The Swiss are getting serious about modelling good transit etiquette and ensuring that passengers are safely off trains and buses before more people attempt to board. As reported in the Vancouver Sun transit officials decided some modelling of good behaviour would help with transit etiquette in Geneva. With actors playing the parts of Queen Elizabeth  II, a bearskin hatted Palace Guard and a finely suited British gentleman,  the aim was to show how the British are good at getting on and off transit,and provide more decorum among riders.
As The Register observes“The stunt was part of the Swiss city’s ongoing GE-RESPECTE campaign, initiated last year by Geneva’s transport department, to raise awareness and encourage civilised behaviour among transport users.
On its Facebook page the campaign said: “The GE-laissesortir action has begun…! Three British tourists of a particular kind have come to lend a hand to their Geneva friends to convey the fundamentals of courtesy in transport. So British..!”

Read more »


The British have a developed way of building shaming and have wasted no time saying exactly what they feel about the 380 million pound Nova building located next to Victoria station near London’s Buckingham Palace. As Oliver Wright in The Guardian states this “complex, which lurches outside the station in its bright red costume like a drunken member of the Queen’s Guard, has been crowned winner of the Carbuncle Cup for the UK’s ugliest building by Building Design magazine. It beat some strong competition, from the new entrance to Preston station, student housing in Portsmouth and the first phase of Battersea power station’s residential development, among other lurid crimes against the built environment.”
The Carbuncle Cup is named after unguarded remarks made by Prince Charles who called  Ahrends, Burton and Koralek‘s  London’s National Gallery  new wing a “monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend”. Following up on such eloquence, Building Design magazine launched the Cup in 2006, with voting for badly designed buildings conducted online, and final judging done on a short list of those remarkable buildings.
The Nova building has been described by judges as “one that sets a new benchmark for dystopian dysfunction” with “the bright red prows that adorn various points of the exterior like the inflamed protruding breasts of demented preening cockerels”. 
The  architects PLP Architecture are described as “serial offenders” for their  22 Bishopsgate building which was following “the vogue for faceted glass office buildings”. A photo of the glass walled Bishopsgate structure is below.

22 Bishopsgate
It is unfortunate that PLP Architecture describes the red colour as being a reference to “an important transport interchange” and the use of facets and cross-bracing were “patterns to lighten the effect on your eye, to break up the surface, and create more of a decorative surface”. This development  takes up a whole city block with two office buildings, and a residential building. The 2017 Carbuncle Cup was awarded specifically for the office buildings, although the residential buildings also warranted attention, and were  called “mangled gobbledygook… far too many influences have been at play”.

The Nova has no strong interactive ground plane and no scale or reference for pedestrians at street level other than the unfortunate triangles which look like  A frame huts. What is  troubling is how a whole city block in one of the most touristic parts of London could have morphed into such an androgynous design. Even the double-decker buses seem to cower away from it.
The sadness in this “wedge gone rogue” is how a design like this with no reference to the historical streetscape could have been developed. Is there a need for a similar system of awards in Canada for architecture that leaves citizens breathless for the wrong reasons?

 
 

Read more »