313 comments By

  • If you noticed n@ts, instead of simple statements, a distinction was made between Master Planning and Urban Planning. Urban planning and Urban Design in my experience are largely a preserve of the private sector now, where Masterplanning was indicated as “a convenient allocation of ground, showing where the traffic will come in and go out” i.e what's left of public planning.

    I see this as a call to regulate the private sector and a desire for Government to not simply wash their hands once oversight has moved beyond the particular Council's remit.

    In the move to privatize soft touch oversight has been lost completely and a vacumn is being filled by the market impulse without concern for Citizens and thus the Civitas.

    Architect's will act on David Chipperfield's call given with the particular Planners who haven't thrown in the towel. Get your head screwed on right as these issues go beyond professional positioning.

    Commented on: 2017-07-06T12:40:46.480

    David Chipperfield portrait by Ingrid von Kruse

    Chipperfield: Architects are being emasculated

  • Traditional procurement is simply a better system, and costs far less in the long run aswell.

    Consultant culture where cost and saving is everything and
    value and quality are not in the equation is simply indicative on where power lies, not on what is best for children.

    Commented on: 2017-03-09T12:40:49.850

    Oxgangs Primary School - Edinburgh

    Report highlights lessons from Edinburgh schools problems

  • I don't see the distinction between lazy banality and constructed banality.

    I agree with the other authors who have pointed out the real issue is the overdevelopment issues.

    I do think it interesting that the Council doesn't make the effort to ensure proposed schemes take a much higher degree of care of how they respond to their context. I'm not advocating neo kitch but rather quality over minimum standards.

    For whatever reason and constraints that led to such a humdrum proposal and that this is surely a meat and potato job, make it even more important to raise typical expectations rather than focus on banner projects.

    Commented on: 2017-02-22T10:48:07.270

    Garratt Lane flats

    Developer told to demolish ‘ugly’ flats

  • I believe there is currency and common ground in the argument.

    Working with previous colonies on equal terms is the only way forward, especially now that we've turned our back on Europe and the USA has turned its back on the world.

    NZ and Australia have responded positively to the potential of more UK trade but how India and the rest of Austral Asia responds is far from clear.

  • Lets "imagine," the minister has no other interest but the beauty of the public realm. I think most Architect appreciate his sentiment and support this. Putting to one side romantic style based arguments perhaps this minister could be a champion with a little clearer insight.

    The issue I fear is the seeming lack of about what informs what is built, and the veiled un-genuiness that affects statements such as these, whether right and true and honourable or wrong, ignorant and self interested.

    It would be good for this minister to engage with Architects rather than take a confrontational line from the outset.

    Commented on: 2016-11-04T13:56:12.610

    John Hayes

    Minister slams 'cult of ugliness' in British architecture

  • All Architect's should understand that awards for their work enable the prize givers as much as they themselves are enabled by the awards their hard work brings.

    An Architect's work is generally usurped by many different organisations and for many purposes, from selling building materials, to political positioning, to improving an organisations brand identification.

    It is the Architect's choice how they engage and with what organisations, and when in their career they wish to engage should also be decided rather than enforced upon us by market conditions

    It is not a necessity to apply or win awards to do good work or have interesting commissions and a culture of unthinking leap frogging over each other without consideration is a symptom of a poverty of priority decision making perhaps as a result of a lack of co-ordination among Architects and the false construct where everyone is an individual artist in competition with everyone else.

    Commented on: 2016-10-11T10:55:12.480

    Outhouse, Gloucestershire - by Loyn & Co Architects

    RIBA takes swipe as Manser Medal shortlist revealed

  • Colum a bit Ultra orthodox. WOW! I hope your own work justifies your convictions or you will certainly be an unhappy Architect.

  • Colum Mulhern

    "New Urbanism is an approach which can be used to give us either coherent settlements or to dress-up sprawling suburbs as you fear. It's really a question of the designer. If used properly it will provide good places for people to live happily in".

    In this statement we can agree as a pluralistic approach does not exclude new Urbanism.

    I disagree about Poundberry and I am not the only one to not see the distinctions you make between this sort of settlement and a typical commuter suburb dressed in Classical clothing.However, I will visit it again to fully form my own point of view as it has been some time.

    Do have a look at the Hague as the Typological approach(belief) as advocated by Leon Krier, in numerous online lectures I have watched, and Michael Graves also advocated this in the Hague.
    So in Post Modern Design or New Urbanism this is advocated.

    I suppose I do not see the subtlety of the distinction you are making. Historical urban structures based around continuous principals based on a human centred approach I think is Motherhood and Apple Pie to all Architects.

    What you are saying is Architects are deceiving themselves which I find sad if you truly believe your colleagues to be so naive. I tend to have more faith and believe that it is the powers that be, the market and numerous factors influencing what Architects produce that is affecting our environment.

    I still need more convincing to believe that modern problems are really addressed for a pluralistic community rich to poor in places like Poundberry. From experience I have not seen this but I hope to be convinced.

    My final word is Architect's need to work together towards a quality environment and article's such as this advocating orthodoxies can only lead to pointless devision in a weak base.
    Architecture is a funny profession in that the dross costs less and makes allot of money and thus rewards the Architect's who are willing to produce it in the short term.

  • Hey Franz I appreciate the terrace Type but it has also failed in places. Sadly, they are knocking them down in Liverpool as we speak.

  • Colum Mulhern I wanted to clarify my point about affluence, by saying a commonly greed fact," What may work very well in affluent areas does not apply generally".

    Another case in point is the interesting building type, the concrete tower block, although unloved, the tower block has been deployed for social housing, as communist tower blocks, and for luxury apartments among other uses.

    How the tower block has been dressed is another issue, they often have neo classical or po-mo facades. I would argue that the tower block has worked well for its inhabitants where affluence could obscure the failings, the success in the wider urban context is debatable.

    In summary when you are rich you can go to your second home when you need a bit of green and fresh air . The "typology" is not the answer, it is the response to the specific context and this includes the social and economic context.

    New urbanism has yet to convince that it answers real urban issues or creates multi layered communities instead of relying on "Types". The post modern new centre of the Hague has failed, to a degree, because it relied on a belief in Typologies and I have yet to understand how this differs from what Leon offers in his new city areas.

    I would argue that Architects need authentic community engagement, as modernist top down examples have also generally failed. The best urban areas like the centre of Lubianna for example by Plecnik needs the communist modern outer ring of the city to support the car etc. the two areas work together, although the relationship is not perfect.

    What we need is a rigorous pluralistic approach that is flexible enough to adapt, in the right hands, to the specific issues facing an urban area; and when successful these areas need to be understood in a post occupancy capacity over many years and publicised.

    Poundberry as John lewis has stated is in a way a commuter town with typical affluent suburban feel with a classical skin, often poorly applied. New Urbanism is very far from the proper classical language of Culham chapel, to my mind.

    Is new urbanism creating typical suburban developments gentrified in an outdated skin or is it really able to offer answers?...it is for time and the New Urbanist's to demonstrate.

  • Maritz the examples you give are all afluent areas,could you give an example that hasn't merely gentrified areas and moved the urban issues on? When I think of successful developments they are area like Dalston High St. where the community and local business have taken the lead.

  • Yes Fomenting.

  • I recently visited Culham Chapel by Craig Hamilton and this should certainly be awarded by the RIBA, as it is exceeding well constructed and as original as any building from any Architect of a contemporary school of Architectural thought.

    The chapel is good enough to be included with the best of Architectural monuments and would be recognised by any Architect immediately as such.

    I would press other Architects to visit this and to cast aside any pre-conceptions(if they exist) of the contemporary classical tradition that might prevent such an excursion.

    New Urbanists,should cease from fermenting opposition between Contemporary Architecture and the Classical Tradition, and instead focus on a more pluralistic view one based on quality rather than style.

    My long held view is Architectural integrity does not need a particular orthodoxy, either modern or classical but requires rigour in both thought, purpose and execution.

    Constant attempts at dividing the profession, and this article leaves such an impression, does not represent the feeling of unity of purpose I experienced at Culham Chapel and that of equally passionate and concerned modern(Contemporary) Architecture.

  • I wanted to add that excusing yourself from a critical position does not mean your are not expressing one and thus this position should be substantiated with more than mere heresay. Observation requires engagement and is not a solely passive pursuit.

    Please excuse the predictive spelling errors in my previous texts.

  • I want to add that public opinion is becoming more nuanced as more Architects engage with community local planning etc. and it is not so diametrically defined.

  • Leon you're position is based on far too many broad generalisation about a small elite of Architects practicing today and at the ends of their careers generally.

    Please try to engage with what is going on now as your statements do not correlate with the profession as I see it today which to my mind is much more pluralistic and perhaps your position would have more purchase on.

    I don't believe this article is of any merit and certainly doesn't represent in a decent light your well earn critical position especially at the tail end of your career.

  • Disgrace!

    Commented on: 2016-08-03T18:04:51.793

    Robin Hood Gardens

    First images of Robin Hood Gardens replacement

  • Pluralism should be the order of the day and the idea that contemporary buildings are diametrically opposed to classical principles seems to be an obsession from the Classical school
    rather than a reality, at least among my generation of Architects.

    What I would say is that good "Classical solutions" are no longer opposed by orthodoxy in the other styles, so ardent Classicists should take note and join the wider fold again as Architecture is generally under appreciated and we need to work together to promote all types of Architecture where the process results in fine buildings and urban spaces.

    The issues discussed should be more related to understanding of how we rigorously find a consistent level of quality in new housing and move away from redundant stylistic or typological debates.

    Prototypes are fine at times but it is not bout constant
    re-invention for its own sake when it comes to the general housing stock.

  • There are aspects of classical buildings which are useful and other aspects that are not.

    The idea of a proportioning system for different size dwellings that allows easy repetition and rapid production is something to explore
    once again, at least for the volume house builders who often appear to be unconcerned about what they are building.

    The use of outdated Greek and Roman symbols in our pluralistic society is not relevant or at least is very hard to justify to portions of the populace.

    The investigation into an Aesthetically satisfactory and consistent decorative language is worth consideration given it is not overly proscriptive and is of value to manufacturers and lay people building their own homes and is reflective and relevant to our society. To Architects it may be of use but could prevent other satisfactory outcomes.

    The classical plan tends to be based on degrees of social access and generally reinforces the class system. It is about the impressions of the owners status on arrival and only gradually is the guest welcomed into the more intimate living quarters. I think this is not reflective of how our informal society operates so organising the plan on this basis is a bit odd today, unless you.re a bit insecure or believe yourself to have a devine right.

    Also, the large proportioned and symmetrical rooms of say a Georgian house did not have to deal with WC's, plant rooms and IT which have generally compromised the original simplicity of these plans. Also with tight spatial requirements allot of classicism is merely dressing and the plan can be largely uninspiring being a forced symmetry that struggles with to many irregular room types.

    Classical buildings were constrained by the technology of load bearing walls, spanning masonry, and a limited material pallet and this lent itself to small window openings and sometimes a facade with a glazing ration to wall ratio which is poor compared to what can be achieved. However, I do conceded bay windows and full height Georgian windows are valuable for reinterpretation.

    I also think that to have a unifying orthodoxy or belief in some absolute certainty has been shown to be dangerous today and I distrust these intentions from classism. We are relatively secular in the UK and thus
    most people would challenge this sort of assertions as dogma.

    I could go on but I'll stop as usefulness and beauty should not be so roughly hewn asunder.

  • Carbuncle Enough!