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Chiba, a Japanese Akita rescue dog and a roving ‘barkitect’ sniffs out spaces of interest… \,,,,> My daily walk down Bethnal Green Road to Shoreditch work takes me past the Chicken Museum (see Review here) and Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, London’s first cat café. Being Japanese, I am familiar with animal cafés from back home whereby such cafés are popular due to tenancy laws forbidding animals – in Tokyo’s bustling Shibuya district, the Sakuragaoka Café  lets customers spend quality time with two special goats! On her website, Lady Dinah claims that animal welfare is the backbone of her business: “We love animals, our customers love animals and looking after our cats is the biggest priority we have.” This has lead to extensive consultation and research with a range of experts and reputable sources leading to the production of Lady Dinah’s Standards of Practice for Housing and Caring for Cats in a Cat Café Environment. Of course, having a Cat Emporium in East London maintains the historic legacy of The Cat Lady of Spitalfields who devoted her life to feeding the stray cats of Brick Lane. Unsurprisingly, her favourite café was in Cheshire Street. Next up, the House of Hounds Dog Café set to open in Shoreditch this summer… featuring, in the best traditions of cassius Coolidge’s canine poker, further dog portraiture. WHAT_architecture blablablarchitectureWHAT_Architecture blablablarchitectiure  


Chiba, a Japanese Akita rescue dog and a roving ‘barkitect’ sniffs out spaces of interest… \,,,,> I walk with my nose close to the pavement. I was surprised to smell a live hen coming from a shop. Except this shop is a gallery with a show called Chicken Museum. Imagery from the web typical of that which saturates our everyday lives is placed next to real live chickens in a bizarre artistic ‘pen’ which is at once a ‘museum’ and a living environment. Offsetting this artistic juxtaposition of art and animal is the garish trash aesthetic of everyday fast food consumption. WHAT_architecture chibaIMG_9087WHAT_architecture  


Monumental! Forget mosaics when you can have Cityzen Kane. Next up, Shoreditch Station… WHAT_architecture

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WAGS. Footballer’s Wives and Girlfriends = Bags and shoes. Golden boots.Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 23.38.13Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 23.38.57Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 23.38.04Golden-Boot-Winners-List


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‘Shoreditch’ by Alan Gilbey: Yes, I remember Shoreditch – The name, because one afternoon Confused – I took the wrong train From Whitechapel. It was late June. And we trundled and jogged – the truth and I Through cuttings that cut through – who knows? Till we stopped at a single platform And sat there in repose. Then for one minute, a blackbird sang Just that – and peace and calm Till the whinny of a horse arose From some nearby farm. The air brakes hissed. Someone cleared his throat No one left and no one came On that country station platform A stone’s throw from Brick Lane. Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 19.13.18 This poem by the local poet Alan Gilbey was hung in the (Pedley Street) Shoreditch Station until the station’s closure in 2006. Today it reads as a lament to a once former Terminus… interestingly there is no mention of the station building itself which was rendered a ‘ghost building’ the day the railway tracks were pulled up, the single platform was buried, the cuttings infilled and the arches demolished. That the poem refers to Spitalfields Farm reinforces our belief in a ‘Sustainable Heritage’: one whereby the dead Station supports the living Farm, the proposed beneficiary of any Section 106 agreement. 127sho_WHAT_architecture The former (Pedley Street) Shoreditch Station  is also conspicuously absent from this 2011 ‘Heritage’ map by The Gentle Author which hangs in the Golden Heart, a local establishment. This map includes notable local points of interest and with respect to Pedley Street indicates Spitalfields Farm and a ukelele shop, the Duke of Uke. In the mapping of ‘Brick Lane’ today by a local historian, Shoreditch Station is indicated yet in its current location on Bethnal Green Road. The former (Pedley Street) Shoreditch Station (as a Terminus) has been bypassed, in both this map and todays London Underground map, as the Conservation Area / city has evolved in the collective consciousness. The Gentle Author recognises that Shoreditch Station has had at least 4 different East London locations over the past 150 years: Liverpool Street, Shoreditch High Street, Pedley Street and today Bethnal Green Road. The UCL Institute of Archeology confirms this in their report: that the former (Pedley Street) Shoreditch Station had literally no foundations – it straddled the now non-existent tracks – and so was always considered, in Heritage terms, a ‘chattel’: a mobile object, building-as-train, that changed location. 127sho_WHAT_architecture127sho_WHAT_architecture 127sho_WHAT_architecture2011_The Gentle Author_detail
“The Past being over and done with now falls prey to our invention,” wrote Walter Benjamin. His statement is called upon by Rachel Lichtenstein, who in her book On Brick Lane (fascinating according to The Guardian) recognises that whilst London’s East End has today been reinvented by the creative sector, Lichtenstein’s personal motive tries to preserve what memories she can of its past. So let’s see what Rachel makes of the former (Pedley Street) Shoreditch Station…
There are 108 illustrations listed in the book. None feature Shoreditch Station. The book is 352pages long and mentions “Shoreditch Station” four times on pages 66, 255, 299, 338. All mentions are one sentence references to the Station in terms of locating, e.g p66: “we walked together back down Brick Lane, past Shoreditch Station and a row of shops before turning into a narrow alleyway next to a café, which ended in a iron stairwell”. The contribution of Shoreditch Station to the Conservation Area can be rigorously identified (away from rose-tinted anecdotal evidence) to being one of an urban locator, a sign post. If, since 2006, the heritage setting around the Station has changed dramatically particularly with the installation of the new ELL steel truss bridge which towers over the former Station, then the Station needs to reassert itself as a way finder, a beacon which heralds arrival into Allen Gardens and links the new High Line green park proposed for BishopsGates GoodsYard (which, unlike the Station, was Listed). Context is everything, but if the context changes then Lichtenstein reminds us in her introduction to chapter 12 ‘Disappearances’: “Each person effectively shapes the place by his or her story a thread in thread in the meaning of place and also has to come to terms with the many layers of the story that already exist in a given location.” Layering is a verticalised strategy for comprehending memory (Underground, Ground, Overground)  and is preferred over the ‘train wreck’ that is horizontal juxtaposition. Layering, not juxtaposition, is the architectural strategy. This is why the proposal is a verticalised layering, a palimpsest of the new NOT next to the old but the new UPON the old. Layering reinforces heritage: architecture can be archeology! Furthermore, to really engage in Sustainable Heritage the proposal has to be of a size to socially, economically and ecologically sustain the local Conservation Area neighbourhood that is Allen Gardens and Spitalfields Farm, if not the local ukelele shop… Bob Mazzer’s book ‘Underground’ features no imagery of Shoreditch Station.

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As Brasil 2014 kicks off, thanks to Victor for reminding us of the variance between favela and crib. Get rich or die tryin’? Okay then MTV Cribs invites us into the 50cent household. Whilst his tunes might be the bomb, his 5,100 sqft gaff is decidedly wack! (50cent, if you are reading this, we know you p*ssed, but whilst we could sort it out in the ring, wee remind you that you can add you 50p comment below… or call us on 00442077299848 where we will offer you a real proper bling ting crib for no dollar bill y’all. Or consequently recognise that those brass taps, duff marble surfaces are decidedly not underground. You dig? WHAT_arc make u tha tru yard for max fees of 50 per Cent!) WHAT_architecture favela