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Residents fight Anish Kapoor’s ‘prison-like’ studio extension


Plans by Caseyfierro Architects to extend Anish Kapoor’s studio in Camberwell, south London, have come under fire from local residents 

Neighbours say that the proposals, which involve building an additional office floor above the studio in Farmers Road, will block light into their homes, reduce their privacy and ‘make the surrounding area feel like a prison’.

The plans for the 220m² scheme include a double-height studio and office space covered in corrugated aluminium cladding.

Eleven planning objections hve been lodged and a petition against the scheme called Stop Anish Kapoor Stealing our Light and Colour has so far received 163 signatures.

One resident who commented on the planning application described the design as ‘ugly and selfish’ and ‘insulting to the local population’, adding: ‘My property is an inner-city property where one should enjoy the light and ambience an open sky should allow. The proposed plan would make the surrounding area feel like [a] prison.’ 

Another resident, who claimed to live in nearby Camberwell New Road, said the plans could cause ‘significant deteriorations [to] the light, outlook and experience’ to the rear of their property.

A further commentator said the extension would ‘reduce the amount of sky I get to see from my bedroom window’, as well as reducing the amount of light coming into their garden. The resident added that the would ‘not even house anything beneficial to the community and [would] not do anything for the local residents.’

Set up in 2006 and based in north London, Caseyfierro Architects has already worked with Kapoor on a block of six studios in Farmers Road in Southwark. 

In January, Kapoor, who won the Turner Prize in 1991 and co-designed the ArcelorMittal Orbit in the Olympic Park, was shortlisted as part of a team including Zaha Hadid Architects to design a £40 million national Holocaust memorial next to the Palace of Westminster.

Caseyfierro Architects declined to comment. A spokesperson for Anish Kapoor has been contacted for comment. 

Light assessment kapoor

Light assessment kapoor

Source: Caseyfierro Architects

Light assessment for proposed extension by Caseyfierro Architects



Readers' comments (3)

  • It's clear that - in the process of consolidation and expansion - the buildings are losing part of their variety of form, with an increase in scale on Farmers Road and an increase in the 'canyon' feeling in the alley (Madrigal Lane) where the former 'sawtooth' roof profile has already disappeared in a previous heightening.
    Pretty insensitive for someone so closely involved in relating to the built environment, and you have to wonder if he hasn't outgrown his business premises and would be better off moving to a larger industrial site, or perhaps a range of redundant farm buildings.

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  • Industry Professional

    There is a fundamental issue raised, which applies throughout our towns and cities. The population is increasing and how do we deal with it's increasing needs. Traditionally it was by intensification, usually by a process of "invasion and succession" of the existing scale by a greater one, often accompanied by a change in use as, say, the needs of a city centre expand and take over the closest ring of housing around the urban core. Development would also intensify in scale and density, and as in this case the style of architecture would change. Thus villages became cities. 4 mud huts at a river crossing became London.
    Since 1948, the Town Planning laws, initially instituted to stop Urban sprawl and ribbon development, have been turned into a tool for Nimbyism that prevents the natural process of intensification. My practice has replaced buildings over 100 years old next to transport hubs in Greater London with buildings of the same "scale and density", 2 of the words of dubious relevance that have entered the development control script regurgitated each time we submit. This in my view is almost criminal in its lack of holistic consideration of where will the growing needs be accommodated. Its regrettable flip side is increasing pressure on virgin countryside. Localisation produces Nimbyism which in turn does not serve the good of the WHOLE country. This case is a classic example. We need an over-riding national policy on this rather than laissez faire that suits the expediency of local politics.

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  • Industry Professional

    Re Robert Wakeham's comment, its the diversity of adjacent activities that creates the richness and "complex life" of cities, that in turn stimulates creativity and the economy. So as long as a uses accommodation is not so large that it reduces this, or pollutes it, it should be welcomed.

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