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Chris Medland's Comments

  • Comment on: Porritt: 'architects are failing to tackle climate change'

    Chris Medland's comment 2-Jul-2015 3:08 pm

    Couldn't agree more. However of course we are dependant on the commitment of clients because its their money we spend. We are also dependant on government policy as its within that framework and the parameter they set that the clients operate. We need the RIBA to be a stronger voice in pushing forward greater environmental standards and lobbying for improvements at government and statutory authority level. We also need the industry press to focus more on real sustainability issues, not green wash projects ( urban parsley) and we need to design buildings now for the climate of 20, 40 and 80 years time. I refer you below to our manifesto statement first issued 4 years ago - perhaps time for an update: 1 – The Challenge Constants and Change As we face the challenges brought about by the economic, political and social context of today, the effects of climate change will take greater prominence on future design. Global warming is real, its effects estimated and its consequences will be widespread and varied. Approximately 50% of all resources consumed on Earth are used in construction. Construction is reported to be the least sustainable industry in the world. It is about to go through the most dramatic period of change since the invention of steel framed buildings and the industrial revolution. This is not only because of the political commitments and the increased public acceptance of the need to be sustainable, but the buildings we design now need to be designed for the foreseeable effects of climate change. A new epoch will be recognisable in years to come, created by the need for architecture to respond to global warming and prepare our towns and cities for a new environment. The UK escapes the worst effects of climate change compared to many places; however the UK Met Office predicts that the south of England’s average day time temperature will be 9 degrees higher in the summer of 2080. Our future here will be hotter, we will have less predictable water supplies, more violent storms and we will have less reliable sources of fossil fuels. The procurement of buildings today needs to take all of these issues into account. Design solutions need to adapt to the effects of climate change whilst minimizing their contribution to the causes; design solutions need to be embedded within the form, construction and materials of all new buildings. Design now must allow us to maintain a good quality of the life without hindering future generation’s ability to provide the same for themselves. The challenge for the construction industry and Architects today, therefore, is how can we design for the long term to give people places that will serve them well through many times, changing technologies, and over many years in an earnest, considered and truly sustainable way? 2 – The Response Design Principles Sustainable development is defined in the Brundtland Report as ‘development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’. This definition contains two key concepts, that of needs and limitations. The basic needs of all people, and the limitations reached by contemporary technology, social context and the environments ability to meet future and present needs. All definitions of sustainable development depict the world as an interconnected system: One world that is connected in space and connected in the sequence of time. Architecture, building and development is by its very nature a positive investment in our future. It is the undertaking of work to sustain or improve our future quality of life. Architects working today for the benefit of people in 25, 50, 80 years time and beyond. The timescales involved mean that our buildings need to be designed not only to ‘meet the needs of the present’, but will need to serve future generations. Given the evidence and predictions of how our environment is changing, a more adequate/appropriate definition of sustainable development might be, ‘development that meets the needs of the present and foreseeable future without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs’. This principle calls for designing and building focused not on short-term architectural awards, or acclamation , or even on building regulations or BREEAM standards, but to the best possible solution that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable. This change in mindset is not about using low energy light bulbs, but rather about why electrically powered lighting is required at all. It is about asking difficult questions that generate a shift in our perception of the things we take for granted and the way in which our homes, offices and all buildings operate, look and are procured. The One-World view is that sustainability recognises the nexus linking the economy, society, and our environment. We have one world and the resources of one world only. Until such a time when resources from other worlds can viably be procured we need to base the design of everything on this brief. A one-world approach to design stipulates that we consume resources only at a rate at which they can be replenished and produce waste only at a rate at which it can be recycled. It requires that we deal with the relationships between all aspects of building habitation and use holistically rather than as individual elements in isolation. Architects now must seek out and support sustainable development opportunities and create solutions that offer both an environmentally sound and a high quality product. We will achieve this through understanding how things have been done before, learning the practical lessons of the past, and by staying ahead of the statutory regulations by meeting future standards today. We will use architectural tools to adapt, improve and craft existing and new buildings in a way that serves people to the best possible effect, without submitting to ego or seeking monument. Through clear thinking, not swayed by fashion or fads, we need to use intuitive approaches to address the challenges of regeneration that are fit for purpose, context and the future in a truly sustainable development.

  • Comment on: Heatherwick: ‘The Garden Bridge has to be built in central London or not at all’

    Chris Medland's comment 30-Jun-2015 11:51 am

    PS - please AJ will you show the actual views of the bridge from the riverbank also, not from the penthouse of a nearby tower or a helicopter... lets see what it looks like from the queue to get on it and from the southbank where 30 mature trees are being killed to make way for it and the view to the city and st paul's will be obliterated... for the sake of balanced reporting...

  • Comment on: Heatherwick: ‘The Garden Bridge has to be built in central London or not at all’

    Chris Medland's comment 30-Jun-2015 11:42 am

    ‘London has treated the Thames as an obstacle to breach. Why does a bridge have to be barrier and not a place?’ Is this quote out of context? if not, what a weird and utterly arrogant thing to say. London has many fantastic bridges that are places in their own right, featuring in famous scenes of movies, in literature, music, nursery rhymes, TV adverts, plays, in works of art and are often the scenes of memorable moments in peoples lives. The Thames is also home to a thriving river boat service, it is still a commercial shipping lane and a place of work to many. The Thames Path, which stretches all the way through London is arguably London's most used park, public space, cycle route and walking route and has amazing views of the city, granted by the very fact that the Thames is an open space. The Thames itself is a place, and a much loved living and exciting part of London. The quote demonstrates the sort of wishy washy fluffy language being used to soften and fade the edges of a massive, hugely expensive, piece of civil engineering that will block the best and most famous views of London from its historic centre - the words are truly ridiculous and dumbfounding.

  • Comment on: Housing crisis: 'Architects should challenge the issues of supply and demand'

    Chris Medland's comment 29-Jun-2015 12:24 pm

    good points well made

  • Comment on: Be confident Historic England and admit you got it wrong on Robin Hood Gardens

    Chris Medland's comment 23-Jun-2015 3:28 pm

    Perhaps there needs to be an new, additional, grade or power available to Historic England- a power that enables a type of recording, rather than retaining a building of note? What I mean is that Historic England should be able to insist of some kind of detailed historic record being completed and made available prior to any demolition or modification of buildings worthy of note but not worthy of encapsulating for history like some kind of future museum piece.

  • Comment on: Expert slams Garden Bridge business case

    Chris Medland's comment 11-Jun-2015 10:26 am

    under FOI I asked TfL: 'Were TfL’s procurement regulations followed in regard to the garden bridge funding?' Their formal response on 4th March 2015 was: 'There is no procurement as TfL is not purchasing works or the supply of goods or services. TfL is providing grant funding to the Garden Bridge Trust, the charitable body which will construct, own and operate the Garden Bridge.' I cant make this add up with what has been said above in the article.

  • Comment on: Stop moaning, the Garden Bridge is fabulous

    Chris Medland's comment 19-May-2015 9:48 am

    great designs solve problems. Pretty ideas that cost a lot of money and create more problems than they solve are not great designs. Today our tiny little practice (one-world design architects) will safeguard 60,000 trees by donating 150 acres of Sumatran forest to the rainforest trust for a very small sum- £330 - we would encourage everyone to do the same or more. The Rain Forest Trust has said that £175,000,000 would buy around 70,000,000 acres of virgin rain forest in places like Sumatra and Brazil- 70 Million Acres! at 400 trees/acre (low estimate) this kind of money is to be shockingly wasted on 270 odd small trees when it could safeguard a staggering 28,000,000,000 trees - that's 28 Billion trees• A single mature tree can absorb carbon dioxide at a rate of 22kg./year and release enough oxygen back into the atmosphere to support 2 people - this would be enough to offset the carbon for London - it could be the first carbon neutral city in the world..... someone needs a good shake and to be encouraged to take a look outside zone 1 for a reality check. Please donate to https://www.rainforesttrust.org/

  • Comment on: Shortlisted practices reveal final designs for Helsinki Guggenheim

    Chris Medland's comment 23-Apr-2015 9:37 am

    from the poll results I would hazard a guess that B is the UK entry!

  • Comment on: Morrell: Garden Bridge challenge ‘only an annoyance’

    Chris Medland's comment 2-Apr-2015 2:38 pm

    As a river crossing the final decision on permission here is made by the mayor of London. If the review does send the project back to the planning authority then this would mean that the existing decision by the mayor would no longer stand. This in turn would mean that even if Westminster passed a second planning application a further decision by a potentially different mayor would then be required. many of the mayoral candidates would not pass it and some have also stated that they would overturn the existing decision. The main issue with the tideway tunnel 'clash' is simply an increase in river traffic which will be carrying spoil - this is inconvenient but not a show stopper. Elsewhere the complications of political moves is influencing the decision makers. For instance I suspect that those who advocate the bridge are hoping that Boris either fails to become an MP or the conservatives win a good majority, ensuring Cameron remains PM. If Boris becomes an MP in May, and Cameron fails to get a majority, there is the potential of Boris becoming the leader of the conservatives and even PM. A new mayor will be elected this year, before the garden bridge starts on site, and they may overturn the existing decision - there is a real possibility that it will never happen.... Perhaps the rush to start construction is more to do with politics than any technical coordination with the Thames Tideway Tunnel?

  • Comment on: It’s official: goodbye Code for Sustainable Homes

    Chris Medland's comment 30-Mar-2015 12:06 pm

    The solution is to make the building regulations more stringent, i.e. the equivalent of Code 5, moving to Code 6 by say 2020.

  • Comment on: It’s official: goodbye Code for Sustainable Homes

    Chris Medland's comment 30-Mar-2015 9:58 am

    This is a real step backwards. Councils such as Woking require Code 5 for new developments, and rightly so. Statutory regulation compliance is the only tool we have as architects that cannot be value engineered out by developers. If Building Regs are only pushing for the equivalent of Code 4 then the volume developments will be designed to meet just that - hugely disappointing.

  • Comment on: Shortlist revealed in Nine Elms bridge contest

    Chris Medland's comment 17-Mar-2015 12:00 pm

    very nice, all but 1 are similar in design, i.e. suspension bridges - the exception being AL's which is a tied arch. The Thames is a designated helicopter route, I hope all of those vertical suspenders and suspension cables are well below the minimum flying height - this area of Battersea has an obvious and recent history in that regard

  • Comment on: Revealed: all 74 schemes vying for new Nine Elms bridge

    Chris Medland's comment 23-Feb-2015 3:06 pm

    the nine elms redevelopment, a new tube station, potentially 2 new bridges and a housing zone - exciting times for Battersea

  • Comment on: Heatherwick’s Shoreham restaurant scrapped amid toilets row

    Chris Medland's comment 17-Feb-2015 2:36 pm

    PS - the architectural world may love the Heatherwick café at Littlehampton but the locals call it the 'Rusty Poo'....

  • Comment on: Heatherwick’s Shoreham restaurant scrapped amid toilets row

    Chris Medland's comment 17-Feb-2015 12:07 pm

    the point is that the existing public toilets need to be replaced as well as provision for the café users. The council are right I this instance and its not their fault if the developers financial model doesn't stack up. Why don't the council build out the project themselves and lease the café to cover the costs and bring in a revenue...

  • Comment on: Free to download: Carl Turner puts plans for floating home on website

    Chris Medland's comment 23-Jan-2015 3:06 pm

    PII? Design responsibility? Different regulations in different countries etc - floating homes need planning permission too! so many questions...

  • Comment on: Groves Natcheva completes £205k London home

    Chris Medland's comment 23-Jan-2015 8:29 am

    +vat, +contractor overheads, prelims and profit + consultants fees, +statutory fees,+ land cost etc?

  • Comment on: Local architects blast ‘totally inappropriate’ beach huts PQQ

    Chris Medland's comment 20-Jan-2015 11:13 am

    Council don't seem to understand that the figure covered is for each and every claim, not a total maximum - how can there ever be single claim against the architectural design component for £5m on a beech hut? Severe lack of common sense in Local Authorities procurement policies which is no doubt leading to higher costs for them than necessary.

  • Comment on: Boris approves Garden Bridge

    Chris Medland's comment 19-Dec-2014 1:23 pm

    it has conditional planning consent, but one of those conditions is impossible to meet - i.e TfL have confirmed that they will not underwrite the maintenance costs but Westminster have conditioned that they must. Does this mean that until this legal issue is resolved the consent is meaningless?

  • Comment on: Robert Adam unveils Reading towers scheme

    Chris Medland's comment 12-Dec-2014 9:26 am

    no offence but they look a bit like a re-clad 1960's council blocks given a sort of Vegas treatment