Classical Or Modern? Why Not Both

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 102 months ago
Classical Or Modern? Why Not Both
The classical design. Stanford Eatwell & Associates
The classical design. Stanford Eatwell & Associates
The modern design.
The modern design.
The modern design.
The modern design.
0701_horseferryclass.jpg

0701_horseferryclass.jpg
The classical design. (Stanford Eatwell & Associates)
The battle rages on in architecture between those who tack toward classically-inspired design and those who cleave to the shock of the modern. Seldom do the two sides see eye to eye, and last year's skirmish between Prince Charles and Richard Rogers' firm over the latter's proposal for Chelsea Barracks saw the dispute reach its nadir.

If, however, we can't decide between a modern or classical aesthetic, why not try out both? Westminster Council has approved two distinctly different designs for a residential block on the site of the former Magistrates' Court on Horseferry Road. Councilllors originally rejected the classical design (above), deeming it "inappropriate" for the site, and chose the modern one (below) instead.

0701_horseferry_mod.jpg
The modern design.

However, in order to avoid taking sides in a growing stylistic dispute, the Council then decided to approve the traditional design as well, allowing the developer, Barratt Homes, to make a final decision.

By dodging the question, Westminster are presumably hoping that they'll avoid a backlash from disappointed locals upset that their favoured design didn't get chosen. It does set a worrying precedent, though: will architects now be expected to knock up rival designs to appease the sensibilities of different sets of stakeholders in a project?

Last Updated 07 January 2010