Suits were much in evidence last Friday when architect Richard Rogers visited Deptford as a guest of Cathedral Group, the developer intending to build Rogers' eight-storey block of apartments behind the station's listed carriage ramp.
(Please do click through and read the story; I haven't lifted the photographs but they are certainly worth a look if only for the outfits)
Of course Rogers, being an architect, shunned the suit, going instead for a striking combo of yellow bodywarmer, red jumper and green shirt. In a bizarre and surely unpredictable sartorial premonition, Cany Ash of Ash Sakula Architects (the architect for St Paul's House and the carriage ramp) also turned up in a canary-yellow jacket. Perhaps they coordinated their outfits in advance? Or is yellow the new black? It all left Richard Upton of Cathedral Group looking a bit out of touch with architectural style, having gambled on the black polo-neck jumper/jacket combo, which in former times would have stood him in good stead. It just goes to show the uncertain times we are living in.
Anyway I'm sure you didn't come here to read facetious comments about What Architects Wear.
Last time I wrote about this development I couldn't find the design & access statement on the planning website, but I've been back today and found it. It's a little sketchy, to be honest; either the wrong version was uploaded or the architects are hedging their bets - there's quite a large number of pages which state 'model to be inserted' or 'drawing to be inserted'.
However I did manage to find some places where the drawing had been inserted, and present them for your comments:
When you see the colour scheme of the residential block next to the carriage ramp, it seems possible that Rogers might have been making a cheeky reference to it with his outfit. And perhaps Ash was echoing the colour of the shades over the restaurant?
Two things bother me in particular about this scheme; firstly the overlooking of properties in Octavius Street at the rear of the Albany. You can see from the last image that these houses will be totally dwarfed by their new neighbour.
Secondly, I'm concerned about the effect that the eight-storey building will have on the direct sunlight and natural light that the public area in front of the carriage ramp will receive. Any assessment of sunlight for such schemes only looks at how new structures affect the light reaching windows of existing buildings so it's difficult to get an accurate indication of what the effect will be at ground level.
But with such a tall block to the west of the carriage ramp, the amount of sunlight reaching ground level, particularly in the winter, will surely be heavily curtailed? I love the vision for the space, the visuals showing cafe culture in action with people sitting outside the restaurant eating their dinner in some kind of Mediterranean idyll. That may be the case during summer lunchtimes, but there won't be any evening sun to enjoy - and in the winter I can't imagine the public space getting much direct sunlight at all.