Regularly spending time in Malaysia means that I’ve become a little familiar with the architectural heritage of colonial era buildings, especially in Kuala Lumpur. Municipal architecture was dominated by architect Arthur Benison Hubback, who was responsible for more than twenty buildings across Malaysia. As with British imperialism in India, buildings often incorporated different architectural traditions and these images of the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station show how he used classical European domes, arches and gables in addition to features such as Mughal chatri spires, said to resemble the chatris on the roof of the Taj Mahal. Across the road the last two photos show the more restrained railway administrative building.
The architectural history of Smithfield and nearby buildings of the Charterhouse make it a most fascinating area of London for heritage inspired photography. It was the route last weekend for a Barbican Members walk with most of the group sticking around afterwards to visit the little museum that opened in 2017 as part of the Revealing the Charterhouse project.
In December, I will be leading a longer walk for the Royal Institute of British Architects that looks at these two locations not only as places of history but through the lens of architectural and cultural change especially with the refurbishment of the General Market buildings underway after so many years of being derelict. The date is December 10th with further details coming soon on the walks page.
Yesterday afternoon, the Grenfell memorial service was a humbling and moving experience which was followed by an estimated 18000 people participating in a dignified silent walk. People were there to pay respects but were understandably asking questions about how five years can pass with so little meaningful change. These are some of the photographs.
The government’s handling of both Grenfell and the subsequent cladding scandal, leaves a clear political opportunity for the opposition parties and it was good to see local MP’s as well as Lisa Nandy, Shadow Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, talking with local leaders and joining the walk. With the completion of the Grenfell Inquiry still some time away, the opposition parties must continue to put pressure to deliver truly just outcomes for the Grenfell community, as well as for people living in housing across the country that is now beset by ongoing fire safety issues.
Over the last weeks, I’ve photographed with people who are living through cladding remediation works. The individuals and families that have taken part were in scaffolded buildings, unable to see outside for many months and with reduced light-levels inside their homes. Though moving forward with making the building safe, the living conditions intensify existing feelings of being trapped by the cladding scandal. Windows are either blocked or kept shut to keep out the noise and intrusion. The photographs represent that situation of being at home, but within a building site, and should provoke important questions about living through remediation.
I am looking to continue doing this so if your cladding situation is similar, then please do get in touch.
These photographs are from the End Our Cladding Scandal rally outside Parliament yesterday. It was scheduled to coincide with the return of the Building Safety Bill to the Commons and the debate on the Lords’ amendments. The rally saw excellent speeches from politicians and campaigners with some really good coverage from the media. The government however voted down the amendments in the Commons and so the Building Safety Bill now goes back to the Lords for further scrutiny. The Bill surely needs much more clarity and protection for leaseholders as, after all, it is only they who had no role in creating this Building Safety Crisis.
All of my cladding photographs are always available for use by the End Our Cladding Scandal team who do incredible work to raise the issues affecting leaseholders.