Sir: When I was a boy I had a set of building bricks. Imaginatively designed, it had pieces in every "classical" shape one could wish for - low pediments, steep pediments, quarter-arcs, arches, tympana, columns, capitals, architraves, even finials (I remember learning the names from the instruction sheet, and thinking, even at the age of seven, how artificial it all seemed). The set was rather short of plain blocks and bricks, it is true, but I was to see it in use once more after 50 years - in the drawings for the Paternoster Square scheme.
The central defect of both the 1950s scheme and the current proposals is very simple: they are both unrelieved office space. The area needs a brief that includes a substantial proportion of residential space distributed in units of a wide range of sizes and across as much of the price range as the economics of the whole project will allow. Given those requirements, the "classical" Post-Modernists would be unable to make the area look better than a des. det. res. estate in Wimbledon and would be laughed out of court.
10 JanuaryReuse content