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Old February 27th, 2008, 03:56 AM   #21
Unionstation13
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If they are replacing old buildings with highrises then I can understand their concern. But if they are replacing ugly 60's buildings what is the issue? We can't stop progression to keep every good view around. Most of the towers get thinner as they go up anyways to avoid blocking many views so what is the real problem here?
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Old February 27th, 2008, 11:01 PM   #22
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So, according to UNESCO, why don't we all just sit on our asses and forever live on our past glories...

what a bunch of backward people
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Old February 28th, 2008, 01:40 AM   #23
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theres nothing backward about our past glories. They are a part of us locally. The only problem is when they go beyond preserving historic buildings and try to keep skyscrapers from replacing non historic structures and views. Its dumb.
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Old February 28th, 2008, 09:18 PM   #24
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^ditto. Its a political ruse to keep London lowrise, its got nothing to do with threatened historic buildings or fabric. (which I agree should be preserved).

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Old April 28th, 2009, 01:06 PM   #25
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Prince Charles stirs up architectural debate
18 April 2009
Financial Times

Prince Charles is back. Exactly 25 years after he caused a furore with his comparison of a proposed extension to London's National Gallery to "a monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved friend", and later claimed that architects had done more damage to London than the Luftwaffe, he has now poked his royal head above the parapets of privilege to criticise a £1bn development on the site of the former Chelsea Barracks in London.

The prominent site - it is an enormous 12.8 acres - sits between the Kings Road and the Thames and adjacent to Sir Christopher Wren's 17th-century Chelsea Hospital, which still houses army pensioners in their distinctive red uniforms. The current proposal for the site is a modernist plan by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, who, in their former incarnation as The Richard Rogers Partnership, were foiled by the prince when their scheme for London's Paternoster Square, beside St Paul's Cathedral, was scuppered in favour of a classical plan. This time the prince has appealed directly to the Emir of Qatar, who owns the site, in an attempt to circumvent the planning process and promote an alternative scheme by his favourite architect Quinlan Terry. The prince apparently described the Rogers scheme in a letter as "unsympathetic" and "unsuited" to the historic site.

The issue of "style" had almost disappeared from architecture. We live in an age of architectural laissez-faire. The debate, or what little (and dim) debate there was, focused rather on icon versus anti-icon, foreground versus background. The Chelsea Barracks development raises issues over the nature of public space, the ghettoisation of wealth, the desirability of the street as opposed to the private estate, issues about access and amenity, about sustainability and adaptability to future needs. But style is not among the issues. Style is a matter of taste, subjective, a dead end.

Rogers' proposal envisages a series of freestanding blocks, luxury apartment buildings generously set in parkland - fine, if unspectacular. It is a competent, sensible proposal, but there is a legitimate argument that it could be anywhere.

Terry's proposal, on the other hand, looks like Buckingham Palace extruded into a huge workhouse. The idea, I think, is that by borrowing something from the architectural language of Wren's Chelsea Hospital and mashing it up with a kind of generic Belgravian frontage, the scheme would be more rooted in its context.

There is something in the idea, as the Rogers scheme is indeed aesthetically deracinated, but Terry's is a naive response. Chelsea Hospital was conceived as a monument to the military, a standalone, theatrical set-piece dominating its still largely rural context and the banks of the Thames as its sister building, the Royal Naval Hospital at Greenwich, did. A protestant riposte to Paris' Invalides, it was a political structure, and a very contemporary statement.

There are a number of issues at stake. First, whether the prince, future king and arguably bound to neutrality, should be interfering at all. Second, the offhand dismissal of the last century and a half of architectural development and technology. The Rogers scheme features light, airy apartments with generous terraces overlooking parkland. The Terry scheme, whose long, dense superblocks have repetitive, small windows, is more reminiscent of the grim Victorian barracks that originally stood on the site.

While the Rogers scheme integrates affordable housing into a big chunk of the site (an element designed by architects AHMM who have much experience in the field), the classical scheme would see that element moved off-site, a further ghettoisation of wealth. And, despite its deep genuflection to history, the royal-backed scheme disposes of the one historic building on the site, a Victorian military chapel.

Architecture has always emerged from the construction technology of its era. Technology has allowed architects to do remarkable things with buildings. Plate glass windows, which allow stunning views and throw light deep into the heart of the dwelling, have transformed interiors. Steel beams have massively increased the freedom of designers to create spaces which flow into each other. Balconies and terraces have changed the relationship between the interior and the exterior. And so on. Rogers' practice has traditionally been in thrall to technology and, compared to the mechanistic flash of Paris's Centre Pompidou or London's Lloyd's Building, this plan is restrained.

The conventional history of architecture has been presented as a kind of Marxist dialectic leading to the inevitable emergence of a triumphant modernism. In fact there have always been glorious aberrations within modernism, which are exactly what have made it so compelling. From Joze Plecnik in Slovenia to Hans Kollhoff in Berlin, from Edwin Lutyens to the contemporary Robert Adam in London there have been architects who have used the language of classical architecture to great effect while acknowledging the modern. Around the corner in Chelsea Paul Davis and Partners' Duke of York's Square successfully blends the modern and the classical. There are, on the other hand, cultish settlements of "traditional" architecture, notably Celebration, Florida (prop. Walt Disney) and Seaside, also in Florida, best remembered as the sinister suburban set for The Truman Show, a dystopian vision of reality TV as dehumanising purgatory. And there is the Prince of Wales's own Poundbury, a twee vernacular-themed Dorchester dormitory suburb.

Prince Charles' intent, to stir up debate about architecture, is admirable. His solution is not. This is a fine time to provoke a debate about building, as the recession may give architects and developers plenty of time to think rather than build. After the global commercial feeding frenzy of the last decade, they have plenty to reflect upon. But the debate needs desperately to shift away from style and focus on meaning, on the nature of the city and community, on articulation and urbanism, on adaptability and the idea that we can only build sustainably if we design buildings which will be useful beyond the immediate future.

Prince Charles is due to deliver a lecture to the members of the RIBA next month. Even if they are indignant, if the prince forces architects to justify what they do and to start thinking again, that will be no bad thing. The prince is halfway there. Right question. Wrong answer.
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 10:19 PM   #26
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I think a lot of it is London doesn't want to be looked at as a city stuck in the 19th century.
It wants to look as modern and advanced as all the other cities in the world.
London is a very modern city, but just because you are a modern city doesn't mean you need to plop faddish buildings everywhere.
When people think of London, they don't typically talk about its modern architecture, most people talk about the grand cathedrals, beautiful homes, Big Ben, and yes, the tower of London.
Washington DC has height restrictions but it is still a very modern and beautiful city.
No one would call DC stuck in an era.
It just seems to me, that London is trying to be like everyone else, this sort of whacked out idea is what destroyed a lot of Victorian and classical America.
My own city, wanting to be modern and 'with it' went from blocks of Victorians, gothic churches, mansions, and clock towers, to parking lots, brutalist high-rises, and bland concrete blocks.
This strange mentality destroys cities.
Also, a lot of these new high-rises in the world are all show, and are not even occupied.

That weird twisted box structure is a great example of wanting to be 'cool'.
It is a major mistake.
Like getting a tattoo when your 18 and wondering 'why the hell did I get that?' when your 28.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 12:17 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SRG View Post
Then you my friend, are weird.
second that.
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Old May 23rd, 2009, 06:22 PM   #28
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Qatar acts over Prince Charles' architecture criticism: report
21 May 2009
Agence France Presse

The Qatari developer of a landmark London building whose plans have drawn criticism from Prince Charles said Friday he may be willing to compromise on the scheme, the Financial Times reported.

Ghanim bin Saad al-Saad, the head of Qatari Diar, the development arm of the Qatar royal family, said he was confident a solution could be found to allay any concerns about plans for the Chelsea Barracks.

"We respect the democracy and procedures in the UK and [want to] listen and co-operate with... all parties, with Prince Charles, with the mayor, with everybody," he told the newspaper.

"We are following the process and procedures... we can sit around the table to get a solution for everybody."

Charles reportedly wrote to Qatari Diar last month to express his unhappiness with the plans.

Instead of a glass-and-steel design by renowned architect Richard Rogers, the prince is pressing for a classical plan made from bricks, stone and slate, mirroring the Sir Christopher Wren-designed Royal Hospital across the road.

The heir to the British throne's strong views against modern architecture have caused controversy before, notably when he once lambasted plans for a new wing of London's National Gallery as a "monstrous carbuncle".
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Old May 24th, 2009, 01:55 PM   #29
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It would be quite nice if they could keep all the biggins in Canary Wharf
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Old June 11th, 2009, 09:41 AM   #30
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Flatten tall buildings with a single Blond
15 May 2009
Guardian Unlimited

Dave Hill: As London's buildings continue to gain in height, Boris Johnson seems keen to demonstrate his skyscraper aversion

I touched the Gherkin the other day. It is routine for me to spot it from afar in Deepest Hackney, to feel it somehow drawing me down Whitechapel High Street and to catch glimpses of it from the top decks of number 48 buses as they inch along Bishopsgate, but I had never tracked it to its root in a little City street called St Mary's Axe. It was a bit like finding the end of a rainbow, though I mustn't become drunk on metaphor. Let's appreciate the Gherkin for what it is: a veined and alluring symbol of potency and, oh, so very large. Just thinking about it makes me gasp.

Where was I? Oh yes. The Gherkin, of course, is the new tall building in London that those opposed to tall buildings in London keep quiet about. In the few years since it spiralled from the rubble of the bombed Baltic Exchange, it has become as integral to the capital's architectural iconography as Tower Bridge, Big Ben and St Paul's. To bad-mouth Norman Foster and Ken Shuttleworth's glass erection is to be fogey-ish beyond the point of profitable self-parody. Even Boris Johnson claims to like it. I rest my case.

The Gherkin, though, is the exception that proves the rule and, speaking of London's mayor, his readiness, or lack of it, to curb the proliferation of new-fangled towers in the capital is seen by traditionalists and critics of developers alike as a major test of his resolve.

English Heritage chairman, Simon Jenkins has lambasted The Blond for not flattening plans for a 43-storey block of posh flats behind the National Theatre. The mayor's office protests that challenging these would have meant challenging the government, which has already endorsed the plans, to no guaranteed effect at a public cost inconsistent with the mayor's wider cost-cutting agenda. But it still didn't look too clever from a man who'd told voters, "I believe well-designed tall buildings should play a part in London's development, but they must not overshadow existing landmarks."

What would Boris do in other cases, when he is able to order a halt to such projects at an earlier, easier stage? What did he mean by "well-designed"? How would "the development of London" be defined? The credit crunch has stunted, at least for now, a number of high piles-in-progress, but not all. And Boris has now shown he'll sometimes conquer his reluctance to intervene in the affairs of London's boroughs.

In February he let Tory Wandsworth know he was "very unhappy" with a 250 metre high "eco chimney" that, as a result, Rafael Vinoly now no longer has in mind for rejuvenating Battersea Power Station. Yesterday he used his formal powers to direct Labour Newham (pdf) to refuse regeneration specialists St Modwen permission to proceed with the controversial destruction and rebuilding of Queens Market on the grounds that a 31-storey block of flats would not be an "appropriate" addition to the neighbourhood.

Such is the mayor's eagerness of late to demonstrate his skyscraper aversion that he recently claimed credit for reducing the height of the so-called "ugly sisters" due to sprout in Waterloo, when the decision had in fact been taken by Lambeth council months before he became mayor. Zeal, perhaps, had made him forgetful. Still, if this is a sign of his getting to grips with this issue, I may forgive him.

I'm always wary of lining up with harrumphers and haters of modernity in all its forms, but my gut feelings are getting harder to ignore. That number 48 bus route also takes me past a historic Shoreditch High Street bar and restaurant called the The Light, which has lately won protection against demolition to make way for a new Foster project: a victory for grassroots opposition.

Further down, near Liverpool Street station, the Heron Tower continues to gain height. I anticipate its shadow. I wish that it would stop. The other evening, approaching Dalston on my way home, I found myself in unvarnished revolt against a new local edifice that blocked my view of a spectacular sky. All my earlier ambivalence was gone. Phallus worship has its place, but very rarely is it London's streets.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2009
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Old June 29th, 2009, 07:27 PM   #31
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Prince Charles rapped over London barracks plan
12 June 2009
Agence France Presse

Britain's Prince Charles was criticised by one of the world's leading architects Friday, who accused him of lobbying Qatar to get a planned modern building in central London dropped.

Charles, well known for his conservative views on modern architecture, reportedly wrote to the chairman of Qatari Diar, the Gulf state's property investment arm which is behind the scheme, urging him to consider alternatives.

The prince requested Lord Richard Rogers' glass and steel proposal for the former army barracks in Chelsea be dropped and that a more classical brick and stone design be considered instead, media reported.

"It is extremely disappointing that this application has been withdrawn in response to Prince Charles' views less than a week before the council was due to consider it," Rogers said in a statement.

He later told the BBC: "If he wishes to live in an era which no longer exists, then that's up to him but whether everybody else has to live in that era, I don't know...

"Why is he different to anybody else? Is he an architect? No. Has he some professional knowledge? No. Does he have a passion? Fine, he can join the rest of the people who have a passion."

Rogers' work includes the Pompidou Centre in Paris, Madrid's Barajas Airport and the Lloyd's of London building. He won architecture's most prestigious prize, the Pritzker, in 2007.

Under his plans, the historic barracks would have been converted into 552 flats.

The heir to the British throne's strong views against modern architecture have caused controversy before, notably when he lambasted plans for a new wing of London's National Gallery as a "monstrous carbuncle" 25 years ago.

Project Blue (Guernsey) Limited is the company which bought the barracks site for a record 959 million pounds (1.1 billion euros, 1.6 billion dollars) last year. It is owned by Qatari Diar.

The company confirmed it had withdrawn its current planning application for the site and hoped to submit a new plan for approval by the council by the end of the year.

A spokesman for Prince Charles's Foundation For the Built Environment -- set up to promote "a return of human values to architecture" -- said it had been invited by Qatari Diar to participate in "a more open process," the BBC reported.

The decision was welcomed by some local politicians including London's deputy mayor Kit Malthouse.

"An act of large-scale vandalism has been averted," he said. "London should be grateful to the Qataris for their wisdom in turning away from yet another glass and steel disaster."

A spokeswoman for Prince Charles declined to comment when contacted by AFP.

But anti-monarchy campaigners Republic accused the prince of having "stuck two fingers up to the democratic process."

"This is outrageous," spokesman Graham Smith said. "The British planning process has taken a giant leap back several hundred years into feudal times when decisions were made by princes and kings."
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Old June 30th, 2009, 08:10 AM   #32
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This entire debate seems patently ridiculous. While I completely agree that the Tower of London is an historic building and should be preserved for future generations, limiting the growth of one of the largest cities on earth just because the towers might almost-kinda-sorta block the view of the monument is idiotic. I mean look!



If anything, the new towers are enhancing the view of the monument, this shot is from the Gherkin! And how, exactly, are any of these towers blocking the view from the opposite bank of the Thames, which seems to be the only place you can get a really good view of it on ground level anyway? Absolutely preposterous.
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Old June 30th, 2009, 10:48 AM   #33
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I don't see an issue either.

Unesco should rather advocate to knock down all the rubbish they built in the city around St Paul's for example.

Sevilla has got a warning as well that one tower may endanger the Cathedral, Alcazar and the archive of the indies.
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Old January 8th, 2010, 02:29 PM   #34
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Prince Charles draws fire over letters to ministers: report
16 December 2009
Agence France Presse

Britain's Prince Charles, known for his strong views on architecture and the environment, has written to ministers in recent years, raising concern of royal meddling in government business, a report said Thursday.

The heir to the throne's advisers have separately pressed senior ministers to bring government policy into line with the prince's views, including on hospital building and the design of ecotowns, according to the Guardian.

The newspaper's report follows accusations of meddling by the prince earlier this year after he criticised a modern building planned in London which allegedly led to the project being scrapped.

The prince has written to ministers in eight departments including the Treasury, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the education department since 2006, according to the newspaper, citing documents.

However the departments have refused to release the contents of the letters from the prince, which the paper learned about under freedom of information laws.

"He has to be very careful to respect the traditional separation between the democratically accountable parts of the constitution and the ceremonial parts," said Chris Huhne, the opposition Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman.

"The Prince of Wales is entitled to ask about what is going on, but if he is urging a particular point of view then that's a different matter."

The prince's spokesman denied his aides had lobbied to stop the release of the letters and said the royal had a right to secrecy.

"It is generally accepted that the heir to the throne should be aware of the business of government and that correspondence between government ministers should be treated as private and confidential on all sides," a spokesman told the newspaper.

In June, a leading architect whose plans for a modern building were scrapped following criticism from Prince Charles, slammed his intervention as "totally unconstitutional."

The prince's strong views against modern architecture have caused controversy before, notably when he 25 years ago lambasted plans for a new wing of London's National Gallery as a "monstrous carbuncle".
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Old January 9th, 2010, 08:24 AM   #35
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Where was UNESCO when Hong Kong was being demolished by the colonial authorities in the 1980s? They need to go back to France and do something about that 40 year old eyesore called Tour Montparnasse.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 10:43 AM   #36
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UNESCO is so overrated these days. Just get rid of it.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 04:23 PM   #37
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? Get rid of UNESCO?
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 09:58 PM   #38
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I don't get the hate for UNESCO. I love what they are doing.
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Old February 4th, 2010, 04:28 AM   #39
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London already has several areas where skyscrapers can cluster together, like Canary Wharf, Croydon, and Stratford. Just like in Paris where the historic center has a height limitation, they build all their skyscrapers in La Defense.

And let's not forget that Paris has the largest economy (in terms of GDP) of any city in Europe (and that includes London). Yet, they still maintain their history.
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Old February 4th, 2010, 08:31 AM   #40
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Quote:
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UNESCO is so overrated these days. Just get rid of it.
What UNESCO does is great, having respect for small monuments half way up a montain, a small blustery abandoned island off the west coast of Scotland, world famous sites in various citie and the like compiled into one effort to preserve human heritage can only be a good thing in my opinion.

The skyscraper debate for London grew quite tenuous a while ago, as many have already said preserve the old but have no regrets about replacing poor quality 1960s and 70s developments with high rises.
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