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“This isn’t about design, this is about politics” says commenter

In this week’s comments update, readers are debating UK prime minister Boris Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds’ 11 Downing Street flat makeover and sharing their views on other top stories.



a close up of a door: 11 Downing Street


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11 Downing Street

Johnson sparked controversy recently when, in addition to re-wallpapering, he replaced the John Lewis furniture chosen by his predecessor Theresa May for the prime ministerial home.

In an opinion piece for Dezeen, Michelle Ogundehin asked, “Why is the world so enraged by the refurbishment of Boris Johnson’s flat?”

“£850 for a roll of wallpaper is disproportionate”

Readers responded. “The kerfuffle isn’t about the design,” said Aidan Walker. “Apart from Carrie’s ill-judged snobbery about John Lewis. It’s about who paid for it, No. 10’s obfuscations, unseemly backtracking, and Boris being held over a barrel by the Tory grandees who stumped up the cash. This isn’t design, this is politics.”

“Perhaps that money would have been better spent on housing, medical care or education for the millions of migrants seeking a better life in Britain,” replied J Hooker.

“The problem isn’t what he has had done, what it costs, or what it looks like,” continued Sim. “The problem is that Johnson didn’t want to pay for it himself. You have to agree that £850 for a roll of wallpaper is disproportionate.”

Kevin agreed: “So long as they use private funds why is it anyone’s business how they decorate the private quarters? The problem here is not that Johnson redecorated, the problem is that he allegedly used campaign funds to do so.”

Are commenters being harsh? Join the discussion ›



a man and a woman in a yard: This week the first tenants moved into a 3D-printed home


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This week the first tenants moved into a 3D-printed home

“Meet The Flintstones” says reader

Commenters are critiquing a boulder-shaped concrete house, which is said to be the first lived-in 3D-printed home in Europe. It is part of Project Milestone, a five-home 3D-printing scheme in a suburb of Eindhoven in The Netherlands.

“Meet the Flintstones!” said Fokko van der Veen. “I think it’s a pity that neither the exterior nor the interior of this object is in any way attractive. In fact, it makes me sad. A bad design is a bad design, 3D-printed or not.”

ATX Builder continued: “I’ve built six 3D-printed homes in the United States – they are not the future. It’s a very problematic wall system and nothing more. The process costs three times as much and took five times as long to build. The technology has a very long way to go, if it ever gets there.”

BSL disagreed: “So much negativity in the comments – 3D-printing is the last frontier. Technology can’t evolve without experimenting with quirky prototypes along the way. The ultimate goal is to fully automate construction, make it smoother and cheaper.”

Do you think 3D-printing homes is the way forward? Join the discussion ›



a sign on the side of a building: LOHA clads John R 2660 apartment building in Detroit with cedar


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LOHA clads John R 2660 apartment building in Detroit with cedar

“I love the colour of the cedar” says reader

Commenters are discussing a housing block with cedar cladding, which American architecture firm LOHA has completed in a once-rundown Detroit neighbourhood.

“My first thought was that this must be the most unimaginative exterior possible, but at second and third glance it starts growing on me,” said Zea Newland. “It’s the orange of the cedar that makes it interesting. I wonder how long the color will last.”

“I love the colour of the cedar and accents of glass and brown grids,” agreed Bill Barker. “Interesting transformation. However this cedar will not look like that in a couple years.”

Apsco Radiales continued: “Even though cedar is a beautiful building material and can last a while, it should not be located so close to the sidewalks. Snow, ice, road salt and grime shorten its life considerably.”

Do you think cedar was the right choice of material? Join the discussion ›



a tall building in a city: The Independent by Rhode Partners is Austin's tallest skyscraper


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The Independent by Rhode Partners is Austin’s tallest skyscraper

“Is this really something new?” asks commenter

Readers are divided over a 58-storey residential skyscraper in Austin, Texas, which has sparked debate thanks to its irregularly stacked blocks cantilevering at different levels. The Independent is the tallest tower in the city.

“Nice look,” said Ken Steffes, “but another square glass box in the middle of many square glass boxes? Is this really something new? Try something round or use curves and something other than glass.”

“I live in Austin and this building is widely hated because the top looks completely unfinished,” added Dilz.

Patrick Y Wong was more positive: “I find The Independent to be quite visually exciting and distinctive. The silhouette stands out from the skyline at a great distance during the day and the illuminated crown is quite lovely at night.”

What do you think of Austin’s tallest tower? Join the discussion ›

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