Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Wates and Measures

In August of 2014, it was announced that Wates had won the £55m pound contract to redevelop a 'batch' of 'priority' schools in Camden, Hampstead School being one of those. This meant that Wates had won half of the government school's contracts around the capital, along with other firm Kier. As well as this, Wates had won contracts up and down the country from the government, some as large as £80m.

Naturally, we wanted to find out what would compel the government to choose Wates as a company to design half of new London school buildings.

Well, Wates offer an 'Adapt School' solution, in which one design is altered to fit the school. Of this, Wates says that this "maximises the standardisation of layouts, design components and materials to reduce the time and cost of delivery" and "[r]emoves the need for continuous design reinvention", which means projects are cheaper as the architects fees are minimised, as little thought and imagination goes into the projects as possible, and the construction company can put up such buildings as quickly as possible, regardless of whether or not such a 'design' fits in with the rest of the school environment.

It also means that the projects built by Wates through the government’s PSBP fund all look like unsightly, three-tone low-rise blocks. See below for the examples that each bear a striking resemblance to one another:

De Warenne Academy
Whitmore Park
The IKEA warehouse that will soon inhabit the Quad.

DISCLAIMER: This is a critical article, and so is comprised of the personal opinions of the author.

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