joseph ogden's comments
".... this is undoubtedly one of the best pavilions of recent years: both delicate and raw, feeling rooted in its site while sitting strongly but sympathetically against the surrounding park, connecting out to the landscape. "
Head, nail and hit. I came across it today and felt exactly that. People were lingering and relaxing all around. It's a soothing place that lets the park in, not exclude it as recent pavilions have.
I did see some bracing at the edges of the frame, if this is what is meant.
It was a relief to read that the slate had come from no far away than Cumbria. When I was told on site that it had come from Columbia it felt like an indulgence too far.
Tourists come to London to see a working city and to view structures that have a function - Tate Modern, Palace of Westminster, British Museum, Kew Gardens, Buckingham Palace ... ad infinitum. They go to Disney Land and Las Vegas to see artifice. Please can we stop using tourism as an excuse for empty conceits such as the Tulip and the Garden Bridge? In the long run, as empty experiences, they''ll dilute the brand not enhance it.
An awful lot of the money went into the PR effort to persuade us we’d be getting a lush sylvan streak of peace and quietude across the Thames when, as someone better qualified than me pointed out, it was in reality a huge amount of concrete with a bit of bum fluff on the top, to be crammed with a commotion of tourists. It was rightly pulled when it became clear they were never going to sell enough t-shirts to “monetise” it and it would be a drain on public finances in perpetuity. It should have been pulled much earlier by the former mayor when it became obvious it was nothing but a supremely expensive PR fantasy.
Neither should it be forgotten that the landmark that Mayor Johnson was trying to get built was utterly pointless - a costly concrete monstrosity that would have trashed its location and overloaded an area already heaving with tourists.
It is however sutable for other sports. I was at the England vs New Zealand rugby league test last year and it was ideal. Unlike the Wembley and Twickenham behemoths it had a human feel. Much cosier and nothing wrong with the sight lines.
I suspect Richard Rogers unconcern for the detail stretches to the construction itself. Were he to examine the plans submitted to the local authorities rather than the fantasy illustrations provided by the PR department and reproduced uncritically by every media outlet running the story he’d find a huge concrete structure clad in copper bling topped with feeble saplings and shrubs. And moreover a structure that requires the destruction of a glorious avenue of mature trees that offers more environmental benefits than the bridge ever can. Rogers' argument that great works warrant great expenditure has merit but banal works that destroy and impoverish should not be financed by the public purse.
"....it will be a tourist and visitor magnet."
Fine, then put it where it will be an amenity gain not, as in its present location, an amenity loss.
This is just one of the many contradictions in the project that the apologists skirt over – and rather than engaging with the arguments they tend instead to attack the objectors. It’s much easier to shout “procurement bore” than explain eg why a magnificent avenue of mature Planes should be destroyed or how creating congestion at Temple station helps commuters. Or how you can have “a place of quiet contemplation” overrun by tourists.
"used by the public and tourists alike"
For some reason Richard Rogers and the rest of the Bridgerati also keep peddling the irrationality that it can be both a tourist magnet and a pleasant way of crossing the Thames. (see his latest letter in ES and his Observer article) Have these people never walked across Westminster Bridge or beside the Eye, or anywhere in London for that matter? Has Lord Rogers's professionalism succumbed to wishful thinking?
Even the two high-profile, highly paid commentators who contributed articles in favour of the Bridge to the Evening Standard couldn't manage to go all the way with Mr Heatherwick. Both Simon Jenkins and Nick Clegg said pointedly that the Bridge is in the wrong place.
Mr Heatherwick sees all opposition as luddite. Maybe a word with or from Mr Clegg and Mr Jenkins might let him see how rather the opposition is trying to save a precious space used by "normal people" from permanent destruction by his project.
Well done Lambeth Council and Sadiq Khan for standing up for Londoners against the powerful delusionists who are trying to foist this vandalism upon the South Bank. The Evening Standard, which consistently fails to remind us that its proprietor has a vested interest in the bridge, calls Lambeth Council’s action “petty politics”. If it advantages Londoners and dismays the chummery, who’ll turn up for a private jolly on the bridge once a year and leave the rest of us to suffer its consequences the rest of the time, give me more petty politics. Much more.