Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The new council Single Site design

I've ripped into the Single Site plans but Tav asks if I looked at the Sun Path Analysis in the Supporting Documentation? The answer was no as of the plans filed this was just one document and it's not as if they need to do any work like the Tesco in justifying why they want to build and on this land and blah blah blah.

But due diligence and all that.

So History - yawn, nothing important here other than noting the protection orders on the trees and hedges nearby. Site location clarifies exactly where it is. Then yeesh a vision type statement in which the "character" of the surrounding towns are investigated presumably to provide inspiration the conclusion being Georgian with surrounding standard farm buildings. They do well though in provided example shots of some of the ugliest buildings in the towns. Where's the Lloyds in Kidderminster or the existing town hall? I mean the Piano Building provides shape, but it's a bit blocky and what's the point of showing the Debenhams since they covered up the rich frontage? I mean sure this may be an example of current styles but it doesn't by necessity make them desirable. Not even a shot of the current Civic Centre.

Why do I dislike the word "synergy" it's a perfectly acceptable Greek combination of together - work? Perhaps because it keeps getting prostituted in business statements - I'm still waiting for "synergise" I haven't spotted that yet (no please don't tell me, really don't).Anyway we get the little sneaky bit of the brief that Tav's already spotted "if appropriate can in the future be sold as an institutionally acceptable office building" in other words we can't make it look like a civil building because we might want to sell it later.

Okay sure forward thinking, except by the time that rolls around it'll be out of date and probably looking it too. Besides who wants an office building that looks like every other office building?

More details 205 desks, but a full staff of 315 I'm counting 127+6 staff car-parking places. Now as much I like to accept there's a nearby bus-stop and they've provided secure cycle sheds that's kind of assuming a third of staff using such.

Hmm opportunities exist to create a local landmark with clear civic focus, a campus environment and etc.etc. You know what I'm going to agree with all that I will point out that their "primary approach views" are dependent upon driving down a dual-carriageway the wrong way but hey, you might get a good view doing it. Nah you would be turning right there, but it seems they've neglected the view from the road that actually runs past it.

Next up some of the proposed designs and hey that first one is not bad and even reminiscent of the Civic Centre they couldn't be bothered to take a photo of. Presents a great view front to the street and I like the stacked heights. Add in a couple of bridges linking the three areas and I like this.

Then we get an interlude for some reason where they try to decide on space management then back to block building. Hey what happened to the original design the one I liked? Nah nix that and push for the current version. Now we get some 3D rendered views that answer a few of my questions (most notably about the sanity of those doing this.

So yes the bridge is not only hanging over the reception desk, but is also an open walkway. The inner courtyard (from the orientation I'd say the one to the east) is completely glass walled on both levels which, while maximising natural light, means that everyone walking down the corridors doing work can see all the skivers sitting at the tables ;-) Oh and again ladies avoid mini-skirts. They also don't seem to have bothered rendering the drains for when it rains. Just to add insult to injury the north-easterly most building is also glass-walled provided a stunningly attractive view of the traffic light junction as well as allowing every passer by to easily gawp at the proceedings. [sigh] Look shoulder-high walls and then windows upwards; no-one wants to look outside unless there's something worth looking at and no-one feels comfortable sitting in a meeting with movement behind them. Yes it's very pretty and open and bluurgh... just, just don't do it.

Then materials which I can't fault except looking like they've come out of a stereotyped Swiss/Germanic catalogue. Okay yawn, yawn, yawn and appendices.

Wey and Hey a full breakdown of space and storage gets mentioned. I'm just curious as to why a 138m2 "Archive Store" doesn't show up on the plans. What's a "Legecay Plan Analysis"? Appendix D is quite dense and seems to deal with planning procedure; nothing stands out to me here.

Ah hah appendix E Sun Path analysis - April, June, and August? Perhaps it's just me but I'd have gone for June, September, and December, the solstices and an equinox; that is highest, lowest and mid point.

You know these; all taken from the right latitude and at noon

Getting a bit dark in the later months. Gosh could that be why we don't get plots after August? Anyway onward to drainage and the run-off water is to be directed into three soak-aways beneath the car-parks.

And finally the landscape layout plan and the drainage plan... um still not seeing the drainage on those open areas of courtyard.

All together, um yeah. I liked the initial concept and then we turn it into an office block. In terms of natural light my noon June plot matches theirs, but my Sep and Dec plots show a lot of shadows falling over these open areas