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Astragal: Garden Bridge has died and gone to Devon


It looks as though London’s ill-fated Garden Bridge has sunk so far, it has washed up all the way round the English Channel and up the River Exe in Devon

A vision document published by LDA Design and Exeter City Council features a ‘green bridge promoting active travel across the river’. 

The proposed crossing is part of a concerted effort to create the UK’s most active city by promoting attractive cycle and walking routes.

Details are sketchy at this stage, with plans at a very early stage and a target implementation period spanning two decades from 2020.

Rumours Joanna Lumley has been spotted on the Devon seafront are as yet unsubstantiated.

Knocking Knockroon

Knockroon 4

Knockroon 4

It was billed as the Scottish Poundbury. Knockroon was to be Prince Charles’s ‘model’ eco-village, complete with bespoke electric car chargers for every homeowner. 

But nearly a decade on, it is hitting the headlines for its failure to deliver on the dream. The plot between the towns of Cumnock and Auchinleck in East Ayrshire is more of a construction site than a green utopia, with just 31 of a planned 700 homes completed. 

According to documents filed with Companies House, the Prince’s Trust is taking time out to consider Knockroon’s evolution, but a spokesperson has said it remained ‘fully committed’ to the vision. 

Critics have questioned why they are bothering, with architect Alan Dunlop arguing there was clearly limited appeal for ‘pastiche from past centuries’. 

To rub salt in the wound, the cluster of faux Georgian properties now face being dwarfed by a modern housing development being built on its doorstep, and a £63 million ‘superschool’ designed by Sheppard Robson.

Fosters was not Trump’s secret architect

Moscow towers

Moscow towers

The latest chapter of the Trump-Russia inquiry is focused on the 100-storey building that almost was: a planned Trump Tower in Moscow (pictured).

Congress and special counsel Robert Mueller are concerned over the extent of Trump’s involvement in this project during his run for president. Astragal, on the other hand, is more interested in the identity of the tower’s designer, something that has never been confirmed.

There’s not much to go on given that renders are marked only by the Trump logo and Wikipedia simply says the tower was designed by a ‘New York architect’.

But hold on, what’s this? The proposed location of the tower was in the Moscow International Business Centre on the banks of the Moscow River, matching that of the ‘Russia Tower’, a 612m-tall scheme by Foster + Partners which collapsed in 2009 during the financial crisis. 

Pure coincidence it seems. A Fosters spokesperson confirmed that the practice was not involved in the Trump project and this is not its design.

Just where in Britain are all the architects?

As the chilling old adage goes: in Clerkenwell, you are never more than 1m away from an architect. 

But which other places in the UK are you most likely to bump into a member of the profession?

According to online marketplace OnBuy.com, the answer is Manchester which, outside the capital, ‘has the highest employment rate within architecture’. Its research shows 3,695 people are working in the sector in the Northern Powerhouse’s key metropolis.

Other hot spots are Glasgow (1,695), Edinburgh (1,510), and Bristol (1,140).  

However, it is not entirely clear what the online outfit considers to count as architecture. Because a quick trawl of the ARB figures suggests Glasgow, with 1,100 registered architects, actually has the highest headcount after London. Manchester, with nearer 900 architects, is fourth, behind Edinburgh.

Either OnBuy.com uses a much broader definition of  ‘architecture’ or the ARB needs to have a good nosey around the North West to see if it can catch some of the potentially 2,800 rogue architects.


Readers' comments (2)

  • best headline of the year...

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  • Chris - as long as it's not intended to be an exclusive party venue with the financial risk - including fat consultancy fees - dumped on the hoi polloi by politicians enforcing increasingly savage local austerity to make good the damage done to the national economy by their cronies a decade ago.
    It could actually be a good idea in Exeter - a city suffering from advanced arterio-sclerosis - but the topography makes the aim of 50% of journeys in the city centre to be by foot or bike sound rather optimistic.
    Public transport has improved markedly since Stagecoach got a good kicking some years ago for the poor quality of their city bus services, but there's clearly scope for a further substantial shift away from driving into the city. But the Council's much delayed redevelopment of a spectacularly grubby bus station doesn't encourage confidence in their ability to carry forward the ambitious programme envisaged by LDA - and they need to be careful how they develop mass housing in the Marsh Barton area (the clue's in the name).

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