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Thread: London - A street in Camden [PICTURES]

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    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    London - A street in Camden [PICTURES]

    Took these pictures a couple of weekends ago, after a visit to Regent's Park, one of London's finest,
    North-east of the park begins the Western edge of Camden. Most people think of the market, when they think of Camden, but it is a very varied urban area. The photos that follow were all taken along the same road.

    Leaving leafy Regent's Park, shown above, is the corner house of one of the terraces designed by Nash. You really have to feel sorry for the benighted souls that live in this 'imitation Greek temple'. Yeh, really sorry. .



    Next interesting sight (and you can tell the area is much less genteel, one block down the road) is this garishly painted but slightly art-decoish garage.



    A broad view of the street, walking East/North-east illustrates the scale that makes London so appealing: low-rise, human-scale, unprepossessing buildings but lots of street-level interest/retail and some greenery to soften it. From an NU standpoint, the only peccadillo is that this is a one way street. Camden council traffic engineers are basically psychotic, never mind the parking people



    At a right angle to this road, a nice example of a 'modern' building with large square plant, mixed use, etc. You could put most type of activities in a building like this, very versatile; concrete structure and stucco exterior. Enough surface 'decoration' the leaven the mass and loads of fenestration (not always sunny in London...)



    A detail: this slightly taller building has nice urban gardens on the top terrace floor. Par-tee! Just a few doors down the road there is a fantastic tapas place, very kiddy friendly but no corner-cutting on the emapanadas gallegas.



    A nice-looking pub.



    Let's look at this terraced house. The 'neoists' will say it's derivative and unoriginal. I say that I could build a building like that anywhere and fill it before the crappy cookie-cutter stuff most developers put up. Again, lots of fenestration, nice color contrasts and lots of floor space without looking huge. The only thing I would change, given enough space, is to put the stairs/lift (not present here) centrally so that thw doorway is not at the side.

    Life and death of great pattern languages

  2. #2
    Much more healthy and affluent than its American namesake in New Jersey.

    I actually like the asymetrical rowhouse. There's no good way to "center" the door in a 4-bay house without ruining something.

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    Nice stuff. Agree with your comment about simple, well-proprtioned "modern" buildings fitting in. The key thing is that the building follows the street wall, has windows and doors, and "enough" decoration.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally posted by passdoubt
    Much more healthy and affluent than its American namesake in New Jersey.

    I actually like the asymetrical rowhouse. There's no good way to "center" the door in a 4-bay house without ruining something.
    There is still plenty of symmetry in that rowhouse. Local symmetries count.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Nice stuff. Agree with your comment about simple, well-proprtioned "modern" buildings fitting in. The key thing is that the building follows the street wall, has windows and doors, and "enough" decoration.
    Especially in London, where the 18th/19th century vernacular is fairly stripped down (look at the houses in the third picture, they are essentially fairly 'bauhaus' boxes, but they're 150-175 years old).

    It is interesting that modern buildings tend toward the gargantuan, as in fact thei lack of ornament suits smaller scales better.

    On a separate note, to me that street (and surroundigns treets) illustrates many points of NU very effectively. When I go into developing, I'm just going to copy London neighborhoods wholesale Why mess with success?
    Life and death of great pattern languages

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    Quote Originally posted by Luca
    Especially in London, where the 18th/19th century vernacular is fairly stripped down (look at the houses in the third picture, they are essentially fairly 'bauhaus' boxes, but they're 150-175 years old).

    It is interesting that modern buildings tend toward the gargantuan, as in fact thei lack of ornament suits smaller scales better.

    On a separate note, to me that street (and surroundigns treets) illustrates many points of NU very effectively. When I go into developing, I'm just going to copy London neighborhoods wholesale Why mess with success?
    Exactly! (see my post on why I like Dwell Magazine, a yuppie modernism lite architecture/lifestyle magaine in the US)

    Of course: I would argue (and you will firmly disagree) that modern massiveness is the perfect architecture for the consolidated, bureaucratized, corporate state we have created. You get large buildings because the institutions (public and private) are too large. One bank dominates 50% of the deposits. One retailer completely owns the discount segment of the market. Etc. Etc. (I am exagerating, I have no "solutions", but this is a factor).

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    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Nice.....

    Its always nice to see places where the facade is treated with at least some respect I'll bet that tyre shop is post 1950's construction... It helps that the buildings are almost always pre 1940's in England. It seems that facade treatments on buildings younger than 1940's are more difficult and often less attractive.....

    Good job....
    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
    John Kenneth Galbraith

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    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    very nice!!

    I really enjoyed my trip to London in 2000. I spent about 9 days there, just wandering and photographing. I was staying in a hostel across the street from the British Museum (in an old converted terrace house). I just loved the residential side streets and particularly the side street areas in the City.
    Last edited by mendelman; 03 Oct 2005 at 1:07 PM.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    ...Of course: I would argue (and you will firmly disagree) that modern massiveness is the perfect architecture for the consolidated, bureaucratized, corporate state we have created. You get large buildings because the institutions (public and private) are too large. .....
    I PARTLY agree in the sense that nowdays an investment bank needs giant floor areas and many fine City buildings are not practical for their needs (I expect they will eventually mostly convert to housing) as they are too small.

    Ultimately, I think we could all live with a 'LA Defense' or a Canary Wharf here and there...as long as it's limited to a few such eyesore magnets
    Life and death of great pattern languages

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    Quote Originally posted by Luca
    I PARTLY agree in the sense that nowdays an investment bank needs giant floor areas and many fine City buildings are not practical for their needs (I expect they will eventually mostly convert to housing) as they are too small.

    Ultimately, I think we could all live with a 'LA Defense' or a Canary Wharf here and there...as long as it's limited to a few such eyesore magnets
    Sadly, 90% of American downtowns are La Defense with a few remnant fragments of pre-war urbanism hanging on for dear life. Too often, the American La Defense lack even the site planning amenities that ARE there (inhuman as they may be). But boy, we Americans know how to properly and cheaply store 2 ton hunks of metal for 8 hours a day in our "City Centers."

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    Cyburbian dankrzyz's avatar
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    Camden

    I spent a summer living near Hampstead Heath, but visited the Camden area frequently. I really enjoyed the area. It's a good, solid, and interesting mix of people and places. I love that area of London.

    From a planning perspective, I really liked that whole area as a real "urban" type of setting. I think so much emphasis is put on city "centers" that this type of real urban neighborhood building is often forgotten. One of the joys of London is the small city feel that each area has, despite being a part of one of the largest metro areas in Europe. It's these real urban neighborhoods in which people live, work, shop, play, and such everyday.

    Thanks for the pictures - brought back memories of fun times!

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    Quote Originally posted by dankrzyz
    I spent a summer living near Hampstead Heath, but visited the Camden area frequently. I really enjoyed the area. It's a good, solid, and interesting mix of people and places. I love that area of London.

    From a planning perspective, I really liked that whole area as a real "urban" type of setting. I think so much emphasis is put on city "centers" that this type of real urban neighborhood building is often forgotten. One of the joys of London is the small city feel that each area has, despite being a part of one of the largest metro areas in Europe. It's these real urban neighborhoods in which people live, work, shop, play, and such everyday.

    Thanks for the pictures - brought back memories of fun times!

    Some cities seem to do "neighborhood districts" very well. I prefer several of San Francisco's "neighborhood shopping streets" to downtown proper, for example. Cincinatti seemed to have some great neighborhood centers, with a real sense of community.

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    Great pictures, I will be studying at Kingston University for a semster next year so it is always refreashing to see what I am in store for.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Hey KC I'll buy ya a beer if yer coming to London
    What are you 'reading' at Kingston ?
    Life and death of great pattern languages

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