kevin toner's Comments
Comment on: HS2 Northern route revealed
Following this topic incidentally and lazily on a couple of occasions from mainly a Scottish perspective last May and June - and more recently Midlands too, namely Birmingham to Preston (6 days ago) - from comment #6 onwards on the following thread link; I'd look forward to a serious consultation making sense of an internationally linked HSR network for Britain rather than on a per nation basis: http://www.urbanrealm.com/news/3547/Forth_Bridge_nominated_for_World_Heritage_Status.html#comment6968 Too many midlands stations for HS2 will surely clog up such a system and make a total mess of the natural and built environments. We need our leaders to politically steer this economically and consult ICE on the top speeds between London – Birmingham(?) - Preston (tee hee) – and Perth; to assess and determine viability. Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester etc. can all upgrade their independent existing system to 200mph by all means, but we really need to be thinking at least 400mph for HSR and therefore need an HSR that’s not initially held back by being linked prematurely to too many post-industrial cities as commuter transport. [Whimsically speaking on a once similar dream, pardon me for asking this: would it still be too early to dodge George Bennie royalties on the ca1930 Rail-plane prototype as built by a lifts industrialist in Glasgow if it were likely that such transport would supersede HSR in terms of speed and viability, at the very least for commuting purposes as once considered? Probably, I hasten to say! Again, if it’s not too early to capitalise on such a venture in the waiting (nor too competitive with actual air travel), ask ICE! I bet it’ll beat HSR easily on most of the main issues fronts, albeit unfamiliar territory to all i.e. as an invention not off the ground yet. http://www.gizmodo.co.uk/2012/06/this-crazy-propeller-driven-hanging-monorail-was-once-considered-the-future-of-commuting/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bennie_Railplane I suppose that’s as much about brainstorming as whim!] Britain, not merely Scotland, should continue making waves in the evolution of all transport and the engineering support and nous behind it. Let’s not keep the most enthused engineers in the world relatively idle for the following century, or keep them back by thinking so small, after what’s been achieved since James Watt... Let’s not outsource these qualities like it was Britain’s manufacturing base. Let’s keep our brains at least. Good luck Britain!
Comment on: Hypostyle creates Glasgow tenement infill
Success could ultimately ensue if the surrounding tenements were to be childless! In a way, I can personally find Hypostyle’s intervention exceedingly romantic having been a typically Glasgow kid whose’ tendencies were often to build the imaginary world/homes (dens) within such confines (tenement courts) and play act doctors/nurses etc.., but I see that the kids here might have to do that in a metaphysical sense: building dens within the confines of dens territory... Notwithstanding the charm of the idea, as an adult, I don’t know whether to be honestly ecstatic or lambasting. I’d feel selfish to ‘Like’ this - as a grown-up - despite any romantic appeal. In the shoes of children who lose the purely ‘environmental’ court, it’s certainly to be berated as an architectural blot in the landscape! What are the non-Glaswegian (unbiased) views of this as an urban proposition, I’d wonder? The project has naturally received widespread acclaim in Glasgow, perhaps due to this charm, a charm that this model simply hijacks from future generations. In other word a false charm perhaps! The common experience of the Glasgow tenement block is fortunately and largely one where the back court is purely the confines of environmental works. I recall that when this was not the case (as in some blocks heavily laden with blocky back shops/stores etc.; or less concernedly with lanes) that these spaces had ranged from miserable to dull by comparison (of course from a child’s perspective, i.e. users nonetheless). Oh “Users, Passer-Bys, etc.”: do these words even still appear or mean anything in the current day’s Architect’s CofC? If architects are to do society good as they were once (and still) billed to do so, then ‘the client is king’ should not be the only dogma within the profession’s principles, but merely the customer focus/promise linchpin that it is. This dogma perhaps now requires taming in order to return esteem to the profession of architecture. That said cosmetic surgery has a place in the medical profession, so why wouldn't urbanism/architecture of course...! Perhaps Hypostyle’s intervention is rather urban jewellery or cosmetics, a compliment rather than criticism that should hopefully be seen as experimental rather than as a veritable urban model. Again, how do the unbiased areas of the UK view this tenement block intervention (RIAS Award winner) as such? Perhaps I can (and will) fully warm to it if I’m convinced!
Therefore, notwithstanding procurement routes, Client fee structure becomes [categorically] 6-fold not 5-fold as follows, due to the bifurcating 4th category:- 1 : prep 2 -3: concept/design 4 : technical design 4 &/or 5 : specialist design 6 : construction 7 : feedback/PoE/BIM etc. Contractor client fee structure can typically remain [categorically] 3-fold but this will marry better with the above 6-fold rather than 5-folded structure:- 2 : Concept 3-5 : Design 6 : Construction With of course some contractors venturing into 1 & 7 as procurement evolves... In a way the 7-point schedule can prove to be an improvement, in time, over the current PoW alphabet, especially as it will make better sense of the uneasy bifurcation at stage F (made circa 1990s?), namely at “Production Information”, which IMHO at the moment, is both a ‘pre-construction’ and ‘design’ pursuit (fee category).
Comment on: RIAS Convention 2009: Live blog
I didn’t manage to attend the main day, but I thoroughly enjoyed the symposium on art & architecture collaborations on the previous day. With summer-like weather, it was easy to absorb the town’s historic allure and of course to enjoy the DCA as a venue. Excepting the technicalities surrounding planning policy (%for Art) there was instead a highly rewarding, pleasing and educational series of talks and lectures touching on (and evaluating) the very nature and essence of collaboration/s locally, globally and remotely, or in a word ‘urbanically’ (as coined by one of the organisers from the Geddes Institute). It was driven by a highly panoramic and demonstrable selection of projects. It was all topped by a reception to launch the ‘Landworkers’ exhibition, which I believe is still running. I had left the symposium believing that there were lessons to be learnt and an understanding to be gained, particularly for those with an interest in - as it was phrased - drawing on the land.