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Robert Wakeham's Comments

  • 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.

  • Comment on: Skyline campaign in push for greater public support

    Robert Wakeham's comment 9-Mar-2015 10:12 am

    'To protect the valued qualities of London...' - hopefully, not just from tall buildings impacting the skyline, but from proposals like the 'green bridge' that will have a massive impact on classic views.

  • Comment on: Foster bags Qatar World Cup stadium job

    Robert Wakeham's comment 9-Mar-2015 10:02 am

    'Green technologies' to cool an open air pitch? That's alright, then.

  • Comment on: Critics accuse TfL of ‘pre-judging’ 2013 Garden Bridge contest

    Robert Wakeham's comment 6-Mar-2015 8:07 pm

    Michael Edwards: for 'very high profile' read: Very obstructive monument to self-regarding egos, messing up the riverscape on a much loved stretch of the Thames.

  • Comment on: Critics accuse TfL of ‘pre-judging’ 2013 Garden Bridge contest

    Robert Wakeham's comment 6-Mar-2015 1:43 pm

    This is more like a story from Putin's Moscow - or am I being naive?

  • Comment on: Boris to underwrite Garden Bridge upkeep costs in shock u-turn

    Robert Wakeham's comment 5-Mar-2015 3:59 pm

    There was a time when I'd sit in a cafe in Theobald's Road before work, and we'd see Boris cycle past - and while we were fairly sure where he was headed we didn't have a clue where he was coming from.

  • Comment on: Richard Murphy reveals £110m Glasgow mixed-use scheme

    Robert Wakeham's comment 3-Mar-2015 11:14 am

    Good to see respect for the ambience of the Merchant City - if only architects could show the same degree of respect for nearby George Square.

  • Comment on: 'Crude' Glasgow hotel plans attacked

    Robert Wakeham's comment 2-Mar-2015 12:24 pm

    The plight of George Square is even worse than stated - the massive car park behind the hotel is part of the Buchanan Galleries retail mall expansion into a mega-mall, and this structure is being built on the area of the station car park, in conjunction with the expansion of the station - which is to adorn one corner of George Square with a new sloping glass curtain wall topped by an enormous eaves projection, utterly out of character with the Square and more akin to an airport terminal building (the initial facade proposal was far more in keeping with the Square). The massive new car park is needed because the retail mall expansion is at the expense of the existing multi storey car park, that was built as part of the Buchanan Galleries development. Sustainability? - don't even think about it, and so much for the notion of master-planning (at least, in Glasgow city centre) - the new car park was initially proposed to be located on top of the very large Buchanan bus terminal, as part of a massive 'air rights' expansion of the retail mall. What's the betting that this won't still happen in the not too distant future? The demolition of the adjoining concert hall steps, at the head of the pedestrianised Buchanan Street, just adds insult to injury in what is fast becoming an ill-fitting jigsaw of missed master-planning opportunities, opportunistic commercial conflict and civic myopia. Glasgow deserves miles better.

  • Comment on: C20 Society in last ditch listing bid to save Grimshaw’s Ship

    Robert Wakeham's comment 27-Feb-2015 11:47 am

    Plymouth can ill afford to lose such a fine modern building, so I just hope that there's sufficient strength to the both inspirational and practical 'can do' spirit of those challenging the demolition proposal to win out over the remote and mean-spirited 'can't do' culture of the Daily Mail

  • Comment on: Jane Priestman: 'I could deliver HS2 with my eyes shut'

    Robert Wakeham's comment 27-Feb-2015 11:38 am

    How refreshing to hear someone come out and say that - when they're looking for architects - they like names, not initials or 'quirky things'.

  • Comment on: Scrapped: Crystal Palace rebuild proposals ditched

    Robert Wakeham's comment 27-Feb-2015 11:08 am

    With this dead initiative for recreating the Crystal Palace, and the still alive and kicking project for inserting a planted bridge over the Thames between Temple and the South Bank, I wonder if Boris Johnson is beginning to exhibit an unfortunate penchant for promoting the sort of daft 'grand project' that attracts populist support but in reality is a can of expensive - and destructive - worms.

  • Comment on: Second Bauhaus Museum contest launches

    Robert Wakeham's comment 26-Feb-2015 12:29 pm

    Can the new museum really 'strengthen and complement' what appears to be quite a small City Park?

  • Comment on: Doubts cast over Nine Elms bridge contest as Westminster objects

    Robert Wakeham's comment 26-Feb-2015 11:20 am

    And there was me thinking that Westminster Council knew what they were at, but after rubber stamping the silly garden bridge, and now bungling this bridge project, I've changed my mind

  • Comment on: Grimshaw’s Plymouth ‘Ship’ threatened with demolition

    Robert Wakeham's comment 25-Feb-2015 3:27 pm

    Unadaptable? really? I wonder - and Stewart Brand's ideas might be fine in theory, but surely lead to a proliferation of rather anonymous flexible metal 'sheds' - and even Team 4's pioneering shed for Reliance Controls in Swindon only lasted from 1967 to 1991, with a retail park now occupying the site of the industrial estate.

  • Comment on: Project manager appointed for Mack restoration

    Robert Wakeham's comment 25-Feb-2015 12:07 pm

    Regarding next month's decision on the choice of architect, I wonder if this will also determine whether replication or modernisation wins the day? Architects of great merit have argued for both options, and hopefully there's no element of the 'arrogant' and 'egotistical', that Ken Shuttleworth sees in some architects, at play here. The claim that 'repro' would be a sham, without the patina of age, is surely a bit specious, if it's recreating really unique design - and the patina of age would surely evolve, not be replicated, please. Didn't the post-WW2 reconstruction of the historic fabric of some European cities teach us the value of replication - for example Dresden, and Gdansk?

  • Comment on: Grimshaw’s Plymouth ‘Ship’ threatened with demolition

    Robert Wakeham's comment 25-Feb-2015 11:26 am

    This is just the latest example of a high quality modern building becoming 'surplus to requirements' and being viewed as a prime candidate for enthusiastic neglect leading to demolition, to realise the maximum site 'potential' (usually 'on behalf of the shareholders', and fired by the high value of bog standard houses crammed in as tight as possible). A sad reflection of today's society, and the logical answer for any company is never to commission good architecture that will be valued for what it is - and will become an insidious threat to maximising the return on investment.

  • Comment on: Niall McLaughlin pays tribute to 'rebel' Ian Athfield

    Robert Wakeham's comment 23-Feb-2015 10:29 am

    Just brilliant.

  • Comment on: Hunter Architects wins planning for thatched 'P55' house in Suffolk

    Robert Wakeham's comment 20-Feb-2015 10:45 am

    Vertical thatched walls are certainly innovative, but I wonder if I'm alone in thinking that the whole assemblage is something of a dog's breakfast, rather than raising standards of design in rural areas and reflecting the highest standards in architecture - as specified in para 55 of the NPPF. And with the apparent destruction of a Grade ll-listed farmhouse in favour of a 'family dwelling' that can be 'closed up in its entirety' this is surely rather more posture than architecture, and designed for part-time occupation in a rural area seen as a weekend / holiday destination rather than a viable community.

  • Comment on: Legal challenge launched over 'devastating' garden bridge plans

    Robert Wakeham's comment 18-Feb-2015 12:02 pm

    It will be interesting to see the outcome of this legal challenge - to what appears to have been a quite extraordinary abuse of process - given the success of the legal challenge to what seems to be a similar bypass of procedure in Winchester. But whereas the Winchester affair appears to have been due to poor decisions by badly advised councillors, the London affair looks rather more toxic.

  • Comment on: Alsop and Ahrends among 700 UK names pledging to a cultural boycott of Israel

    Robert Wakeham's comment 16-Feb-2015 12:06 pm

    The fact that a country is a democracy seems to be widely considered as justification for what's done in the name of that country. Not only is this a dubious proposition, it's dangerous - as everyone in a democracy can be considered responsible for what's being done in their name, when in fact many people object strongly to their democratically elected government's actions.

  • Comment on: Campaigners begin battle against AHMM's Shoreditch Estate scheme

    Robert Wakeham's comment 13-Feb-2015 12:50 pm

    John Betjeman will definitely be stirring in his grave.

  • Comment on: RIBA rolls out 2015 General Election campaign

    Robert Wakeham's comment 13-Feb-2015 12:45 pm

    If Local Authorities don't already have the power to block developments in areas vulnerable to flooding it surely follows that everyone involved in expediting these developments - from landowners to architects - deserve to be sued for gross negligence. A parallel with those fine citizens with Swiss bank accounts?

  • Comment on: Brisac Gonzalez wins planning for £28m Paris mixed-use complex

    Robert Wakeham's comment 11-Feb-2015 10:18 am

    Aberdeen's loss is, once more, Paris's gain.

  • Comment on: Norman Foster hails conversion of his Renault building into kids’ play centre

    Robert Wakeham's comment 11-Feb-2015 10:14 am

    Catherine Croft describes it as 'a mess' - but, unless the 'now' photos aren't telling the whole story, the new signage is surely not that disruptive?

  • Comment on: Lumley's Boris letter fuels Garden Bridge lobby claims

    Robert Wakeham's comment 8-Feb-2015 11:41 pm

    Interesting, on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday morning, to hear Sir Peter Bazalgette, at the core of the English establishment, admiring Joanna Lumley (who's been sending up the diet mania by promoting an obviously spoof snack diet) as the promoter of the garden bridge . It presumably hasn't occurred to the chair of Arts Council England that La Lumley might just have originally punted the garden bridge as a bit of a joke, only to have ambitious designers and greedy politicians pick it up and run with it, helped on their way by complacent local councillors.

  • Comment on: Lumley's Boris letter fuels Garden Bridge lobby claims

    Robert Wakeham's comment 4-Feb-2015 6:56 pm

    A bridge too far - way too far - but, if built, it will exemplify a breathtaking degree of arrogance in both politicians and personalities. But is this a uniquely London 'thing', or does it speak of a wider creeping sickness in our society, heralded by the ever increasing gulf between the 'haves' and the rest?

  • Comment on: Company ordered to pay £10k for misuse of 'architect' title

    Robert Wakeham's comment 3-Feb-2015 11:08 am

    And now perhaps the ARB should remind registered architects that they're not members of the Board unless they're on the Board - or the ARB might find itself having to ask one of the Board members why all his architect partners are misrepresenting themselves as board members, when they're not - they're just registered architects, like the vast majority of the profession.

  • Comment on: ‘Save Dippy’ campaign begins as Casson Mann reveals museum revamp

    Robert Wakeham's comment 2-Feb-2015 10:39 am

    Oops, should have said Natural History Museum, not British Museum.

  • Comment on: Paolozzi arches at Tottenham Court Road ‘already demolished’

    Robert Wakeham's comment 2-Feb-2015 10:11 am

    This seems to be in the same dismal tradition as the decision to flatten the Euston Arch. I thought we'd moved on.

  • Comment on: ‘Save Dippy’ campaign begins as Casson Mann reveals museum revamp

    Robert Wakeham's comment 2-Feb-2015 10:07 am

    I mourn the disappearance of the dinosaur that once occupied the medieval monastic undercroft (now a shop & restaurant) of Durham Cathedral, and I think that such a skeleton has just as much relevance, and more visual impact, to that of a blue whale. The fact that the British Museum dinosaur skeleton is a replica is - to my mind - neither here nor there, the blue whale is already on display, and the proposals smell of change for change's sake..

  • Comment on: Paolozzi murals at Tottenham Court Road tube face demolition

    Robert Wakeham's comment 20-Jan-2015 2:50 pm

    Michael Edwards is absolutely right - and if London can't 'go the extra mile' to provide a home for all these mosaics. one way or another, then perhaps the initiative might come from Scotland, from Edinburgh - Paolozzi's home town.

  • Comment on: Paolozzi murals at Tottenham Court Road tube face demolition

    Robert Wakeham's comment 20-Jan-2015 10:20 am

    It's inconceivable that these elements can't be 'saved' - maybe not in their original context, or even in the station - but the one thing that is sure is that Paolozzi's talent is head and shoulders above that of people that think that claiming to save 95% of the mosaics is 'job done'.

  • Comment on: RSHP reveals £4.3m demountable Lewisham home scheme

    Robert Wakeham's comment 19-Jan-2015 9:57 am

    All the residential units might exceed current space standards by 10%, but why position the hall / lounge door so that it precludes the possibility of the occupants putting a useful length of storage cupboard, shelving or whatever in the hall?