Tag Archives: precedents

Happenings in Hackney – Horrible and Happy

1/ Gensler’s ski-centre (Snow In The City), to replace the media centre for the Olympic Park in Legacy Mode…..is it really legacy if your adding it afterwards? Other phrases that spring to mind are ‘zaha’ and ‘wannabe’……..HORRIBLE!

2/ GHM Rock Townsend have received planning permission for this building right opposite my proposed site in Hackney Wick…having previously been criticised for being ‘of poor design quality’ and ‘too tall’.

I would maintain that these criticisms are still valid of the revised scheme. The area – particularly the building shown to the left in this image – is rich in existing vitality (particularly of the light manufacturing type proposed by sportswear manufacturer Pentland, who are the client for this building), and it seems far too intrusive an insertion to be appropriate for its site.

Even last minute concessions to change metal cladding to ‘local vernacular’ brick do little to help the building settle in to its site. From our experience of researching this area, it seems that although there is a history of architectural resilience in the area, there is also a tradition of humble, user-initiated intervention. This feels far too brash and new to be where it is. What happened to the idea of re-instating the pub?

A BD Article can be found hereHORRIBLE!


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President’s Medals 2010

Part 2 Winner, Johnathan Schofield’s project for an East-London breakage yard, re-using the redundant docks, could provide a good point of departure for a project about legacy and reclaimation…


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School / Bridge (Place)

Xiashi School / Bridge – Li Xiaodong

Li Xiaodong was asked to design a small school for the village of Xiashi in the Fujian Province, and he had the idea to combine the school with a pedestrian bridge that connected two historic toulou (circular castles made from packed dirt). A creek runs right through the middle of the village and the toulou serve as important historical landmarks, so it made sense to locate the school at the physical heart of the village. As Xiaodong says, the concept resulted in “minimum intervention, yet maximum impact – to rejuvenate the whole community.”

The school is constructed out of two large steel spans that cross the bridge and smaller steel supports and framing. Local materials and wood were used to create the facade, interior furnishings and school furniture. While the steel is very modern, especially in the context of a rural village, the material will last a long time while creating a structurally-sound school. The use of local materials helps the building blend texturally and aesthetically with the rest of the village.

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