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- Opinion: while many architects are designing slippery “architexture”, Norman Foster and Alejandro Aravena are unlikely allies in the pursuit of real architecture, says Will Wiles.
- What could we call the new, expanded, discipline that Foster and Aravena both appear to have in mind?
- Perhaps we don’t need a word for it at all – it’s architecture, behaving as architecture should.
- Architecture as surface and appearance, architecture that is camouflage and alibi.
- Aravena calls for a rethinking of the role of the architect, and new language to express that role.
- But Transport for London (TfL) and the Garden Bridge Trust have carried on regardless, egged on by powerful Bullingdon backers, mayor Boris Johnson and chancellor George Osborne.
- The president of the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association has described it as a “vanity project of a windswept garden on an unneeded bridge”, while leading bridge engineers have called it a “private garden platform pretending to be a bridge”.
- The National Audit Office has been ordered to examine the “rationale” behind George Osborne’s pledge of £30m of Treasury funding for the bridge.
- Their correspondence over funding the bridge was recently uncovered by the Architects’ Journal, in which Osborne spelled out his £30m grant and urged Johnson to “do the same”.
- Opponents have objected to the £60m of public funding and the £3.5m annual maintenance costs, to the restricted access for bikes and to the murky procurement process, which saw Thomas Heatherwick appointed ahead of other experienced bridge designers.
- Barratt London is preparing to start construction of a 28-storey twisting tower on one of the last remaining Thames riverfront sites in Wandsworth.
- Barratt London has allocated 20% of the apartments for on-site ‘affordable’ housing and is committing £1.6m to improve local infrastructure.
- This optical twist is achieved by the diagonal lines of tapered solid balustrades jutting against the horizontal lines of the balconies.
- Designed by local architects Patel Taylor, wraparound balconies, rotated at an angle of two degrees, appear as a series of ‘rotating discs’.
- The ground level features a double-height glazed residential lobby and a riverfront retail unit. The mezzanine level contains a second floor to the retail unit, a gym for residents, staff facilities and management welfare facilities.