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Chris Medland's comments

  • Sheppard Robson unveils City scheme with ‘largest living wall in Europe’

    Chris Medland's comment 10 October, 2019 12:26 pm

    The current largest living wall in Europe is indeed pat f the National Grid campus in Warwick, at 1024 sqm, although its around a multi-storey car park by one world design architects with Cundall. http://www.one-worlddesign.co.uk/Project/national-grid-car-park/

  • D2 Townhouse, Dublin by Jake Moulson

    Chris Medland's comment 8 October, 2019 11:32 am


  • Gensler reveals masterplan for 4,000 homes on Portsmouth 'super-peninsula'

    Chris Medland's comment 21 September, 2019 8:26 am

    Portsmouth, and the whole of Portsea Island, faces a huge challenge with sea level rise. Is building even more here sensible or is it just that the land here is cheap in comparison to building on the mainland and up the hill?

  • Ministers propose sprinklers for all housing over six storeys

    Chris Medland's comment 6 September, 2019 11:13 am

    good, and use pressure brought to building owners by insurance premiums to encourage installation of fire suppression systems to existing buildings over 6 storeys.

  • Sturgeon: all new public buildings in Scotland to be zero carbon

    Chris Medland's comment 5 September, 2019 3:51 pm


  • TfL paid firms almost £10 million for canned Rotherhithe crossing

    Chris Medland's comment 3 September, 2019 8:49 am

    £52m of public transport money spent on the Garden Bridge & Rotherhithe bridges without any public transport benefit gained. £52m is enough to have built the Cremorne (Diamond Jubilee Bridge) back in 2012 twice over. Assuming a 12 month construction period, by now, as forecast by TfL's own modelling in their report to the Mayor, over 7 million journeys would have been taken off the roads around Battersea and Fulham bringing huge air quality, health, time saving and environmental benefits to London as a whole. The funding gap now stands at £14m which we are working with Wandsworth Council to fill. Watching the other projects come and go and all that money being spent has been an education. There must be a better way of securing value for money in the prioritisation, procurement method and delivery of Bridges and wider infrastructure. Need and cost are mathematically provable, the cost:benefit ratio is a provable and measurable result that can be used in comparisons. Politicians from both main parties are guilty to a certain extent of playing to their crowds as you would expect, but this leads to dead ends, waste and the delivery of (in the past decade) nothing. There must be a way, lead by engineers and modelling, that takes the politics out of these decisions and enables infrastructure money to be spent in the best way to serve the end purpose - to reduce climate change, improve air quality, increase housing density and economic activity, improve health and quality of life.

  • KCA’s troubled Hackney block to be evacuated over fire safety fears

    Chris Medland's comment 2 September, 2019 5:51 pm

    agree with above comments - if a practice is not responsible for the detail design then it is not their block and the headline is misleading. House builders seem pleased to badge their developments with the kudos that the name of a good architects firm brings but not as pleased to employ them to see the project through - can the AJ dig a little deeper here?

  • John Pardey calls for ‘country house clause’ to be axed after appeal loss

    Chris Medland's comment 15 August, 2019 8:12 am

    The application is simply too greedy, that's obvious at first glance.

  • Tintagel Castle double-cantilevered bridge to open this weekend

    Chris Medland's comment 8 August, 2019 9:27 am

    good work.

  • Garden Bridge legal challenge planned as crowdfunding appeal launched

    Chris Medland's comment 26 July, 2019 9:50 am

    There should be no place for Nepotism is 21st century Britain. No one could ever claim that we are 'the best country in the world' whilst facilitating this 'very English kind of fraud..' (courtesy of Tom Copley). The various reports and investigations have been myopic and curtailed and despite there damning findings, and serious issues exposed by the forensic investigations undertaking by the AJ's Will Hurst and his team, nobody has been held to account in any way. It's sad that it has come to this but I hope this effort is successful.

  • Reactions to Boris as PM: ‘Expect grandiose, undoubtedly doomed vanity projects’

    Chris Medland's comment 23 July, 2019 12:23 pm

    I really really hope that I, and many others, are wrong about him. I hope that he proves to be effective, surrounds himself with well informed intelligent people and works collegiately for the good of the nation as a whole.

  • Douglas and King Architects wins planning for green belt ‘hamlet’

    Chris Medland's comment 19 July, 2019 11:30 am

    nice work. I hope the design team see it through to completion and the vision isn't diluted by D&B or value engineering

  • Theresa May calls for compulsory minimum home sizes

    Chris Medland's comment 26 June, 2019 11:23 am

    and yet she, nor her ministers such as Kit Malthouse, have done nothing to improve this whilst in office. They have also done nothing to improve energy standards in new homes. For a decade now government policy has enriched volume house builders at the expense of the tax payer, the environment and the younger generations ability to afford a home.

  • Darren Oldfield bags approval for ‘modern woodsman’s cottage’

    Chris Medland's comment 24 June, 2019 8:11 am


  • Councillors throw out Zaha Hadid Architects’ timber football stadium

    Chris Medland's comment 14 June, 2019 3:54 pm

    not over the detail on this but are there sustainable transport options for the fans to get to the site? if not then perhaps the planning committee are right. Great scheme but perhaps wrong site?

  • New practice wins Letchworth Garden City contest

    Chris Medland's comment 12 June, 2019 3:42 pm

    nice scheme, but perhaps a missed opportunity to plan a car free, or hugely reduced car ownership, type of living - the estate is still larger planned for cars rather than people, although some nice meandering pedestrian and cycle routes etc.

  • Terracotta-coloured concrete accents Pocket Living apartment block by Gort Scott

    Chris Medland's comment 4 June, 2019 3:34 pm

    it would be interesting to see images/plans of the school that was previously there and for the client to explain why is had to be demolished rather than converted....

  • Garden Bridge fiasco: Boris Johnson and transport boss John Armitt ordered to hand over emails

    Chris Medland's comment 16 May, 2019 8:17 am

    the construction contract would be a relevant document would it not? I guess they can only summons information from public servants rather than an independent charity... but given that TfL is such a large client contractors and consultants perhaps Bouygues or Arup will see fit to send a copy to the GLA for the sake of openness and transparency

  • Chelsea stadium designers look at new sites in bid to cut costs

    Chris Medland's comment 9 May, 2019 3:09 pm

    This could tie in well with the regeneration of the Winstanley Estate in Battersea if Chelsea would consider moving South of the Thames. The site would be immediately adjacent to Clapham Junction (Stadia capacity is reliant on public transport availability). There is also a new footbridge being built (eventually) that links the area with Chelsea Harbour (the diamond jubilee/Cremorne bridge) so Chelsea based fans would have a short stroll across the river. One world Design did a sketch of this location as CFC's new home back in 2012 which we have put on twitter...

  • Parliament refurb: AHMM reveals first images of MPs’ temporary home

    Chris Medland's comment 9 May, 2019 9:09 am

    nothing wrong with the design - its the brief that is questionable.

  • Alex de Rijke slams approval for arcades on prize-winning Hastings pier

    Chris Medland's comment 8 May, 2019 8:04 am

    the design and social ambition of the pier in its refurbished form is obviously fantastic and has been highly awarded however for some reason it is not financially sustainable. The 2p machines and seaside tradition of silly arcade games etc. has been around since the Victorian times and architects risk coming across as patronising and aloof by suggest that somehow a design is above such low brow culture. Everything is temporary and piers rely on footfall - its a means to an end.

  • BDP completes £10.8m science block for Tonbridge School

    Chris Medland's comment 3 May, 2019 12:04 pm

    Nice but I am surprised by the high carbon cost of this building at 30 kgCO2/m2/yr – is this due to an existing inefficient heating system being extended? If I understand correctly the SAP Environmental Impact rating (EIR) on the building’s EPC would be registered as an F in this instance, with the highest rating being an A.....

  • ‘Watershed moment’ as government climate change watchdog targets net zero by 2050

    Chris Medland's comment 2 May, 2019 1:18 pm

    Great news and long awaited. As an architect in my 40's, if I'm lucky, I will live long enough to see all new buildings become carbon neutral and be part of the vast skill base that it will take to make that happen. it's exciting, it's right and we do as an industry have the team to do it. A good day today.

  • Notre-Dame: France announces international competition to rebuild spire

    Chris Medland's comment 17 April, 2019 12:39 pm

    oh god, another Heatherwick shiny spikey thing will win it..

  • TfL official denies it acted as ‘cheerleader’ for failed Garden Bridge

    Chris Medland's comment 16 April, 2019 12:47 pm

    Brown was very clear that TfL were following orders. Boris Johnson as mayor of London and head of TfL had instructed them, his officers, to deliver the bridge. TfL should not have been put in this duplicitous position - as guardians of the public funds and under orders to deliver it by spending those funds. Boris Johnson as Mayor has caused this conflict of interest either deliberately or through lack of thought and understanding. That said the GBT still chose to push on with signing the construction contract despite, as per their own minutes, the project being on the ropes at that point - it is they who risked and ultimately lost all of our money and they, not TfL, that should be held accountable for their decissions. The GBT had a choice, sit tight and see how things progress under Sadiq Kahn, or press on in full knowledge of the severe risk to the public purse and apply to drawdown further funding by signing the construction contract before it was sensible to do so. They chose to push on, to get the project over the line - this may be in accordance with their charitable aims, but in my view it's not an action in the spirit of wider public good - It was a blinkered and selfish decision that has cost London others bridges, has had the net effect of increasing air pollution and has left a sour taste that all of us effected by their decision to bear. Trustees by law must act responsibly, reasonably and honestly, take special care when investing or borrowing (£20m was meant to be a loan), comply with any restrictions on spending funds and they must ensure their charity is accountable.It is therefore shocking that Lord Davies refused to attend the GLA and equally so that the Charities Commission seem to have swept this decision under the carpet and have now put themselves in a position where their role and fitness for purpose is being brought into question. All in all the reputations of Johnson, Lumley and Davies et.al are suffering due to their actions on this project and now is the time that one of them would do well to apologise or at least publically express regret for the loss of the transport funds.

  • Garden Bridge is a ‘failure for charity sector’, regulator says

    Chris Medland's comment 9 April, 2019 4:29 pm

    ‘Funders should build appropriate terms and conditions into funding agreements to ensure the money is spent in line with the original intention and delivers the benefit and impact that is desired.'

    There were conditions in the funding agreement. An application to drawdown funding was made in Jan 16. From what is known now those condition seem not to have been met. The funding was granted.

  • Garden Bridge scandal ‘being brushed under the carpet’, Cable warns

    Chris Medland's comment 5 April, 2019 3:58 pm

    Fraud relating to public funding and grants happens when individuals, organisations (eg businesses or charities) claim public funding or grants that they are not eligible for. This includes the release of funds previously agreed in principle but subject to conditions. #justsaying

  • Foster + Partners’ Tulip tourist tower approved

    Chris Medland's comment 2 April, 2019 1:03 pm

    'Paragraph 8 of the NPPF sets out that there is a presumption in favour of sustainable development'


  • Foster + Partners’ Tulip tower set for City of London approval

    Chris Medland's comment 26 March, 2019 7:49 am

    its as though this global warming thing just doesn't exist. pointless. wasteful. a relic of a past age before its even began.

  • Step up: Heatherwick Studio completes Vessel in New York

    Chris Medland's comment 21 March, 2019 3:36 pm

    It's stunning. Extraordinary. So why I am so uncomfortable with it? It isn't about the garden bridge, it isn't jealousy, it's something else that I can't quite articulate. Maybe it's to do with the absolute whimsicalness of it...the vast expense, the lack of need? But yet again perhaps it's progressing art and cityscape to a new level, perhaps its a masterpiece of our time... no, its a masterpiece of a different time - that its, that's what's so uncomfortable about it for me - it is the epitome of extravagance, a sort of diamond encrusted fir coat on seat of a gold Bentley parked outside the Ritz, whilst the Thames burst its banks, houses fall into the sea, crops fail and forests burn. It represents an old type of power, a sort of them and us - hey you, yes you homeless guy - look at this! £200,000,000 on a staircase that you can look at - what a gift to the city, aren't we great! No, that's not our job as citizens, as architects, that's why I'm uncomfortable - its solves nothing. Expensive piece of sculpture in the town square, yeah, architecture, no.

  • Transport minister rubbishes calls for Garden Bridge inquiry

    Chris Medland's comment 18 March, 2019 1:32 pm

    Paul Finch highlights a view shared by many politicians and people in high society who see a wider picture of progress but perhaps not the detail. I do understand this view, however, I know that if I had applied for £7m of funding from TfL based on a simple friendly letter with lots of conjecture and warm words about meeting conditions that were never met it would have been rightly and immediately refused. The GBT did it in January 2016 and it was waved through and ultimately led to a further £22m loss of public transport money - the entire cost of the millennium bridge. We either have a fair and open society or we don't - unless due diligence is applied to all projects we simply don't. When serious failings in protocol and process are exposed they must be resolved properly and publically, without this happening we are not and cant claim to be an open and fair society.

  • Black to basics: Studio Bark house in rural Suffolk

    Chris Medland's comment 15 March, 2019 8:18 am

    very nice. good stuff

  • Spring statement: return of scrapped zero carbon policy?

    Chris Medland's comment 14 March, 2019 10:23 am

    its a positive step forward, granted. However over a million homes will be built before this comes into effect and the vast majority of those just, just, meet the minimum standards set by building regulations. The other related story that broke yesterday was that Persimmon have admitted lobbying government strongly and successfully to ditch the carbon zero (and cfsh) standards which, along with help to buy, has led them to record profits for them and the infamous £75m bonus to their CEO. Yes we need new homes, and yes we need them to be affordable but we cannot afford to let 1,000,000 or more new houses be built in a way that we know will make climate change worse than it otherwise would be if those homes were designed and built to higher energy performance standards. Its literally a matter of life and death and yet due to lobbying, due to volume house builders profit margins and some poor planning policy (building 1000's of homes in areas 100% reliant on car travel) this continues apace and the can has been kicked down the road again.

  • MPs’ outrage after Charity Commission refuses Garden Bridge investigation

    Chris Medland's comment 1 March, 2019 8:13 am

    with all the evidence you have compiled is it time for you to report it to the police AJ - particularly the decision to apply for funding when they were running out of money and the only way they could carry on was to sign the construction contract early and apply for funding despite not meeting the conditions, as minutes of jan 16 etc?

  • Why architects need to wake up to the carbon emergency

    Chris Medland's comment 28 February, 2019 2:28 pm

    why lawmakers need to wake up to climate emergency...and why they should ask architects what to do.... a more fitting title perhaps.

  • Levitt Bernstein completes music centre for King’s Bruton school

    Chris Medland's comment 26 February, 2019 6:47 pm

    Literally the whole of Bruton is built in the local stone... not sure I understand the logic here although it is clearly well executed

  • Who got what? How was £53m squandered on the doomed Garden Bridge?

    Chris Medland's comment 14 February, 2019 7:29 am

    the city can be open for business and be closed to exploitation Mr Finch. I will happily do a compare and contrast on progress and costs of another bridge across the Thames and would be interested in anyone trying t justify the garden bridge figures now exposed. The Diamond Jubilee bridge website. less than £500 and no cost to public compared to over £160,000 of public money in the GB case for example.....In each instance costs are any multiples of what would be considered competitive and given that the contract signed was D&B I would expect that a lot of that 'construction cost' has gone to the designers who were probably novated - worth taking a look at.

  • Astragal: Garden Bridge has died and gone to Devon

    Chris Medland's comment 13 February, 2019 10:15 am

    best headline of the year...

  • Scrapping zero-carbon policy costs new homeowners £200 a year, says report

    Chris Medland's comment 12 February, 2019 2:19 pm

    Kit Malthouse is being slippery here, i'm not sure if its deliberate or a lack of understanding.

    Yes building regulation were tightened a bit but government policy has reduced local councils ability to condition energy performance which has had the net effect of reducing standards overall. He needs to be asked to respond to this directly.

    It is planning policy and building regulations that form the framework for standards within which the vast majority of new homes are built. This framework was severely weakened by the abolition of the Code for Sustainable Homes and further undermined by the scrapping of the Zero Carbon Homes plan. Further, the Written Ministerial Statement (25 March, 2015) stated that ‘Local Authorities would only be able to require energy performance standards higher than Building Regulations up to the equivalent of Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4’. This was implemented at a time when there were plans for Part L 2016 and an
    update to the Planning and Energy Act 2008. Either statute may have brought forward stronger regulations, but neither has happened.

    Since 2015, in districts outside London, house builders have successfully challenged both local planning policies and planning conditions related to energy standards in new homes. The net result
    is that in practice, due to councils not being able to condition code 5 as they used to do, the current performance requirement on new homes is typically less that it was six years ago. Even in areas that were envisaged as Eco Towns, such as Whitehill Bordon, under the most progressive of councils, can only legally condition that: ‘new build residential development should achieve reductions in CO2 emissions of 19% below the Target Emission Rate of the 2013 Edition of the 2010 Building Regulations (Part L)’. This represents what are currently the most stringent council requirements, as noted by the UK Green Building Council’s (UKGBC) Driving Sustainability in New Homes: A resource for local authorities VERSION 1.2: Sept 2018.

    This national‐level under achievement has been exacerbated at Parliament when the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, was asked whether local authorities can set energy efficiency standards higher than Level 4 of the former Code for Sustainable Homes. The response was: “Local authorities may include in their local plans policies which set reasonable requirements
    for new development to meet higher energy performance standards than those required in building regulations. Policies must not be inconsistent with relevant national policies. The Written Ministerial Statement of 25 March 2015 set out relevant national policy.”

    This question was asked in order to clarify the July 2018 Statement by the Government on Building Regulations:
    “Local Authorities are not restricted in their ability to require energy efficiency standards above building regulations. The Government remains committed to delivering the clean growth mission to halve the energy usage of new buildings by 2030”. There has not been an updated Part L and the legal context explained above establishes Code 4 as the maximum improvement that Local Authorities (outside London) can demand of developers.

    What was previously set as a minimum standard from which to progress towards Carbon Zero has in reality become the maximum standard enforceable. Sadly some councils, such as Waverley in Surrey,
    don’t even advocate this low ambition.

    Considering the Government’s target of constructing 300,000 new homes a year and at least 1 million new homes in England by 2022 we are at the start of house building boom and, unless things change quickly, a worsened environmental disaster.

  • Sarah Wigglesworth and CF Møller shortlisted in Letchworth Garden City contest

    Chris Medland's comment 5 February, 2019 10:09 am

    really interesting comp and i'm sure the shortlist is great. Interesting that notes from judges issued today says 'Whilst applauding schemes which sought to reduce the dominance of private vehicles, the Panel questioned whether the utopian goal of a car-free development would be achievable – in the foreseeable future - given the development’s location on the edge of Letchworth and the relatively poor current public transport links?' this begs the question - is this the right place to build 900 new homes then?

  • ‘Missed opportunity’ to save Brutalist car park as Parry is swapped for EPR

    Chris Medland's comment 4 February, 2019 1:34 pm

    retain the facade

  • Design Engine completes maths and science centre for Charterhouse School

    Chris Medland's comment 22 January, 2019 9:13 am

    lovely.. potential Stirling prize shortlister

  • Pocket Living completes first micro-flats tower

    Chris Medland's comment 11 January, 2019 9:02 am

    well done Jonathan - looks great

  • ​Charities regulator urged to launch Garden Bridge investigation

    Chris Medland's comment 8 January, 2019 2:50 pm

    if loads of people point out the issues around the jan 16 application for funding the charity commission will find it hard to ignore...

  • Exclusive: Garden Bridge donors threaten legal action against beleaguered trust

    Chris Medland's comment 17 December, 2018 10:10 am

    The Garden Bridge - the gift that keeps on giving.

    Happy Christmas everyone....

  • Morris + Company reveals staggered mews housing for PegasusLife

    Chris Medland's comment 12 December, 2018 9:00 am

    very nice. good work.

  • Ministry of Housing begins hunt for Head of Architecture

    Chris Medland's comment 3 December, 2018 1:24 pm

    the 'head of careers support' advisor's role in the civil service was advertised at a salary of £185,000.... a chief architect is worth half as much apparently

  • ‘Stop being defensive and build what British people want,’ Kit Malthouse tells architects

    Chris Medland's comment 20 November, 2018 4:55 pm

    Agreed Martin Cook - 100%
    I set up One World Design Architects to jump straight into delivery carbon neutral homes 7 years ago then within a year the government ditched the zero carbon homes policy, then the CfSH standard. Further, the Written Ministerial Statement (25 March, 2015) stated that:
    ‘Local Authorities would only be able to require energy performance standards higher than Building Regulations up to the equivalent of Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4’. This was implemented at a time when there were plans for Part L 2016 and an update to the Planning and Energy Act 2008. Either statute may have brought forward stronger regulations, but neither has happened as the Government’s sole focus at this time is Brexit. Because of this building standards in terms of energy use for new homes are appalling - please refer to my opinion piece in the AJ last month. Perhaps Mr Malthouse should focus on what's under the bonnet of the 300k homes a year rather than he decoration?

  • ‘Stop being defensive and build what British people want,’ Kit Malthouse tells architects

    Chris Medland's comment 20 November, 2018 1:28 pm

    why cant we have some sensible and relevantly experienced architects, planners and sustainability consultants seconded to the relevant government departments? its baffling that there seems to be conveyor belt of ministers that are learning on the job - just imagine if there where no high ranking military officials in the Ministry of Defence, or no experienced doctors or medical specialist in the Department for Health and Social Care... How many architects work for the Housing Department or Transport Department - I would bet on zero.

  • Foster + Partners plans 305m-tall ‘Tulip’ tourist tower next to Gherkin

    Chris Medland's comment 19 November, 2018 10:48 am

    just to add, a tad angrily, that a building is NOT sustainable just because it's 'Targeting BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating'... it is fundamentally unnecessary and therefore is not sustainable design and will cause environmental harm. The BRE need to take a view on this type of green wash facilitated by their method of measurement.

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