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More from Alexander Davidson

The Beddington Zero Energy Development (BedZED)

This viewpoint deals with BedZED, the most notable mixed-use sustainable community to be developed in London over the last twenty years. Develped by Bioregional and the Peabody Trust to designs by Bill Dunster Architects, BedZED was subject to significant media attention upon its completion in 2002 and no shortage of controversy. In this viewpoint, I argue that rather than being seen as good or bad, the scheme should be seen as an indication of how much our expectations regarding sustainabilty have changed over the last two decades.

Broadcasting House and British Plastics

In this viewpoint, I tell the story of the BBC’s headquarters, its design by Val Myer and FJ Watson Hart and its magnificent recording studios. The story features angry local residents, neo-Art Deco facades, and a type of early plastic made of formaldehyde resin.

The Toilet Tower on Conduit Mews

This viewpoint focusses on a toilet tower (a series of bathrooms stacked in the shape of a helix), built as part of scheme to transform four Victorian terraced houses into student housing in Paddington, London, in the late-1960s. More specifically, how architects Nicholas Grimshaw and Terry Farrell promoted plastics in architecture on aesthetic grounds in a way which has ultimately proved to be unsustainable.

More in United Kingdom

The Exeter Change Menagerie

Elephants, big cats, monkeys and everything in between all packed into a first-floor petting zoo. What could go wrong? Lots, it turned out, but not before Exeter Change became one of Georgian London’s most famous attractions introducing thousands of people to exotic beasts from around the world for the very first time.