ugly buildings

Regular readers may be coming to the conclusion that I’m a frustrated wannabe architect masquerading as a marketing guy. Damn you’re good. Anyway here’s the latest in an occasional series of postings inspired by my irresistible desire to write about buildings that I come across. You may remember in a recent posting I was going on about how I found nearby Twickenhan to be a pleasant few lanes down by the river spoiled by a scruffy High St that would shame Slough and a hideously ugly office block slap bang in the centre of the town. I scoffed, as I tend to do, because the High St here in Teddington is chock full of interesting shops, restaurants and bars and 20 times more attractive in my view.  However, as is also my want, I was talking the truth but not the whole truth. You see Teddington has a slab ugly building sister itself…in fact two.

There must be something in the water round here because someone high up in Richmond borough’s planning office agreed that as in Twickenham, a building so hideously designed it would have been rejected by the Ceaucescu’s, should be sited literally across from the train station right in the heart of the town. You know so that everybody visiting Tedders could see it.  This is what passes for enlightened civic planning in these parts:

It’s just so inspiring seeing architecture like that don’t you think?  It looks like (but I don’t think it is) the sort of building design favoured by BT in the past – functional. But it’s actually worse than that . Look more closely and you can see a huge concrete block on the side covered in wire cladding. I’ve no idea what this could be but have a closer look:

let’s be gracious and call it an executive squash court. You were probably as shocked as I was to see that there’s a huge amount of office space to let within the premises. Don’t you think it’s rather damning that the only positive aspect that the letting agency can refer to about the building is that it has excellent on-site parking. Nothing about it’s fabulous location and breathtaking views of England’s most majestic riverside. And if you want to see what the other side looks like with its imposing entrance and excellent car parking space underneath, have a butchers:

I suppose every town’s got to have its bowser building. Sadly we have two – the only other high rise in the town is slap across the road from this mother. This is the building which graces the other side of Teddington Green (from where actress Sarah Lancashire turned on our Xmas illuminations – nice but it’s not what a Blackpool lad is used to):

As you can probably make out, there’s office space to let in this slab too. Prince Charles is a prat but you do sense he has a point about some contemporary architecture. Would you wish to work in a building as bland and ugly as this? The really shameful thing is that somebody allowed this hideous box to be sited amongst a cluster of low rise Victorian and Edwardian shops and right next door to probably the most charming building in Teddington. Have a look from the other side of the Green. It’s a bit like looking at Beauty and the Beast. It staggers me that they can allow such architectural mismatches.

Anyway apart from that we like the place enormously as I’ve said before. If there’s anything that annoys (or delights) you about the look of your home town let me know.



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