Simon Carne's Comments
I have just spent an enjoyable couple of hours sifting through the Helsinki entries.They were a great source of good and bad graphic techniques, ideas to "borrow" without knowing the provenance and a chance to play name the architect. Though I'm pretty sure neither Sanaa nor Zaha entered, they both seemed to have spawned numerous poor imitations. The competition cannot be presented as a bit of fun. But, like Martin, it cannot be a serious way of finding an architect. The jury have much more to review and yet I still found 40+ worth making favourites and finally got down to a shortlist of 6. I probably skimmed through half and must have missed quite a few. However i look forward to seeing the results if only to see if any of mine get through. The Sydney Opera House was salvaged from the reject pile and Zaha's Peak, another competition with hundreds of entries, won though I doubt that the jury thought it was going to be built. Nevertheless both have played significant roles in advancing the art of architecture.
more a church than a restaurant?
Comment on: John Pardey reveals Lutyens inspired house
I have always liked John Pardey's houses, but can't get my head around the response to orientation here. It seems as though a Villa Savoyesque imagery has taken over. All but the largest face North west. Master bedroom faces North east. Kitchen faces North west, pantry located at key south west corner. Large terrace garden faces east and with no relief from closely packed GRC fins. Surely one of the lessons of Lutyens and Jekyll's work was The importance of the relationship between inside and outside and the importance of orientation?
Comment on: Amanda Levete: the social networker
Agree with Sutherland. Anonymous articles not what I expect from the AJ.
One wonders if the minister or any of his civil servants bothered to read the clear, well argued and eminently achievable proposition put forward by Urbed and their friends and colleagues. What is so depressing is that we have much of what we need in terms of legal instruments in place. What we don't have, but what Urbed over many years have demonstrated, is the commitment to a vision that is on the one hand radical but also 'conservative'. They do not propose a one size fits all solution but careful design and planning.The ministers and their advisors should look beyond the headlines and listen. I believe Nick Boles was one who did but of course he gets moved on. It is to Lord Wolfson's credit that he stumped up the cash to encourage this debate in more than just sound bites - not unlike Sir Terry Farrell working and funding the Farrell report for Government for free.
Comment on: Stirling Prize shortlist: the critics react
Reasonable shortlist and an excellent panel of judges, but have the buildings had a chance to prove themselves? Given the dire state of most building in the UK does this shortlist send a message to the commissioning and design community?Time only will tell.
One wonders whether there was a brief? If there was an urban design assessment which I doubt, how did it inform either the first of the alternative Terry scheme?
Comment on: Retrofit Awards 2014 shortlist announced
90 shortlisted, the judges certainly have their work cut out.
Is skyscraper masterplan an oxymoron?
I had the privilege to be on the Design Commission for Wales panel that reviewed Stormey Castle before it was given planning permission. The concept, presentation including Chris Loyn's evocative watercolour sketches, attention to detail and setting in the landscape bowled us over. From the photographs it is clear that Chris has held on to his concept and achieved a remarkable place in the landscape. If there is any justice it would be a national award winner.
The irony of Farrell's involvement. An excellent summary of the value of a river frontage and how PTAL has been ignored. Compare and contrast with Old Oak Common PTAL high but no river.
Is it one storey too high? Dominating not respecting its neighbours, could more be placed below ground?
interesting to see Make's work in context of Foster's Gerkin. Teams on each sharing the same members and no doubt the shape justifications for one could equally be applied to the other?
Lucy's comments are so sensible but architects just can't resist the thrill of the chase. Also surprising to see who is on the panel of judges. How will their deliberations be recorded in the interests of transparency and openness? At least there are a couple of 'relatively' small practices involved and so - good luck Marks Barfield.
Comment on: Cardiff: a city of big ideas
The critical importance of regional transport in the City Region should not be underplayed. Felix rightly points out the scale and population of a South Wales City region, but it is one that is crying out for greater employment opportunities. Transport for the region as a whole is required. Having looked for example at numerous projects large and small across Wales and in particular in the south, my overall impression is that welsh enthusiasm and skill is often denied by the lack of the urbanist's vision for these independent towns and cities who jealously guard their identity, but miss opportunities to work together. By all means celebrate history, culture and individuality but share the proceeds and collaborate.
Comment on: Sketch competiton longlist R - Z
Louis Helman answers the brief, but then he doesn't need an introduction. Hannah Carding answers it with humour. Is the brief the key or will technical expertise win? They are lovely but for those taking on the larger scale it is difficult to see how the sketches show the different ways in which we make our houses, neighbourhoods and cities our own. It's a tough task for the judges.
BREEAM "excellent" fully glazed south facing building saved by CHP. Is that a suitable model? All those bike spaces and showers waiting for a good local cycling infrastructure.
One aspect not mentioned in the First Look article was the apparently generous floor plan areas. The 4 bed houses seem to be nearly 200m2, the one bed flats just over 93m2 and the 2 bed flats about 107m2. These if correct are considerably in excess of the London Housing Space Standards and recommendations in the RIBA's Case for Space campaign.
Richard Rogers inspired -like it Agnieskza
It is well worth re-reading Parker Morris. It addresses so much more than space standards. Many of the recommendations are of course past their sell-by date, but within the text there are many gems. I have in my copy highlighted many, here are few - "It is important that these minimum space standards should not be taken as a maxima; they are nothing of the sort." Para 16 The adaptable house merits only one paragraph (29) but ends with the call. "We see the investigation of practical possibilities of doing it (adaptable housing) easily ....one of the most important lines of future research into the development of design and structure the sooner it is started the better" "The over-riding concern in designing with the car in mind must be to design for the pedestrian to stay alive....."para 200 89 pages long, arguably too many words and not enough diagrams but excellent value at 4/- from HMSO. Time to publish again on the web with metric and costs updated for inflation?