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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have just posted the following on an interesting thread on the Manchester forum that I thought contained a few good basic ideas on how we should accommodate buildings, and more importantly, how we perceive their function in the wider 'aesthetic' field.

It is my concern that we have lost track of what cities are actually about in our rush into one asthetic wankfest or another... as I continually say, the heritage orgasm we are currently infected with in Liverpool is only a variation on the whole notion that cities should be 'sculpted'. Anyway, it is a little out of context, being drawn from quite a long discussion, but I look forward to your comments and additions.

The greatest mistake is that we have developed (and allowed it to take hold, to be 'democratised' even!) this wider notion that it is right that buildings should be considered in thier wider landscape context.. and that teams of 'experts', or indeed, the general public should decide how the skyline is 'crafted'... this is at the centre as to why so many great buildings have been turned down. Once you get into this blag notion then the emphasis is on preservation, timidity and too many abstract notions.

This has taken the focus away from what cities are fundamentally about. Cities are not picture postards or landscapes to be grafted by nobheads (with a naturally limited view on what is 'right'.. this goes for any school)The irony is that if we do get these 'design aesthetes' off our collective urban backs there is much more likelyhood that we will indeed end up with the picture poscard product to be proud of!

If we went back to a more freeform concept of letting cities develop organically then, once a building has been proposed (and the limits set that the developer sees as 'right', with regards to height, market demand, basic form, how much they are prepared/able to invest etc etc) has been presented, then all those who want to can get as anal as they wish about spires, materials, etc... that way as good a building as we could possibly wish will generally get built as the sums are not being fucked round with (for a start), it becomes sensible for developer to commission as good an architect as possible from the start... and there is not assumption that absurdly badly skilled town planners, with an additional ' civic design' cpd piece of paper can run roughshod over every architects submission. The city would then also be able to accomodate what ever function the builders saw, demand-wise that led them to consider investing extra investment in a taller/bigger building

We have one in Liverpool that basically decides the whole design and layout of many, many buildings across the city... if this is legitimate then I think that the council should play fair and tell developers that if they wish to build in the city then they have to commission this guy.... would certainly help to highlight the absurdity of the situation, as in effect this is exactly what happens.... the poor architect becoming a frustrated observer. Now, he has awful taste, so we are getting loads of awful buildings, much higher than if a whole series of decisions where being accomodated... there will always be **** ups and ugly buildings... get a committee on the case and you are assured that most will be!

Individual buildings then will then be planned and designed by a myriad of people, making over time the rich and varied skylines that you DON'T see in dumbarsed and deluded burgs like our northern cities!

The only thing that we should be precious about is the one thing we still allow to be lost... the street patterns and layouts! If we can largely conform to these then we should let the architecture do what it needs to do... and look like what the proposer (largely) wants it to look like!
Ramble over.

P.S I don't know why architects stand for the level of interference in their designs... their egos must be crushed, as substantial changes implies they they are not good enough to build in 'our city'... and also by dint of this, that the wanky 'planner/designer employed by the council is better than YOU!... why/how do you put up with it?
 

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A better way ..... with progress and to be included.

Tony Sebo said:
I have just posted the following on an interesting thread on the Manchester forum that I thought contained a few good basic ideas on how we should accommodate buildings, and more importantly, how we perceive their function in the wider 'aesthetic' field.

It is my concern that we have lost track of what cities are actually about in our rush into one asthetic wankfest or another... as I continually say, the heritage orgasm we are currently infected with in Liverpool is only a variation on the whole notion that cities should be 'sculpted'. Anyway, it is a little out of context, being drawn from quite a long discussion, but I look forward to your comments and additions.

The greatest mistake is that we have developed (and allowed it to take hold, to be 'democratised' even!) this wider notion that it is right that buildings should be considered in thier wider landscape context.. and that teams of 'experts', or indeed, the general public should decide how the skyline is 'crafted'... this is at the centre as to why so many great buildings have been turned down. Once you get into this blag notion then the emphasis is on preservation, timidity and too many abstract notions.

This has taken the focus away from what cities are fundamentally about. Cities are not picture postards or landscapes to be grafted by nobheads (with a naturally limited view on what is 'right'.. this goes for any school)The irony is that if we do get these 'design aesthetes' off our collective urban backs there is much more likelyhood that we will indeed end up with the picture poscard product to be proud of!

If we went back to a more freeform concept of letting cities develop organically then, once a building has been proposed (and the limits set that the developer sees as 'right', with regards to height, market demand, basic form, how much they are prepared/able to invest etc etc) has been presented, then all those who want to can get as anal as they wish about spires, materials, etc... that way as good a building as we could possibly wish will generally get built as the sums are not being fucked round with (for a start), it becomes sensible for developer to commission as good an architect as possible from the start... and there is not assumption that absurdly badly skilled town planners, with an additional ' civic design' cpd piece of paper can run roughshod over every architects submission. The city would then also be able to accomodate what ever function the builders saw, demand-wise that led them to consider investing extra investment in a taller/bigger building

We have one in Liverpool that basically decides the whole design and layout of many, many buildings across the city... if this is legitimate then I think that the council should play fair and tell developers that if they wish to build in the city then they have to commission this guy.... would certainly help to highlight the absurdity of the situation, as in effect this is exactly what happens.... the poor architect becoming a frustrated observer. Now, he has awful taste, so we are getting loads of awful buildings, much higher than if a whole series of decisions where being accomodated... there will always be **** ups and ugly buildings... get a committee on the case and you are assured that most will be!

Individual buildings then will then be planned and designed by a myriad of people, making over time the rich and varied skylines that you DON'T see in dumbarsed and deluded burgs like our northern cities!

The only thing that we should be precious about is the one thing we still allow to be lost... the street patterns and layouts! If we can largely conform to these then we should let the architecture do what it needs to do... and look like what the proposer (largely) wants it to look like!
Ramble over.

P.S I don't know why architects stand for the level of interference in their designs... their egos must be crushed, as substantial changes implies they they are not good enough to build in 'our city'... and also by dint of this, that the wanky 'planner/designer employed by the council is better than YOU!... why/how do you put up with it?
Then we need CAD virtual cities to show and explain developments as they occur and are presented to the various planning departments - they have the tools and they have the fools.

Let the people decide.....and the politicians speak sense and not inane gobbledegook!

and let the Architects show the benefits.....that`s all that most people ask.

A better way ..... with progress and to be included.

But it`s not all fancy housing and some of it might be Industrial etc even in organic development - which means that most of it could have been screened out.

I`m not always sure that that is a good thing.

How do we decide what is made and where?

It`s on somebodies door step.
 

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Planners are a pain because they always want to seperate everything. their only understanding of mixed use is retail plus flats. For me Britain's greatest contribution to urbanism is the high density victorian suburb with it rows of houses, church, local board school, small factory/workshop, row of shops/pub, later a music hall or cinema. True mixed use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Aye Isaac, you're right. Town planning, especially in the UK (probably becasue it started here) is not good urbanism. It has alaways been an exporation, and ideological experiment in a way, to build various versions of utopia... building in socialist principles into the fabric is a particularly silly post war notion that immediately comes to mind but there are loads.


All of them start on the principle that 'we can and we shall build better', rather than looking at the more basic, organic structures of how people organise and then enhance these attributes. We could have had the scottie Rd areas without the overcrowding and the tenements without foundations etc... the rest of the arrangements where sound enough.

Again, we need to look at what cities are rather than how we think that should be instead.

The emphasis on public transport (to reinitroduce a theme that may have developed on the other thread) should be seen as an essential tool for holding the city together, rather than a useful means of enabling development to be built further out... as technology develops, especially personal modes, this mentality just tears cities apart and makes the provision of services, water, refuse etc extremely difficult or indeed (as is now experienced on the edge of Phoenix) impossible to provide.... as as for social structures... they disappear somewhere around the type of configuration we where building between the wars!
 
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