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Astragal: Welcome to Cambridge’s Latin quarter

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LITTLE SIGN OF RAPID I-MOVEMENT • ASHES TO ASHES FOR SPACE ODDITY • EARLS COURT KIT OF PARTS • STERN CRITICISM OF EDINBURGH SCHEME

Amid reports from Bristol that a ‘grammar vigilante’ has been correcting misplaced apostrophes on shop fronts, comes the news that Latin graffiti has been daubed on a development of luxury homes in the similarly cultured Cambridge. 

Vandals spray-painted the Reflections project – a development of five river-front homes by DPA Architects – with the words ‘Locus in Domos Loci Populum’, which appears to be a clumsy yet effective way of saying ‘local homes for local people’, in protest at the £1.25 million price tag attached to each property.

No chastisement, though, for giving the development a name that sounds like a brand of boutique tissues.

In an entirely unrelated development DPA has ceased trading, with co-directors Chris Senior and Nick Phillips going their separate ways to form Pip Architecture and NP Architects respectively.

Little sign of rapid i-movement

170127 I360 Brighton489Luke Hayes

170127 I360 Brighton489Luke Hayes

Marks Barfield’s i360 in Brighton was riding high last month after being shortlisted for the RIBA South East Awards.

Sadly its triumph proved short-lived after yet another technical breakdown – the third since its opening last August – put the innovative viewing attraction out of service for five days and produced a slew of bad headlines about the 162m-high doughnut on a stick.

The Times reported that locals have christened it the ‘Faulty Tower’, while the aesthetically vigilant Daily Mail claimed it had been dubbed the ‘i-Sore’. Ouch. 

Ashes to ashes for space oddity

Bowie and alight

Bowie and alight

Plans by architect Zac Monro for a £1 million three-storey lightning bolt memorial to the late David Bowie have been ditched – after campaigners only managed to raise £50,000 of an ambitious £990,000 target within a four-week deadline. 

The 9m-tall, spray-painted steel structure (pictured left)  – a tribute to Bowie’s 1973 Aladdin Sane album cover – was proposed for a site in Brixton, Bowie’s south London birthplace. The design was critiqued by the Twitterati for its striking similarities to a piece of artwork (pictured right) in Cardiff, Alight, by S Mark Gubb. 

The campaign organisers are regrouping rather than giving up, and say they now plan to create an ‘appropriate piece of public art’ instead.

Earls Court kit of parts

West brompton aerial

West brompton aerial


The direction of property company Capco’s £1.1 billion Earls Court development in west London may have taken an interesting turn.

Earlier this year it emerged that the developer behind the 31ha, Terry Farrell-masterplanned project wanted to increase the number of homes on the site from 7,500 to 10,000.

Now there are rumours that Capco – which reportedly wrote down the value of the luxury scheme by £200 million following the Brexit vote – is looking to deliver some of those homes using modular, off-site construction.

What’s more it is understood Capco has spoken to, among others, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners about designing them. Definitely one to watch. 

Stern criticism of Edinburgh scheme

Hoskins revised

Hoskins revised

US architect and academic Robert Stern has joined heritage organisations campaigning against Hoskins Architects’ plans to turn Edinburgh’s former Royal High School into a hotel. 

The designs were recently revised and reduced in size after the city council turned down the original plans, but this has not appeased the scheme’s critics.

Stern, who is the former dean of the Yale School of Architecture, was quoted in The Herald, laying into the plans, which would add two ‘organic’ guest-room wings. 

‘The compromises to Thomas Hamilton’s Neoclassical landmark that this conversion would entail seem far too high a price to pay for sacrificing a building that has for almost two centuries been a key player on Calton Hill, the Acropolis of Scotland’s Athens,’ he said – sternly. 

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Readers' comments (1)

  • "graffiti has been daubed" Tsk! Tsk!

    Glasshouses? Throwing stones?

    Grace KENNY

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