Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Piloti has a funny turn

Private Eye's Nooks and Corners column, which deals with planning and architecture, can usually be relied upon for tweedy, miserabilist huffing and puffing, sweeping up (with that same lack of discrimination for which its targets are so often criticised) the worthwhile along with the worthless in its scattergun loathing of anything that has happened in architecture after, roughly, Le Corbusier abandoned twiddly mouldings.

Very surprising, therefore, to find that the column in the latest issue begins with two paragraphs of (grudging, caveated) praise for the new masterplan for Chelsea Barracks. What's going on? No good can come of this.

Happily, the natural order of things is restored within a sentence or two, and the point of the item revealed - a characteristic moan about the project developer Qatari Diar's application for a certificate of immunity from listing for the Victorian chapel on the site.

Piloti's judgement in matters of listing can be gauged from a subsequent item which appears to suggest that a former workhouse in Cleveland Street W1, the subject of a current campaign, should be listed because Dickens lived nearby. Hmmm.

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