In Gove's mind, good architecture seems to be indelibly associated with New Labour and the 1990s. And nothing signified that era of moral and aesthetic decay so much as the curve. Look how it sprang up in the pods and blobs of Will Alsop! Look how Norman Foster besmirched the City with his curvaceous Gherkin, then built a spherical City Hall in London for the new (New Labour) mayor (and his lickspittle architectural advisor, Richard Rogers). Curves were everywhere: Gehry's Bilbao Guggenheim, the London Eye, the Eden Project, the Scottish parliament, the Millennium Dome (New Labour and Rogers again, ugh!), Zaha Hadid, Jonathan Ives' iMac, the Ford Ka, the sun, the moon, Kylie Minogue's bum. It must have been 10 years of wonky hell for Gove.
So now he's literally putting things straight. Perhaps this is the first step towards a square new coalition utopia a world entirely designed by Lego, Rubik, Mondrian and David Chipperfield. Although that sounds a bit colourful. Perhaps colour should go too. Who needs it, after all?
Curves or no curves, the sentiment for practical, low-cost, functional school buildings is one all architects can get behind. Think of Alison and Peter Smithson's seminal, scrupulously rectilinear Hunstanton School a shining example of postwar modernist architecture. Or the standardised, prefabricated school design Oscar Niemeyer produced for Brazil's education department in the 1980s. This was so successful, 508 schools were built to it, each customised to local needs. Why couldn't a similar thing happen here? Oh yes, because Niemeyer's design had curves in it. ------------------------------------------------
Just when you thought things couldn't get nuttier, now all British school architecture must look like show boxes, without the lid.
Just my opinion but once the novelty wore off Gehry’s creations it became apparent there’s nothing really worth while under the chrome.
so the guy wants low cost, low maintenance public buildings. he should be celebrated. if someone wants a hugely expensive taj mahal. let them build it with their own monies. as for public funds, they need to be spent wisely, for public purposes, not for self aggrandizement.
“One rule fits all” just doesn’t work. Especially one government rule. How about just applying a little common sense? Choose sensible architects, choose simplicity, and choose low costs—within reason.
For instance, lower maintenance costs down the line, as well as lower initial costs. A brick school makes sense if it saves having to prep and paint it every couple of years. And stone or brick or concrete makes sense if you want to cut down on fire risks.
There’s something to be said for functional modern architecture. But anything build modern for the sake of modern is usually pretty ugly.
Common sense. It’s in short supply. But it’s what the guys who make the decisions need most.
Ya’ll need some Soviet in your public building style?
This article is making a design specification sound like a ban. I’d rather see a demand for a density ratio or something like that, but I suspect Gove is suspecting monkey business with anything less than clear demands.
The reason and the answer lies in the book...Fountianhead
Buildings should look like bacon. A perfect balance of curve and rectangle.