Friday, 9 August 2013

The Shard, London

"It is the ugliest, largest wound on the capital. Its architect named it after criticism from English Heritage, who claimed the building would be “a shard of glass through the heart of historic London”.
As a symbol of arrogance and excess, it is rivalled only by Ryugyong Hotel in North Korea.
Coincidentally, they look quite similar. Both should be mocked for what they look like, and for what they represent."

The above quote is from Building Design website who host the Carbuncle Cup - a prize for the worst piece of architecture as nominated and voted by its readers. I'm not sure that The Shard is really in the spirit of this competition [or should it be anti-competition?] - there are many thoughtless dreadful buildings far more worthy of nomination. Of course, there are some strange elements to the shard, not least the abrupt manner in which it greets the floor - but at least it has some ambition and presence.

See for the nomination.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Public Urged to Kick Out Ugliness

He's at it again. Now the Planning Minister, Nick Boles wants to public to decide on what counts as good design and to 'let the market decide'. This cannot be a serious attempt at policy making. If it is, then the Minister should step down as we will no longer need him to influence policy or to comment on the 'market's decisions'.
Nick Boles

Thursday, 10 January 2013

The Castles on the Ground

"...the alleged 'badness' of suburban taste is not that people who live in suburbs have an unaccountable preference for what is ugly, in spite of the fact that well meant efforts to educate them into preferring more refined standards of design seem mostly based on an assumption that this is so. The people of the suburbs like their own things for their own reasons, in light of which reasons there is much virtue in them"
J. M Richards, The Castles on the Ground (London: The Architectural Press, 1946), p49

I started reading this book thinking that it would be an attack on the taste of the suburbanite - but it seems that Jimmy Richards had a more objective viewpoint. He wasn't promoting the suburbs  - but neither was he ridiculing and labelling them as irrelevant.
The neo-tudor timber boarding, Laurel trees and privet hedges along with red tiled gables, dormers, bay windows with leaded lights and winding streets that lead to nowhere must be celebrated held up as icons of twentieth century design and landscape.