Letter to the editor
Dixon Jones’s scheme: smooth?
Ellis Woodman’s extraordinarily uncritical piece about the £25 million “shared-space” makeover of Exhibition Road (“Streets ahead” February 3) seems to accept without question the functional principles that underpin the scheme and the aesthetic outcome.
Clearly, the increase in the width of the street available for pedestrian movement is welcome. Welcome too is the improved lighting and the design of the new street furniture.
However, the design and specification of the newly paved surfaces north and south of the Cromwell Road junction provide all the visual delight and character of an early-sixties shopping precinct, but with the added interest of parked cars and moving traffic — often going significantly faster than the 20 mph Ellis refers to in the article.
Both Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster Councils have realised successful large-scale street schemes elsewhere. And Dixon Jones has produced some of the UK’s finest urban architecture of the last 25 years. What has gone wrong here?
Let’s hope this project will not serve as a precedent for other important streets.
Paul Velluet, Twickenham, Middlesex
1 February 2012