London’s skyline is starting to resemble that of Dubai according to architect Adam Caruso who says lack of regulation is turning the city into a “free for all” for urban designers.
Caruso –co-founder of studio Caruso St John – said that property developers hold too much power over the design and planning of the city, and that opportunities have been missed as a result.
“In Britain, there’s no authority; it is a free for all. That is why London is looking more and more like Dubai,” he said.
“I think it is a shame because with the money invested you could have done much more for the city with almost the same profit.”
He claims the planning system is more effective in countries like Germany, where the appointed city architects have more power than developers.
“Generally, we get projects through competitions,” he continued. “In Germany, the city architect is very important. If he says, ‘It doesn’t matter whether it is a developer project, this is important for the city, there has to be a competition,’ then there is one.
“In Britain, we really tried to do commercial buildings, but there the developer pays, and the developer decides.”
Caruso St John has been in practice for over 26 years, but has only completed a handful of projects in the UK capital. Among these is the renovation of Tate Britain and the Newport Street Gallery for artist Damien Hirst.