Peter Murray

A Place for All People

by Richard Rogers and Richard Brown

Reviewed by Lettie McKie

Available from John Sandoe Books

There are some architects whose reputation proceeds them. And then there is Richard Rogers, the original starchitect.

From the first moment of this excellent co-authored autobiography the reader is plunged into Rogers’ technicolour world of optimistic, egalitarian, wildly experimental and unapologetically modern architecture. It is impossible not to emerge starry-eyed and breathless.

He and Richard Brown tell the Rogers’ story in a fun, accessible style that mixes personal anecdote, potted history of 20th Century architecture, highlights from his career and political commentary. It is readable and enjoyable even for those who aren’t normally interested in architecture.

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Peter Murray

 

The London Society is delighted to welcome Almacantar as its latest corporate supporter.

Almacantar is a property investment and development company, specialising in large-scale, complex investments in Central London with the potential to create long-term value through development, repositioning or active asset management.

Since its launch in 2010, Almacantar have acquired over 1.5 million sq. ft. of prime assets in the heart of London including:

  • Centre Point: the tallest luxury residential building in the West End and boasts panoramic uninterrupted views of London
  • Marble Arch Place will set a new standard for luxury living, overlooking Hyde Park with high quality office and retail space
  • One and Two Southbank Place: the only high-quality office space to be built in Waterloo since the 1980s

Collectively the Almacantar team has vast industry experience and expertise in the property industry which enables us to confidently embrace the challenge of redeveloping complex buildings.

Before founding Almacantar, CEO Mike Hussey spent seven years at Land Securities plc, the largest property company in the UK, where he was an Executive Board Director with responsibility for the London portfolio and Strategic Land portfolio. He is well regarded in the public capital markets and ran a team of over 200 people at Land Securities. Property Director, Kathrin Hersel was Development Director at Land Securities where she worked on a range of transformational developments including One New Change, Wellington House and 20 Fenchurch Street.

London is a world-class city full of history and culture. It instils a strong sense of community – something which the company fosters within all of its properties. London’s position, language, culture, skilled workforce, legal system, quality of life, healthcare and education make it a unique place to live and work. It’s a cosmopolitan city that has everything in one place – financial and insurance services, advisory services, tech and creative industries, government, research centres and top educational institutes are all based here.

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Peter Murray

 

On 10 April the Society’s ‘Planning for 10 Million Londoners’ series touched on one of the most constantly controversial issues in London’s planning – the preservation or otherwise of the Green Belt. Colin Wilson of the GLA stuck his head over the parapet; Ben Taylor of Hawkins Brown reports.

Let’s release 3% of the Green Belt. Not the nice parts that people enjoy, just areas already inside the GLA boundary that are unused or cut off by infrastructure and London. Then pockets of virtually abandoned, often contaminated land can be put to better use for housing or industry and London can undo its top button and expand without anyone getting too upset. This is what Colin Wilson argued for in his talk, Rationalising Land Use Allocation in the Green Belt – the latest in the London Society’s Planning for 10 Million series. In a presentation he first gave to the deputy Mayor of London’s office a year ago, Wilson made a pragmatic and insightful case for re-examining parts of the Green Belt that fall short of the green and pleasant land held within the public imagination and which could offer a more beneficial purpose. This was backed up by an account from Ismail Mulla of Enfield Borough Council on how the local authority was preparing for the growing population challenges ahead.

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Peter Murray

 

On 22 March the London Society were fortunate enough to welcome Alan Powers, author of multiple books on modern architecture in Britain, to give us an insight into the developments of architecture in the 1930’s. Finbar Bradley reports.

Alan was eager to point out that with him at the wheel, this journey would not merely be a single path on a chronological venture but would create points which will make people reflect upon their views. He did not disappoint.

Putting the 1930s into context, after the Bank of England abandoned the Gold Standard, the progression toward using materials and goods only of English manufacturer began. There was a mentality that everything was possible and imagery such as William Walcot’s docking zeppelins at the Savoy Hotel in 1950 seemed feasible. Charles Glover’s Kings Cross Airport was another project of idyllic taste, but lacking in the reality of the time.

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Peter Murray

 

We’re very pleased to be able to add a couple of extra speakers to the Planning for the Unknown: London in 2050 panel discussion that the London Society is running in association with CityMetric next week.

  •  Jeremy Skinner, Senior Manager of Growth and Enterprise at the GLA, who led the team that produced the London Infrastructure Plan to 2050
  • Neil Bennett, lead partner at Farrells architect/planning practice for strategic infrastructure and urban design projects
  • Rose Grayston, policy manager at the housing charity Shelter
  • Nicole Badstuber, a doctoral researcher in urban transport governance and policy at UCL and Knowledge Exchange Coordinator at the UCL Transport Institute.

The discussion will be chaired by Jonn Elledge of CityMetric. If you want to know how London might evolve in the next three decades, or if you have opinions you’d like to share, come along to what will be a fascinating debate on our possible futures.

There are some tickets still available here.

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