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Robert Wakeham's Comments

  • 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?

  • Comment on: Profession shocked as Architecture for Humanity shuts

    Robert Wakeham's comment 19-Jan-2015 9:37 am

    Unfortunately, architecture for inhumanity is alive and well - but we must be very careful what we say about it.

  • Comment on: RIBA to open new India chapter

    Robert Wakeham's comment 7-Jan-2015 10:55 pm

    I think that it's still Delhi, not 'Deli', as surely the local language version used in the city is 'Dilli'.

  • Comment on: Second panel falls from Zaha’s Vienna library

    Robert Wakeham's comment 7-Jan-2015 6:06 pm

    Not sure about 'iconic' - but there seems to be a very thin line between innovative/spectacular and in-your-face/thuggish.

  • Comment on: RIBA overturns controversial Israel motion

    Robert Wakeham's comment 5-Dec-2014 2:25 pm

    The last time I commented on this issue I was accused of anti-semitism and both my and the related comments were deleted, so I'll try not to cause offence this time. Looking at the readers' comments above there might just be only one person who's likely subject to the Israeli law of return but who isn't enthusiastically crowing over the RIBA's climb down. In British politics there's there's the well established (if somewhat fragile) principle of everyone declaring their interest in a subject of debate, and that's where comment on this issue runs the risk of being fraught with serious accusations of racism. My concern is that some people have a very direct interest in the unchallenged progress of a campaign of dispossession, landscape destruction and wholesale urbanisation that's ably assisted by the input of a considerable number of architects. Ethnic cleansing might even be a reasonable description as one factor in this colossal mess. For anyone to be criticising the right of the RIBA to be concerned about this is, on the face of it, astonishing, but - although I presume that the majority of the commentators are architects, their integrity is open to question - and at least one of them has fallen into the trap, in his practice information, of describing himself as a member of the ARB. Granted that he's far from alone in exaggerating his status in this way (it would be an awfully long board), but to me it symbolises people whose self interest gets in the way of fact - and sometimes morality, as well as integrity I've got an old postcard, a photo of the hills of Gilead west of Ajlun - and maybe to an urbanite it just looks like a picturesque but empty landscape. In fact it isn't empty at all, and though these hills are in 'unoccupied' Jordan, I think that much of the land being buried under the massive urbanisation in question was once just as fine. The destruction is to the eternal shame - and disgrace - of all the architects involved. . must in a all the caused upset, was

  • Comment on: Betty Boothroyd attacks 'building frenzy' on South Bank

    Robert Wakeham's comment 2-Dec-2014 2:22 pm

    Eric Pickles' behaviour is surely surprising, so soon after he'd shown his independence of mind by putting a stop to the Smithfield Market over-development. Thank goodness for the greed-free common sense of Betty Boothroyd, in the face of a populist mayor who appears increasingly to have his eye only on the main chance.

  • Comment on: Westminster still concerned over Garden Bridge’s impact on views

    Robert Wakeham's comment 1-Dec-2014 1:39 pm

    It's surely not just the Westminster planners that are concerned at the impact of this 'intervention' - I've never lived in London but the vistas over and along this stretch of the Thames are of national value, and not something to be messed up by a clever idea for the benefit of a rich, powerful interest group, assisted by substantial public money from a Lord mayor who surely needs a reality check.

  • Comment on: First images revealed of Cardross revamp proposals

    Robert Wakeham's comment 26-Nov-2014 7:53 pm

    The very best of news for this 'lost' elegy to Brutalism, lurking in the abandoned demesne of Kilmahew. And it should be a fine tribute to the memory of Isi Metzstein and Andy MacMillan.

  • Comment on: Allies and Morrison Winchester scheme faces High Court challenge

    Robert Wakeham's comment 21-Nov-2014 5:50 pm

    Quite apart from the general issues being raised, if the proposed new revisions include scrapping the scheme's bus station, what's going on in Winchester? I can think of other southern English towns where bus stations have been scrapped, to the distinct disadvantage of the travelling public.

  • Comment on: Top UK talents to design Czech housing scheme

    Robert Wakeham's comment 14-Nov-2014 11:18 am

    'The Oaks' - really? - at Popovicky? Perhaps we can expect a bosky residential development in Surrey or Berkshire called 'Duby' or 'Doubrava' - or is an English name seen by the developers as a selling point?

  • Comment on: Lambeth approves Heatherwick's Garden Bridge

    Robert Wakeham's comment 12-Nov-2014 10:18 am

    Is central London at risk of becoming an overblown version of the Museum of Curiosities? Many will be saluting the vision and ingenuity of Lumley and Heatherwick, but many will also be wondering about the impact on the vision of this familiar and iconic (for want of a nicer word) stretch of the Thames - and they'll be wondering at what sort of society is indulging in such frippery (follies?) when we're being warned of further national belt-tightening and austerity in the coming years. Will it one day be seen as a reminder of the hugely profitable crookery in the City of London, a piece of monumental bling?

  • Comment on: Bond Bryan's school conversion of Alsop's The Public

    Robert Wakeham's comment 7-Nov-2014 9:16 am

    There's a credibility gap here - how can you spend £72 million (of public money) and not have as built drawings? If Sandwell Council can't explain, and Will Alsop wasn't there, perhaps Flannery & de la Pole can? Or was there someone else involved in producing the detail design documentation for the contractor?

  • Comment on: Chester-le-Street Civic Centre architect 'sad and disappointed' over demolition

    Robert Wakeham's comment 3-Nov-2014 4:23 pm

    32 years old and said to be too costly to maintain; are major elements of the fabric life expired, is it just that the exterior envelope needs upgraded, or has it suffered from 'deferred maintenance' (otherwise known as gross neglect)?

  • Comment on: Tower plans spell end for Make's Chiswick Octopus

    Robert Wakeham's comment 3-Nov-2014 10:57 am

    The triumph of mediocrity?

  • Comment on: Kensington & Chelsea freezes 120 mega-basement plans

    Robert Wakeham's comment 30-Oct-2014 9:20 am

    There's surely room for more case studies in how large basement developments in residential areas can (or can't) be undertaken with minimal disturbance to the neighbours - but also on just where the money's coming from for such obviously very costly works. It's easy to discuss objections in terms of 'jealousy', but how about motivation in terms of 'greed'? - and I'm not a left-wing nimby.

  • Comment on: AJ Kiosks named as one of 13 key future projects for London

    Robert Wakeham's comment 28-Oct-2014 4:15 pm

    Eric Parry's is the only design with even the remotest semblance to a kiosk - the rest appear to be water fountains, pure and simple (and none the worse for that, but they ain't kiosks).

  • Comment on: Architects welcome return of Stonehenge tunnel plans

    Robert Wakeham's comment 24-Oct-2014 11:43 am

    The A303 is a bit like the A1 in that it's been subject to creeping 'motorwayisation' over the years, but with the dualling so fragmented that the bottlenecks just tend to move location, but if you're not stuck in a queue you're contributing to the traffic noise that's a part of the Stonehenge problem. And, if you live in London, you could take the M4 + M5 route to the Southwest (the way the long distance buses go). Roddy Langmuir makes a very good point about tunnel portal design, but I wonder if relocation of the road line could find suitable dips in the landscape that would ease this problem?

  • Comment on: Chinese President demands end to 'weird architecture'

    Robert Wakeham's comment 23-Oct-2014 2:27 pm

    A politician with a dawning realisation that one day people will look back and snigger? Are you awake, Boris?

  • Comment on: Kyson showcases Lambeth mixed-use development

    Robert Wakeham's comment 22-Oct-2014 4:47 pm

    It would be interesting to see the character of the original buildings on this street corner - to see whether the new building is an improvement, or whether it coarsens the urban fabric.

  • Comment on: Public inquiry launches into Simpson's 'stunted black glass stub'

    Robert Wakeham's comment 21-Oct-2014 11:28 am

    Why, I wonder, wasn't the link planned as a bridge at upper floor levels, to preserve access through Library Walk?