Michael Badu's Comments
If the construction industry in the UK has progessively reorganised itself to cope without architects, does it not follow that UK architectural education, in general, has failed?
Comment on: UK riots: tell us your stories
I was born, raised and live in Croydon
Comment on: Riots updated: Sennett, Rykwert, Till, de Botton, Tavernor and more on why Britain is burning
There is an underlying malaise to which W J R Curtis alludes and which Charles Holland talks about in depth on a recent blog (his point about the violence done to society by the financial system rendering the recent violence on the streets as insignificant is particularly pertinent). As distasteful as it is to hear 'yoofs' talk about how 'no -one will give them anything, so they have decided to take it', one has to wonder when Higher Education now seems only for the rich, and when the industrial base of the country has been completely eroded (so that those who don't go to uni can only really look forward to a career in Salisbury's or McDonald's), what do the young really have to look forward to? In terms of architecture, buildings have been commandeered by those with no-voice, becoming burning reminders the problems in society that both the Starbucks frequenting left and the Fox hunting right choose to ignore in their own way. The burning of the Reeves Furniture store in Croydon (a building I've known all my life) was disgraceful but the shock it has caused has generated this current wave of soul searching (a wave that the government and opposition tried very hard to smother before it got going). One wonders how much politicians and us as citizens are complicit in the burning of that historic iconic building? In the 7th century, the 2nd Calif of Islam, Umar had a thief brought before him, he was reminded that the punishment for theft in Islam is the severing of a hand. Umar asked the thief why he had stolen, to which he received the reply 'I and my family are starving'. Umar then declared, 'then let the hand of the Calif be cut off for failing to do his duty and provide for his people'.
Comment on: Obituary: Sam Potts (1978 to 2011)
What a shocking, heartbreaking tragedy. My heart goes out to his family
I think the concept of an 'modern urban palazzo is a good one, recalling a similar concept executed by a famous Spanish Architect which has been very influential lately. I think there's a bit too much going on though for my liking, but I'd love to be proved wrong! Anyway, it's great to see an architect like Lynch getting a chance like this. I really hope it all comes together. Good luck to Lynch Architects
Can't believe I forgot W J R Curtis. Probably my favourite living writer. 'Modern Architecture Since 1900' a classic, and his writing on the contemporary situation is always illuminating.
I think that Berman is trying to focus on writing that enhances architectural production rather than that which may open up new avenues of scholastic inquiry. I think all practitioners feel that if we are writing beautifully but building badly, then we've achieved nothing. In the end, it's all about the buildings. I think that's the contention and I find it hard to disagree.
I agree with this last comment. Some writers have this enviable way of employing expressions and conjouring images through words; but at times this is done at the expense of a genuinely edifying piece of writing. Those that can strike a balance are to be envied. Also, writing is a way of expressing things that others can't see, such as buildings that you will probably never visit, therefore that ability to conjure imagery that makes you feel that you are there is very important I feel. Witht he exception of Scott and Banham, I've read all the guys mentioned, and was taught be Blundell-Jones. Frampton is a great scholar with unparalleled insights, but my word is he a heavy read! You've left out my favourite. Ruskin, then there's Wolflinn , but now we're getting into art. I think the same rules apply though.
Another great project from this guy. I love the Persian minature drawing which I think is breaktaking and a breath of fresh air. A genuinely brilliant architect.
Innovation, entreprenuerism, cultural revolution, change....a lot of words which usually mean not very much. This is a well written and informative article giving a view about the potential beneifts of Localism, benefits the author frames in the afore mentioned buzz words. Words / phrases framed in a negative light by the author are led by..'cold financial appraisal'. I think the author (reinforcing a stereotype about architects) has lost touch with reality and is trying to build utopia during a recession. Cold financial apprasial is what we need now more than ever! Also, even if utopia were affordable I strongly disagree with the author's vision of it. The author characterises the further fragmentation and atomisation of the built environment that could potentially result from Localism as a good thing. If there is a role for architects to play in this new era of Localism, it is as expert consutlants who have to educate and make the case for sensible, sustainable, coherent development for the benefit of all to the ordinary folk who have been given this new power, rather than as mercenary opportunists submitting to their every self interested whim (whic is an argument for architects being once again employed directly by local government). This course of action threatens to further marginalise the 'England' that Tony Benn identified as the last colony of the British Empire; an England which is the last Bastiaon of the disnfranchised white working classes who have withdrawn from all engagement feeling that they have been betrayed by the government and are not as practised or adept at lobbying for their 'rights' as their immigrant counterparts who were (seemingly) favoured during the height of multiculturalism (as is so eloquently illustrated by your photographs). More needs to be done to re-engage the white working classes than washing ones hands of it all like Pontius Pilate to save money and calling it 'Localism' And I say all this as a Black British born and educated Muslim convert registered architect, who is married to a woman who wears a hijab (before anyone thinks this is Peter Philips). I'm also surprised that the author, as an architect, has failed to mention the most important buzz word that any architect worth their salt should always be pushing for. Quality. I don't think the word is mentioned even once throughout the piece which says a lot.
Comment on: How to build a new age of beauty
Agree whole-hearedly. But just how do we achieve it when money is tight? Fine (and truthful) words are all very well but we architects have to deal with reality - which most of the time is of the economic variety - a reality that no doubt the architects of the Tricorn Centre wrestled with. The fact is that architects can only build what scoiety at any given time allows them too. All we can do is be every ready to rise to the occasion when it arrives. For quite a lot of us the occassion indeed never does arrive.
Comment on: Love it or hate it, Zaha pushes the boundaries
I think it's unfair to accuse Zaha's win of promoting the commodification of architecture (in the orginal Frampton-esque meaning of the term). She won because of the scale of the ambition of this particular work (as compared to the Neus) and (whatever the judges say) because she had been nominated 3 times before. Zaha has been remarkably consistent over decades. Certain architects who can only dream of receiving the commissions that she does always accuse her of somehow being in league with the dark forces of the world. Is she any different to Michelangelo working for the Medici? No. The fact is that architects have been 'used' for hundreds of years. Lets see if those architects who always seem to talk and write more than they build can remain as consistent should they ever receive commissions of a similar size.
Comment on: Maxxi by Zaha Hadid Architects
I really like this. If the Stirling is really about archtecture and not about sending messages, this should win!
Don't like any of them
Comment on: Thornton Heath Library, Croydon, by FAT
I hesitate to comment too much before I actually visit the place (since I can quite easily, and in fact walked past it not so long ago thinking, 'that looks like a FAT building), but I'm inclined to agree with the above comment. I do think more should be said about the interior and the furniture design which I think (from the photo's) looks really great. The new furniture works really well with the refurbished 19th century interior, not the usual blanf minimalist stuff, but characterful and well judged. Perhaps FAT's work is better suited to interiors (which is something most architects are very poor at)?
It's all about branding. It's about the image on the brochure, fee income from students (perhaps international ones - Steven Holl more of a pull than.....er....Nord & McAlslan?).
I was going to say that this was a pretty lucid defense of the pretty much indefensible, but the end of the article seemed to trail off a bit. Is it really sensible to say that only parametricism could have produced workable solutions to the Nordpark project? I think that there are a number of problems with the premise of this article. Patrik seems to be suggesting that Modernism was a style that we got bored of when in fact it was a style whose limitations began to be understood (cold bridging, leaky rooves, aesthetic poverty in the eyes of lay-people. Modernism was also not really a style; it was an attempt to get to grips with the technological and economic fall out from the industrial revolution. If Parametircsm is a 'proper' (epochal in Patrik's words) style rather than a transitional one (like PoMo or Decon) then it has to be borne of a similar urgent necessity to the one that gave rise to Modernism in my humble opinion. Now I'm no tree hugging eco-warrior, but global warming,as well as the scarcity of fuel and materials is the only 'thing' going in my opinion that compares, in terms of urgency and universality, to the industrial revolution which spawned Modernsim (which is neat because the Industrial Revolution and the Sustainability question are two sides of a very big coin). If we accept that this is indeed the case, then we have to look at the likes of BedZED, the works of people like Baumschlager Eberle, Konrad Frey, The Vales and other Sustainability pioneers as the real harbingers of an epochal style. Parametricsm then turns out to be just another style (and I really like the Nordpark scheme actually) best suited to the high end 'Formula 1' type of market. In fact I think that Zaha Hadid should design the next F1 racing venue if they haven't done so already because that seems to me to be a magnificent fit