Hackney Wick to Stratford, Kentish Town to St Pancras

Hackney Wick to Stratford, Kentish Town to St Pancras – Photos

A bit of a mix!
Two (not very long) walks – each starting from a particular station on the London Overground.

Hackney Wick is a quite small part of Hackney and is adjacent to the Olympic Park – you can walk over one of several bridges from Hackney Wick into the Olympic Park and then walk on to Stratford.

Kentish Town is one of the areas of London Borough of Camden and not too long a walk to St Pancras and Kings Cross; not too long, but a considerable confusion of parallel roads down to St Pancras Station.

Hackney Wick near to Hackney Wick London Overground station has some of the most amazingly painted buildings in London. Most of them are some sort of art studio – often communal – activity, though one of the buildings I have photographed is of a book distributor; it is not painted.
Just over the River Lea into the Olympic Park the former International Press centre is being converted into studios for use in the creative arts – so Hackney Wick’s painted art buildings will have a very appropriate neighbour.
I have taken some of the River Lea Navigation – which is in a much bonnier situation nowadays following the Olympics. Over the canal is first the waste plant for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and then various snaps of the Park ending with three photos from the viewing gallery in the John Lewis store at the Westfield shopping centre. This was popular during the Olympics but is pleasantly quiet nowadays.

The walk from Kentish Town West station to St Pancras and Kings Cross never seems to quite follow the map with the confusion of parallel roads down to St Pancras from Kentish Town. It’s an area of a great mixture of buildings including many Victorian terraces, the totally splendid St Pancras Baths – with it’s Men’s First Class and Men’s Second Class entrances, down to the massive new Crick Research Institute next to St Pancras. The building is so big that it is difficult to photograph and it will open later this year.

Dalston Junction to Stoke Newington

Dalston Junction to Stoke Newington – Photos

This edition is more than a bit late caused by the fact that I (and many other users) have been unable to upload my photos to Flickr. I have tried for several days, reported on detail on the problems in the Flickr Forums and even managed to get the Private Eye of Computing – The Register to publish an article about the issue. Despite all this, it still does not work and I have had to use Google Photos – which I must say is very easy to use.

It will make little difference to your viewing the photos – just double click on the first one and then use the right pointing arrow to move onto the next one.

I undertook the (not very long) walk from Dalston Junction Station on the London Overground to Stoke Newington. Dalston is a part of Hackney that is being described as a new area being gentrified; Stoke Newington – further up the Kingsland Road – is an area that has been gentrified for some time.

Right next door to Dalston Station is a new apartment block going up and the area could end up comprising little more than expensive apartments, but whilst there will not be much mourning for what was before, if everywhere in London comprises apartment blocks that all too many cannot afford – you might ask what was the point?
Stoke Newington has experienced a longer and more gentle process of gentrification which has involved much more improvements to the housing stock over a long period, with little in the way of new blocks.

Right opposite Dalston Station is Ridley Road market – not a market for trendies – very busy, very diverse in population. Ridley Road itself contains some awful apartment buildings which house only the poorest people on benefits and which were subject of a BBC Panorama programme some time ago.

Back on the Kingsland Road, almost all of the shops, restaurants and buildings between Dalston Junction and Stoke Newington are Turkish.

Stoke Newington Church Street is clearly middle class and fashionable. I have a number of photos of some of the shops and restaurants and of the local very attractive library and St Mark’s Church.

At the end of the street is Abney Park Cemetery – one of the major London cemeteries. It is an unconsecrated cemetery – which (I think) merely means it wasn’t of the Church of England’s making – though some distinguished Christian people – such as General Booth of the Salvation Army are buried there. I have only photographed just at the entrance – it is quite a walk around the cemetery itself.

Carshalton and (some of) the City

Carshalton and (some of) the City – Photos

Carshalton is part of the London Borough of Sutton – and about 20 to 30 minutes walk from Sutton town centre. Carshalton “town centre” is not very exciting nor very photogenic but Carshalton Ponds – adjacent to the town centre is the quintessential English village centre. I have taken quite a few photos of Carshalton Ponds including one of one of the Great Trees of London – the Great Plane of Carshalton.

Carshalton is a white working class/lower middle class district. I have photographed the War Memorials and as with all such War Memorials the names are very English names. I have in the past taken photos of War Memorials in Soho and in Southall – and I show them in this album. If ever the dreadful conflicts of the First and Second World Wars were to happen again (heaven forbid) the War Memorial in Soho would be mostly Chinese names (it’s in Chinatown) and that in Southall would be Indian, but the one in Carshalton would likely still be full of English names.

Carshalton with its village centre make a nice contrast to the second lot of photos for this month – the City.

My first City photo is of the Principal Tower starting to go up. This is a new 50-storey residential tower designed by Norman Foster, situated just past the Eastern end of the Broadgate development over the Liverpool Street rail line.
Next I have photo of the side of the Bank of England where I was lucky and managed to get a clear shot uninterrupted by either people or traffic.

The sculpture Charity is by Damian Hirst and is part of Sculpture in the City 2015 – a series of large outdoor sculptures scattered all over the City.
The picture showing the interior of Liverpool Street Station shows the extent to which most of the Broadgate development is built over the rail lines going in to the Station. I very much like the new building in the midst of Broadgate by the architectural practice Make. This is the practice started by Ken Shuttleworth – the architect of the Gherkin – who has recently said that his inspiration is Salisbury Cathedral.
The first of the pictures of the Leadenhall Tower is of the elevator shafts at the back of the building. The second – a few photos later – shows, if you look carefully, the temporary holders – a bit like the things you use on top of your car to hold stuff on the luggage rack – to hold those of the bolts that have been found to be faulty. These contained too much hydrogen in the steel mix and are slowly being replaced. The cost of this fault is said to be £6M.
Worsnip Street – which shows the bridge over the railway lines into Liverpool Street Station is the street that separates the Eastern end of Broadgate from the new Principal Tower. Norton Folgate opposite (the continuation of Bishospgate) is covered in graffiti as it is the subject of a controversial potential development.

There are some further pics of Broadgate and some that are of the new developments in the Barbican – replacing some of the formerly empty 1960s blocks that have been awaiting re-development for some time.
The one of Appold Street – which represents the northern perimeter of the Broadgate development shows a set of Boris Bikes which are now sponsored by Santander, rather than Barclays.
There is one of St Helen’s Church – which I have yet failed to photograph inside – every time I am there it seems to be a closed day.

Finally one of a quite nice looking sandwich bar down a street called Telegraph Street – just off Moorgate. I am not sure from the sign if the sandwich bar also does haircuts?

Bermondsey

Bermondsey – Photos

Since last month we had photos of bridges, I thought I would equally start this month with a bridge – a bridge that might have been called Bermondsey Bridge, were it not for the much older and more famous Tower of London on the other side of the river…

The present day Bermondsey is a product of its history as well as the efforts of the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC) – that brainchild of Lord Heseltine that has done such a very great deal to radically improve so much of London’s dockland areas. Bermondsey was the first of the major improvements LDDC undertook and was handed over to Southwark Council in 1994. The final LDDC handover report for Bermondsey can be found at LDDC

I start off with a picture of Battle Bridge Lane – just off Tooley Street, down by the side of Hay’s Galleria and leading to Southwark Crown Court. Then followed by a picture of one of the former tanneries that used to be part of Bermondsey. It must have been a very smelly area – there is nothing pleasant about the stink of a tannery. I have not lived near a tannery but have lived near a sheep skin factory and the smell and predilection for large numbers of rodents is substantial. This was certainly at one time a very poor part of London and a later photograph shows one of the buildings of Devonshire House – originally built to house some of the very poorest residents of the area.

My fourth photo is of the backstreet motor repair service of R W Autos in Morocco Street – a place that, I understand used one time to be a ferriers.

Many of the photos are of the former warehouses of the docks now converted into apartment buildings but fortunately retaining the original splendid structures.

I have two photos of St James’s Church – just off Jamaica Road. In 1839 one of the founders of the church left £500 in his will for a painting of the Ascension for the Church. A competition was held and many of the entrants were Royal Academicians – but an entirely unknown artist called John Wood won. The Times hoped that John Wood would be elected to the Academy – but he never was.

Finally – a picture of the City Where the Posh Boys work

Note: there will be no publication in August. The next edition will be 1st September.

PS and nothing to do with Bermondsey: I went to take some photos in the City a couple of weeks ago and gave up in less than half an hour – it was just too busy to be able to snap any buildings. London is becoming so busy, especially during the summer months. I caught a bus that went past St Paul’s and you could not see any of the main entrance steps for people sitting eating their lunches.

Bookends

Bookends – Photos

The bridges at Walton and Dartford stand a bit like bookends on the River Thames. Each is in a borough just outside the Greater London administrative area. Dartford about 17 miles from central London – with the Dartford Crossing is a part of the M25; but Walton Bridge is within the M25. Walton is about 14 miles from central London.

Both places – whilst having some expensive middle-class areas are largely working class towns. Both bridges are modern: Walton was opened in 2013 – though not fully complete until the following year and the Dartford Crossing in 1998.

With Walton Bridge, I have also taken some photos of Walton Town centre – which has been extensively rebuilt in recent years. I did not do this at Dartford because having set off in the direction of the bridge it is rather a long walk back to the town centre.

With Walton, I have a few photos of the riverside, including Walton Marina – not the largest Marina at Walton – the Shepperton Marina on the other side of the river is much larger.

Walton Bridge was a old crock of a bridge for many years. The present very graceful bridge was built by Surrey County Council – Walton Bridge on time and on budget and is undoubtedly a great success.

The first of my pictures for the Dartford crossing is of Dartford Creek – on the Dartford Salt Marshes. I set off walking over the salt marshes to get to the Thames riverside with the intention of then walking along the Thames Path to the Dartford Bridge. Two of my photos show the raised path (about 15 feet high) through the marshes and one shows the reeds of the marshes. I eventually realised that that the walk to the bridge must be about six or seven miles and then the same distance back – because the bridge approach road is part of the M25 so I could not return to Dartford by the road. After quite a good long walk and lots of telephoto shots of the bridge – one of which clearly shows the dockside cranes at Tilbury Docks, I decided to return to Dartford and try and find another way.

This I did by returning another day to Greenhithe Station – two stops beyond Dartford. Greenhithe is the station you might go to if you were visiting the Bluewater Shopping Centre – a short bus ride from Greenhithe Station. This is then a short walk onto the Thames Path – on the downstream side of the bridge – where I was able to take a number of close shots of the it.

The contrast is huge between the pleasure boats of Walton Marina and the ocean going oil tankers going in to Purfleet at the Dartford Bridge. The river at Walton looks like an English river; the river at Dartford looks half like the sea.

Perhaps these two bookends keep London holding together – well maybe they do with the Thames Barrier somewhere in the middle.

Canary Wharf revisited

Canary Wharf revisted – Photos

It turns out to be some four years since I have got off at Canary Wharf station and walked around – although during the last four years I have taken lots of photographs of Canary Wharf from the Thames Path between the O2 and Deptford.
I noticed two things since my last visit: firstly the amount of sophisticated facilities – such as restaurants and shopping centres that have been established, and secondly the large amount of new construction taking place. Long gone are the days when Canary Wharf was sort of just an out-of-town office park. Much of the new construction is residential. Only about two weeks ago, the final (Mayoral) approval for a new 68 floor residential tower was given, though it was originally meant to be 72 floors. The architect is Norman Foster

Some of the new buildings are offices – my photo showing a large mobile crane is on the site of two new office blocks – one of which is large and will be 37 floors. But, for example the photo I have of the O2 which is pretty much a carbon copy of one I took in 2011 – except that the two new residential towers now obscure much of the dome of the O2.

One of my photos shows the new Baltimore Tower under construction – a 45 storey residential skyscraper. If you want to see what it will look like you can take a peek at the developer website.

Finally – nothing to do with Canary Wharf – this month is UK Election month. I continue to think that not one of the mainstream parties has got an iota of a serious policy for housing, despite a number of half-baked ideas from some of them that sound as if they were cooked up the night before. Sooner or later, in London especially, this is going to lead to housing problems of major proportions – earlier this week Shelter were claiming that at the moment there were only 43 homes affordable to average first time buyers in London.

Doing the Lambeth Walk

Doing the Lambeth Walk

Anytime you’re Lambeth way,
Any evening, any day,
You’ll find us all doin’ the Lambeth walk…

You may think this is some old London or Cockney song – but you’d be wrong – it’s from the 1937 Hit Musical Me and my Girl.

The Lambeth Walk that I did was from Waterloo Station to Vauxhall Station, meandering and zigzagging between Kennington Road and the Albert Embankment.

The first photo is of the Lambeth Walk pub – in Lambeth Walk – which at one time used to house a street market. The pub is closed down – but the building is in good condition and will probably end up as some sort of gastro pub.

In Lambeth Palace Road, close to Waterloo Station, is a new student tower – awaiting the external claddings and completion of the roof garden. The sales board for it talks about 24-hour concierge, WiFi throughout and en-suite for every room. Very posh sounding – no doubt to accommodate post graduate medical students at the nearby Kings College Medical School at St Thomas’ Hospital. I have a couple of photos of the Hospital – including the Elvina Children’s Wing designed by Hopkins and a one-time contender for the Sterling Prize.

I missed the best pictures of Lambeth Palace by not walking into the Archbishops Garden, where instead I just snapped the children’s playground from the Garden entrance. Still there is a photo of the main entrance to the Palace – the Gatehouse. The gardens are open to the public; they are very old (the White Marseille Fig tree was planted in 1556) and no doubt well worth a visit.

Much of the rest of my photos are of the wonderful LCC style housing blocks; there being little in the way of new swanky towers. (Though there will be plenty of them soon at the Vauxhall end as part of the redevelopment of the Battersea Power and adjacent sites) The one marked Lambeth 2 shows an NHS Health Centre which is staffed by trainee doctors from the Kings College Medical campus. The Health centre is on the China Walk Estate, where the individual blocks are named after china pieces from the big English clay china manufacturers, like Wedgewood. There is a blue plaque (which I did not find) for Charlie Chaplin who spent his early years in this area. Some of the photos are of the magnificent Georgian Kennington Road, which forms one boundary of this part of Lambeth.

The area is still a mixed area – not the single class area that the big developers seem to want to turn every part of London into – but of course the area is much changed from the time of the Me and my Girl musical – for example only some of the local working class are now white, and some of the people do look quite poor.

The last two photographs are of St Peter’s Church Vauxhall – which is clearly a very High Anglican church since I took it to be a Catholic church at first.

The Estate We are in

The Estate We are in – Photos

This month’s photos are of three major estates and some of Blackheath.
Two of the estates – at Elephant and Castle in Southwark and Woodberry Down in north Hackney are being completely re-built over extended timescales. The third – Rockingham Estate – also in Southwark is not being changed. Blackheath is a pleasant well-to-do middle class suburb not too far from Greenwich and Canary Wharf.

The Rockingham Estate – from the 1950s – and Blackheath – lots of Edwardian villas are each presented as different contrasts to Elephant and Woodberry Down.

The main estate at Elephant and Castle that is subject to redevelopment is (or rather was) the Heygate. This notorious estate has now completely gone and the new posh developments by Lend Lease are already going up. My photographs of the Heygate are from July 2013 – so some 18 months ago. There are those who still argue that poor working class people were unfairly displaced from the Heygate and some of them now have to commute from Slough and such distances. There is some truth in what they say because although the development has some affordables there are not many of them and too many developers have recently learnt their way around the requirements for affordables and all too often put in new planning applications at a late stage of the main project that plans them out.
On the other hand most of the people who read this blog would not be seen dead in the Heygate (well they might have been…) and the local authorities, who no longer have the ability to build significant quantities of State sponsored housing are desperate to find a solution to such problem areas.

However, both of the estates that are being redeveloped are largely of over expensive housing that provides no help to many ordinary Londoners – including those couples earning joint salaries of even £70K or even £80K – and clearly much less so to those earning less.

On the Woodberry Down Estate, some of the new ritzier properties are already selling for £1M+ and the starting price is nearly £450,000. Similar prices can be expected at the Elephant and Castle. In both instances the development costs are huge – some £1.5Billion for Elephant and Castle, for example – and so no one can expect that the new properties could be sold at low prices. The problems are that far too many of them get sold as “buy to rent” properties and far too many to foreign investors who then keep them empty as appreciating assets. On both estates the proportion of properties that are being built at affordable prices or by housing associations is small. Certainly Woodberry Down has been marketed overseas – and probably Elephant also. However you look at it far too many of these (very attractive) new properties are out of the reach of ordinary Londoners and make too little contribution to solving London’s housing problems. In my opinion, without a bigger contribution from more shared housing – from housing associations and (good quality) State housing, London’s housing problem will remain. In addition Government must make it significantly less attractive for overseas buyers who then merely keep the property empty. Sometimes it is rather like building top of the range BMWs and leaving lots of them un-used in the car compound. Moreover, non of the main-stream political parties seem to have any housing policies of practical value as we move towards the next election. Without a doubt the major factor in price is the total number of homes being built – currently far too few – and whilst there are a great many new houses being built in London, the numbers are not keeping pace with the London population growth. There is a very good article about this on the BBC.

The contrast between say the former Heygate Estate and the pleasant suburb of Blackheath could not be greater but all too many people could not possibly afford the prices in Blackheath. The problem of housing is worsened when the replacements for places like the Heygate is also not affordable to too many ordinary (and not poor) Londoners.

My title, a slight variation on The State we’re in is indicative of the housing state that we are indeed in at the moment in London and whilst it is producing lots of new housing units – many of them of very attractive architecture – it is still nowhere near enough and something must be done to stop them, all too easily, being bought by overseas buyers who then just keep them empty as trophy properties. If this doesn’t happen, London will loose too many of its young people and its vibrancy will decline.

Town Halls (1) and A stroll Down the Strand

Town Halls (1) and A stroll Down the Strand – Photos

London comprises 32 boroughs plus the City and Greater London Authority (the one where Boris is the mayor). There are those (lawyers mostly, I think) who argue that it should be re-organised more on New York lines so that there are just five big boroughs. I prefer what we have got – with boroughs of about a quarter of a million apiece – more local – though there is a growing trend for boroughs to form up into small nearby groupings for such things as Legal Services, Purchasing and so on. This is being done to save money – no bad thing at all – and the end user (ie you and me) should see no change in service.

I have photographed – or rather am photographing the Town Halls. It takes a long time to visit all 32 London Boroughs – and so I show here half of them – with another half to come some time in the future.
I have also got some photos from The Strand – taken on a day in that quiet week between Christmas and New Year – which makes for photos with a lot less traffic in the way.

Not many of the Town Halls are actually called, Town Halls any more. Nowadays they are Civic Centres – a name that was probably engineered when Town Clerks became Chief Executives; swank always leads to more swank!

There are many older original Town Halls – that are very photogenic buildings. They come from the earlier London County Council (LCC) boroughs which merged into the larger boroughs of the Greater London Council (GLC) authorities in 1969 – but to photograph all them at the same time is just too big a job.

They’re a very mixed bunch – ranging from Grade II Listed to quite non-descript. A list of some information about them (in the same order as the displayed photographs on Flickr) is below:

Barking and Dagenham: Architects, Herbert Jackson & Reginald Edmond. Started Oct 1926. Abandoned because of the War. Re-started in 1954 and opened in 1958. Looks like the right kind of Town Hall for a Borough which still boasts the Ford Factory.

Barnet: Grade II Listed. Architect TH Watson. There is quite a grand staircase just inside and I can imagine Margaret Thatcher sweeping down those stairs after her election(s) as MP for Finchley.

Bexley: Originally the Woolwich Building Society HQ, built in 1989. Architect John Malyan. Converted to Bexley Civic Centre in 2014.

Brent: New – 2013. Architect Hopkins (of Velodrome fame, amongst many others). Won an RIBA Award for sustainability.

Bromley: A mixed bag, but including the Old Palace – originally built for Bishop of Rochester in 1775.

Ealing: Grade II listed. 1887 and expanded in 1930. Architect was Borough Surveyor, Charles Jones 1830-1913.

Hackney: Grade II listed. 1934-7, by Lanchester & Lodge. The new extension building behind the traditional Town Hall is also by Hopkins.

Hammersmith and Fulham: Architect E Berry Webber (1896-1963). Original building completed 1939. Grade II Listed. An ugly 1960s extension building at the front (the King Street side) is to be replaced by something more appropriate.

Hounslow: Unable to find either from Google searches or the Council who the architect was.

Kensington and Chelsea: Last work by Sir Basil Spence. Completed in 1976, seven days after his death. Grade II listed. Because of the two crowding-in adjacent streets it is very difficult to photograph.

Kingston upon Thames: Grade II listed. 1934-35, Maurice Webb (1880-1939) who also designed the Bentalls Department Store.

Lambeth: Built in 1906 – 1908 to designs by Septimus Warwick and H. Austen Hall.

Lewisham: Present Buildings by Borough Architect M H Forward and his successor A Sutton (late Fifties and finally 1971). Fairly gruesome stuff architecturally.

Richmond upon Thames: Built originally in 1730s by the Yorke Family – local landowners and farmers.

Sutton: Architect unknown. (Thank goodness…)

Waltham Forest: Grade II listed. One of my favourites. 1941, Philip Dalton Hepworth in Swedish style – built in Portland Stone. (A recent star of the Antiques Roadshow)

City of London: Guildhall. Originally built between 1411 and 1440.

Finally are my photographs down the Strand – including several of the Royal Courts of Justice – one of which shows the City Griffin marking the start of the City of London proper quite unmolested by the normal traffic.

A Few Snaps along the South Bank

A Few Snaps along the South Bank – Photos

I went for a walk along the South Bank – from Waterloo to Tower Bridge – on the last Saturday in November. It was busy (that’s a mild description) especially on the river front – the Queens Walk. Most of the people were not more than thirty somethings and I was about the only old-fogey in the crowd. I just took a few snaps until it got too dark to take any more.

There is talk (from the Office of National Statistics) that young people are starting to leave London – and migrate to places like Birmingham, not that there was much evidence of this along the South Bank on this particular Saturday! It is happening because of the difficulty of finding housing and whilst such city migration is not yet on anything like a large scale, it would be a disaster if it were to become so because young people provide the necessary creativity in the Arts, Technology, Finance, Business etc. to make London the place it is. Nonetheless Housing Policy (is there any Housing Policy?) needs to urgently address this if London is to remain the competitive international City that it is. Over expensive swanky skyscrapers of empty properties as appreciating assets for rich foreigners won’t make London rich, even if the architecture is exciting. An attempt to instigate some policy in this area is being made by Islington Council who have framed a policy to stipulate in future Section 106 agreements (the bit whereby developers make some provision back to the local community in their planning application) that properties must not be left empty. Of course it might get challenged in the Courts.

Anyway, to the photographs: they are, as I say in the Headline – just a few snaps – though one or two are worth a few mentions.

I start off with a picture of the National Theatre taken from Upper Ground looking towards the river. It does show the very considerable bulk of the building. Next comes one of the new swanky towers. Actually – an old office tower originally designed by Richard Siefert (architect of Centre Point at the junction of Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road) once called Kings Reach but now being converted to residential and renamed as South Bank Tower. It is technically very clever because the architects of the conversion – KPF – have added eleven extra floors without new foundations. (This was due to some bright sparks at an engineering consultancy called AKT II Ltd). This is being done as a rival to the next snap (taken just of the foundations) of the new tower at 1 Bishopgate. This was a site originally owned by the Beetham Organisation (responsible for the skyscraper in Manchester that appears on Coronation Street) but they went bust and Berkley Homes bought it and are now about to start soaring upwards to 50 storeys from the foundations that I have snapped. The architect (as their sales adverts never tire of reminding you) is Ian Simpson – also the architect of the Beetham Tower in Manchester

The Tate Modern extension has run into some difficulties (Let’s hope its not another Gaudi Cathedral type of building!) and some additional construction company has been appointed as a project overseer.
I can never resist photographing any of the Peabody estates – and the one in Southwark Street is not going to be an exception.
I have two photos of the former industrial nature of the South Bank. The first at Great Guildford St shows the former Barclay and Fry tin factory. They were one of the companies that developed printing onto metals tins. They were formed in 1867 and in 1922 became one of the founding companies of the Metal Box Co.

The second photo is named Southwark Street 2. The building on the left is the former Kirkaldy Testing and Experimental works – that tested the strengths of materials. It is now a museum – run by volunteers – so if you were to intend to visit the museum, best to check with their website. The building is now Grade II listed.

The former St Thomas Hospital Chapel in Thomas Street is interesting. It was rebuilt in 1703 by Thomas Cartright – in the style of Christopher Wren. It is no longer a church – but used as offices by a Lloyds Broker.
The picture of the Shard shows the entrance to the View from the Shard
The rest are more or less self explanatory and I went on taking them until it got too dark.

The re-development of London will continue at an even faster pace this year. Despite the (serious) problems over the affordability of the new housing, it is architecturally a very exciting time.

I wish you a Happy New Year.