Architect, Expert Witness, Course Leader
The scheme is of course utterly repugnant. What I find intriguing is how the architect intends to resolve the fire and sound transfer issues of the separating walls between "units" or people's houses being drawn at 150 mm thick, and how he intends to resolve the flanking sound and fire issues where the wall between these little hutches meets a window pane. I think as the design is developed for poor old Alexandra House, the units are going to get a whole lot smaller, as the walls get fatter.
That of course is only one of myriad issues detrimental to the health and wellbeing of the occupants. Density is another, exacerbated by over-occupation of accommodation designed for a lower density, made desirable out of necessity, because of its location and the high cost of ownership or rental.
We had problems of density of occupation in Glasgow, being social problems and crime, spread of disease and low life expectancy. However they were largely resolved over sixty years ago by Acts of Parliament and by community groups supported by architects, resulting in mass demolition, rehousing and in some cases clever and sympathetic reuse of existing buildings. Seems like we have gone full circle here, and those same detriments to human wellbeing as existed in our unenlightened past are knocking on the door in this scheme.
In the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower disaster, where part of the problem was that the redevelopment works were entirely monetised, there has been a lot of talk of rebalancing of the role of the architect, away from Lathamesque satisfaction of the client at any cost, towards balancing that requirement with the needs of the users.
What this layout for the Alexandra Poorhouse shows is a reversal of that thinking, demonstrating a movement away from any concept of habitability, travelling, deliberately deregulated towards the satisfaction of a wish for profit. If the Government in England and Wales, in its infinite wisdom, still thinks that deregulation in the construction industry is a good idea, I for one don't think that an architect should be involved in that, and I think we should be campaigning against it.
Well done, Colin Kerr, Architect. We should all do what you have done.
Would it be only DUP members that were allowed to cross it, and only if they propped up the Tory Party? This wouldn't possibly be a populist idea to buy votes, would it? Will the feasibility study for the bridge that will never be built, be likely to cost as much as letting a contract for a pointless bridge in London when you don't own the land at its ends, I wonder?
David Farmery I don't think that maximising the value of the site is a material consideration in planning terms. If it were, out-of- scale development potentially insulting or even destroying its context would be self-justifying.
The scheme does look massively out of scale and I can understand why people would be concerned. The Hoover Building is not predominantly Egyptian in its decoration. Although there are Egyptianate elements, used to better effect in his earlier work, Thomas Wallis was moving into a more Jazz Style idiom by the time of Hoover, picking up Native American and geometric forms, within basic classical monumentality.
His much better building on the Great West Road, the Firestone Buiding from 1928, was detroyed in an episode of state sponsored vandalism in 1980, when the developer, Trafalgar House, demolished it over a weekend with the inside knowledge that the listing would arrive on the Monday. That is why Hoover was listed when it was.
It would be good to know that lessons have been learned from that, and that the horizonal emphasis of the building sitting on the "road of factories" is not going to be lost because of an inappropriate and overbearing neighbour.
Robert Wakeham, I think the expression "scandalously re-destroyed" is one of the best pieces of language use I have ever witnessed. It may indeed be found that the Notre-Dame loss resulted from negligence, but I tend to think that the Notre-Dame situation is quite different to the potential resolution to the GSA fiasco. The spire is a discrete object which adorns the building. I think it can be changed, although any new idea would have to be measured against the quality and longevity of its predecessor, rather than being approved because it suits the current ephemeral fashion (isn't it great how good post-modernism looks now?). I think that the competition is a good thing, but I do think that the spire should be for aspirers. The eye of the needle test should be applied to the entries, with the rich "stars" being unable to pass through whether on a camel or not. Let the meek inherit the win for once, Emmanuel.