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Headline

‘Inappropriate dormers’: Hawkins\Brown’s King’s Cross warehouse revamp blocked

Comment

Quite frankly this is an outrageous decision, showing yet again the intellectual bankruptcy of the deeper parts of the planning system. I worked on the 1980's refurb of these buildings, including the additional new blocks, with David Bickle, who became one of the 3 main original partners of Hawkins Brown slightly afterwards. He had exceptional design skill, touched by magic. The scheme was pioneering in an area not safe to walk in at night, full of pimps, prostitutes and drug dealers. Kings Cross has come a long way since then and its time to consolidate and intensify use and open the ground floor to back of pavement mixed use instead of the defensive frontage we created. Not least is one benefit that intensification provides more money to invest in good regeneration. This building is locally listed, a reason to protect its general contribution to the depth of history and diversity of the local setting. I don't think that can be argued with. But not a reason to preserve it in aspic and prevent well considered intensification and adaption to contain the increasingly diverse content of buildings in the area. Those dormers are a sensitive contemporary intervention that I and many others would judge to be excellent. Unusually the full frontal cgi is a disastrous representation and cannot have helped it. I detect the overly anti-change small mindedness of those unable to grasp design and commercial concepts as they evolve through time, instead regressing into a historic comfort zone at all costs. A good job the planning system wasn't around when London was 4 huts on a bridge. We'd still be building in mud and thatch with a maximum height of 3m and wearing loin cloths.

Posted date

13 August, 2019

Posted time

1:39 pm

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