Paul Finch

Paul Finch

Paul Finch is a programme director of the World Architecture Festival

  • PW200123_Michael Gove_shutterstock_1851192037_cred I T S

    All eyes will be on Gove this year


    The secretary of state for levelling up etc, Michael Gove, is going to loom large in the lives of property folk, planners and architects over the coming year.

  • Tintagel Castle and bridge

    Beauty is not a simple matter


    The inaugural Building Beauty Awards were celebrated at a ceremony this week, with Lord Foster of Thames Bank the guest of honour.

  • Planning_credit_shutterstock_AUUSanAKUL_2062956521

    Planning refusals on the rise


    I recently took part in a public inquiry, giving evidence about the very obvious design qualities of a modestly scaled scheme. It massively enhances what is laughingly categorised as a ‘conservation area’ because it contains a 19th-century railway station.

  • Development site

    Are we going back to the 1970s?


    It is tempting to start claiming that we are reverting to the 1970s because of current energy price increases and global political instability.

  • Pompidou Centre

    Can the definition of beauty be built?


    Twenty years ago, the late, lamented Commission for Architecture & the Built Environment published a document on design review, including a section on “what makes a good project”.

  • Venice Biennale

    Designs for a sustainable life


    As a prequel to COP26, and to coincide with the current architectural biennale, the US-based Design Intelligence group hosted a two-city event in Rome, then Venice discussing sustainability and its implications for architecture and architects.

  • Croydon Westfield

    Procrastination can be beneficial


    It is a decade since the Tottenham riots took place, prompting the report by a task force led by Sir Stuart Lipton, which secured substantial public investment in the neglected, once-proud London borough.

  • Green belt housing

    We need green-belt housing too


    Guess which London borough we are talking about. “The largest number of units delivered in any one year (357) equates to 25% of the annual average needed.

  • Kings Road

    A weird twist to Khan’s London plan


    During these strange times, you sometimes read something in an official document and assume you must be suffering from some sort of lockdown fever.

  • Grenfell Tower

    Lessons of the Grenfell inquiry


    The evidence given at the Grenfell Tower inquiry has become more shocking by the day, especially in relation to the behaviour of certain manufacturers.

  • Spacious office

    Creating the offices of tomorrow


    ”As the office sector faces seas of change, we challenge you to imagine a better future. Entrants are encouraged to think outside the box to present innovative and thought-provoking solutions that bring to life how workspace may change over the next five years.”

  • Brum Library roof garden

    A healthy focus on space


    One effect of the current health crisis has been to focus on how we can redesign or rethink the places we live, work and play in to deal with this and future pandemics. That should mean new workstreams.

  • Barts Square

    Happy Helical celebrates the City


    As we await publication of yet another government review of the planning system, the world of property, architecture and construction can only marvel at the profound belief of politicians that by changing things, they really make a difference.

  • Houses of Parliament

    An opportunity to revive old ideas


    Political certainty, in the sense of a government with a substantial working majority, is not the same thing as policy certainty.

  • Derwent London - Brunel Building

    Simple buildings, complex uses


    An intriguing insight into the relationship between architecture, development and investment comes from Yolande Barnes, formerly global research director at Savills, now a professor at, and chair of, the Bartlett Real Estate Institute, University College London.

  • Dylon Phase 2 Walkthrough

    Planning miracles can happen


    Developer Iain Hutchinson has shown what determination, ruthless analysis and inspired architecture can do when it comes to winning planning permission on difficult sites.

  • Tulip

    Should new genuflect to the old?


    There are different sorts of fire and different sorts of response. Wartime destruction often triggers a desire to rebuild what has been lost (Hamburg, Warsaw); terrorist destruction can inspire a defiant new response (Ground Zero). Accidental fire is rather different, as the tragic destruction of significant parts of Notre-Dame is ...

  • Paddington Elizabeth Line Station

    Architecture, planning and heritage are not always a happy mix


    At a ceremony earlier this month in Lawn Road, Hampstead, an English Heritage ‘blue plaque’ was unveiled on the Isokon building, a 1934 modernist apartment block designed by Wells Coates. This now includes a museum devoted to the architecture of the period, created from garages as part of a retrofit ...

  • Sadiq Khan

    Khan is as pro property as a Labour London mayor can get


    The last Labour London mayor, Ken Livingstone, had an ambivalent attitude to commercial property. On the face of it he was a supporter of key projects, such as The Shard. But did he ever really like developers?

  • 1970s houses

    Five decades on and the world of property hasn’t changed much


    I was lucky enough to receive the president’s special award at the British Council for Offices dinner earlier this month, which of course got me thinking about the world of property since I started writing about it 45 years ago, as a trainee reporter on Estates Times (which eventually morphed ...

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