Friday, 10 June 2016

Wooden Spoons from The Hammersmith Society

Last night The Hammersmith Society, the organisation that campaigns for good architecture and good civic design in our neighbourhood, announced the winners of its annual "Wooden Spoon" Awards. 

A bit like the "Razzies" in Los Angeles (an award that no Hollywood film-maker wants to win) Wooden Spoons go to buildings which have made our neighbourhood worse, not better. Wooden Spoons are a way of "naming and shaming" the new build which misses a chance to improve our streets.  

This year the Hammersmith Society awarded three Wooden Spoon awards.

Notting Hill Housing Trust - Hammersmith Grove
Notting Hill Housing Trust
"Brackenbury Square", the new development on the corner of Hammersmith Grove and Goldhawk Road, W6.

Hammersmith Grove and Goldhawk Rd in 2012
The Hammersmith Society describes this as "a building of some merit" (faint praise indeed) but one which "lacks empathy with the site surroundings - particularly the frontage and electricity sub-station onto Goldhawk Road."

The new building isn't beautiful, but to be fair on the Housing Trust, the new build is quite a bit less ugly than the buildings it replaced. See the photo below and to the right for how this corner used to look.

Godolphin and Latymer School Sports Hall, Iffley Road, W6.

This building has been selected "for the choice of brickwork which is out of context with its surroundings".

Carpetright site at the corner of Goldhawk Road/Askew Road, W12

This new building, built by developers Linden Homes, has been selected "for the choice of brickwork, also out of context with its surroundings."

Linden Homes, Goldhawk Road and Askew Road
Again, it's a fair point that the shiny new pale brick isn't at all in keeping with the yellow and red London stock bricks that make up most of our Victorian neighbourhood. The new building does feel out of place.

But, again this corner was pretty ugly before the old Carpetright warehouse was demolished and redeveloped (see image below).

So, at least what has been built now is better than what was there before.
Carpetright in 2012

Whether or not you agree with the Hammersmith Society's view that these buildings are a lost opportunity to improve our streets, the society does at least focus a spotlight on local architecture and encourage a debate on what should, and should not, be built. As Ruskin put it more than 100 years ago:

When we build, let us think that we build forever.
Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone.
Let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for;
and let us think, as we lay stone on stone,
that a time is to come when those stones will be held
sacred because our hands have touched them,
and that men will say, as they look upon
the labor and wrought substance of them,
“See! This our father did for us.”

—John Ruskin

So, watch out architects and developers. The Hammersmith Society is keeping an eye on you.

The Bush Telegraph offers a personal view on life in Shepherd's Bush. If you would like to contribute a story about our neighbourhood, email us at shepherdsbushblog(at)

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