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Letter: Good Architects Can Design Sympathetically Styled Buildings

Published on: 10 Mar, 2024
Updated on: 10 Mar, 2024

From: Nigel Keane

In response to: We Should Remember the Uplift Good Architecture Can Give

Gerry Lytle echoes what I have been saying for years. Guildford is a historic town. It has many really old buildings, some with a modern frontage built in Georgian times (eg The Angel Hotel).

Just think, the Saxon tower of St Mary’s stood when the Norman’s invaded, King Edward III used Guildford Castle (then a royal palace), the Wey & Arun Canal was built so goods could go from London to Chichester thus avoiding the French Navy and Privateers and Nelson passed through on his way to Portsmouth.

So many people fail to look at what we have here and think all new buildings should be glass carbuncles.

The council has given planning officers a free hand without councillors being properly informed of what is being planned in their own wards!

Many good architects can design sympathetically styled buildings. Quinlan Terry’s Richmond Bridge Embankment comes to mind for a good design. The King’s Poundbury in Dorchester is another example, and there are many more.

The terraces of Regent’s Park in London have all been rebuilt but kept the original Nash frontages, so nothing is impossible.

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Responses to Letter: Good Architects Can Design Sympathetically Styled Buildings

  1. Ben Paton Reply

    March 10, 2024 at 5:56 pm

    Here is a Youtube video on Poundbury – an urban extension to Dorchester on Duchy of Cornwall land.
    Not much like it in Guildford…

  2. Olly Azad Reply

    March 11, 2024 at 3:58 pm

    Nigel Keane has highlighted some wonderful buildings brimming with history that Guildford is fortunate to have on it’s doorstep, in addition to the Wey and Arun Canal and the heritage that comes with it.

    Another notable building worth mentioning is the Grade I listed Guildhall in the High Street with its iconic, instantly recognisable, cantilevered clock. This grand 16th Century building sits prettily alongside shops and businesses that have been styled in more recent styles. The incremental development has made Guildford High Street the bustling and thriving area it is today.

    It’s still not too late for the various stakeholders, not just the planning officers from the council, to work together by injecting a new lease of life or uplift some existing building structures around Guildford without being scared to do so. Preservation and contemporary styling don’t necessarily need to clash just because one is older or newer.

    With the right framework in place and a collaboration of ideas from architects, councillors, town planners and an open forum, Guildford’s renowned architecture can be improved even further.

    Lets hope that any initiatives taken are for the betterment of Guildford town.

  3. Nigel Keane Reply

    March 15, 2024 at 1:57 am

    Ben Paton’s Poundbury YouTube video comment to my original letter ends with the words ‘Not much like it in Guildford’. How I agree and ask “Why not?”

    Surely GBC could bring in a planning policy requiring that new buildings should be in keeping or blend in with the local vernacular buildings, including height limits.

    Over the years many buildings of great age have had sympathetic extensions but, sadly, many have not having glass blobs added. The countryside surrounding Guildford has many Art’s and Crafts buildings of note the style of which were copied for smaller houses even into the 1950s.

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