(N66) ZhongRong-Arup Consultation - 1 February 2014
Anerley Town Hall was the venue for the second of the Drop-In sessions run by Arup concerning the ZhongRong proposition "The Crystal Palace Project".
The Hall is run by the Crystal Palace Community Development Trust launched in March 2004; it is "a community-based, not for profit enterprise that operates for the benefit of those who live and work in the several towns, neighbourhoods and estates that comprise the Crystal Palace area of south London".
Jerome Frost of Arup began each of the three, very busy Q&A sessions with an explanation of the principles behind the ZhongRong Crystal Palace Proposition. It reinforced much of the information already available but clarified some of the origin and thinking behind the current views of Mr Ni of ZhongRong. One of the (few) quantitative facts mentioned was that it was envisaged that about 50-60% of the building space is planned to be publically accessible. The rest could contain a vairiety of things but it seems that possibly art/jewellery trading and a hotel will provide the main (sustainable) income.
Although the architectural competition was explained it was not clear how much leaway the selected winner will have in developing a bulding "in the spirit of the Crystal Palace" - it stood on the Palace Terrace from 1854 until 1936. All the images shown have depicted something like the complete 1854 building minus the Brunel water towers but including the north television mast, in place (somewhere).
Incidently, it is often forgotten that an important element in the history of Crystal Palace Park is television. John Logie Baird built a fully equipped broadcasting station (4000 m2) in the Crystal Palace and used the South Tower to hold the transmission aerials.
Many questions and comments came from the floor; traffic concerns? the land deal? the building size? why invest at the Park? public access? funding?........
Although, it's very good that ZhongRong-Arup are holding "consultation sessions" very early in the project - Jerome Frost speaks very openly and candidly about the proposition - it is clear that there will not be enough solid design to discuss until the principle architect has been appointed. Further it is also clear that, while local people may influence the contents of the building, the final say will be with Mr Ni - it is after all ZhongRong's £500 million.
The short list of (probably) five arhcitects will be announced at the end of February and the next drop-in session is scheduled for 1st March.
Ed: Notes: JLB - A brief history "seeing by wireless" by Ray Herbert was published by PW Publishing Ltd and is available from the Crystal Palace Foundation. Further information also on the Baird Television website.
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22/10/13 Last updated 2/2/14;8/2/14