Vive La Difference

Not so much text this time – you may be glad to hear.

We just wanted to show you some pictures to illustrate some of the differences between the £28 million academy planned for the Lancaster Green site, and the £43 million academy that was recently finished in Chelsea.  Aesthetically there seems to be no comparison between the two.

Above is a pic of a London academy designed by Studio E, the same firm of architects commissioned to design the Kensington Academy. We think this style of architecture might best be described as typical of the ‘Giant Public Lavatory’ school of municipal design currently favored by town planners.  The City Academy in Hackney is a good example of this disposable bargain-basement style of modernism. With its garish colours and cheap supermarket plastic look, it appears to be very similar in design to what is planned for Lancaster Green.

Chelsea Academy, by comparison, has an understated and organic appearance. It has clearly been built to last, mostly in brick and stone, and has an almost neo-classical look. Perhaps we are a bit old fashioned, but if we must have a new school on the Lancaster Green site, we think this kind of design would sit far better in the existing landscape, and might even contribute positively to the character and appearance of the area.

The Core Strategy itself seem to agree with these sentiments:

“Conservation areas cover more than 70% of the Borough.  Careful incremental improvement is needed to ensure these areas remain of the highest quality. However, there are a number of small areas in the south, and two large areas in the north of the Borough, which are not within conservation areas. It is important that these areas are not regarded as ‘second class’ in terms of the future quality and contribution for which we should be striving. We should aspire for these areas to be our future conservation areas and exceptional design quality is needed”.

One wonders what happened to these grand aspirations when they began planning the Lancaster Green project.


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