Defence Training College

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Litotes, Jun 17, 2010.

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  1. I found some details of the proposed Defence Training College on the web this evening:

    Slide show

    However, I thought it (DTR) unaffordable when we started down this path and my opinion has hardened.

    But look at the state of the relevant bits of the training estate and we will be damned if we do and damned if we don't!

  2. 13bn? Holeee sheeeit!
  3. Dreadful design, seems to forget it is a building that will represent the military institution and thus need to hold gravitas for decades. As such it really needs to at least be anchored around a large central structure in neo-classical, georgian or edwardian style (which any architect will begrudgingly tell you have stood the test of time).

    Christ for a few million you could buy some of the larger boarding schools in the country with more than 1000 acres and do them up. What absolute nonsense. 13bn? Bloody silly money, pork barrel project to bribe the Welsh.
  4. Over priced Lego reject,I agree they could find better existing building and refurbish it.
  5. What's it for? I mean what kind of training will be done there?
  6. rampant

    rampant LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    FFS £13 billion:

    Seriously what is going on, how many barracks and acres have we flogged off over the last coupla decades that would have been more than suitable for this.*

    I'm with ASI on this too, I may be a fan of contemporary architecture, but that is just gash.

    * serious point tho, is anyone round here got any figures that would illustrate this.
  7. For 13 billion you could buy one of the royal palaces in london. I think Buckingham palace and grounds was valued at about 22 billion by Christie's for a joke...... so St James'?

    The total amount raised from defence estates sell offs was in the 100s of millions from the last thing I saw, but I cant find it so may be very wrong.

    Now if the 13bn didnt include running costs, MOD civil service costs etc. for a few decades or so then what the **** were they thinking (unless it is a typo and they meant 13mn)..... If not, what the bloody hell were they smoking?
  8. According to this article the build cost is £700mill, £12bn (a year old number) is the whole cost over a 30 year lifespan
  9. Just thought that I would add to this tread. I have been involved in the DTR project for the last 3 years and I am a member of one of the working groups that are looking at the design of the new college. So you could counter that I am biased, but a couple of observations:

    First on ASI Carrots point that the new college should be based on a neo classical design: This will be the new home for tech trg for the Armed Forces in the 21st century, why would you want a building that does not use 21st century design? The chief architect has a proven track record of delivering some of the very best designs that the MOD has built in recent years. His portfolio includes the Defence Academy at Shrivenham and the Welbeck rebuild.

    Countrymounty, St Athan is already an MOD site and whilst this is a new build, at the heart of the design is an existing hanger that will be refurbished. The Red Dragon hanger (which cost £107M) will form the bulk of the tech trg class rooms and workshop space and was major factor in selecting the St Athan site. Under the current plan, when the college is built both the Arborfield and Bordon sites will be sold off for redevelopment as new communities.

    As Andy has mentioned the £13Bn is for the 30 years of the whole project and includes the running cost for providing the technical trg for Defence. Yes this is an eye watering amount of cash, but the do nothing option of keeping the current sites and schools running is even more unaffordable.
  10. Bluebells having done a fair whack of research into British institutional failings post WWII architecture is a critical point, using 'cutting edge' 21st century designs for civic architecture is exactly not what we should be doing. It is short termism. It does not consider that the building has to remain imposing and relevant for decades.

    The Victorians - the creators of British public institutions, understood this perfectly, harping back to popular architectural era, gothic, classical etc. to create public buildings that would anchor institutions. They have been successful for the best past of 120 years on a great deal of them. They very much understood they should be built and laid out in a 'modern' fashion but the design should be something the people should be able to identify with and respect. Britain as a nation has ALWAYS been obsessed with its past - for inspiration and security. The whims of architects are the very last thing that should be considered for civic architecture.

    Much of the new architecture at RMA Sandhurst and other sites work because it is anchored around buildings that have a timeless architectural quality. It is delusional to think that because its housing the current bleeding edge of technology it should have a bleeding edge design. This will date ludicrously quickly (as have pretty much all civic construction not aping a classical form since the 50s,60s,70s,80s,90s and this decade), the last time we got it right with a new style was the 1930s with deco/Edwardian.

    I was having a chat with an old RHA Colonel that had approved some newer architectural style buildings in the late 90s early 2000s. It was not until some junior officer gobbed off in the mess that he got it.

    You are constructing spaces for an institution to function in, these must command respect from those who serve in them and those who see them to be considered successful buildings in terms of institutional architecture. When you construct a building to appease the whims of architects, government officials with a massive erection for the new not the old and to his admission and chagrin officers with a passion for modern art and architecture you get shit.

    The commissioning process for the designs is arse about face, it is civic design so at its heart should be POPULISM, not challenging convention that is the remit of the private sector. Any long term populist desires for architecture in this nation trend around a cluster of styles, of which 4 are more than possible to recreate today, for large buildings, for probably less cost that this and other 'cutting edge' artistic elite **** off.

    In 30 years, echos, notes, design cues etc. of a classic design wont cut it, it will look complete shit. If you buy an old pile to anchor it all around, or even just build a new central complex in an old style it will still maintain an air of gravitas from the central structure.

    This is one of the things Prince Charles has been banging on about for 30 years and is completely and utterly correct about. Stop wasting millions on something we all know will age badly.
  11. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    Can someone explain to us oldies who are only here to pay the taxes who is going to be trained in this place and for what?
  12. ASICarrot have you visited the Defence Academy?
    Case Study

    Seaweed, at the moment some of your taxes are spent on the technical training for REME, Royal Signals, RAF and Navy engineers. This is conducted at various schools and sites around the UK, one of which is No 4 School at St Athan. The Garrisons of Bordon and Arborfield only exist because of the tech trg that is delivered on those sites. The DTR theory is centralise on one joint site and you can deliver better training and save money in the long run.
  13. Yes, and the new builds at Shrivenham was one of the buildings the Colonel was involved in ok'ing the design to. It has dated, and will be embarassingly out of date well before it is due for a facelift/architectural transformation. Thats the critical point, none of this stuff reflects long term institutional thinking (Victorian) but rather silly 20th century building trends of progressevism and modernism which do not interface well at all with institutional needs.

    The JSCS at Shrivenham would be a great private sector head office and training site in the countryside, something that does not need to be imposing or command respect. It does not fit with or represent (design wise) the military establishment. Which does by its remit have to be superior, commanding and historically anchored.

    Though the MOD has escaped the worst excesses of civic architecture inflicted on the nation during the 90s and 2000s the concept remains the same, these buildings cost a great deal and must provide decades if not a century of service. Given that trend why not build something that represents and reflects the populist national trends?

    Which of these will still be commanding respect by dit of the architecture and design in 100 years? If the second is still standing at all. Firstly how silly it WILL get if the rot is not stopped.

    Closer to home:

    vs. (the old JSCSC)
  14. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    Thanks Bluebells. I think I may have picked up on this in the past re debates about HMS Sultan at Gosport. I am sure the matter will be decided by CS who are in happy ignorance of the technicalities involved & the RN will have to pick up the pieces at sea.
  15. How about Greenwich? Kick all the students and other assorted riff-raff and bingo a Defence Training College or whatever.

    Talking off 'wichs', what about Woolwich?

    The decisions will be taken by a team of politicians (expenses scroungers) and civil servants (Labour 'luvvies') and no consideration will be given to the requirement of the Armed Forces whatsoever.

    Expect 'Bakanders PLC' to be involved somewhere.

    Cynical? Moi?