Blanditecture Part II

Another year has passed and the scaffolding has finally come down on the Royal Alex development, to reveal its blocky bulk in all its beige glory (or is it vanilla?)

In my opinion, a modernist brick style with modern reconstituted stone details would have been more interesting, softer in texture and made a reference to the materials used in the original building.

These changes wouldn’t have cost much more, and maybe by reducing the council’s affordable housing requirement, it might have allowed the developer’s budget to stretch a little further to more interesting materials.

However, it is done now, so there isn’t much we can do about it…apart from maybe…

Club together, buy loads of trees and try out some gorilla gardening to cover up its dominating magnolia ugliness. Then apply for Tree Preservation Orders on the trees?

Or, covertly paint yoghurt (in nice stencilled patterns) on the amazingly dull façades to encourage an organic growth of lichen and watch the patterns emerge over the years. (I’m guessing different coloured lichens might prefer different brands of yoghurt).

But enough of this negativity. There have been some positive developments on West Hill this year also. Though some are sceptical, I am supportive of the Seven Dials redevelopment. Yes, it’s annoying at the moment trying to negotiate the constantly changing road system in order to find the best rat run, but once complete we will have something crossed between a Parisian café scene and Italian piazza, a hub of activity for the local area (maybe). We might even be able to fit a farmers market on the roundabout itself!

Paul Reed, Architect 07807459350


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