It is all very well for George Osborne et al to preach about the need to tighten one’s national belt, quite another for government to demonstrate how it is itself doing so. But far beyond the media headlines of recent years over MPs’ salaries, expenses and duck houses, the institution is now having to look to its own estate to see how many savings can be had and how any assets can be ‘sweated’.
Is its very base – the Houses of Parliament – fit for purpose (or indeed sinking)? Does government have to have quite so much property in Whitehall? And is it being used as efficiently as possible anyway? The woman leading this charge is a former HOK architect – Sherin Aminossehe – and is profiled this issue. Another interviewee, Bob Sheil, is fronting a different crusade – this time towards ensuring that the architects The Bartlett puts out into the world are ‘oven ready’ and that the institution engages more with wider London and how it works. Engagement is not a thing that Bennetts Associates shies away from. The practice, the subject of our Top of Their Game feature, prides itself on the enduring relationships it forms both with its clients and its staff, being rewarded by plentiful commissions across almost all disciplines, and happy team with few egos in sight forming a barrier to progression. And there is plenty more besides – an interview with the New Londoner of the Year, Zaha Hadid; a piece on built environment companies moving to create new offices in new locations; opinion pieces on the City in the East, skinny towers and a workplace crisis facing the capital. And then there are all the usual features including capital ideas, a bespoke Savile Row project preview, an extensive look at Crossrail Place in Canary Wharf in our building study, and a full briefing notes section covering issues such as west London, superdensity, BIDs and, of course, Public London. Consider these assets fully sweated.
Enjoy the issue.
David Taylor, Editor