Another shocker! Inappropriate procurements like this are being actively investigated by The Cabinet Office Mystery Shopper Service (MysteryShopper@crowncommercial.gov.uk); but only in response to reports submitted to them. It is important therefore that the profession continues emailing complaints about all bad practices on a frequent basis if we are to ensure better future practices. They are responsive. The New Public Contract Regulations 2015 although delayed are due to come into force within the next 2 months. Neither PI or turnover will become mandatory requirements to bid. But old (bad) risk averse habits will likely die hard.
As Julia Parker reflects the failure of an adequate housing delivery system is central to this response to growing and unfulfilled needs for suitable affordable accommodation. But reducing the standard and quality of housing and life opportunities is a race to the bottom. This is driven by current supply imperatives and failures which in the widest context are unsustainable. If regarded as a generic housing solution, micro flats seem a desperate and expedient measure reflective of the times. Where it ends needs consideration. I would strongly suspect that few if any proponents of these sized flats have lived in such small accommodation, or would do so given the opportunity. Our profession has bursting enthusiasm to support creative engagement with problem solving. A danger is that sometimes we get placed in positions were we are unable to see the wood for the trees, which can lead to inappropriate solutions in social terms. Perhaps to many this might appear arrogant and architecturally deterministic; but repetition of some previous periods of historic failures should be avoided. Working together to increase pressure for decent affordable housing for all in the forthcoming election seems more relevant.
Something seems profoundly wrong here if this has been commissioned without public engagement or even a proper transparent public call?. As pointed out by Martin Knight AJ article 29 Oct the cost at £175m ‘is around 7 times that of the Millennium Bridge and, much better value might be gained in supporting multiple upgraded and new river crossings in a variety of locations, including the footbridge proposed between Pimlico and Nine Elms (by TfL estimate £40 m).’
Public Square seems a disingenuous description of this back alley space. As with many of the other spaces being created around Nine Elms I can't see how sunlight will penetrate when the proportions of the adjacent buildings and there orientations are so high relative to the scale of the ground space. Decent public squares in our climate needs some warmth and potential for activity other than passing through, but the renders don't appear to indicate the reality. For most of the year this space will be heavily occluded. This lack of warmth, play of light and colour is further diminished by the multi-level circulation. Given the proportions of the canyons being created and exposure at one location to the west I also question what wind tunnel effects might be expected. Sadly it seems climate and context are absent. Walter Menteth
Comment on: Top UK talents to design Czech housing scheme
A review of all the submissions for this interesting scheme would be really welcome. It appears a truly fascinating exemplar that we might all learn a lot from.