Thursday, 4 April 2013

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

London is heading east

Perhaps the City of London will once again be the city centre of the English capital as the east is becoming more and more popular for developers?

First the Olympic park, then the Enterprise zone by the Lower Lea river Valley, followed by the cable cars between the Royal Docks and the Greenwich peninsula and now the regeneration of Abby Wood. The south east London train station will become the final stop of the Cross rail’s south east branch and has recently had planning permission approved for 200 new homes, private and affordable, 100 bed hotel, a public square and a nursery. The Cross Quarter scheme will also include start up business accommodation and a large Sainsbury’s supermarket.

An artists' impression of the Cross Quarter regeneration

The development is to be built on a Brownfield site north of the station and is due to be completed in 2018. This is a good use of derelict land which will enhance the area which has rich Greenfield land in Lesnes Abby Wood nature reserve to the East and Bostal Wood to the west. The area to the north near South Mere has experienced antisocial behaviour which the council are looking to decrease through improving housing stock, better transport and a safer environment for pedestrians. Gallions Housing Association already own and manage housing stock in this area and with Development Securities, Berkshire Investment Capital they are now increasing their stock to support the future Cross rail station.  

The Gasometer

Manfred Wehdorn was one of the four architects that reinvented the use of the gasometers in Vienna. The amazing redevelopment finished in 2001 is of mixed use, with a school, cinema and shopping mall etc apart from the usual office and accommodation uses. I understand that the London gasometers are not as beautiful, but it is such an exciting space, so please London, can we do the same! 

The original brickwork of the buildings have been conserved

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Public art on Church Street

The importance of community participation and real involvement can be found in public art. The pride and feeling of ownership to a neighbourhood is important to sustain a nice environment and prevent a place from becoming unattractive. It's good to introduce this sense of ownership to young people, and that is why I find these handmade ceramic tiles on the nursery wall in East London such a brilliant creation.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Picnic by the water

Beautiful and practical piece of outdoor furniture found on a walk through Kungsängen, Stockholm.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Fun & games in Coney Island

When you travel to New York for the first time, you may expect to feel like you are on a movie set or to experience a mild culture chock. It took me over a week, on my last day in fact, to find this sense of New York, and it came to me from visiting Coney Island. The promenade by the beach was filled with New Yorkers. Pensioners relaxing in the different cafes, locals competing in "handball" the American version, in well placed public sports facilities and orthodox Jews enjoying the Sukkot with song and dance. The icing on the cake was when two officers of the NYPD joined in the festive dance, taking a break from patrolling. From now on I do not think of Wall street or the statue of liberty when I think of the big Apple, but of Coney Island and its rich culture.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Happy shutters

The need of shutters for shops in areas that are not 'naturally' supervised can give a street or a neighbourhood a grey and deprived look. A standard shutter can change a vibrant and lovely shop into a grey wall of steel and a street full of shutters can give the impression of a ghost town and the feeling of 'You had better lock your door too'.

On a visit to Seville in Spain, I saw many clever, beautiful and funny solutions to problems that can be easily overseen and sometimes also easily changed.

A bit of countryside in the city centre, to the right, through reeds and grass.

Larger, inviting bars as seen below does not promote a gated community feel and could this not be implemented on shop fronts as well, in the place of shutters in a simpler less expensive design?