Hugh Pearman


Doubtless Spectator readers based in Caithness will scoff when I say that the old fishing port of Wick (top right corner of the country, close to John O’ Groats) is a bit remote. But for the rest of us, it is. Indeed, its relative isolation is one of the reasons it was chosen to house

Paved with good intentions

As a schoolboy, I used to go round to my best mate Mike’s home. It was a good place: a cosy first-floor flat beneath the big, tiled, pitched roof, an anthracite stove in the kitchen. It faced onto a green and had a long garden at the back. It had a parade of shops nearby

The old ways

I’m sitting across a café table from a young man with a sheaf of drawings that have an archive look to them but are in fact brand new. His Jacob Rees-Mogg attire — well-cut chalk-stripe suit and immaculate tie — sets him apart from the others in the room, who are mostly architects and architectural

Lost in the metropolis

Richard Rogers is to architecture what Jamie Oliver is to cookery. It is not enough for either of them just to be very good at what they do and to bank the proceeds: they want so much more. They want to use their skills and money to improve society more broadly. They are old-school campaigning

Greater Oxbridge

Oxbridge is an ivory-tower state of mind, perhaps, or at least two ancient rival universities, but how about this: in the future the word could describe a fully connected English economic region, a rival both to London and to the great midlands and northern cities. This is the aim of the National Infrastructure Commission, headed

Towering extravagance

The Shard is an unnecessary building. Nobody apart from its developer asked for it to be built. Nobody was crying out for a big spike of concrete, steel and glass filled with a mix of superluxury hotel, ultraprime apartments and loads of speculative offices right above London Bridge station, with an expensive viewing gallery as

Building block | 23 February 2017

What a strange affair it now seems, the Mansion House Square brouhaha. How very revealing of the battle for the soul of architecture that reached maximum ferocity in the late 1980s and which still echoes today. Where developers now jostle to build ever taller, fatter and odder-shaped City skyscrapers, this was a time when it

Highly undesirable

Most of us just live in cities, or travel to see them and take them pretty much as they come, for good or bad, save for moaning about how much better they used to be. Does anyone ever say of their home city how greatly it has improved? But aside from all the travel writers,

Giving Tate Modern a lift

Tate Modern, badly overcrowded, has built itself a £260 million extension to spread everyone about the place more. This means that there are more galleries and other big rooms for various modish activities — 60 per cent more space, they say. It opens on 17 June with a total rehang throughout. But having been shown

Too high, too fast

You have to get nearly halfway through this book before it starts to show some life. Until that point, as Rowan Moore ambles in his wry manner through pages of familiar description of the capital’s built and social history, you find yourself wondering what it is all for. After all, if you choose to write