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In Design for London’s own words “The vision for the East London Green Grid is to create a network of interlinked, multi-purpose open spaces with good connections to the areas where people live and work, public transport, the Green Belt and the Thames. This will be a richly varied landscape that will include diverse uses to appeal to all.”

As a very powerful project which hopefully will create balance to the large amount of development for the 2012 olympics this text gives an insight into the extent of the Green Grid, which is being earmarked as a strategy for the rest of London. It is also the basis for one of the modules this year.

The vision for the East London
Green Grid is to create a network
of interlinked, multi-purpose open
spaces with good connections to
the areas where people live and work, public transport, the Green Belt and the Thames. This will be a richly varied landscape that will include diverse
uses to appeal to all.

I found this book while using one of my very few spare minutes to browse Magma bookshop, one of the better design book stores. Matthew Frederick here has presented 101 principles in Architecture in plain english rather than the rather confusing language often used by lecturers, tutors and professionals. With all bases covered from presentation tips to model massing it should be the first thing Architecture students should read before starting the long haul of 7 years of academia, as well a a good refresher for Architects at all levels.

Essentials to all architecture is an understanding of technical details. In basic terms how the thing keeps dry, warm and stands up, however this should not sacrifice the aesthetics of a building, a balance must be found between the two. I think this roof by Nissen Adams Architects as part of their 2008 conversion for the Philips De Pury & Co Auction House is beautiful. The enchanting part of it is that the iron structure is all original with new double glazed units placed on top to preserve the industrial appearance but with much better insulating qualities. This is no easy feat either with most double glazed units normally housed in large chunky frames which would have destroyed the appearance of such an elegant roof.

Inhabited SectionSections are usually set up to explain the volumes within a building or the technical composition of them. Here is a section to describe the inhabitation of a space. The cut section is left blank in order for the interior to get the attention it deserves. People are purposely not included as details such as crisp packets, glasses, bags and wall decoration describe how the space is used. This is a fragment of a much larger drawing of the entire publicly accessible space within the pub at 1:20.

Long SectionTo understand how The Grapes sits in the city, it is essential to show it addressing two corridors. To the north the pub fronts onto Narrow Street, which as it states is quite narrow and other than being the location of the entrance, does not engage with. To the south however the pub opens out the the great expanse of water that is the River Thames. Despite the days of entrance to the pub being from water, the interior seems very much like a camera obscura focusing on the water. It is important that the two different scales of these corridors is also noted.

Figure Ground

Figure Ground diagrams are very useful to see the density of an area and also to get a sense of scale. Essentially the drawing depicts any building mass as a solid black against a plain white background. In this instance what is most interesting is the difference in scale within a small radius of the site. The Grapes pub itself is locate in the set of terraces on the north of the bank shown, and is a complete contrast to Canary Wharf located at the right of the diagram.

Grape Wallpaper

Some people love wall paper, some people loathe it. Either way what is interesting about these is the fact that both of them are used in The Grapes, one for the downstairs back room and the other for the restaurant. Both nicotine stained white with pattern in relief.

As part of the Ethics & Professionalism module, you are asked to question the code of conduct within practice. These are a couple of theoretical situations that were put to us; I would put my answers next to them but they contained far too many swear words for a blog without a parental guidance waning. What is slightly worrying though is that with the downturn in the economy and serious lack of jobs at the moment, these quite ridiculous situations are far more likely to be a reality than ever before.

You are offered a job by a practice that you admire but the director of the firm says you will not be salaried but will need to be working freelance/self employed.  He tells you that this will be to your advantage as well as his – by the way – you will not be getting anything in writing!.

You are in practice and working on a project on a site that you used at college.  You have a copy of the end of year show book and were very impressed with a project completed by someone else in your year.  You think that you might ‘re-cycle’ the proposal.

You meet an old friend in a pub and they tell you they have been offered a really good project by a local developer but they don’t have enough resource to do it.  You have a small practice which is short of work – you know this developer because you are a member of the same tennis club.  Any thoughts????

You are in the process of agreeing terms for a new project.  It is big client and you would like to have them as a repeat client in the future.  They are negotiating you down on the fees below the point that you know you can afford.  What do you do?

You are a young assistant working  in a high profile practice.  You are asked to be part of the ‘community engagement’ process prior to submitting the planning application.  You are required to help put together the statement of community consultation.  You really enjoy the workshop days and feel the local residents raised some very important issues.  They had real insight into the area and the scheme as proposed will fail to meet their aspirations and may even contribute to the problems they are facing.  You speak to the associate who tells you it was all ‘window dressing’.  The scheme is designed – forget it – it is all part of just getting the job done – and can you work this weekend?  What do you think?  What do you do?

1896 2005

It is always interesting comparing maps of an area from two different time periods to see what has changed, but even more so in this case. The Docklands is a very strange part of London, once a buzzing transfer area of goods from ships to warehouses and canals for distribution, it is now an area inhabited mainly by city workers, most of which retreat to the country at the weekend. Comparing the two maps of 1896 and 2005 (above) not only reveals the obvious changes of use in the docks from industry to recreation, but also that there was a large brewery, Barley Mow. There appear to be small terraced houses covering a large amount of the surrounding area which would have been to accommodate the workers. This has all be replaced on the later map with high density apartments, presumably  for the new city clientele.


The Grapes is a Public House located on Narrow Street, Limehouse in the Docklands, London. Apparently a regular haunt of Charles Dickens at one point, it is very cozy pub with both traditional ales on tap and a renowned fish restaurant, that has two very different faces. One side of the building has a very traditional frontage onto the street, which features the usual frosted windows, hanging plant baskets, etc… At the rear however it faces onto the Thames, which it embraces much more lovingly with mooring posts and balconies at two levels from its bar and restaurant at first floor. The relationships which this small structure has with both approaches will be investigated further in an extremely detailed section at 1:20 which is being produced at present as part of a team of four produced drawing package of exploratory investigations of the pub.

This will form part of the first section of investigations into Public House.