Friday, 14 January 2011

Olympic Architecture....... Discuss!

I know most of us are either at work or collecting the kids from school - but just in case anyone's skiving on Tuesday - this request just came through:

Hello Leabankers!
I'm writing to you tentatively as a student of architecture at the Sheffield School of Architecture...
There are a group of us who have been tasked with looking at the 'edge' between Hackney Wick, and the Olympic Site across the canal, and considering the role of architecture in that place, now, and in the future.
I will be in the area on Tuesday (18th Jan), and was wondering if anyone from Leabank would be available for a chat? It would be great to find out a bit more about you, and your thoughts on where you area and what's happening around you.
Sam Brown
MArch Architecture - University of Sheffield
T: 07890 399332


Fiona said...

It's all crap! Nothing else to say.

Sam Brown said...

Thanks....I thought that might be a common thought. I have to say, that although I am an architecture student, it is not the architecture of the olympic site that interest me per se...

I am more interested in the 'architecture' of your lives, and the lives of others in HW. This is a theme commonly disregarded in 'regeneration'; that stuff exists already, that has a value; activities, social networks, etc. These activities occupy space and inhabit the urban and private realms and should be allowed to continue (rather than being 'designed'...)

As such, I am neither pro, nor anti, olympics. I am simply interested in its effects on the world around it.


Anonymous said...

I like the colours.

Anonymous said...

You sure you aren't a philosophy student? You seem to have no interest in architecture, and seem to focus on hyperbole rather than reality. Meet up at the counter for a coffee? Kisses.

Big George

Tony said...

Sóna, isn't there some sort of way we can just put all the these student requests up on the notice boards - and then if anyone feels like it - they can pick & choose one to deal with.
I've had 3 this week - You've now sent a different set of 7 -& it's only Tuesday. Just a thought.

Paul said...

Tony - I think Sona only put this one up as it was slightly different to all the 'impact the Olympics are having on locals' students that are around EVERYWHERE just now.
Still - the notice board idea is a good one.

Anna said...

When I think back about 6 years to what we had in Arena Fields instead of this MASSIVE ikea warehouse style madia centre I really do shed a tear. Honestly.
Remember the lovely green playing fields with all the surrounding trees?
Stunning mature elms, poplars, oaks and beaches, planted many generations ago by the Lammas, for our benefit. One week was all it took for the ODA to chop them down.
Then they came for our orchard and nuttery. Fair enough, we all knew that we never got permission to plant them, but they were only about 12/13 years old, they could still have transfered them easily, like we did with 20 of them.
And now - as a legacy - we have this monstrosity smack bang in our faces - to stare at for at least our kids generation. Thanks olympics. You give all the other neighbours Hadids, curvatious velodromes, Kapoors, etc - all iconic and proud.
For the poorest neighbour - you plonk squat blocks of depression. I hope you are proud of your legacy Mr Jaques Rogge?

Eileen said...

Do you remember Anna, that our kids use to go over the (demolished) bridge from Gainsborough, and we used to wave at them from this side of the river. They used to do their PE there - and one year I went over the bridge with them for Sports Day.
It's so difficult to actually imagine it all now with that gray lump there.
Shona, please do all you can to persuade Thames Water to save the last trees, they're the only thing filtering all that toxic dust coming over.

Matt said...

Discuss indeed! Nothing to discuss really, seems done & dusted to me.
This corner of the park has by far the poorest residential population, so the olympics know that there's little chance of us ever getting it together enough to challenge any planning decision.
Check the citizens of Greenwich park out and see the difference. There, they have more middle classes with time enough to canvas neighbours doors & get a local campaign group going.
Ask yourself - would they have put these gigantic toilet blocks in front of Wimbledon Common or Hampstead Heath - or even on the Stratford Station side? Never.
Hackney Wick is full of working classes - with the occasional exiled middle class wannabe who is more concerned about their property price than organising a campaign.
Safe bet for the ODA really. It's quite surprising that they even pretend to care about us.

Sam Brown said...

Many thanks for your comments so far, and please keep them coming...I'd like to answer a few here;

Big George - hyperbole? i'm definitely not a philosophy student, although would you not agree that it comes into most things eventually....missed you at the counter Im afraid, maybe upon my next visit to Hackney Wick. I think the conception of 'architects' that seems to be held is a justifiably negative one of a narrow minded individual...which contrasts with the apparent local popularity of David Kohn...what are your opinions on him as an architect? what makes him good?

Tony & Paul - I had no idea you had so many requests! As a group you do have something of a presence, locally and online, and as such I guess that makes you a natural focus. I apologise if I have intruded into something that was intended to be a place for local discussion. I have to say, the image from the outside is of a welcoming 'happy to help' variety...and if you're willing I'd love to be able to talk to you more.

Anna & Matt - Thankyou for your stories, they are exactly what I was after. Would you say many residents of Leabank, or elsewhere in Hackney Wick work further down towards the station? between there and the union cut, or onto Fish Island? Id be particularly keen to talk to someone who maybe used to work in the breakers yards displaced by the games development, or perhaps who still works in the few remaining near White Post Lane.

Once again, thanks for your time...I hope to do something to reveal aspects of 'architects' that are perhaps less obvious. We're a varied bunch, especially as students, and certainly are not all pro large scale, in discriminant, hasty regeneration...


Anne said...

Sona whatever happened to our suggestion for a living wall on the side of the Broadcast Centre? I remember you saying that they had 'taken it on board' to use their words - but what happened then?
Such and expanse of grey needs all the green it can grow - both from the bottom - as well as trailing from the top.

Richard said...

Shona, beisdes the fact that they dumped the worst designs in our corner of the park, it's the rape of some of our history that I object to as well.
Remember when we used to visit Mohammed in the old factories next to Clarnicos? They were spectacular old Victorian factories & warehouses.
I know they've kept the one closest to the canal, But there wer 3 more of them which they bulldozed to make way for the abismal biomass centre.
How did they get permission to demolish them?
Was there not a listed building order on them? It's part of our history. Mary always tells us about the Clarnico Factory Band, and how they used to sometimes fish during their lunch breaks.
This is living history being replaced by utterly disgusting architecture which we have to live with for many more decades.

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Albert said...

Not man-made architecture as such, but I don't half miss my allotment Sona.
Manor Gardens was home to many of us mate, and any home to me is archtecture of the soul.
You and Mustafa seemed to live there, you must feel the same.
To spend every week tending my food, and shooting the breeze with all the old timers was food for the soul.
I can hardly picture what it looked like, never mind exactly where it was.
Stupid fool on the bus tour last week hadn't even heard of it, never mind point out where it was.

Anonymous said...

The architecture is straight out of the Soviet school of style - the inspiration for atrocities such as the truly depressing Cumbernauld and Tricorn centres (Cumbernauld, Scotland and Portsmouth respectively).

Brutalism never died, it spawned new even uglier offspring. Here they are.

Sam Brown said...

Richard - thanks, thats exactly the kind of history I'm interested in here. I believe the warehouses were listed, although ive not found out much about their demise at this current time...could you tell me some more about the Clarnico band?

Anna - It'd be great to hear more about what you proposed for the living wall? I agree with what you say, such a large facade needs to be put to use!

Albert - are there any other conflicts between what they say on the bus tours and what you remember? The issue of 'authoring history' comes up quite a lot...some things would be convenient for developers to forget, and cause others to forget. Ive been finding a few stories about the allotments...

Anna said...

Hello Sam. I don't know if you know, but there is a gardeners club here in Leabank Square, and when the ODA were still pretending to 'consult' us about the whole media centre opposite, we were horrified at the expanse of grey they were proposing.
A group of us suggested a living wall all along the entire broadcast centre (that's the massive grey striped one) to replace Arena Fields on which it stands.
One of them said to Sóna that they would 'take on board' our suggestion. But a few months later they listed the inpracicalities of doing it as excuses for keeping it grey.
There are excellent examples of it working brilliantly all over northeren Europe, which has similar climates to ours, but still they just blocked the idea.
What still gets me is that they continue to spout on about this being the greenest olympics ever, and yet wind turbines, barge deliveries, solar panels, etc get dropped. Meanwhile - trees, whole playing fields, habitats for migrating birds, suggestions like living walls - are all chopped down & destroyed without a thought.
Where's the legacy?

Richard said...

Hi Sam, I hope you have been on the different bus tours. One thing they keep bringing up as a 'legacy' is the new shopping centre in Stratford. It is going to bring x number of jobs into the area. When you get them to talk about why the leisure pool next to the aquatic centre fell off the agenda, or that there will be a quater the number of allotments replaced from the old Manor Garden ones, or that Arena Fields will be re-sited to the other side of the media centre, or that the car park won't have those spiral wind turbines they used to show off in their artists impressions, they get rather evasive. They'll promise to put us in touch with the legacy company. These tours are really there to impress the sponsors, and people who do not live here. Legacy? Some joke surely.

Anonymous said...

I like the big media centre, reminds me of a big sugar cube.