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A Golden Building- What were they thinking?

By Josephine Lucas 
A Golden Building- What were they thinking? By Josephine Lucas
 
I would not know the first thing about building design and construction. Nevertheless, there are certain things that stand out to me as obvious no-no’s when it comes to integrating a monster tower-block into a petite residential area. 
Erratic colours or designs would appear to me as avoidable characteristics; instead maybe I would go for something that fitted in politely and non-intrusively. Well, I can certainly say that the developers of ‘City View’ in Chamberlayne Road, Kensal Rise, did not share my frame of mind when coming up with their outrageous design.
 
Evidently, the recent development has been causing a stir amongst locals. It has already been nominated for the Carbuncle Cup- an award to find the ugliest building- after having provoked outcry from some residents in the surrounding area.  Jessie Trace from Kensal Rise described it as an “ugly monstrosity”, whilst others could not comprehend Brent Councils motives behind approving the plans. 
 
City View in Chamberlaine Road by Josephine Lucas
 
However, the flats have received mixed reviews with some arguing that it provides the area with something exiting and new; although perhaps to some extent ignoring its aggressive domination over the conservative Victorian and Edwardian design neighbouring it.
 
The tower blocks bright golden colouring has been the cause of most of the anger surrounding the project.  Not only does the gold covering or anodized copper create a sharp contrast with surrounding buildings, but the reflexion of sunlight on the cladding is described by some to be somewhat blinding and potentially hazardous for drivers.
 
With flat prices ranging from £275,000 to £785,000 it is of no surprise that the council were eager to go ahead with the plans to develop a tower block, perhaps in turn bringing some more affluence to the area.  Great discussion also ensued over what the shops below would provide to the area, but not even a Tesco’s Local or a Nandos could redeem the buildings glaring distastefulness.
 
Rumour has it that the balconies offer ‘amazing city views’, although it seems extremely debatable whether many buyers would even want to venture out onto the outside of a high-rise block on a main road, looking onto plumbing shops with toilets in the windows, or onto the playground of an old sports centre.
 
A Brent Council Spokesperson stated that the council had “consulted with residents at every stage of the planning process...and encouraged them to give their views and opinions.” Nevertheless, it is clear that the end result has not proven an overall success and has definitely not won approval from many residents, myself included. Hopefully its nomination in the Carbuncle Cup will bring some more attention to what, in my view, is a disaster in British architecture and design, unfortunately placed right in the centre of our community.
 
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