Arguments for tradition in architecture: 1

‘Aesthetics of Architecture’ (Scruton, 1979) is presented as an introduction to “the subject of aesthetics [for] those who have an interest in architecture”. It also advances a theory of aesthetics, where the designer’s stylistic choices are connected to individual flourishing; some stylistic choices, it is argued, will support such flourishing while others will hinder it. … Continue reading Arguments for tradition in architecture: 1

Building in the green belt: 3

One archetype of desirable urban life is found in the urban village. This conception of place in the city owes much to Jane Jacobs but is also seen in i.e. Abercrombie's 1943 analysis of London's neighbourhoods. The urban village typically has two faces: the high street face, and the 'countryside', or park face. I argue that both are fundamental. Ideally, … Continue reading Building in the green belt: 3

Building in the green belt: 1

This is a post in two parts. In this first part, I'll set out some reasons for considering green belt development. In the second part, which will follow (eventually), I'll describe a test case proposal for a specific green belt site. Introduction People have made good arguments for developing some of London’s green belt as housing. … Continue reading Building in the green belt: 1

We have acquired a taste for fresh air and clear daylight

I recently went to see a new housing development in Whitechapel: Darbishire Place, by Niall McLaughlin architects, for the housing association Peabody. Darbishire Place is named for the architect of a collection of 1881 apartment buildings amongst which the new development stands: it replaces a block that was lost to wartime bomb damage. The new building … Continue reading We have acquired a taste for fresh air and clear daylight

The Mosesification of East London

Poplar is an interesting district. It has both Robin Hood Gardens (under threat of demolition) and Goldfinger's Balfron Tower, sister to the Trellick Tower in North Kensington (and currently undergoing a deeply controversial renovation which will displace all of its existing residents, some of them permanently). Poplar also has the Blackwall Tunnel (Northern Approach), the A13 and … Continue reading The Mosesification of East London

Self-build policy changes in the UK

The UK's coalition government has made some policy changes in favour of self-build. You can see an overview of the changes here. One key change is full exemption from any sort of charge for infrastructure (i.e. the 'Community Infrastructure Levy') as discussed in my last post, on the former Olympics site in Stratford. More information … Continue reading Self-build policy changes in the UK

Baugruppen & infra

The organisation responsible for the redevelopment of London's Olympic park held a public consultation recently - specifically a consultation on a parcel allocated to residential development - so I went along. The offer was a fairly standard mix of private for sale and affordable (i.e. subsidised) housing; no baugruppen in sight. I had a couple … Continue reading Baugruppen & infra