Tuesday, 25 August 2009


You might have to click on this one to see it properly, but it is a quite remarkable drawing of possibly the ugliest sports hall you'll ever see. What's really, really bad about Archial is that they can't just accept they're rubbish. They feel a pressing need to 'do design', making funky (as in 'offensively malodorous') windows as in the right-hand side of the north elevation, and bizarre supergraphics.
The supergraphic totally confused me to begin with, until I realised it's a cack-handed version of an Otl Aicher pictogram. It's someone curling, of course. Although it looks at best like an Edwardian rugby player, and at worst someone readying themselves for a painful shafting.
OK, a little competition with this post. Can you make head or tail of Archial director Charles Smith?
From the press release: Charles Smith, director at Archial Architects, said, “The general design features of the building reflect the intentions for a world class facility. The elevational treatment of the building is suitably distinctive and will enhance the site’s sense of identity and linkages to the adjacent rural character, using natural, sustainable materials such as timber cladding within the scheme, which creates a horizontal emphasis to the building."
Hm, OK. I'm not sure I know exactly what you mean.
“The use of different materials externally relates directly to the internal composition, therefore linking the internal space arrangements with the external appearance which, in turn, relates to the site and its origins."
Sorry, Charles, you've lost me there.
“Whilst the development is to become an integral part of one of Kinross-shire’s main settlements, the palette chosen specifically reflects the rural setting, enhancing the natural materials and complementing the landscaped setting.”
Yep. Absolutely no idea what you're getting at. Good luck with the planning application, though. The committee should be like a Beckett play if he carries on like that. Might be worth sitting in...

Monday, 24 August 2009


This is the kind of shite that London Underground commissions these days. While in Switzerland you get signal boxes by Herzog & de Meuron etc, in our nation's capital you get a giant bunker that isn't so much ugly as completely undesigned. It's just acres of grey surface, undifferentiated apart from what appears to be four downpipes marching across the facade. Interesting how shit architects are always very precise about downpipes in their visualisations.
Morgan Professional Services is the kind of multi-disciplinary that believes in 'creative collaboration', the kind of platitude that today's construction industry sprouts like acne on a teenager's face. It's impossible to not believe in creative collaboration, of course, but when all you have to send press releases out about is a building like this one, you have to ask yourself what all that creativity and collaboration has brought you to.
Here's the back:
A close up of that green wall (designed to 'minimise visual impact' and 'soften' this humungous building), two years on:
No, not really. That's DSDHA's little bit of Paradise. But it's a fair approximation.
Inside, it's the normal Dr Strangelove/Gattaca kind of thing:Many thanks to an esteemed correspondent for this one...

Monday, 17 August 2009


CZWG are bad architects, peddling their weird brand of postmodernism up and down the country. But this one's gone too far. It's cartoon art deco, with a stupid, cartoon art deco typeface above the door. It does nothing to dignify its sullen but very English context, just shouts as loud as it can.
Possibly CZWG is trying to provide the next logical progression in the Prince Charles pastiche
around Dorchester. That isn't real Georgian, and this isn't real, well, anything. It's probably trying to be bingo hall, Wurlitzer, popular architecture, but in fact it's three sets of curvy goalposts. It has no richness, no detail.
There are 24 CZWG buildings in this masterplan. So the town's basically fucked.