Restoration Man ~ Martello Tower I had to say something…

Sorry, I had to say something after yesterdays appalling Restoration Man. I know “if you can’t say something nice then don’t say anythin g at all”, but the program raises a lot of issues:

For those that missed it, here’s the end result from Channel 4’s web site:

Restoration Man - Caldwell Tower

Restoration Man - Caldwell Tower

Here’s also the full Channel 4 website for the excellent Restoration Man and the ‘says it like it is’ George Clarke

My favourite description was “Ziggurate caravan architecture”, anyway the points it raises:

1. You have a choice of either paying 10x a cheaper amount and getting no results or a very poor result OR paying once for what may be a slightly higher amount to employ dedicated, knowledgeable professionals to do a proper job.

2. What is it with this ‘creating a habitable dwelling’ thing, both the Martello Tower projects were effectively holiday homes. Let’s connect with nature a bit more and keep the towers in their entirety. Any form of extension on the side of Caldwell Tower would have ruined it’s impact – even a lovely glass linking/zinc roofed contemporary light, planning friendly contemporary extension would have destroyed it’s massing. It’s on top of a hill for Chrissakes!

The same goes for the other tower and wanting a glass roof over the top to give protection from the outside. I know the weather can be bad but let’s connect with nature a little bit. I can’t think of a better place to go when the weather is stormy than standing on top of that gun deck looking out to see.

So what would I have done? As far as I can see there were 2 options:

a. Keep the tower as it is and as the Heritage guy said, work around what is there and fit yourself around the existing building – it’s been there longer than you and will be around long after. That means no external work whatsoever and think imaginatively around getting the interior to work.

b. Dig underground outside and conceal it completely and have a sliding glass roof (as Grand Designs, forget which one) providing light, I wouldn’t even join this up with the tower; you go outside to get from one to other. Let’s look at this in more detail…

The great Japanese Architect Tadao Ando is a great believer in us connecting with nature, spaces are frequently connected via external courtyards – this allows you to experience the wind, sun, rain and snow and the passing of the days and seasons as you pass between rooms.

Tadao Ando Osaka House

Tadao Ando Osaka House - thanks to Ronan Bekerman

That’s all, I’m not even going to mention the white plastic electrical conduit, sorry.

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