Monthly Archives: December 2010

The Truth About Property

I came across this article this week in the Independent about the tricks of the estate agent trade:  things that estate agents say or do to help sell a property.  This tied in quite nicely with the imagery around a new block of apartments rising up at the top of my street.

Here is the pretty image in the house builder’s marketing materials.  Notice the abundance of trees and in particular the bit of grassy green space at the bottom left hand corner.  The image positions this shiny new development on a day with the clearest of blue skies.

The development isn’t yet complete of course, but here is what it looks like at the moment.  The pleasant neighbourhood is instead a setting where cars exit the A12 motorway and is very built up and unkept rather than open and leafy.

Here is a close up of that grassy green patch depicted in the glossy brochure.  There is a wonderfully big tree which someone has *decorated* with what looks like plastic sheeting, but with the concrete border and fencing, it isn’t exactly the neighbourhood parkette one might imagine.  This is one of the nicer photos I took – in the others, the *park* is obscured by cars whizzing past as they come off the motorway exit ramp.  Nice.

Elks to Harmony to Home

A beautiful, almost exotic renovation of a former businessmen’s club in Alabama into a grand home on New York Times today. Read the article about how David Harlbut converted the 20,000 square foot Harmony Club into a residence, preserving the architectural features and personality of its past incarnation.  The waterfront building was founded in 1909 as a businessmen’s club, then became the Elks Club in the 1930s.

via @iambrianjones

Image by Robert Rausch for The New York Times

Redchurch Chance and Ebor – What’s Coming to the old Huntingdon Estate

Les Trois Garçons – quirky, maximalist, and over-the-top – this experience of French cuisine in a former 1880s built pub first opened its doors at the corner of Bethnal Green Road and Club Row in 2000.  In 2003, its creators followed up with Lounge Lover – a brightly coloured, decadent, cocktail bar – on Whitby Street just around the corner.

At the same time in 2000, a property developer called Derwent London bought the Tea Building just down the road.  It opened the workspace doors to creative industries in 2003.

Four years later things really took off:  June 2007 – Shoreditch House (part of the Soho House group) launches in the easterly end of the Tea Building, followed by Beach Blanket Babylon Shoreditch in November 2007, right next to Les Trois Garçons.  In 2008, Sir Terence Conran opened The Boundary, on the corner of Redchurch and Boundary Streets, just behind Shoreditch House.

Sandwiched between the Tea Building and Shoreditch House to the west and Les Trois Garçons, Lounge Lover, and BBB Shoreditch to the east, lies the Huntingdon Estate.  Opportunistically situated on Bethnal Green Road, opposite the Shoreditch High Street East London Line station (which opened summer 2010), the site is owned by a developer called Londonewcastle.  We wouldn’t have known had we not stumbled across a gallery exhibiting street art – its unassuming doors on Redchurch Street open on a Sunday afternoon.  It was proudly announced in the entrance way that Londonewcastle had donated the space for gallery use.  If you’d like to see what the developers have planned for the site instead, have a look *here*.  If you’d like to keep an eye on what plans are being approved for the Huntingdon Estate search the Tower Hamlets planning application database for Redchurch and Chance Streets.  A collection of past planning applications for and near the site are *here*.

Look Up, Look Around During 1920s Toronto

A beautiful collection of 1920s buildings and architecture from my hometown of Toronto, as gathered and reported by Agatha Barc on Blog TO.  Check out Nostalgia Tripping:  Toronto’s Art Deco Heritage.

What you get when you mix design, with maps, with great music

A friend sent me this link ages ago and I only experienced it today.  A fantastic combination of great music, design techniques, technology *and* interacting with the built environment.  It’s an interactive video made by Chris Milk using Google Chrome technology set to Arcade Fire’s “We Used To Wait”.  The experience is called “The Wilderness Downtown”.  Experience your neighbourhoods like you’ve never experienced before.  Experience it for yourself and share.