A story from over the summer combines some gentrification and NIMBY threads we’ve seen in large cities across the globe with a notable art personality. English artist Tracey Emin, CBE, RA, wants to demolish a historic building near her studio in east London and replace it with an angular home designed by David Chipperfield Architects and people are upset about it.
The juicy part of this story is that when Emin bought the Tenter Ground weaving works in 2008, the artist spoke about the architectural and artisan history of the property. She planned, at the time, to restore the factory to its original design before turning it into a studio. She was lauded by the public for helping to “stem the tide of commercial development flooding the East End.” It’s 2015 now and well… plans change. From The Guardian:
Seven years on, the artist’s new proposals to demolish a “charming” listed building and replace it with a purpose-built studio and home are causing ructions among residents and heritage lovers.
Conservationists have described her plans as “short-sighted”, while Tower Hamlets council, due to examine her proposals in detail in September, reports 25 letters of objection and none in support.
The East End Preservation Society (EEPS), whose supporters include broadcaster Dan Cruickshank, are urging locals to vote against the artist’s scheme to pull down the 1920s complex in Bell Lane, Spitalfields. Save Britain’s Heritage, which plans to oppose the new proposals, has described the replacement studio house as “angular and blank”.
The proposed five-floor building, according to Emin’s statement to Tower Hamlets council, would be a “very high quality design” and would offset the loss of the older building. A spokesperson for the Tower Hamlets council said they’ve received more than two dozen letters of objection to the plan. The council development committee was set to review the proposal in September, but we haven’t heard anything new on the issue since.
What we do have are renderings of Chipperfield’s minimal brick home for the artist. Check it out for yourself and see if you think it enhances the neighborhood.
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