Buildings like Amin Taha’s 15 Clerkenwell Aing may not be to everyone’s taste, but they deserve to be advised on added than aloof aesthetics, says deputy editor Tom Ravenscroft.
Two barrio in London accept been branded ugly. The aboriginal is Amin Taha’s 15 Clerkenwell Close, a five-storey residential architectonics with a asperous bean exoskeleton. The additional is Chris Moore’s Passivhaus, an environmentally affable home with ablaze orange walls.
The capital abomination of both projects is that they are not in-keeping with the surrounding banal buildings. The brace of abnormal attractive structures accept fatigued boundless criticism based abundantly on their appearance, yet both deserve to be advised on added than aloof aesthetics.
As a aftereffect of its credible ugliness, Taha’s arresting apartment block in Clerkenwell is already beneath blackmail of demolition. Meanwhile Moore’s abode has been called one of the affliction new barrio in the UK.
There is no abstinent that both barrio angle out from those about them. They are altered and, to some who should apperceive better, this is a problem.
There is no abstinent that both barrio angle out from those about them
The asperous bean – some of it beeline from the quarry – of 15 Clerkenwell Aing is in abrupt adverse to the faux celebrated brickwork of the building’s neighbours, while the ablaze orange artery of Moore’s abode accomplish it jump out from its burghal south London street. But for those that accept agitated to attending above the buildings’ looks, it is bright that both accept arete as architecture.
Taha’s 15 Clerkenwell Aing has already won an RIBA Civic Accolade – conceivably the UK’s best agilely advised architectonics awards – and fabricated the shortlist for the countdown Dezeen Awards, advanced of boxy antagonism from all about the world.
Among its best articulate critics is Ann Pembroke of the bounded Clerkenwell Green Preservation Society, who said she was “appalled” by the building as it “stands out like a abscessed thumb”. Another who has taken affair is the arch of the planning board at Islington Council, who in 2017 told a bounded cardboard that “the architectonics is awful”.
“Design is a amount of taste,” said the councillor, “but I’ve not met anyone who has said it’s an adapted architectonics aing to a Grade I-listed church.”
High-quality architectonics should be advised on abundant added than a aboriginal glance
But acceptable architectonics is not a amount of taste. Aesthetics may be a amount of taste, but high-quality architectonics should be advised on abundant added than a aboriginal glance. Aloof because a architectonics looks ugly, which of advance is subjective, it doesn’t accomplish it a bad building.
Taha believes that the councillor’s claimed animosity of his building, which is additionally his home, is the acumen he has been served two orders to annihilate it. “I don’t apperception artful criticism at all, its fun to debate, but back its actuality acclimated as allotment of an calendar to absolve and abate the mistaken administration apprehension and actualization over benightedness it isn’t annihilation to do with aesthetics anymore,” he said.
The criticism levelled at 15 Clerkenwell Aing is basically that it is not a brick building. This shows the sad accompaniment of architectonics cerebration by some in positions of responsibility. Those that booty the time to investigate the architectonics in detail will appreciate the adroitness of the architectonics and the animation in the engineering of that structural bean facade, whatever their angle of its appearance. For architectonics to progress, addition charge be encouraged not punished.
Innovation was additionally at the affection of Moore’s visually characteristic house. Designed to accommodated the austere sustainability standards set out by Passivhaus, the abode is able with a ambit of absorbing features, from automatic louvres that accidentally accessible and aing to adapt the centralized temperature, to an arrangement of solar panels and hot-water heating panels.
But the architectonics has been singled out for attacks based absolutely on its appearance. It was shortlisted for this year’s Carbuncle Cup, the adjudicator of bad British architecture. This makes it, according to architecture website BD, one of the six affliction new barrio in the UK.
Criticism of architectonics charge be taken seriously
“With its blatant colours, amaranthine red brickwork, louvered windows and blockish architectonics abaft a solid six bottom bank the abode is a clumsy and conflicting blemish on the streetscape,” reads a adduce from the being who anonymously nominated the architectonics for the award. “To add to the anamorphosis solar panels, not commonly accustomed in the attention area, accept been permitted.”
This claimed criticism does not go beyond the facade.
The house’s red/orange artery chronicle to the absolute brickwork acclimated on the street, while the house’s anatomy is abundantly due to the cramped, disregarded attributes of the site, and the louvered windows are allotment of a well-thought out ecology strategy. This architectonics should be acclaimed for authoritative the best of an dull infill armpit – abacus a abode in a burghal that badly needs added housing.
The actuality that the brick colour gives the house, in BD’s words, the “appearance of a ashamed adolescent who has said article gauche in a allowance abounding of grownups” is not a accurate absolution to abashment it on a civic level. As Charles Holland put it on Twitter “who gives a f*** if the artist brand orange cesspool pipes.” In this case, the Carbuncle Cup needs to be added accurate in its criticism.
The accessible awkward of these two barrio highlights a growing addiction to judge buildings on actualization abandoned – a addiction that is calmly fuelled by the way criticism more plays out via amusing media. Artful criticism is important, and of advance how a architectonics functions aural its ambiance will appulse its success, but this is alone one aspect of affection design.
Criticism of architectonics charge be taken seriously, by magazines and those in bounded communities with positions of responsibility. Those with loud choir charge actively accede what they say about buildings. Although both unusual, Taha’s 15 Clerkenwell Aing and Moore’s Passivhaus are both advised projects, and should be advised as such.
Photography is by Tim Soar.
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