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Can we trust the government to judge what's beautiful?

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Please can we have a new bunch of idiots in charge? I'm tired of these idiots.

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Can we trust the government to judge what's beautiful?

The UK government has resolved to put beauty first to create better homes. Shame no one can agree on what that means

 

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2019/jan/15/can-we-trust-the-government-to-judge-whats-beautiful

 

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The UK government thinks it has got to the heart of the housing crisis: the problem is, new homes just aren’t beautiful enough. “Build beautifully and get permission,” says the housing minister, Kit Malthouse. “Build beautifully and communities will actually welcome developers, rather than drive them out of town at the tip of a pitchfork.”

If only housebuilders would make their product more visually appealing, the thinking goes, then opposition to them would fade away, more homes would be built, prices would drop and we would all live happily ever after. The simple solution, Malthouse says, is “putting beauty at the heart of our housing and communities policy”.

Hence the new Building Better, Building Beautiful commission, which was established in November to interrogate the question of beauty in the built environment and met with howls of outrage and derisive sneers. It’s not hard to see why. A parliamentary debate that preceded the announcement played out like a parody of Victorian mores, as successive MPs lined up to lament the state of modern architecture.

 

What's that smell? Oh, it's the scent of Housebuilders' PR Musk sprayed liberally over the necks of our so-called government. Maintaining buildings, oh no, no money for that. 

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There's a bit of a point there though, virtually everything built in the last century or so has been a depressing pile of crap, some downright ugly, others just plain, mindnumbingly dull. Do I have any faith in the government (or anyone else) doing much about that? No. In any case it'll only make building lots more only slightly less awful. The level of development in the UK means that both quality and quantity are problems, if you want it to be a more pleasant place to live in it needs both less quantity and more quality. Anything else is merely adjusting the rate of decline.

Not unexpected comments about sneers though, you usually get that from the defenders of modern architecture who, as far as I can tell, never have working eyesight and confuse "new" with "good" and reject anything old simply because it's old, no matter whether it works or not. Different for the sake of being different, change for the sake of change, pathetic idiots. Such people have caused far too much damage, vermin is too good a word.

Edited by Riedquat

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Sounds fair enough, given the rancour and power of NIMBYs.

I think modern Barratt etc estates look awful, but then again most people have no taste. I imagine people who like them think Bryan Adams is rock n roll, smooth flow beer is real ale, the Chicago Rock Cafe is an edgy night out, and Nandos is a classy restaurant to take the missus.

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They will do whatever makes them and their parasite mates the most profit..

If that means making walls out of fibreglass then that’s what they will do! 

People don’t matter only profit! 

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27 minutes ago, Si1 said:

Sounds fair enough, given the rancour and power of NIMBYs.

I think modern Barratt etc estates look awful, but then again most people have no taste. I imagine people who like them think Bryan Adams is rock n roll, smooth flow beer is real ale, the Chicago Rock Cafe is an edgy night out, and Nandos is a classy restaurant to take the missus.

You use the word NIMBY then go on to say how awful the type of development they really loathe is? Anyway I hate that word, it's just used as a way of insulting and dismissing people who are very understandably unhappy at their locality becoming a more unpleasant place to be, p1ssing on some of the aspects that make it worth being in. That some couldn't care less if the same thing happens elsewhere (a baseless assumption, it gets applied to all objectors, not just ones who say "shove it anywhere other than here") or are part of the underlying cause of the problem (probably a bit more mileage in that one) is a bit beside the point.

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Alright, I'll play. Please post pics/links of your Top 3 Most Beautiful Residential City Buildings. They can be from any country but excluding places surrounded by nature and beautiful views. 

It's an entirely subjective waste of money and time. 

May as well consult on 'What Is Art?'

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14 minutes ago, Riedquat said:

You use the word NIMBY then go on to say how awful the type of development they really loathe is? Anyway I hate that word, it's just used as a way of insulting and dismissing people who are very understandably unhappy at their locality becoming a more unpleasant place to be, p1ssing on some of the aspects that make it worth being in. That some couldn't care less if the same thing happens elsewhere (a baseless assumption, it gets applied to all objectors, not just ones who say "shove it anywhere other than here") or are part of the underlying cause of the problem (probably a bit more mileage in that one) is a bit beside the point.

Whilst I despise these buildings I don't object to them being built, I'm liberal like that :)

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17 minutes ago, PeanutButter said:

Alright, I'll play. Please post pics/links of your Top 3 Most Beautiful Residential City Buildings. They can be from any country but excluding places surrounded by nature and beautiful views

It's an entirely subjective waste of money and time. 

May as well consult on 'What Is Art?'

Of course it's subjective. That's hardly an excuse for dismissing it though, is it? The nature of your surroundings makes a big difference to quality of life; I'd go as far as to argue that most if not all things that make life worth living, once you've got past the essentials, are subjective. The best you can hope for is to accommodate most peoples' preferences without them treading on each other too much. If you say "It's subjective so there's no right answer so I won't bother" you're certainly not going to create the best living environments possible, or anything close to it. At most you'll get functional misery.

You may as well indeed consult on "What is art?", because that's another thing that doesn't have an easy, straightforward answer a computer can solve for you but still can make a big impact on life (life would be a lot worse without music for example).

Doesn't matter how subjective something is, if it makes people happy, or prevents them from being happy, it's of the very first order importance. And the appearance of the surroundings we see and hear every day are very, very significant in that.

Edited by Riedquat

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The UK is that small in the scheme of things, nowhere is more than half a day away.....live in a place that you feel comfortable in and travel to another place for variety and spice......a bolt hole in so many wonderful places, wonderful people and places to enjoy......all homes are boxes, most built with bricks, the best or most expensive boxes are not always in the best places...😉

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It was far worse when the government was deciding things: they wanted stalinist blocks. Barratt at least build houses people want to live in. Thank god barrarts  won and government planning lost. 

 

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The problem is, what is beautiful, appealing architecture is determined by history and social circumstance. For example just after the war, those victorian terraces that people will pay a lot of money for now, with original features a selling point, were viewed as overcrowded slums, associated with disease, child labour,  terrible poverty. It would have been much preferable to move into a brand new, multi storey concrete  Corbusier style tower block, with an inside toilet and central heating. When people looked at those then, they would see something modern,  that promised  a brighter welfare state future. Of course due to history we see things differently now. 

Who is to say that current new build houses and offices will not look appalling to people in 50 years time, they could be falling to bits due to poor build quality, cheap mock tudor panelling rotted away. 

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Time has allowed the separation between the Victorian terraces as buildings from the conditions generally associated with them to become more apparent. Old buildings that the owner can afford to look after (which the original inhabitants often couldn't), without overcrowding, and a few modern amenities tend to, IMO, combine the best bits of various times - I think real progress is throwing away the genuinely crap, and it's not always immediately obvious what that is, whilst keeping what works, rather than starting again and being different for the sake of it.

Current new build houses look appalling now, although to be fair not quite as bad as they were for a good portion of the second half of the 20th century, although on the other hand those had the merits of a bit more space.

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New builds will be the slums of the near future, tiny rotten, tainted crime infested estates. 

they wont last very long, and will look worse run down than older period properties. 

Same with all these ‘executive’ flats in London. Most will be torn down. or become terrible social housing. 

The old Grenfell style towers were fine when they were built back then progress was rapid, it was expected they would be replaced for something even better in 20 years from their build dates. But they stopped being family units when the social fabric of Britain changed with single mums etc taking priority. In other countries high rise living works well without the social problems. 

anything with good build quality, green spaces, good use of light, decently sized with nice proportions will last the span of time. simple as that. new builds do not have ANY of that. 

people don’t like older properties just for the sake of it, they like them as they meet all of the criteria above for human habitation. 

Would the government provide that? Well yes, that have done will well built council houses historically. now days maybe not. 

we live in a world when it’s soo bloody hard to get a nice house you have to sign your life away paying for somewhere nice. Should the government build council housing nicer than what working people can get? Or should they force them into shipping containers? it’s not moral, but it is fair. 

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Would the architect,  planning official,  developer live in the new builds they are building...? In most cases I think the answer is no.  Many have designed in conflict over parking and noise.  Misery guaranteed.

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4 minutes ago, jiltedjen said:

 In other countries high rise living works well without the social problems. 

 

People make slums not buildings. 

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5 minutes ago, Wayward said:

Would the architect,  planning official,  developer live in the new builds they are building...? In most cases I think the answer is no.  Many have designed in conflict over parking and noise.  Misery guaranteed.

The parking is shockingly bad at new-builds. I frankly think you would be a moron buying a new build. 

they are designed so they look nice and swanky on viewing (as they are all on sale at the same time) so the parking issues are not apparent, nice wide open roads etc. but then everyone moves in bringing their 2 or 3 cars, when the houses are often only a single car wide, some houses are actually 2 flats on the width of one car. Then it becomes parking hell.

i have had friends buy new builds and parking becomes such as issue it’s all about dog poo on car handles, paint stripper and slashed tyres, what a life. 

New build are basically all clever marketing how to get stupidly high amounts of money for tiny tiny plots of brownfield contaminated scrubland? 

make they white, pretty, with posh house letters, put in scaled down furniture to make them look bigger. People move in and find the kitchen cupboards are soo shallow you can’t fit plates in and close the doors. 

Edited by jiltedjen

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A road to nowhere, narrow roads and pavements, no or small front gardens, poor parking or no parking, garages a few inches wider than some cars, tall and narrow three storey houses, poor storage space, small rooms, concrete floors, plasterboard room divisions, poor sound insulation, thin softwood beams, hardboard floors....but has two loos and an ensuite.....just what you always wanted.😉

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14 minutes ago, jiltedjen said:

The parking is shockingly bad at new-builds. I frankly think you would be a moron buying a new build.

To the point where it's worse than on streets designed before cars had been invented?

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34 minutes ago, jiltedjen said:

New builds will be the slums of the near future, tiny rotten, tainted crime infested estates. 

they wont last very long, and will look worse run down than older period properties. 

Same with all these ‘executive’ flats in London. Most will be torn down. or become terrible social housing. 

The old Grenfell style towers were fine when they were built back then progress was rapid, it was expected they would be replaced for something even better in 20 years from their build dates. But they stopped being family units when the social fabric of Britain changed with single mums etc taking priority. In other countries high rise living works well without the social problems. 

anything with good build quality, green spaces, good use of light, decently sized with nice proportions will last the span of time. simple as that. new builds do not have ANY of that. 

people don’t like older properties just for the sake of it, they like them as they meet all of the criteria above for human habitation. 

Would the government provide that? Well yes, that have done will well built council houses historically. now days maybe not. 

we live in a world when it’s soo bloody hard to get a nice house you have to sign your life away paying for somewhere nice. Should the government build council housing nicer than what working people can get? Or should they force them into shipping containers? it’s not moral, but it is fair. 

I don't know. If Trellick Tower can be rehabilitated then frankly anything can.

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1 hour ago, Riedquat said:

To the point where it's worse than on streets designed before cars had been invented?

Yes. back then land was not as valuable, and houses were wider, some may not of had road-parking but enough front garden than you could make parking. Older streets had pavements on both sides also. 

now it’s as many houses on as small as plot as possible, with houses only single cars wide. Awkward curves in streets. pavements become impassable, god knows how wheel-chair users cope. the pavements are just for car parks now. 

new builds have postage stamp gardens, if not front doors opening straight onto the road. no where you could make parking. 

its all about housing density. I can see why delevopers build them, money for nothing when people will buy anything with an en-suite, and an upstairs bathroom 2 feet apart. 

they are sold to morons. they wouldn’t build them if people didn’t lap them up. 

Rushing to buy rubbish on the expectation they can sell to some other mug, and trade up with money saved from renting. 

time will tell, not that much time, but these new builds will just been seen as liabilities. the recent post naughties terrible cheapo houses have not had enough time yet to become liabilities. but another 10 years as even getting a mortgage on anything under 20 years old will get progressively harder without extensive rework. 

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19 minutes ago, jiltedjen said:

Yes. back then land was not as valuable, and houses were wider, some may not of had road-parking but enough front garden than you could make parking. Older streets had pavements on both sides also.

On the more upmarket ones that's true (wouldn't they look great if they had front gardens now instead of parking) but your typical Victorian terrace is doors opening right on to a not particularly wide pavement. You mention housing density but the terraces are high density housing. When it came to the masses the Victorians went for the squeeze 'em in approach. They just did a better job of it design-wise (if not amenity-wise, by a long stretch), and of course didn't have cars to deal with.

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now it’s as many houses on as small as plot as possible, with houses only single cars wide. Awkward curves in streets. pavements become impassable, god knows how wheel-chair users cope. the pavements are just for car parks now. 

That's part of modern estates that I don't like. Those curves simply don't work IMO. I'd like to say that they make the whole thing seem very artificial, although any street is completely artificial; not sure how to put it into words.

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they are sold to morons. they wouldn’t build them if people didn’t lap them up. 

Rushing to buy rubbish on the expectation they can sell to some other mug, and trade up with money saved from renting.  

time will tell, not that much time, but these new builds will just been seen as liabilities. the recent post naughties terrible cheapo houses have not had enough time yet to become liabilities. but another 10 years as even getting a mortgage on anything under 20 years old will get progressively harder without extensive rework. 

Can't argue with any of that! As I said upthread I think they often don't look quite as bad as the ones from a few decades ago but I really can't see them standing the test of time - literally.

Edited by Riedquat

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Obviously the main reason new builds are built on estates, rather along existing roads like older houses is due to the land the developer has bought and utilising it rationally. However, nowadays a lot of the first time buyer estates are in euphemistically "up and coming areas", so the fact they are in cul de sacs also blots out the roughness of the surrounding area. 

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6 minutes ago, nothernsoul said:

Obviously the main reason new builds are built on estates, rather along existing roads like older houses is due to the land the developer has bought and utilising it rationally. However, nowadays a lot of the first time buyer estates are in euphemistically "up and coming areas", so the fact they are in cul de sacs also blots out the roughness of the surrounding area. 

Nothing really new there. Sticking with terraces they generally occupy an area of land off main roads, although including the main road frontage too, so presumably a builder bought up an area of land and built on it (or the landowner did it themselves). They just don't look quite so much like an arbitrary bunch of self-contained houses. It's quite interesting poring over maps and aerial views and spotting various developments from various times from the layout alone.

Edited by Riedquat

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A lot of the point of the look of new builds, even barrat houses from the 80s(if you can call them new) is to send out the message "this is not social housing" to prospective buyers. Hence details like mock tudor panels, en suites and other more subtle things that wouldnt be on traditional social housing. 

 

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I live in a terrace, in an area full of terraces. My road is off the main road, but not a cul de sac. As far as i can think, very few of the terrace streets around me are deliberate cul de sacs. I imagine because they were just put up quickly for ordinary working class people to live, socialise, near where they worked(mostly the same place of work) At the end of the streets some of the houses are larger with three storeys, i am told that was because decades ago they were shops, with shopkeepers living upstairs. 

New build estates are different. They are meant to be enclosed and feel enclosed. The houses are not meant to feel like part of an organic or existing community as this isnt the appeal. Because all the people buying them new will be moving in at the same time,  it isnt possible for buyers to use the normal subconscious process of deciding if  the street is socially desirable for them- asking themselves the question what type of person lives there already- so the the developers have got to use other methods to make buyers feel confident parting with their money. 

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