Alain Head, a long-time former resident of the Amwell area and the architectural advisor to the society, gave an entertaining talk at the Annual General Meeting on May 14. His theme was architectural soup – and how the mix of different ingredients can often provide a satisfying unity.
To illustrate his different ‘soups’ we went on a whistle stop tour across much of the built-world to be surprised by the quirky additions, re-purposing and juxtapositions of buildings. Some surprising examples from places as diverse as Chicago and China, where new buildings are piled on top of the old ones to good effect.
Closer to home came his example of Greenwich power station with the Trinity Almshouses nestling beside it, and a reminder that the glorious size of the turbine hall at Tate Modern arises from the repurposing of Bankside power station.
In Clerkenwell he talked to the importance of how we renovate houses within a conservation area. Often a modern alternative may be more in keeping than a fake period replacement. Indeed, the late, great Lubetkin favoured the newest window technology over a strict facsimile during the 1980s refurbishment of his pioneering modernist Spa Green estate. Buildings move on and assimilate the changes brought by new technology.