring bridges but apparently intended as a novelty item to promote the inventive genius of the nation. The 'Highline' it's not, and I think that it's more gimmick than long term asset - though I'd be keen enough on it if I was an urban fox, with either four legs or two.

  • Comment on: What might the Tories have in store for architecture?

    Robert Wakeham's comment 8-May-2015 7:50 pm

    To Marc Massin: I think that the 'green bridge' is ridiculous because it's intended to be more a private space than a public route, with restrictions on use that prevent cycling, prevent access 24/7, and reserve the right to close it for private functions. Despite this, Boris is helping finance it with public money via TfL (and to hell with the need for safe cycle routes). To add insult to injury, it's going to block vistas of this stretch of the Thames - and, I suspect, become used as eloquent testimony to the unacceptable face of Conservative government.

  • Comment on: What might the Tories have in store for architecture?

    Robert Wakeham's comment 8-May-2015 10:37 am

    With Boris pushing hard to build the ridiculous 'green bridge', regardless of the implications, I wonder if we can expect more such cosy 'arrangements' to part-fund the construction of elitists follies at a time of increasing austerity (for some)?

  • Comment on: Bennetts reveals Edinburgh Uni scheme

    Robert Wakeham's comment 6-May-2015 10:37 am

    So, clad in 'natural stone and marble-aggregate polished concrete to reflect the character of its Georgian surroundings' - really? These Georgian surroundings don't figure in the published images, and are presumably facing this development on the opposite side of the street. Actually, no - just a range of nondescript modern five storey blocks of flats over retail, save for one older section of what might loosely be termed 'Georgian' but doesn't really look it. The only consistent feature that's remotely Georgian is the eaves height.

  • Comment on: Developer could have to rebuild London pub brick by brick

    Robert Wakeham's comment 30-Apr-2015 9:48 am

    I hope the architects for the proposed replacement building have the sense to wash their hands of this project - if cowboy clients have difficulty in finding architects who are willing to jump into bed with them it would be good for both the profession and the country. I also hope that the nationwide company whose name was emblazoned on the demolition plant has to account for just what they thought they were doing - otherwise it's difficult to see them retaining some of their largest clients. Lastly, I hope that the resolve of the authorities involved doesn't waver, isn't undermined by 'behind the scenes' influence being brought to bear, and that this building really does rise from the dead.

  • Comment on: SAVE launches petition against Hall McKnight's Strand plans

    Robert Wakeham's comment 30-Apr-2015 9:32 am

    SAVE is surely absolutely correct in its assessment - the pressure to enable a large and influential institution to consume its surroundings like some sort of malignant growth has to be resisted - the damage done by the University of Edinburgh in past years is surely the classic ample of what not to do. And the sheer drabness of Hall McKnight's proposal adds insult to injury.

  • Comment on: Row ignites after British Land compared with Nazi Germany

    Robert Wakeham's comment 29-Apr-2015 10:40 am

    British Land refers to a 'heritage-led scheme' - is this developer-speak for large scale demolition of an area? It's surely rather gracious of Mr Cruickshank to suggest that British Land's behaviour has been quite good.

  • Comment on: Piers Taylor wins planning for Croydon Passivhaus

    Robert Wakeham's comment 28-Apr-2015 10:10 am

    An ingenious design for an 'interesting' site - but why, oh why, such a dark brick skin - 'dark' seems to have become the signature feature of so much contemporary work.

  • Comment on: Architect rethinks plans for threatened East End oddity

    Robert Wakeham's comment 28-Apr-2015 9:55 am

    Thank goodness it hasn't suffered the fate of the soon-to-have-been-listed Carlton Tavern in Maida Vale, suddenly and illegally demolished the day after Easter Monday in a manner reminiscent of the outrageous destruction of the Firestone Building in Brentford in 1980.

  • Comment on: Studio Octopi starts crowdfunding for Thames Baths

    Robert Wakeham's comment 27-Apr-2015 11:41 am

    If I was going to rank - on a scale of 1 to 10 - the Thames Baths project, and the 'green bridge', in terms of appropriate interventions on the river, these baths would be up there at 1 and the 'green bridge' would be an also-ran.

  • Comment on: Hall McKnight hails planning victory for contentious Strand plans

    Robert Wakeham's comment 23-Apr-2015 12:45 pm

    A notable attribute of the existing range of buildings, apart from architectural variety, and interest, is that they're not drab - more than can be said of their replacement, which seems to be following the current widespread trend in London for dark and rather dismal buildings. Does the level of atmospheric pollution justify this, or is it just fashionable?

  • Comment on: Euston Arch rebuild efforts move forward

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

    Boris would surely be better advised to have TfL contribute to this inspired project than to pursue the elitist and dysfunctional garden bridge folly.

  • Comment on: Garden Bridge objector given judicial review boost

    Robert Wakeham's comment 22-Apr-2015 12:43 pm

    If only the judicial review could also examine Transport for London's use of public money to help fund a bridge that has no provision for cyclists - the clue is in the word 'transport'. Boris would be better advised to put the money into reconstructing the historic Euston Arch

  • Comment on: Adam defends contentious Classical tower proposals in Reading

    Robert Wakeham's comment 20-Apr-2015 11:24 am

    So I wonder what changed Historic England's mind?

  • Comment on: Contentious Hall McKnight plans set for approval

    Robert Wakeham's comment 17-Apr-2015 12:35 pm

    This reminds me of the bad old days in Edinburgh, when the university did so much damage to the character of George Square - assisted by the clout of big-name architects - but I thought that we'd moved on from the attitudes that prevailed in the 1960s. Maybe not.

  • Comment on: End this 'slaughter' of cyclists by construction lorries, says Murray

    Robert Wakeham's comment 16-Apr-2015 9:33 pm

    I've always thought that being a pedestrian is a basic human right, whereas being a motorist is a privilege - but I can't decide where being a cyclist should be, between these two extremes, and I can't help feeling that the daft behaviour of a minority of cyclists encourages some drivers to treat them with contempt, and some pedestrians to have no sympathy for them - despite the obvious hazards that they face in most British city streets.

  • Comment on: Profession reacts: make London safer for cyclists

    Robert Wakeham's comment 16-Apr-2015 10:18 am

    Joe Morris mentions cyclists jumping red lights and riding on pavements, and while these people are clearly a small minority they're very visible, and I - as a pedestrian - despise them for their utter irresponsibility. I suspect that they do enormous damage to the reputation of cyclists in central London amongst not just pedestrians but - more critically - taxi drivers and all the other drivers who spend their working lives in this area. My early morning bus journeys from Euston down to Southampton Row, and short walk east along Theobald's Road, were a real eye-opener - both for the conflict between cyclists and frequently stopping buses, and for the tidal wave of cycles on Theobald's Road, frequently ignoring pedestrian lights and frequently on the pavement at the junction with Southampton Row. These were clearly experienced cyclists, but deserved to be banned, and I wonder whether there's a need for some form of licensing, with heavy penalties for dangerous cyclists as well as dangerous drivers?

  • Comment on: Finally: Robert AM Stern Architects set for UK debut

    Robert Wakeham's comment 14-Apr-2015 12:52 pm

    At least Foster's design respected the scale of the place, and that statement in the planning documents is an interesting interpretation of evolution - is it my imagination, or would Mussolini and the Ceausescus have recognised the qualities in this impressive pile?

  • Comment on: Elips completes ‘Italian-style’ pasta café

    Robert Wakeham's comment 13-Apr-2015 11:09 am

    I can just about understand the concept of keeping everything white - except the entrance door.

  • Comment on: Garden Bridge Trust launches 'myth busting' campaign

    Robert Wakeham's comment 13-Apr-2015 10:44 am

    I apologise for getting Jane Merrick's name wrong (no edit facility) and add that Transport for London want to invest public money in a new Thames crossing closed to cyclists? Really? - after the tragedy last week that so clearly demonstrated the need for safer cycling routes in London, and destroyed the life of someone who really did know what good design is all about?.

  • Comment on: Garden Bridge Trust launches 'myth busting' campaign

    Robert Wakeham's comment 13-Apr-2015 10:28 am

    Merrick is absolutely right in criticising this silly vanity project, which so clearly symbolises what happens when privilege, power and patronage get out of hand.

  • Comment on: Replica of Preston bus station 'printed' in China

    Robert Wakeham's comment 1-Apr-2015 9:53 am

    You could almost believe that it isn't 1st April - I just wish that the Joanna/Thomas/Boris project for their garden bridge over the Thames had been a 1st April affair.

  • Comment on: English Heritage recommends Grade II* listing for ‘Ship’

    Robert Wakeham's comment 1-Apr-2015 9:43 am

    Hooray - but now let's see if whichever minister - and government - is landed with taking the decision manages to avoid being bent to the will of the building owners.

  • Comment on: Copper Lane by Henley Halebrown Rorrison

    Robert Wakeham's comment 28-Mar-2015 6:03 pm

    A beautifully crafted group - and, for someone living far from London, it's refreshing to note that none of the reviews that I've read have made any reference to the absence of provision for parking.

  • Comment on: Boris refuses independent audit of Garden Bridge procurement

    Robert Wakeham's comment 25-Mar-2015 1:36 pm

    This is one 'impartial punter' who isn't impressed by someone on David Cameron's shortlist of nominated successors spouting guff about criticism of the garden bridge - but then Boris spouts rather a lot of guff, so perhaps this is an essential qualification for a potential Prime Minister.

  • Comment on: Sadie Morgan heads up new HS2 design review panel

    Robert Wakeham's comment 23-Mar-2015 11:56 am

    A lesson learnt from the criticism of the quality of the architecture of the Crossrail project, in comparison to the fine work done on the Jubilee Line extension, under the direction of the late Roland Paoletti?

  • Comment on: MIPIM: 10 things we learned

    Robert Wakeham's comment 18-Mar-2015 9:30 pm

    Lesson number three - the London stand - intrigues me greatly; if it was twice as busy as the Paris stand, with its transport masterplan involving the creation of 72 new stations, I wonder why? For many decades the Paris authorities seem to have been far ahead of those in London when it comes to developing essential transport infrastructure, and this should surely be reflected in the health of the property market. Are the Paris developers and financiers that much less adroit than those in London, or are there other factors at play, under the surface? Is there more awareness in Paris of the provenance of the wealth looking for a safe home, perhaps? Is the case of the foreign billionaire spiv with a criminal record who's acquired ownership of a large chunk of the Camden Lock market area the exception that proves the rule, or is a substantial proportion of the London development gravy train fuelled by grubby money and even grubbier people?

  • Comment on: Planning approval for RSHP's contest-winning LSE scheme

    Robert Wakeham's comment 18-Mar-2015 7:41 pm

    This will replace 'a number of existing buildings on Houghton Street and Clare Market' - and will obviously change the character of the urban fabric, so it would be interesting to see what's being lost, as well as what's being gained - whether the variety of buildings being demolished embody a richness of character that is more, or less, than that of the two new buildings apparently designed in matching style. Hopefully the new buildings and public square - and 'improved connectivity and wayfinding throughout the university' - add up to a substantial gain to the quality of the city, but with neither a site plan nor any illustration of the existing streetscapes it's impossible to tell, unless you go there.

  • Comment on: Shortlist revealed in Nine Elms bridge contest

    Robert Wakeham's comment 17-Mar-2015 12:29 pm

    How on earth can Westminster councillors object to the 'visual and environmental impact' of these proposals when they've recently rubber-stamped the far more intrusive (and less than elegant) 'green bridge' on a nearby stretch of the river that - if anything - is even more sensitive to intrusive 'interventions'?

  • Comment on: Farrell: ‘Garden Bridge is an indulgence’

    Robert Wakeham's comment 13-Mar-2015 8:07 pm

    I too initially thought of it as a folly - and it would be if it adorned the parkland of some great country estate (or perhaps, even better, the arid environment of Lake Havasu City or one of those Dubai suburban developments dredged out of the sea). But imposed on this site in central London, such a bridge would be an arrogant interloper. Please, Joanna and Thomas - indulge yourselves elsewhere (perhaps a Russian oligarch would fancy it in his back garden). And if the stories about TfL's very 'creative' ranking of Thomas's bridge experience are true, he'd surely be wise to gracefully retire from this imbroglio before it's too late.

  • Comment on: Campaigners protest to save Grimshaw’s ‘Ship’

    Robert Wakeham's comment 10-Mar-2015 11:50 am

    If it was anyone else threatening the existence of such a fine modern building the Daily Mail could well be exercising their self-righteous indignation by shouting it from the rooftops - the 'Daily Hypocrite', perhaps? The owner's agent for the application for demolition was Indigo Planning, London - David Graham, the associate director named on the application, is described in their blurb as having a 'particular interest in heritage', and he's also an 'RTPI APC assessor, assessing planners who are looking to become chartered'.. Indeed - it's reassuring to know that planning our built environment is in such good hands.

  • Comment on: Taiwan opens Danjiang Bridge design contest

    Robert Wakeham's comment 9-Mar-2015 10:37 am

    I bet they won't 'mark down' those entrants who have won a significant number of bridge design competitions - on their inexperience in bridge design.