Calatrava Marks the Greenwich Meridian
Santiago Calatrava will build his first masterpiece in London, a luxury development in the Greenwich Peninsula by value of 1.150 million euros.
Santiago Calatrava have ‘another’ emblematic work: the design of whole an area of action in the famous Greenwich Peninsula, you know, it which snatched the zero Meridian to Spain in the 19th century. This new work will join to the architectural design that will take his signature to the length and breadth of the world, being one of the few studies of architecture to boast today of to be working on three continents (Europe, America and Asia).
The promoter of this Mega-project, Knight Dragon, request the job whose value is expected to reach 1,150 billion euros. This project will be the axis of transformation of the Peninsula for become the new cultural center of London, will be developed on an area of 130,000 square meters with a new station of metro and buses, cinema, theatre, scenarios, bars and restaurants, retail and a Wellness Center.
With the name of Peninsula Place, the ambitious project that will carry to the signing of Calatrava sits next to the iconic O2, will include three buildings of 30 plants and 113 meters high connected at their base whose use will be residential, hotel and offices. In a boast of commitment with the environment, the sides of the towers descend in the form of terraces with a multitude of green areas. The Hotel will have 31,500 square meters surface, the area of retail, catering and leisure will reach the 18,500, offices shall be distributed 28,000 square meters and the residential area will enjoy 37,000.
The complex will bind to the Thames by a bridge that will follow the imaginary line of the meridian of Greenwich, more surprising will be the sundial that will form the mast and its steely cables. Another part of the project includes a Gallery of 152 meters long with branched (tree-shaped) structure that ends up holding a glass canopy, during the tour can enjoy of coffee shops, shops and restaurants. At the end of the Gallery, a square with 24 meters high, a glass dome cover a generous urban forest that will benefit (to the users, too) with natural ventilation by opening the top.
This action is part of the regeneration project London, the Greenwich Peninsula, which will involve the investment of 9,860 million creating 15.720 dwellings, a large Film Studio for the center of the capital, a district dedicated to the design, and, of course, everything that the society can sue: schools, medical centers, public and private spaces, offices etc… The directors of this Master Plan surrounded by 1.6 miles of the River Thames are the award-winning Allies and Morrison. Other studies of architecture that will help urban modification will be: SOM, Marks Barfield, DSDHA, Alison Brooks and Duggan Morris.
So far, all seems to be normal, all falls within the procedures regulated by private and public bodies for the urban development of a certain area, in other words, choose a professional with proven experience and executes an element that needs described in question, with the cooperation of other parties. But, as the name of the chosen is Santiago Calatrava, the press has dumped rivers of ink (the most part electronics) with, pardon by the expression, «very bad grapes» on many occasions, on the uncertain future of this assignment.
He is criticized for his high cost overruns (someday we will look what is really a high cost in construction,) by the damage caused in part of the buildings or to the users, by the so-called dysfunctional spaces that creates and the iconic claim of his works. Nothing further from who writes to settle whether or not Calatrava is responsible for the range of errors with which attacked him in print media and, what is more serious, from the technicians who make him their anger center. I’ve never seen that surgeons, journalists or lawyers, make personal criticism with hate against their colleagues.
Finally, to better assess whether or not Calatrava is guilty of what he is accused, or if he is solely responsible, we must take into account a series of facts.
1.- The projects of Calatrava, as the rest of his colleagues (architects and engineers), are approved by international competition or commissioned directly, in other words, the author does not impose his works, as it could not be otherwise.
2.- The projects are, of course, revised by the local authority of the place of location, eye, reviewed by competent technicians in the area, making sure if fits with the rules of state, regional and local level.
3.- After of the granting of the license to work is realized a contest for the execution of the work, thus, the interested companies analyze the budget of the designer and offer an amount, normally, this amount is less than the price of tender, although not always happens. However, the fact is that the company knows the work (its technicians have analyzed it) and has budgeted it pretending to do it for an amount that they themselves have determined.
4.- During the execution of the works, is involved an extensive group of companies, contractors and subcontractors, technicians of all kinds (architects, technical architects, engineers, technical engineers, etc.) whose good work provides ideas to improve the initial project, if we do case, we could find a thousand works within one.
5.- In the end, are involved lots of operators of different branches of the construction, each one capable of contributing something (good or bad), and whose names are always unknown, although his hands were vital for the creation of the work.
6.- We must of course not forget to suppliers of materials, the factories that supply the work, if they provide us with faulty materials or delayed delivery dates, we can have many and varied problems.
7.- Once the work finalized, appear again the administrative entities to attest that this conforms to the project which they themselves have approve or the amendments that have been studied during the course of its execution.
I suppose that with these data, now, we can get an idea of what happens in a work of the dimensions of the Place Peninsula, which will pass for thousands of professional and skilled hands before it reaches the user. Is liable for Calatrava if something is twisted at the end of the work? Or is the administration that gave the go-ahead and did not do its work? Or the company that lowered prices thinking that it could do and along the way had to abandon? Or the workers who did their part of the work without due professionalism? Or the manufacturers production problems? Or the variations in the markets? Or any of the technical speakers who did not put due diligence in their performances?
There are so many variables that gives blush when the print media point out with extreme lightness to a certain person, without judgement or empirical truth. The Calatrava works may like it or not, but we must separate our aesthetic preference of constructive or functional issues, as say in the chats: «we must respect the presumption of innocence». Once I read as a technician who had been in one of the works of Santiago Calatrava wrote that «it was impossible to run it and the company had economic problems», reading it I couldn’t help thinking: «And why it took charge of the work?», the critical spirit must always be impartial.
Design team of Peninsula Place:
- Architect and Engineer: Santiago Calatrava
- Executive Architect: Adamson Associates
- Architect Master Plan: Allies and Morrison
- Structural Engineering: Meinhardt
- Engineering Instalations: AECOM
- Technical Architecture: Alinea
- Hotel Architect: Reardon Smith
- Hotel Advisor: Hamiltons
- Office Advisor: Cushman & Wakefield
- Sales Consultant: CWM y Anne Hynes Consulting Ltd
- Engineering in Transit: WSP
- Planning Consultant: Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners
- Spa: RCH
- Legal: Forsters
- Main Designer: Stace
- Designer of Urban spaces: Schulz + Grassov
- Experts in Urban Microclimates: Urban Microclimate
- Consultants in Real Estate: Montagu Evans