Award certainly sparked debate
17 March, 2017 — By The Xtra Diary
28 South Molton Street
WHEN Westminster Council launched its People’s Choice awards – celebrating everything “from sleek glass art galleries to outstanding housing developments” – Westminster Council deputy leader Robert Davis said he wanted to “spark a debate” about architecture in the borough.
But a shortlist of 12 buildings, selected by an “expert panel” has been criticised for celebrating “shiny and glamorous” designs over innovative, affordable housing solutions.
Pimlico resident and activist Paul Heasman told Diary: “In reality, they offer nothing of the sort, as the residential parts are either sold to London property gamblers and left empty, or are used as quasi hotels by investors using Airbnb-type arrangements. Either way they are not providing affordable or accessible accommodation for local people and families. Cllr Davis should be sponsoring awards for innovative, affordable and decent housing solutions for modern inner-city living rather than gongs for yet more offices and luxury apartments.”
The shortlist includes 28 South Molton Street, a mixed-use building that replaced a former pub with a flagship store of China’s largest retailer Bosideng. Also on the list is the Reiss HQ in Barrett Street, Riverwalk SW1 in Millbank and the Serpentine Sackler Gallery. It also includes St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square, City of Westminster College in Paddington Green and Peabody Avenue, which contains social housing.
In response, Cllr Davis said: “The shortlist celebrates the hugely diverse character that makes Westminster the vibrant city we all know and love. We want this award to spark debate and encourage everyone to take a look around, consider what makes a great building and vote on their favourite for the People’s Choice.” People can vote in the awards before June 30 via www.westminster.gov.uk/best-building