Thursday, November 19, 2015


Work on the next two blocks of student accommodation on the old paint factory site have begun in a reversal of the time honoured tree planting ceremony: A lovely, graceful poplar tree that stood beside the (still blocked) footpath running alongside the site has been felled.


It's not as though there was a need to clear the path or build over it. I suspect the answer is that there will be some sort of high wall constructed around the site in due course and the tree stood in it's way.

Another new student block on an adjacent site (and not part of the old paint factory campus) has taken a different line, one that might have been copied.

Other trees have been either lopped or felled and chipped, some outside the wire fence boundary of the site.

I am sure permission to do this felling was obtained by the contractor's from the Council. But why would they bother?

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Season of rituals and mellow fruitfulness

Sidestepping 'issues' for this post.

Just enjoy – as I hope – this collection of images of the open space (not) of this public park (not) that just goes on maturing and growing. I am sure someone in the Civic Centre is thinking what to 'do' with it as I write these words.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Des Res

The Observer's perspicacious (look it up yourself) architecture critic, Rowan Moore has cast his gaze over the newcomer development on the Lower Ouseburn. Link to the full article here.

My own thoughts, following a viewing when the project was still being built, was less adulatory. In fact I found quite a bit more to quibble over than Mr Moore ... Those windows.

Still, the thrust of his comments and criticism are useful considering how much more to come there may be.

Some highlights from the article.

Sweeping his gimlet eye around the local scene Moore regards the apartments built next to The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art.

"Papery and stumpy at once, their vertical accents and white-beige-russet palette pay vague tribute to the noble ex-flour mill that contains the Baltic, but succeed only in diminishing it and themselves at once. Perhaps mercifully, this development makes no attempt to mimic the shapes that the Sage cuts, but edges nervously alongside, like the nerd next to the big blonde on the dancefloor. "

When I saw a model of the proposal for the Baltic, the associated private dwellings were well below the Baltic's height. I suspect in the excitement greed over came them. Mr Moore is quite right. The result weakens the whole.

"Up on the hill is a space in the sky once occupied by Trinity Square car park, made famous in the 1971 Michael Caine classic Get Carter and demolished to the bleats and lamentations of critics, less so from the local population. This time the bleating critics were right, at least architecturally speaking: the brooding, magnificent car park has been replaced by a development of student accommodation above a Tesco: stacked-up boxes like shipping containers without the romance, over which curved roofs crawl like big grey slugs."

That about nails it for me.

Do read the rest of the article for yourself.