Sunday, 20 March 2011

Pepys public spaces regeneration - wonky lights

This weekend I got chance to explore the most recent parts of the Pepys public spaces regeneration programme. This is being funded with £3 million of the money Lewisham Council made from the sale of Aragon Tower. I've written previously about the changes to Pepys Park and I was somewhat non-plussed by the proposed sculpture on the Foreshore (the landscaping seems to be finished but there's no sign of the sticks and cloth, although there are wooden covers where the fixings presumably will go). Yesterday I walked through the recently-reopened Upper Pepys Park, which now seems to be complete apart from a lack of grass on a large swathe of land beside the footpath.

Closer to the river there's a children's play area, seating, signposting and lighting, as well as a Sustrans signpost for the National Cycle Route no 4 which according to the Sustrans site finishes at Greenwich. The steps which lead from lower Pepys Park to the upper section are still there, but as part of the work a ramp has been added to one end so that cyclists can wheel their bikes rather than having to carry them.

When I first went to take a look at the newly-opened lower Pepys Park I assumed that the wonky red lights at the ends of the footpaths were old lighting standards that were yet to be removed.

It seems that not only are they meant to be like this, they are in fact a 'theme' that runs through the design, all the way from lower Pepys Park through Aragon Gardens and right along to the borough boundary where improvements are being made at the end of Plough Way. The poles carry spotlights that seem to be angled to shine up into the trees, creating feature lighting. Great, but why so wonky?

I'm sorry to be blunt but what the f**k? There's already a host of sticky things dotted around the parks, the majority of them pointing straight up. There's already lighting columns along the footpaths, and these are all straight. So come on BDP (scheme designers) explain to me why the red ones are on the piss? It severely offends my sensibilities seeing these wonky poles among all the straight ones - you could argue that's my own problem for being a bit too anally retentive, but I'm also wondering about the technical issues. It takes stronger foundations/connections to support columns that are not vertical - you have to stop them from falling over - and as far as I can see there is NO GOOD REASON why these columns should not be upright. Anyone got a clue?


Brett said...

I have been wondering the purpose of the wonky poles myself for a while now.

The best conclusion I have reached is that they 'put off' anyone attempting to climb them to steal/vandalise the potentially expensive bulbs. The posts look like they might collapse, therefore the youths would avoid trying this.

Up for better suggestions?
I do know someone who worked on the design for these open spaces. I've not seen them in ages, but when I do I will certainly be asking them!

shipwright's palace said...

oh dear BDP, pray they keep their hands off the Convoys development. The introduction of so many incongruous materials. Who signs off these schemes? Why BDP anyway? Was this contract put out to tender?
A great missed opportunity to capitalise on the great 18th century mast pond that forms a part of this site.

Gilbert said...

These appear to be building site lighting, to be removed when they've finished.

Deptford dame said...

Thanks Gilbert, i agree that's what they look like but I assure you they are new and have been installed since the construction work was finished.

Brett said...

I spoke to one of the designers of the parks. I wasn't expecting to see her today, so that was a random, but useful, surprise.

There is no reason for their wonky nature. She told me it was merely an experimental design to try something interesting and is hoping the community would embrace the quirkiness of them. She said they are sturdily supported and will not topple over.

Let me know if there are any other questions on the design of the parks and I will try to find out soon.

Brett said...

Also, the long-awaited sculpture is coming "very soon" she told me.

Deptford dame said...

Thanks Brett; poor Pepys estate. Still considered suitable to be the subject of experiments so many years after the first tower blocks!
Perhaps you could find out when the final sign-off is expected, a lot of things still seem unfinished, including interpretation boards etc.

Andy Devs said...

Thanks for the updates guys, i was considering contacting BDP about those lights, they look awful. A friend of mine thought they had been sabotaged....hehehehe. I also noticed the waterlogged ground in Lower Pepys - i kept a photo diary of the work done as I live in the flats on Millard Road. There is also the issue of the grassed area (or lack of it) in Upper Pepys, which looks woefully unfinished.

Sir Compton Valence said...

Sabotage came to mind when I was walking along the foreshore from the plough way end a couple of weeks ago. The idea may be to be down with the kids but it hasn't really come off.

rusty said...

I assumed the wonky design was related to masts rocking on the river. Quite liked that idea - makes the park feel like its rocking ever so slightly. Bit disappointed there appears no thought or idea behind the look. Have to say I did not like them but they appear to be growing on me. I like quirky.

Brett said...

I asked he council about the sculpture as it has still yet to arrive and they wrote back to me saying:
"I can confirm that the sculpture is still happening, and currently is scheduled for installation the first week of September. There have been a couple of minor tweaks to the design, for manufacturing purposes I understand, and overall it won't be quite as tall as initially envisaged. But otherwise it will be very much as per the CGIs on the website."