Monday, 8 September 2014

Woolwich Central and the Carbuncle Cup: "We worked and consulted with local communities and [the] developments have had a positive effect. We've created more than 1,000 jobs and built much-needed homes..."

According to the politician who awarded planning permission to the building which has just won the booby-prize for architecture:

Councillors fell for promises that the brief was never going to deliver

Just how did Woolwich Central get planning? (by the man who gave it) | Features | Building Design
Carbuncle Cup 2014 winner announced | Features | Building Design

Indeed, councils seem to be dazzled very easily by design briefs:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: and the Skypark fly-through: "Many a contentious proposal has shimmied through the planning process (and on to the sales office) on the back of a series of CGIs, gleaming evocations that are liable to be slight on detail and heavy on seductive gleam."

... let alone the promise of 'jobs and homes':
Futures Forum: "The new build for the western growth area of the district will provide much-needed business and employment for the young families as they set up new homes."
Futures Forum: East Devon, the retail sector and questions about job creation: "How we can help meet the needs of business into the future in a world of enterprise and entrepreneurism..."

Meanwhile, supermarkets are a power to be reckoned with:

Futures Forum: Can supermarkets ever be sustainable? ... 'Localising economies is a better way of making an economy more transparent and giving people more control.'

September 3, 2014 8:47 am

Tesco centre awarded Carbuncle Cup’s worst new building

Woolwich Central©UBM Information
Amid falling sales, profit warnings and investor unrestTesco has a new problem.
The struggling supermarket chain has won first prize in the Carbuncle Cup, an annual architecture prize that seeks to name and shame Britain’s worst new building.
Woolwich Central, a shopping centre in southeast London scooped the award, overseen by magazine Building Design. Tesco’s property subsidiary Spenhill and architect Sheppard Robson were responsible for the creation, a 17-storey development that features 189 apartments in six interconnected blocks over a 7,800 sq m Tesco store.



    Thomas Lane, editor of Building Design and one of this year’s judges, said the development had a “bunker-like appearance”.
    “It’s a building which doesn’t really have any redeeming features,” he said. “You’ve got a huge building with no public face. There are no little shops, no life on the street – nothing you would expect from a town centre.”
    He added: “It’s a building that would be more appropriate for an industrial estate rather than a busy high street.”
    Spenhill achieved the unenviable distinction of being nominated twice for this year’s Carbuncle Cup, as the developer behind Trinity Square, another mixed-use scheme in Gateshead on the site of the car park that appeared in the 1971 film Get Carter starring Michael Caine.
    Spenhill said: “We worked and consulted with local communities at Woolwich and Trinity Square and both developments have had a positive effect. We’ve created more than 1,000 jobs and built much needed homes in an area of London untouched by investment for many years, while 3m people have visited Trinity Square in its first year.”
    Judges highlighted “overdevelopment” as a common theme this year, with developers pushing to force the biggest buildings on to sites in order to maximise returns.
    Hank Dittmar, a Carbuncle Cup panel member and Prince Charles’s architectural adviser, said: “Woolwich Central is a prime example of too much for the site, for the area and for the eye. The architect has a lot to answer for but so do developers who overbuild and local authorities who grant permission.”
    Alex Grant, the chair of Greenwich Council’s planning board between 2006 and 2010 who granted planning permission for the development, expressed his regret over the decision in a June blog post entitled: “And who is to blame for this carbuncle? Er, me actually . . .”
    Roger Beale cartoon
    Woolwich Central was one of six shortlisted buildings including Trinity Square; the Vauxhall Tower riverside flats in central London; the chancellor’s building at Bath university; Unite Stratford City student flats, close to the Olympic Park; and the QN7 flats near Arsenal’s Emirates stadium.
    This year’s prize is not the first to have been won by Greenwich. In 2012, the cup was awarded to the Cutty Sark renovation, which judges said “tragically defiled the very thing it sets out to save”.
    Building Design, which set up the award in 2006, calls the prize a “light-hearted way of drawing attention to a serious problem: the bad architecture blighting the country’s towns and cities”.
    The award comes after Tesco last week unveiled a surprise profit warning, cut its dividend and brought forward the start date of new chief executive Dave Lewis. Harris Associates, one of the supermarket group’s biggest shareholders, has reduced its stake in the company, citing its “incoherent strategy”.
    Sheppard Robson had not responded to a request for comment on Wednesday morning.

    Tesco centre awarded Carbuncle Cup’s worst new building - FT.com
    Tesco scoops Carbuncle Cup for 'inept, arrogant, oppressive' Woolwich store | Art and design | The Guardian

    Development - Woolwich Central

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