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Astragal: Which side of the bridge are mayoral hopefuls on?

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The race for London mayor seems to be becoming increasingly architectural following the AJ’s latest revelations about the Garden Bridge and the mayor’s meeting in San Francisco with Apple and Thomas Heatherwick.

Both the Labour and Lib Dem candidates, Sadiq Kahn and Caroline Pidgeon, responded by renewing their criticism of TfL’s subsequent Garden Bridge competition, and now Tory contender Zac Goldsmith has finally broken his silence to get behind the controversial project, raising eyebrows by calling its procurement … ‘thorough’.

He told the AJ: ‘I think the design is beautiful and iconic, and that once built, the bridge will be a source of pride for Londoners … and given that the public contribution has already been spent, it would be a great shame and waste if the project were to be shelved.

‘Like all infrastructure projects, it has been through a thorough procurement and planning process, and it’s right that the [London Assembly] should scrutinise it.’

Not much is known about the design preferences of the three prospective mayors, but Pidgeon provided a clue by telling the Metro newspaper on Monday that she ‘really really’ doesn’t like the Walkie Talkie or the Cheesegrater, which she said had ‘completely ruined a beautiful view of the city’.

Tenants cheesed off by RSHP’s interventions



Meanwhile the Cheesegrater’s latest tenant Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners has caused some jealousy among the building’s other occupiers.

In typical RSHP style, the practice has removed the ceilings of its offices to reveal the services, while also gaining extra height.

Astragal has heard that this move has caused the tower’s other users to wonder why their offices don’t look so snazzy. They should ask its architect…


Piano’s Pole presentation pulled

31 london street

31 london street


Renzo Piano was due to give a talk this week on his controversial new tower at Paddington.

The event, at New London Architecture, was billed as a chance to hear his vision ‘not only for the skyline but also the ways in which it will reshape public amenities and improve the wider Paddington area’.

But following developer Sellar Property’s decision to withdraw the planning application and reduce the tower’s height, the talk was hastily postponed.


Damien digs deep

Purcell's approved plans to extend Damien Hirst's house at Hanover Terrace

Purcell’s approved plans to extend Damien Hirst’s house at Hanover Terrace

Purcell’s approved plans to extend Damien Hirst’s house at Hanover Terrace

Never let it be said that Damien Hirst has stopped pushing boundaries – this time by about a metre. Just four months after winning the go-ahead for a mega basement at the artist’s mansion next to Regent’s Park in London (AJ 26.10.15), Hirst and architect Purcell have come back with revised proposals that dig down an extra metre and incorporate a 25m-long underground swimming pool.

The original basement plan was approved by Westminster Council despite planning officers recommending its refusal because the work was likely to destroy 19 trees on the site.

From frozen music to liquid architecture

Daniel Libeskind


Daniel Libeskind

Daniel Libeskind has turned his hand to music, curating a 24-hour-long ‘musical experience’ in Frankfurt to take place this May.

The collaboration between Libeskind and Frankfurt music venue Alte Oper ,entitled One Day in Life, will feature concerts in a range of venues including the Commerzbank Arena and German National Library.

All the music performed at the event will be selected by the architect, who said modestly that the programme ‘challenges the audience to become active and make their way through the city, through the music and through life itself’.



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