Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Glass in the Face


I learn from the inestimable 'Piloti' in Private Eye that the oafish Abingdon Council in Oxfordshire want to put a glass lift up to the second floor of the old Town Hall, built by one of Wren's masons in 1678-82. On the outside, if you can possibly believe it. Of course it's the usual insistence on disabled access, whatever the cost and accusations of vandalism. And on top of all that the curator of the 'museum' upstairs thinks that the open space at the bottom, framed by the arcades, is 'dark and dismal' and so wants it all glazed in. Doubtless to let out to a burgher franchise or dodgy building society. And the cost? £5 million. Thank God English Heritage have now got involved. But I do hope that if ever I have the awful misfortune to be unable to climb the stairs through either a disability, or from being morbidly obese, that I will either forgo the experience or be able to summon a couple of council officials to take me up there piggy-back style. They've patently got nothing better to do.

10 comments:

Diplomat said...

I see this elevator plan as not entirely disimilar to colostomy surgery, the transparent construction reinforces the image to my mind. The building is indeed quite some age and it is perhaps the requirement to secure a longer term reliable solution to dealing with the inevitable waste product of most town halls that has the driven the institution to submit to elective surgery.

Peter Ashley said...

Blimey. See what you mean.

Toby Savage said...

Yeah. But it will look crap and, inevitably have to have a waste bag emptied periodically. And where will that go? Not in my back yard.

Access123 said...

You might want to take a look at this unique wheelchair lift system http://www.wheelchairaccess.co.uk The System is imbedded into a staircase turning it into a retracting set of stairs that reveal a platform lift / disabled lift for wheelchair access. These stairs can be clad in the same existing material or whatever material required, from carpet to marble. Internal/External access, perfect even for listed buildings.

Philip Wilkinson said...

I think the system referred to in the previous comment is for low-rise staircases, but surely it's not beyond the wit of humankind to create something similar for a longer run of interior stairs. Meanwhile, I'd like someone to eplain how glazing the ground-floor arches will make the interior space less gloomy.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Re my previous comment, what I'd like them to do is EXPLAIN (not EPLAIN). Sorry.

Peter Ashley said...

For some reason architects think that glass used in this context is somehow invisible, completely ignoring the fact that it reflects everything around it.

Ron Combo said...

If they put a Blockbuster Video on the first floor and a McDonalds at street level then the people who wanted to rent The 1,000 Best Executions in the World...Ever! vid would have to walk through the McDonalds first which means that they'd get extra business and the Council could charge them extra rent.

Peter Ashley said...

Is this the same Ron Combo that once bought a burger at McDonald's in Piccadilly Circus, took one bite out of it and then hurled it across Shaftesbury Avenue?

Ron Combo said...

Possibly.