Monday, April 27, 2009
I mentioned in the post below that Baron Rogers of Riverside lives in a Georgian house in Chelsea near the proposed site for the High Tech luxury apartment buildings designed by Rogers and opposed by many of his neighbors. His former business partner and current partner in crime Baron Foster of Thames Bank is leaving the Thames behind and changing his primary residence to an 18th century Classical chateau in Switzerland. Maybe he thinks there are too many glass towers in London. As the Sunday Times wrote,
His new home, however, stands in sharp contrast to such modernist edifices. Fronted by formal gardens and classical statuary, Château de Vincy was once visited by the writer Voltaire.
There’s not a glass and steel tower in sight.
Lord Rogers, Bully Boy
YES, the complaints of Lord Rogers and his Starchitect friends in a letter to the Sunday Times that Prince Charles should not use his position to influence the "democratic planning process" initially sound reasonable. But Their Eminences Baron Rogers of Riverside and Baron Foster of Thames Bank frequently use their privileged positions in the House of Lords to work behind the scenes and get what they want — and worse: they've been known to use their connections with the British press to get negative stories about Charles, Diana and Camilla on the front pages within days of comments by Charles they didn't like.
Rogers and Foster are at the top of the British establishment, and they work hard to promote Starchitecture and beat back any challenges to its hegemony. Rogers was the Chair of the UK Deputy Prime Minister's Urban Task Force and then Chief Advisor on Architecture and Urbanism to the Mayor of London. He knows as well as anyone that the British planning process is not a democratic process, but a bureaucratic process that often takes place behind closed doors.
"Planning and democracy simply do not belong in the same sentence," said Amanda Baillie, editor of the weekly Building Design, about the letter in the Times from Foster, Rogers, Gehry and other Starchitects. "The system is dreadful, and Frank Gehry, of all people, should know that, he had terrible trouble with planners, politicians and bureaucracy over the high-rise scheme he was trying to get built in Hove on the south coast. The prince is speaking up because he feels local people, aside from anyone else, are not being listened to, and, in any case , the Wren complex is of national importance. ... Do not let any architect tell you our planning system is open and democratic. It's not."
Rogers envies the bully pulpit Charles has, but despite the undemocratic charges he levels against Charles, the Prince speaks for many Britons who watch the deterioration of their cities and feel they have no voice. Rogers's behind the scenes advocacy of unpopular ideas is far more undemocratic. Rogers's real problem is that Charles's bully pulpit works better than Rogers's bullying. Just look at the polls.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
And again ...
Only a little time left to vote ...
More on these polls in the next 24 hours.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Spring Has Sprung Right Into Summer
The Montague Bookmill
THE VIEW of the Sawmill River rapids from my comfy chair at the Montague Bookmill - "Books you don't need, in a place you can't find" is their motto. Good coffee, free wifi and a cool steady breeze through the window on a hot day all make it a great Third Place.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Live from the Pioneer Valley