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Ben Adams Architects’ office-to-resi scheme branded ‘human warehouse’


The scheme is of course utterly repugnant. What I find intriguing is how the architect intends to resolve the fire and sound transfer issues of the separating walls between "units" or people's houses being drawn at 150 mm thick, and how he intends to resolve the flanking sound and fire issues where the wall between these little hutches meets a window pane. I think as the design is developed for poor old Alexandra House, the units are going to get a whole lot smaller, as the walls get fatter. That of course is only one of myriad issues detrimental to the health and wellbeing of the occupants. Density is another, exacerbated by over-occupation of accommodation designed for a lower density, made desirable out of necessity, because of its location and the high cost of ownership or rental. We had problems of density of occupation in Glasgow, being social problems and crime, spread of disease and low life expectancy. However they were largely resolved over sixty years ago by Acts of Parliament and by community groups supported by architects, resulting in mass demolition, rehousing and in some cases clever and sympathetic reuse of existing buildings. Seems like we have gone full circle here, and those same detriments to human wellbeing as existed in our unenlightened past are knocking on the door in this scheme. In the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower disaster, where part of the problem was that the redevelopment works were entirely monetised, there has been a lot of talk of rebalancing of the role of the architect, away from Lathamesque satisfaction of the client at any cost, towards balancing that requirement with the needs of the users. What this layout for the Alexandra Poorhouse shows is a reversal of that thinking, demonstrating a movement away from any concept of habitability, travelling, deliberately deregulated towards the satisfaction of a wish for profit. If the Government in England and Wales, in its infinite wisdom, still thinks that deregulation in the construction industry is a good idea, I for one don't think that an architect should be involved in that, and I think we should be campaigning against it. Well done, Colin Kerr, Architect. We should all do what you have done.

Posted date

27 November, 2019

Posted time

1:58 pm