Adjaye ready to be disruptive
Adjaye's 'gaffe' is very obvious, and has been picked up by a lot of people. Sadly, it reflectes his own underlying and not-confessed intention. The UKHMF's devious pretence has always been instead that the HM would only affect a very small part of the park, and that the rest would be left intact for the quiet enjoyment of the thousands of Londoners and visitors that have been using it for recreation for decades. We have of course never believed this to be possible.
Ours is indeed not a NIMBY protest!! We have over 10K signatures and now 500 objections to the granting Planning permission this scheme from residents, local workers, Londoners, and many many non-Londonders, and now also Royal Parks . This park is within a World Heritage setting – it is not some remote faceless green patch (which should also be protected!). We believe London should fight to protect its unique architectural treasures, its Conservation Areas, and its hugely valued green spaces.
There are also many other reasons to object to this scheme, such as extra traffic and congestion, security, not to mention the duplication with the IWM, and making best use of taxpayers’ money. Our main objective however is to stand up for the principle that one should never build in a park – EVER.
The Cenotaph in Whitehall is a ‘polite, discreet construction’ that moves millions every year. We do not need ‘bling, in your face, show-biz’ architecture to get the Holocaust message across. What we do need, is a site appropriate for this type of building, and highest quality architecture - nobody is asking for this facility to be tucked away, we are asking for it to be out of a Royal Park. A large number of people from the Jewish community has signed our petition against this location.
You state that one in twenty of the UK population do not believe the Holocaust took place, suggesting that a conspicuous and disrupting memorial is exactly what is required.
This might well be the case. We also however need substantial investment in better educational programmes, that can reach all parts of the UK. Duplicating what the IWM already does best is not going to produce any great results. This project has not been thought through.
Barbara Weiss Co-founder Save Victoria Tower Gardens Campaign
The Skyline Campaign welcomes the Labour Party's proposals in relation to much greater scrutiny of the design of Tall Buildings and large developments in Westminster. One of the world's most cherished and historic urban Boroughs has been subjected for several years now to the whims of a very small number of planning officials with their own controversial agendas - who have unilaterally made grossly inadequate decisions that will now affect the area for decades - leaving local residents, interest groups and statutory consultees little or no recourse. The time has come to stop this happening and to address planning issues with much greater care and as a part of a larger debate about London as a whole.
Barbara Weiss Skyline Campaign
The Gordian knot is made up of fees, quality and salaries. Over the decades, and across the sectors, fees have been getting lower and lower. For those of us who run small to medium size practices, and who do not want to sacrifice quality, constantly rising salaries are a living nightmare.
If you do not pay the going rate of your competitors, you do not get the best candidates, and you cannot retain your best people. If you do pay the going rates - which are continuously edging up - you also need to adjust the salaries of your incumbent staff, to ensure fairness and acknowledge the value of loyalty, resulting in substantial and unaffordable extra over-heads.
In an architectural office the correlation time/money is everything. Putting up salaries inevitably means you can afford less time to design, less time to detail, less time to manage: basically, less time to make your scheme as good as you would like. What is going to give? It is an impossible, immoral, frustrating and unfair situation to be in.
Our built environment is going to the dogs. All you have to do is look around at the mess our cities are in. Quality - and the concern about quality - is becoming more and more a thing of the past.
The architectural profession is absolutely right to worry about salaries, gender equality, access of diversity to the profession, and the future of debt-ridden youngsters.
But the conversation needs to start from fees, from the recognition of the fact that the value that the profession brings in producing QUALITY WORK is not matched by the fees it earns. It is more than obvious that developers can afford to pay more because they make so much more. This is not about not wanting to pay your staff generously: I have no doubt that many many architectural employers in smaller practices would love to pay their staff better. The problem is that being constantly undercut in fees will not make this happen. The whole "system" needs to change, in many of its aspects. We cannot continue to survive with our professional reputations intact without a major rethink on how to balance these competing necessities.
In the haste to build thousands of units, to plug the huge and devastating housing hole, we must not forget that QUALITY of housing must match quantity. Enough with cheap short-term solutions. Our precious cities demand it.