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Atticus 's comments

  • Former RIBA president joins call to revoke Boris’s fellowship

    Atticus 's comment 30 September, 2019 9:24 am

    I can't think of a bigger waste of time than getting embroiled in this. Its just time wasting by the left leaning London Bubble members of the profession. I'd far rather the RIBA got on with promoting the benefits of employing an architect rather than raising this honour that's unknown in the public eye into that arena, which could end up embroiling the next presidency just like the pointlessly distracting Africa debacle embroiled Hodder's. However, let it be a lesson for the future: don't give honours to politicians, its too controversial and their standing can rapidly change, and is irrelevant to the health and prospects of the profession.

  • As it happened: the AJ’s report from the Climate Strike protests

    Atticus 's comment 20 September, 2019 10:41 pm

    To all the school kids going on 'strike' for Climate Change:
    You are the first generation who have required air-conditioning in every classroom.
    You want TV in every room and your classes are all computerised.
    You spend all day and night on electronic devices.
    More than ever, you don't walk or ride bikes to school but arrive in caravans of private cars that choke local roads and worsen rush hour traffic.
    You are the biggest consumers of manufactured goods ever and update perfectly good expensive luxury items to stay trendy,
    Your entertainment comes from electric devices.
    Furthermore, the people driving your protests are the same people who insist on artificially inflating the population growth through immigration, which increases the need for energy, manufacturing and transport.
    The more people we have, the more forest and bushland we clear and more of the environment is destroyed.
    How about this...
    Tell your teachers to switch off the air-con.
    Walk or ride to school. Switch off your devices and read a book.
    Make a sandwich instead of buying manufactured fast food.
    No, none of this will happen because you are selfish, badly educated, virtue signalling little 'princesses', inspired by the adults around you who crave a feeling of having a 'noble cause' while they indulge themselves in Western luxury and unprecedented quality of life.
    Wake up, grow up and learn to research facts and think for yourself and not blindly accept the words and thoughts of others - I don't think you formulated this action plan all by your self - suspect you may have had some influence and 'guidance' from those you trust ....a word of warning, be cautious of the influence of the 'left' because there may be a time in the future that you will be the ones left out...

  • Amin Taha wins appeal against Clerkenwell Close demolition order

    Atticus 's comment 15 August, 2019 10:54 am

    Alan Powers, did you not notice that the rough faces on the stonework have to be taken off and made smooth, being judged intrusive by the inspector. So an innovative design, which like many of Taha's is not for repeating, but as a stand alone is quirky and representative of our culture, has to be neutered because it is judged too dominant. I detect "dominant" as a euphemism for "offends a minority". In an open society some will always be offended, and they have to learn to deal with it. The planning system is becoming too intolerant and imposing mediocrity in its drive for blancmange solutions.

  • Climate strike backed by RIBA president and UK Green Building Council

    Atticus 's comment 14 August, 2019 6:25 pm

    Well said MacKenzie Architects. I an no denier, but nobody has produced the evidence other than a simplistic opinion that because the planet is currently changing at the same time as we kick out more carbon, the one must cause the other. Like if you walked down a street at the same time as a murder you must have done it. In the panic to virtue signal with the sheeple the increasing overwhelming SCIENTIFIC evidence is missed, namely that non-manmade events create most of climate change, if not all. The extent to which man is contributing is unknown. The evidence is that we should be concentrating on adapting to cope with the unavoidable rather than self flagellatingly following a cult. If you doubt me, investigate the effect of sunspot cycles, the c27000 year precession of the earths axis, and meteor/asteroid impact effects. Particularly the Younger Drias and Burckle Crater events. And on youtube, Randall Carlson and Piers Corbyn, Jeremy's far more intelligent brother.

  • ‘Inappropriate dormers’: Hawkins\Brown’s King’s Cross warehouse revamp blocked

    Atticus 's comment 13 August, 2019 1:39 pm

    Quite frankly this is an outrageous decision, showing yet again the intellectual bankruptcy of the deeper parts of the planning system. I worked on the 1980's refurb of these buildings, including the additional new blocks, with David Bickle, who became one of the 3 main original partners of Hawkins Brown slightly afterwards. He had exceptional design skill, touched by magic. The scheme was pioneering in an area not safe to walk in at night, full of pimps, prostitutes and drug dealers. Kings Cross has come a long way since then and its time to consolidate and intensify use and open the ground floor to back of pavement mixed use instead of the defensive frontage we created. Not least is one benefit that intensification provides more money to invest in good regeneration. This building is locally listed, a reason to protect its general contribution to the depth of history and diversity of the local setting. I don't think that can be argued with. But not a reason to preserve it in aspic and prevent well considered intensification and adaption to contain the increasingly diverse content of buildings in the area. Those dormers are a sensitive contemporary intervention that I and many others would judge to be excellent. Unusually the full frontal cgi is a disastrous representation and cannot have helped it. I detect the overly anti-change small mindedness of those unable to grasp design and commercial concepts as they evolve through time, instead regressing into a historic comfort zone at all costs. A good job the planning system wasn't around when London was 4 huts on a bridge. We'd still be building in mud and thatch with a maximum height of 3m and wearing loin cloths.

  • Ultra-low RIBA elections turnout is ‘wake-up call’, says former president

    Atticus 's comment 2 August, 2019 10:10 am

    I voted. But only just. The list of candidates didn't inspire. The only candidate statement I had any faith in was Alfred Munkenbeck. Also the only architect of note and worldly experience. Most of the others gave the impression of "those who do, do, and those who don't, sit for council" Over simplification and ungracious to some, but when a candidates opening words are about diversity in the profession I turned off.
    We aren’t good self-publicists and we are being marginalised and underappreciated. The general tendency for architects on council to be from marginal areas and more interested in peripheral issues than correcting those 2 factors diminishes us. Kevin McLeod has done more for my practice than anything the RIBA has done in recent years. He publicises and emphasises our benefit in a highly public arena. We need the RIBA to do this. It’s of primary importance. If we regain exposure and mass appreciation, correcting other things that marginalise will follow, often by default. I would make him honorary vice president. We need full page ads and internet advertising in mainstream media, Youtube publicity to intercept clients at an early stage, as an education programme like consumer product manufacturers do. People know more about their car purchase than their house, which costs far more.
    Most architects work in small practices without the budget to do this, and so the RIBA, as a central body, should and can. I would pay double the subscription if it did so effectively.
    Not currently interested in a deprived kid getting a shot at university when the profession is under such threat. They'd be financially better off doing something else anyway. Or equality agendas that don't carry out worthwhile multivalent analysis rather than just looking at pay. This is all internal virtue signalling missing the elephant in the room, namely the smaller practice end of the profession is going down the pan and wrt the profession as a whole, the public don't understand what we do or the value of it. End of rant, got to get back to working for nothing!

  • Mayor rejects ‘unwelcoming, poorly designed’ Tulip

    Atticus 's comment 15 July, 2019 4:26 pm

    As Paul Finch rightly points out, this is a suspiciously political and not an urban design vote based on sound aesthetic and other applicable principals (which Paul notes the mayor has proven by previous example that "he", ie his advisors, haven't got). The historicist lobby would always rather see London preserved in aspic, and not attractive for the future, which to some extent has a valuable input into the debate. Fortunately town planning control only appeared as late as 1948 or they would be campaigning for it to remain as 3 mud huts on a bridge "because anything bigger would be out of scale". I detect shallow virtue signalling by the climate change snowflakes.
    Rant deflection shields deployed!

  • Building study: Glasgow flats by Graeme Nicholls Architects

    Atticus 's comment 13 July, 2019 11:36 am

    Grim. Another bleak-house from the current crop of colourless hairshirt architects. This kind of stuff only serves to further alienate the profession from the public's respect and patronage. Not a humanising detail or visually rich material in sight. Please photograph it on a dreary wet and windy Glasgow day when tear shapes of soaked brick emanate down from the inadequate roof overhangs. This is graphic design not architecture. The insides look like an end of life prison or Soviet Gulag. Not impressed, when Glasgow has such a heritage of great urban architects, the likes of Salmon, Mackintosh and J.J.Burnet, who grappled with and succeeded in creating a humanist expression of the façade, and in particular Alexander "Greek" Thomson who mastered the tenement façade, which this claims to be a successor of.
    The so-called inspiring representational "narrative" is feeble to the extreme in realisation. Better to concentrate on the design and forget the BS justification.

  • Barking blaze: Fire experts had warned balconies were ‘significant hazard’

    Atticus 's comment 21 June, 2019 10:22 am

    Robert Wakeham: Major housebuilders and other developers save on architects fees by employing them to do the bare minimum and leaving subcontractor, often without design responsibility, and their own design managers to maintain continuity. If the initial architect was impoverished enough by the process they will have put in their specs/prelims that their work is design intent only, is not a final solution for construction and it is the responsibility of others to ensure regulatory and other requirements are met. Because their work is not as highly skilled as a full design service they will have also used cheaper and less experienced staff. This fragmentation and de-skilling looses the thread of an overall strategy for matters such as fire, if it was established in the first place anyway. We have worked as subcontractors designer in a major development and found that the process missed out what used to be stage E where strategy was defined. The client had refused to pay for it. We inherited a mess and as conscientious professionals our analysis and influence had to be exerted way beyond the package we were detailing, with an enhanced appointment, to be able to do that. This doesn't always happen, and gaps in thinking occur. The "blame" in our instance lay between the major client, who wouldn't pay for stage E, and the contractor who wouldn't do likewise at the beginning of his work and was under financial imperative to start on site imediately. Not having an equivalent to the old RIBA stage E in the current scope of works does not help. This is a regular occurence, and Building Control bodies don't wade in to demand it.
    Strictly speaking timber is an unsuitable material externally where fire resistance is required, because there isn't an available treatment that can be guaranteed not to deteriorate with weathering. Most building control officers accept treatments. Only a few are sticklers and will not. Weexhaustively tried to find a product and could not.

  • ‘Without instant action the Architects Declare paper promise is meaningless’

    Atticus 's comment 13 June, 2019 9:14 pm

    Notwithstanding I agree with Walter Menteth, this is a typical AJ virtue signalling campaign, missing rather than hitting head on the really big issues. As usual its China. So although setting an example by "little acorns" in the UK may be good, why not campaign for a carbon tax on all Chinese imports and investments, to bring them in line with the carbon tax targets of the west? This graph shows how UK CO2 emissions are but a pimple on the elephantine CO2 output of China.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions#/media/File:Total_CO2_emissions_by_country_in_2017_vs_per_capita_emissions_(top_40_countries).svg
    Go stand in Tiananmen square and protest, or at least do it in front of the Chinese Embassy, rather than virtue signalling by blocking Regents Street. Or at least rally a pressure group to get our government to do that.

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