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weblog archives
eXTReMe Tracker
Tuesday, June 10, 2003
Plasticbag on plans for Camden Town’s tube station redevelopment. things uses this station a lot, and it’s not exactly high on our list of pleasant places to visit. But going on this one picture, the new station building appears especially uninspiring – a perfect example of glassy 'New Architecture' that has little regard for its surroundings (more at London Destruction, and also Kuboid’s architecture musings. Carbuncles must be high on everyone's agenda, as yesterday also saw a me-fi post about the cantankerous Eyesore of the month site).

The tube represents a weighty challenge for conservationists. Many stations still exist with their 'air rights' intact - a gaping great space above the original single-storey station entrance that was always intended for future development. The problem is that time has moved on, and the need for improved forms of access and constantly overhauled technology means that it's often easier (and cheaper) to redevelop a station competely, rather than just build above it. The proposed redevelopment of South Kensington is a case in point. No-one doubts the need for improvements, but all too often internal fit-outs are just a kit of parts, false walls and ceilings that can be overlaid on the original terracotta tiles, hardening up the gentle curves of the tunnels and homogenising every station.

The tube, which comes under the control of the London mayor on June 15, is probably scared of being seen to waste money at a time of extreme poverty. The justly praised architectural drama of the Jubilee Line (stations like Westminster evoke Piranesi's Carceri: I, II, III, IV) controversially cost billions, so upcoming new lines (like the East London line extension - fingers crossed) are unlikely to see the same investment in 'quality design'. The fear is that the grey brush of 'modernisation' will slowly creep along the line wiping out all the characteristics that define the tube - the Piccadilly Line is particularly at risk from this. Read up about the last 'golden age' of London Transport, the work of Charles Holden under the supervision of Frank Pick. See also the London Underground Railway Society.

Abstract art from Laura Domela. We're usually suspicious of this aesthetic, which has been seriously debased during its torturous journey from the avant-garde to the walls of show homes, but Domela's site allows you to trace her convincing stylistic evolution / more art, the bold, unsettling work of Ellie Howitt / there's a new website for Mies van der Rohe's iconic (and we use the word advisedly) Tugendhat House - spin it round and see images and plans / a wave (flash) / fonts and wallpapers available from IAI-JP / the Fondation Vasarely, an architectural adventure into the work of op-artist Victor Vasarely.

Photography. Chicago Uncommon has several galleries, including this one of the city's high rise heritage. Blue skies help / Art photo magazine is a Romanian publication, with many, many links. Galleries worth visiting include the work of Aurora Dediu and the fairground imagery of Luminita Cochinescu.

Speaking of collapsing new buildings: the instruments of Einstürzende Neubauten / do you want to glue this to that? / or do you want to dress up your cat?