Sunday, 20 November 2011

Richard Rogers in Deptford

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:

Refurbished St Paul's House on the right

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?

Octavius St is on the right hand side

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.


shipwright's palace said...

the treatment of the ramp could be much improved by looking to the High Lin ein New york for inspiration. Looks as if we're just being given tarmac here.

deptford indignado said...

Dame this sort of thing makes me very depressed. Looks like it will be the battle of the blingiest in Deptford, now that the fishbox cladding on apartment blocks appears to be infra dig and coloured glass (or is it plastic) treatment is taking over. Look at the shiny happy white folks lapping up the atmosphere of the ASH cafe (smoking, anyone?) or is it the ASH Can. Could be worse I suppose and covered in cheap looking gold panels like the Deptford Lounge or blocking out its own sunlight like Resolution Way. You're right about the shadow of this building; in Loampit Vale the Renaissance development casts permanent shade over the road and beyond.
I do like the flying saucer hovering above the architects' heads in Deptford Market though.

Deptford Pudding said...

I must be getting old. But that block of flats looks ghastly. They obviously used a Noddy book for a colour chart. I liked the facetious comments about their outfits.

Sue said...

The new 'affordable housing' to be built between the Rogers building and St Paul's House looks awful, a right mess. The pavement in front of St Paul's House looks like it reaches to the other side of the high street (it won't). And I have seen a visual that covers a wider angle and shows the Rogers building in context. Where is that, then?
Plus Shipwrights is right – tarmac totally inadequate, though why bother with decent paving when it'll never get cleaned and look like shit in a couple of months, like Douglas Way does now.

Gilbert said...

These renderings, always enlivened so nicely with green touches and happy social activity. Then when the place has long been built: There are barely a few low-maintenance shrubs if you're lucky, and any people are not stopping to enjoy being here.

Please can we have the same renderings without the trees and people? Then we can see how grim it will really look.

biff bifferson said...

That's it. Im getting a yellow body warmer

deptford indignado said...

I believe the body warmers are the architects' modish take on the high-vis vest, I look forward to seeing their po-mo version of 'helmets'.

This was the first railway line in London. You'd never know it, would you?

For bizarre visuals take a look at the Oxestalls Rd ones also on the estimable Dame's blog. Aside from the usual prediction that it won't look anything like that when it's built and the absence of diversity, observe the transformation of the taxi repair place (now in Buck's furniture warehouse).

Anonymous said...

What a bunch of bores you all are, moaning away with no clue as to what's good or not.

And by the way Richard Rogers has always dressed in bright colours, or for many years at least, but you comment with no knowledge of the situation, as usual.

Get a life the lot of you!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:45, could you impart your 'knowledge of the situation' so that we may understand and get lives?

Anonymous said...

I live right next to this and would prefer this than the car park; anything is better than a car park that gets rubbish dumpted on, drug dealers, occasional car set alight, darkness at night (path to the Albany) and those BBQ people with loud hip/hop music on Friday/Saturday nights till sunrise.

I know the year of construction will be a problem here but, no pain no gain!

I'm not the Anonymous of 12:45.

Anonymous said...

The knowledge of the situation is in the first part of that sentence, not the drivel about the new architect's dress code.

I hope this helps you g. a . l. Anonymous 15:04

Deptford dame said...

@anon 18.04 at this stage in the planning process you do at least have some opportunity to put pressure for an alternative; don't regard it simply a choice of the lesser of the evils. I can quite see how you are sick of the situation you describe (although there's no guarantee your new neighbours will not favour all-night hip-hop and BBQs) however I am very much of the opinion that it is important to aim high in terms of quality for our built environment as we are all going to have to live with it for years to come.

Miersh said...

a version of this Rogers project has had planning permission for years - i remember seeing it on the model at the 'future of deptford' public consulation in Giffin Square at least 2 years ago . OK - the 'diversity' of colours might be a smug one liner, but will you lot ever be happy until until every building in South London is made from mouldering yellow stock brick? if someone actually said what they DO like and stopped pouring endless scorn on every proposal that comes your way you might actually stand a chance of getting the council to listen.

Anonymous said...

I too live close to the proposed development and would much prefer this as an alternative compared to what currently exists. I hate walking along the dodgy path that leads to the grotty car park during the hours of darkness (where I become wary and a tad fearful of every shady looking character that comes within eyeshot).

Does anyone know when work is due to commence? Can't wait and hope it's done quickly!!

I'm not Anonymous of November 12:45 or

Deptford dame said...

@anon 20.20 the planning application has been submitted but no decision made as yet.

I myself have every sympathy with the people who have to use those routes and fully understand their desire for improvements in the public realm which will make them feel safer and happier in their local area. But should such improvements be tied to construction of a high rise block that could have other, negative implications for the area? (overshadowing and loss of light in public areas, loss of privacy, increased pressure on local transport and other facilities etc). I feel that it is vital that we subject planning applications for major developments to intense scrutiny because once they have been given the go-ahead it is too late to point out the drawbacks. The station area and carriage ramp would undoubtedly benefit from development, and I am pleased to see on the plans that new footpaths through the carriage ramp will increase the permeability of Douglas Square and the former car park which you mention. However I don't think there is anything wrong with trying to get the best possible result for the site, rather than letting the developer call the tune all the time.

Incidentally if you want to distinguish yourself from previous anons, you can always tick the 'name/URL' button and simply enter a name, a pseudonym if you wish.

Deptford Devotee said...

Thanks for that Deptford Dame - I've opted for the above pseudonym.

BLIMEY... just discovered Lord Rogers is a bit special. The man is an award winning architect - winning prizes left right and centre for his work all over the world. He is especially known for his work on the Pomipidou Centre in Paris, the Lloyd's building and Millennium Dome in London, and the European Court of Human Rights building in Strasbourg.

People have got to be bleeping mad if they want to object to his creating a little something in Deptford.

Get a grip people!

Jeeeez, now I really want his project to be accepted – and besides... he's got a nice kind smile!

Deptford needs a lovely colourful environment to match its people :)