Pyramid Comment

This journal takes an alternative view on current affairs and other subjects. The approach is likely to be contentious and is arguably speculative. The content of any article is also a reminder of the status of those affairs at that date. All comments have been disabled. Any and all unsolicited or unauthorised links are absolutely disavowed.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Turner 'Contemptible' Saga Continues

The Turner Contemptible

Note added 17.06.2011: 

The Turner Contemporary Gallery has now been open for several weeks. It has been built and is a fait accompli and it would be churlish to continue to criticise the completed building. The best outcome would be that it is an effective entity and the following essay should be viewed with that in mind.

    David Chipperfield Architects

    Projects ->
    Selected Projects ->
    Museums and Galleries ->
    Turner Contemporary

    Updated: 21.10.2011

    • The positioning of the now completed building suggests it has been turned 180° about where it should have been. The sloping roofs point in the wrong direction relative to the prevailing north and north-easterly winds. These forces can be extremely powerful coming off the North Sea (there is no land between the UK and Norway/Sweden) and the building will take the full force directly at the front, which is a vertical and flat upright. Even the restaurant has the windows facing in land contrary to the expected view out across the sea (and the sunsets) that is now blocked by the external wall that faces out northwards. Peculiar.

    Updated: 06.10.2011

      So far all that can be judged is the impression (single, twin or triple building) that may or may not get built. As at 18.08.08 there is not a sign of construction starting. The project is proposed to be completed by October 2010, but a funfair IS positioned on the site. De-dualling of the Fort Hill carriageway continues (after several months) and a completed block of apartments remains unoccupied after alleged construction infringements from the original planning approval.

      An announcement has recently been made in a press release that construction of the "controversial" Turner Contemporary art gallery (aka the Turner Contemptible) will begin this autumn (2008). Turner Contemporary is a visual arts organisation that celebrates JMW Turner's association with Margate and, through a varied programme of exhibitions and events, promotes an understanding and enjoyment of historical and contemporary art.

      Lifeboats News Release (28.08.10)

      • As progress is made with the construction of the Turner Contemporary art gallery in Margate the town’s lifeboats are about to move to a temporary new home as work to lay the block paving around the building gets under way. During construction of Turner Contemporary it has been a requirement that the operational readiness of the town’s two lifeboats remains unaffected by the work, the lifeboat station is situated within the perimeter of the construction site. Throughout, the builder R Durtnell and Sons Ltd have worked closely with the RNLI and station personnel to ensure that the lifeboat remains operational at all times and while there has been the inevitable disruption it has very much been a case of ‘business as usual’.
      • The next stage will see the block paving being laid a task that could last up to six months with the unavoidable consequence that the lifeboats access to the launching sites will be cut off. Both the all-weather and inshore lifeboats are therefore to be moved to a temporary compound on the main sands near the Clock Tower until the work is completed. The contractors have agreed to pay for the work involved which will include a sealed compound, temporary accommodation, and 24 hour security provision. The existing boathouse will still be accessible for the lifeboat crew and will remain the main base for the station.
      • Paul Hodson, lifeboat operations manager says; “While there has been some inevitable disruption our key message is that it is still business as usual for us operationally. We have received good support and understanding from Durtnells, KCC, TDC and Turner Contemporary and are grateful for their efforts in ensuring that disruption is kept to a minimum. Unfortunately we have not been able to welcome visitors during the construction period but lifeboat cover in the area has remained unaffected with our volunteer crews able to continue providing a full rescue service"

      Past exhibitions
      Current exhibitions
      Future exhibitions

      Work is (not yet) underway to build a permanent gallery in Margate. Apparently, unanimous approval of the project has only happened after 5 years. What a surprise. The first failed attempt cost £50m (so far not recovered - DA) and was abandoned simply because the money spiralled out of control. The solution? Throw it all away and start again. The spend so far? Well in excess of £50m + £17.5m =£67.5m and a brick has yet to be placed, but the project has been approved.

      Where's the 'money' gone?

      This, of course, does not mean that construction will happen. Or won't. Only that the technicality of approval has been granted. Kent County Council member for Community Services (Mike Hill) said:

      "This is a tremendous step forward and we remain on schedule for the creation of this landmark building for Margate. A vast amount of work has gone into this project and we will soon see it really taking shape using David Chipperfield's superb designs."

      After 5 years, this project remains "on schedule". Such is government-speak. The phrase "making a silk purse out of a sow's ear" comes to mind. Chairman of the planning committee (Bill Hayton) stated that it is important to ensure that the building is in keeping with the nearby historic Old Town and Droit House and the seaside environment (it isn't as of April 2011 - DA). The artist's impression released so far in this saga of waste has not looked like an historic Old Town planning exercise. The proposed designs could not be more opposed to the existing style. But then, the Old Town is tucked away behind the sea front out of view and regeneration could well involve altering the Old Town to match the new look. The design and build dates back to July 2006.

      Approval has already been granted for an apparently non-existent plan. Kent County Council leader Paul Carter had (publicly) put a limit of £15m on the costs that have already escalated to £17.5m. This is the second attempt after the first and failed £50m fiasco. Very empty assurances like this are really contemptible. Any plan concerning this ridiculous concept should be to abort it now, before any more money is pledged. The finance that has already been wasted (it isn't lost as it all went somewhere: all £67.5m of it) would not escalate. The final cost is unknown and unknowable, but so far it is at least £67.5m and counting...

      The gallery will be designed by David Chipperfield Architects and all the money so far 'spent' = £67.5m has not even achieved a real plan. Only an artist's impression: grotesque and very much out-of-keeping with current architecture. The plans will assuredly come later at additional cost before a brick is placed. Building is proposed to begin this (2008) autumn and the final plans are yet to be announced. This has the making of a fait accompli:

      "Issues that involve 'ethics' should not be resolved (if, in fact, they are) by public consultation. Potentially serious consequences should not be allowed to involve the layman's unqualified opinion. It is too dangerous to let the poorly (mis)informed decide... the potential for misleading information to gain advantage for all sorts of motives is possible always. Some things should just be left alone."

      It possibly requires the ‘expert’ to understand the complexities, but the unqualified layman to offer an honest and unbiased verdict.

      The 'fait accompli' gives the appearance of public consultation, but it never involves public choice

      The "de-dualling" of the Fort Hill road will cost another £750,000 before anything is done and will have improved signs for car parking. The Turner Contemporary art gallery will have none of its own (except for four disabled bays) and so will not be responsible for fee paying. Thanet Council continues to introduce fee paying parking zones in streets that were once free. Already Margate has been terminally disabled and another coffin nail gets hammered in to kill the future.

      Margate and the Turner Contemptible
      The original estimate of four disabled bays should provide 'free parking' for the able-bodied, but selfish and lazy morons who 'steal' these bays (there are now 7 bays, but the disability symbol is painted in white - 07.10.2011). Simply observing the attitude in supermarkets and other public carparks should provide sufficient example. A maximum of seven does not inspire confidence.