A pilgrimage from Paddington to Old Oak Common, the new heart of west London

The walk from Paddington to Old Oak Common via Little Venice and Ladbroke Grove takes about an hour but it offers a great display of architectural styles from the brutalist bus shelter hidden beneath the West Way to a bizarre example of a housing estate barricading some of its residents behind a reinforced blue concrete wall. The highlight of the trip is Trellick Tower, dilapidated but benefiting from the contrast between the concrete and an almost tropical blue sky. Old Oak Common is difficult to fathom stretching along the canal and sandwiched between two or is it three railway lines. At some point these lines will be knitted together to create an interchange and railway junction at the heart of a brand new London district. Until this happens, it remains one of the few places in London that appears lost, mysterious and just beyond the horizon of regeneration.

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Via Verde – a really green approach to low cost housing in South Bronx

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Shared space at the entrance to the site
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Orchards on one of the roofs
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Trees on the top terrace
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Shared growing space
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Allotments
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Communal composting bins
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Sedum roof
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View from the community room at the top of the development
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View showing the orchards, allotments and the neighbouring green roofs

Via Verde is a new housing development designed by Dattner Architects and London-based Grimshaw. It was the winning entry to a New Housing New York Legacy Competition. The 1.5 acre site in the South Bronx is located in the Melrose neighbourhood.

The mixed-use project provides 151 rental apartments affordable to low-income households and 71 co-ops affordable to middle-income households. What makes this a very special project is the way in which each level of the development is stepped back to reveal allotments or a garden or a small orchard. this can very reasonably be called a healthy building in what used to be known as a very unhealthy neighbourhood.

High Line, New York now open connects new art gallery and major commercial development

IMG_2396 IMG_2406 IMG_2411 IMG_2414 IMG_2424 IMG_2412 IMG_2426The third and final stage of New York’s High Line is now complete and open to the public. Running parallel to the river and linking a new home for the Whitney Museum to the Hudson’s Yard development scheme, what started as a community-led project to save a derelict raised railway line has now become the darling of all city parks. These pictures illustrate some of the detail of the extension including planting, retention and restoration of railway lines memorialising the original purpose of the structure and a set of play spaces for children. The project has now precipitated an astonishing body of new architecture but the rainbow flag attached to a pretty dilapidated building is a reminder that this was once the gay clubbing area of New York and…its founders are gay and from the neighbourhood.

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