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Architects break silence on Grenfell


In response to E. Dennison's comment: One of my areas of specialism is conservation, and on the face of it, it seems reasonable to want to improve the views of a building which is visible from two conservation areas. However, there are two other issues to consider here, upon which the argument in favour of improving the views from the conservation areas can be questioned. Firstly, modern materials such as cladding can never enhance a conservation area, and indeed do exactly the opposite. It would be like putting UPVC windows on a building in a conservation area and saying that it improves the appearance; Secondly, Grenfell Tower was designed in a brutalist style and was meant to be of bare concrete. Whatever one may feel about brutalism, it is part of the UK's architectural history and therefore to cover the building in modern cladding changes is architectural style. If anything, the building in its original form would have been far more compatible with the adjacent conservation areas. In my view, the decision to clad this building in this dreadful combustible material was to modernise its appearance and no doubt improve its energy performance too. It was clearly felt that those living in the neighbouring areas would prefer to look at a tower with a modern 21st century appearance, rather than a dated 1970s concrete block. Either the author of the document does not understand conservation areas, or else the reference to conservation areas is an excuse to justify the change

Posted date

20 June, 2018

Posted time

10:47 am


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