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Old February 5th, 2008, 08:07 PM   #61
Zenith
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Originally Posted by DarJoLe View Post
Oh here we go again, just because I don't particularly care about one historical building at the end of a terrace being demolished for a modern building suddenly I'm for all historical buildings being demolished.

That's akin to saying, as so many anti-skyscraper people do, that because I am for towers, they should replace every building in London.

As I say again, it's ONE insignificant building at the end of a terrace of a building style that is in abundance all across West London. They're not proposing demolishing every single building like some hunter trying to cause extinction of a particular style (unlike so called City developers with their crusade to rid the City of all the 1950s/60s architecture) so where's the problem? This is what happens in London. The best gets taken to the next generation and worst is torn down, and the buildings that are in the middle either stay or get removed for whatever is fashionable in that time period.
Where does it stop Darjole? Where is the line? Surely this can be evaluated on a case by case basis. In this case the demolition is wrong.
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Old February 5th, 2008, 08:32 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by DarJoLe View Post
As I say again, it's ONE insignificant building at the end of a terrace of a building style that is in abundance all across West London.
Yes and this insignificant building will be replaced by another insignificant building.Progress?
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Old February 5th, 2008, 09:05 PM   #63
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Yes and this insignificant building will be replaced by another insignificant building.Progress?
Yes. And in fifty years this one will be torn down and replaced with something of that era.

It's what happens.
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Old February 5th, 2008, 09:27 PM   #64
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Great civilisations, countries and cities take pride in their history. That does not mean they need to fossilise, but that they show respect. Destroying the consistency of one of the few fine uniterrupted terraces is not showing respect. Today's London is driven more by greed than it was ever before. For many of the buildings we admire today, such as churches, public buildings, train stations, pride was a substantial driving factor, more important than greed.

Your statement that London is all about market forces, is simply wrong. London's face is also the result of pride, which many generations have shown to different degrees. Therefore your concluding statement is out of place.
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Old February 5th, 2008, 09:34 PM   #65
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My solution to these arguments over London's architecture is brutally simple: (1) preserve fine old buildings (something DarJoLe doesn't understand) and (2) build exciting new ones (something EH and Prince Charles don't understand). That way you have great buildings from every generation - the richest and most exciting mixture of architecture possible.
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Old February 5th, 2008, 09:38 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by DarJoLe View Post
Yes. And in fifty years this one will be torn down and replaced with something of that era.

It's what happens.
Well said, and more to the point what happens is bad in this instance. If there was a 'La Défense' for every architectural period of London's history we would today have great 17th century, medieval, 19th century expanses. Plus a preserved region of brutalist buildings, those who enjoy the style would rejoice and no doubt be mugged on a regular basis & everyone else could happily avoid it. The number of landmarks would be 3 fold what is now and London would most likely be twice the size. Our regional centers would not be Croydon, Southwark, etc. but "cities of Londons" from different periods in history.
I propose demolishing Southwark to make away for the next installment.
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Old February 5th, 2008, 09:42 PM   #67
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(1) preserve fine old buildings (something DarJoLe doesn't understand)
Er, yes I do.

This building being demolished isn't an example of a fine old building, and there are lots and lots of the same example in the locale. Losing one of them isn't going to 'destroy' London. Even losing all of them except one isn't going to 'destroy' London. Having half of London blown up by a nuclear bomb meaning we have to rebuild it in a current day style wouldn't 'destroy' London. It's London. It'll be London whatever is built on it.
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Old February 5th, 2008, 09:53 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by DarJoLe View Post
Er, yes I do.

This building being demolished isn't an example of a fine old building, and there are lots and lots of the same example in the locale. Losing one of them isn't going to 'destroy' London. Even losing all of them except one isn't going to 'destroy' London. Having half of London blown up by a nuclear bomb meaning we have to rebuild it in a current day style wouldn't 'destroy' London. It's London. It'll be London whatever is built on it.
You obviously don't think much of London! lol.
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Old February 5th, 2008, 10:13 PM   #69
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missed this news over the weekend. The previous restaurant tenants were a fairly shabby tourist trap called 'Fox and Hendersons', and the block in general is nowhere near as attractive, aesthetically pleasing or architecturally important as some of the red brick mansions posted on here. Nor it is entirely a traditional stuccoed West London terrace...... I'm not sure of the provenance or age of the building, but I'm in a similar mind with this as I was for UCH and One New Change.



Okay, the terrace on the side is great, but this, grey brick, casement windows.... it could be a second rate guesthouse on the seafront at Torquay. The fact that the actual terrace frontage is being retained is surely the main point here, in that it won't materially impact the general feel of De Vere Gardens. Anyway, its low rise, and the the trees in Kensington Gardens means its arrival won't make much difference to anyone's perspective of the area.

I pass it twice a day on my way to work, and it certainly doesn't stick out as something worth preserving. But 5 mins walk up the street on the same side, and opposite Habitat/UrbanOutfitters and American Apparel is a prime example of a victoria conversion where the fantastic facade is being retained, and the back is being stripped out and rebuilt. Its next door to the new build occupied by PC World, which replaced the old Kensington Market Building. Modern whilst the new building is, its been designed in a glass and portland stone art deco style, echoing/mirroring perfectly the lovely tower element of the Barker's department store (now Wholefoods Market), just along the road. fits well, the only issue is the over exuberant signage of PC World.

I don't understand the 'digusted off......' reactions when anything slightly old is replaced. Doesn't a City evolve? No one is proposing to demolish the stunning stuccoed terraces, the beautiful victorian red brick mansion blocks or the historic frontages of Knightsbridge (Harrods, Harvey Nicks and Mandarin Oriental to the fore here). This is really one tiny development in West London, the prevailing development sites in my area are refurbs of the superb housing stock that exists here already.
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Old February 5th, 2008, 10:27 PM   #70
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Absolutely no one needs clarification of the lack of merit for the building on the right. The development DOES propose the demolition of a stuccoed terrace, the one on the end.
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Old February 5th, 2008, 11:30 PM   #71
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Originally Posted by DarJoLe View Post
Er, yes I do.

This building being demolished isn't an example of a fine old building, and there are lots and lots of the same example in the locale. Losing one of them isn't going to 'destroy' London. Even losing all of them except one isn't going to 'destroy' London. Having half of London blown up by a nuclear bomb meaning we have to rebuild it in a current day style wouldn't 'destroy' London. It's London. It'll be London whatever is built on it.
What about the radiation DarJoLe ?
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Old February 5th, 2008, 11:31 PM   #72
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Originally Posted by DarJoLe View Post
Er, yes I do.

This building being demolished isn't an example of a fine old building, and there are lots and lots of the same example in the locale. Losing one of them isn't going to 'destroy' London. Even losing all of them except one isn't going to 'destroy' London. Having half of London blown up by a nuclear bomb meaning we have to rebuild it in a current day style wouldn't 'destroy' London. It's London. It'll be London whatever is built on it.
Why are you putting the word "destroy" in inverted commas like that? You are apparently quoting and responding to me but nowhere do I use the words "destroy London" or even suggest it!!

And your argument that London "will be London", regardless of what is built/destroyed there, simply because of a coincidence of location and name, leads to the conclusion that there is no point preserving anything at all because apparently London's essence has nothing to do with its buildings. It'll always be London right? It'll still be London even after a nuclear holocaust and total redevelopment simply because it's located on the banks of the Thames and is known as "London"?? I think that's total bullshit. The London that we all know and love has distinctive architectural styles. Its streets, spaces, and various districts have a certain style and feel and that is part of the essence of "London".
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Old February 5th, 2008, 11:37 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by Bowater View Post
The development DOES propose the demolition of a stuccoed terrace, the one on the end.
Well in fact a couple of stuccoed terraces will be demolished, it looks like 1 or 2 on De Vere Gardens. That's the point though only 2 or 3 of these terraces will be demolished out of 10 or so, the rest refurbished likely to a high standard. I could understand the outrage if all of them were to go, plus the terrace fronting the park is quite messy to be honest.

Someone also mentioned on this thread that that this was a very fine and consistant terrace, it's nice but hardly the best of its kind, for example just this evening I passed by Onslow Square in South Kensington which is a far grander terrace and this isn't consistent, only the ones at the northern end of De Vere Gardens are stuccoed and display a different style to ones lower down. I'll reiterate there are literally 1000s of these terraces all across West London, I don't see why demolishing a few in order to create coherant park frontage is such a crime.
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Old February 5th, 2008, 11:45 PM   #74
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^ But it doesn't create a coherent park frontage at all. The existing building is more coherent both with the other street-ends fronting the park (look at the other buildings beyond):



.... and with the street itself (different height, texture, massing, distance from pavement):



Individually it's not a bad building but it has no "coherence" with its surroundings whatsoever!!
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Old February 5th, 2008, 11:53 PM   #75
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The London that we all know and love has distinctive architectural styles.
Exactly, so why the hostility to a new building? People say that the London they love is the one of diversity, of old and new, of every changing landscape, of turning a corner and never knowing what to expect, yet when a building like this is proposed, it's all demanding the keep the status quo and never touch anything old, simply because it's old.

Old does not and should not mean it can't be demolished, no matter what the replacement is. That's why we don't go around listing everything, otherwise we'd get to a point where London can't build anything new, because everything is listed.

Look beyond the fact it's old for once.
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Old February 6th, 2008, 12:15 AM   #76
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Langur, sorry but I disagree, the current park frontage is far less coherent, the way the building steps forward towards to road from left to right looks awkward to me as as well as the terrace that fronts the park, in particular the lack of windows on the left of this terrace.

You say the new building doesn't match the terraces in terms of height, well neither does the current building, the floor height don't match which I think is particularly bad given the similar materials and fairly similar style. The new building so different from the terraces that difference in floor heights will work.
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Old February 6th, 2008, 12:18 AM   #77
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Exactly, so why the hostility to a new building? People say that the London they love is the one of diversity,
You say that, but that is not how a large group of people experience it. By your standards Cheapside in the City must be a great achievement... a building of pretty much every era... yet for many people it looks a mess and much worse today than it did when there was still some consistency.

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... of old and new, of every changing landscape, of turning a corner and never knowing what to expect,
Well these days finding an intact terrace, as this one still is, is more a surprise than suddenly seeing an out-of-proportion off-the-shelf block destroying the consistency of the terrace. Maybe one is getting too much carried away by the "stratospheric levels" at which "London architecture" floats, but this proposed block is something you'll find in the suburbs of every provincial city in Europe.

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... yet when a building like this is proposed, it's all demanding the keep the status quo and never touch anything old, simply because it's old.
Nobody here is saying that they should not touch it. Certainly not because it is old. When have we ever seen a funky or daring conversion of old buildings as we see them in Paris or Berlin? In London it is simple: we destroy it or we keep it but we do not play with it.
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Old February 6th, 2008, 12:24 AM   #78
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In London it is simple: we destroy it or we keep it but we do not play with it.
And that is London.
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Old February 6th, 2008, 12:24 AM   #79
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Well these days finding an intact terrace, as this one still is, is more a surprise than suddenly seeing an out-of-proportion off-the-shelf block destroying the consistency of the terrace.
There are countless intact terraces thoroughout London.
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Old February 6th, 2008, 12:41 AM   #80
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Originally Posted by DarJoLe View Post
Exactly, so why the hostility to a new building?
There is no hostility towards "a new building" (your words imply that it's any new building in any location). However there is hostility to two things here:

1) The partial destruction of a handsome terrace in a generally well preserved and attractive part of London.

2) The construction of an insensitive replacement that relates poorly to its context.

This project is an architectural step backward for this location.
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Originally Posted by DarJoLe View Post
People say that the London they love is the one of diversity, of old and new, of every changing landscape, of turning a corner and never knowing what to expect, yet when a building like this is proposed, it's all demanding the keep the status quo and never touch anything old, simply because it's old.
People say they enjoy the diversity of London yes (have I ever argued otherwise?). But they don't say they want attractive old buildings and streetscapes replaced by insensitive new ones.

You fall into the trap of trying to define London's character as "diversity and change". But all cities have this to some extent. London is unusual only in having more than most. You try to make it London's defining quality. On the one hand you say that London has no singular definable character (I would disagree even here - there are certain images that are immediately recognised as "London" all over the world - and stuccoed Victorian terraces, with row upon row of chimney pots, is one of them, and an attractive one at that), but then, in apparent self-contradiction, you yourself attempt to define and fix London's character as "diversity and change". The problem here is that any architectural crime can be justified under the banner of "diversity and change". The destruction of St Paul's and its replacement by a concrete multistorey car park can be an example of "diversity and change". One mark of the philistine is his refusal to attach value to aesthetic beauty - his refusal to engage in aesthetic value judgements. Aesthetic merit must be the guiding principle when deciding what should be preserved and what sacrificed - not some bullshit recourse to "London's unstructured character and habit as seen through history" - which is incorrect even as an interpretation of history.
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Old does not and should not mean it can't be demolished, no matter what the replacement is. That's why we don't go around listing everything, otherwise we'd get to a point where London can't build anything new, because everything is listed. Look beyond the fact it's old for once.
But no one has said this - not me nor anyone else. I doubt you would find a single forumer on here who takes this position. You are setting up a straw man argument. Indeed I argued vigorously with El Greco on another thread about some crappy old brick McShit Victorian junk that he thinks should be preserved simply because it's an old building but I think should be destroyed because it's ugly, has zero architectural merit, and could be replaced by a much better new building. I have never favoured preserving buildings simply because they are old. I do, however, advocate the preservation of attractive buildings, or buildings that are not individually extraordinary, but that nonetheless contribute to an attractive streetscape. This is one such example of the latter.
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