Certain message-boards are speculating about the true identity of Dovecot Towers, which is missing the point. With generic new buildings everywhere, the actual name is irrelevant. Sorry if I sound tetchy, but I am consumed with Japan envy. I need to live in Tokyo, and I want to be Japanese.
I expect you’re wondering where that came from. Before I explain, allow me to me reiterate that in most cities, rabbit-hutch developments monopolise valuable brownfield sites. Judging from your comments and emails, the problems within these walls are endemic: wherever there are Dovecots, trouble is guaranteed, but still nobody in authority questions the wisdom of their ubiquity.
However, Dovecot Towers is unique in one respect: its design is nasty, nadir-skimming, and miserly. Between blueprint and completion, anything pleasing, comfortable or humane was summarily excised with a callous red pencil, creating the bleakest of empty shells.
Meanwhile, greedy, deluded, wannabe property tycoons were ramping up rents throughout the land. Their faith in an infinite supply of occupants able to pay over-inflated prices was short-sighted (i.e. stupid.) Landlords learned that affluent young professionals usually move as soon as possible, buying homes if they can get a mortgage.
Dovecot Towers and its clones are occupied by workers in Nulabour world, where politicians brag about wage restraint and creating a flexible, mobile and as a result, highly insecure workforce, where potential employees must demonstrate their dedication with months of unpaid work experience, and the majority of recent graduates earn below the threshold to start repaying student loans. Reality has bitten hard, and lower rents might allow more of the target demographic to live here.
Along with my neighbour, I am one of the longest established residents. We’ve both lived here for just over two years. Lev was one of the first people to move in. He stayed because he’s an overseas student; Dovecot Towers met his basic needs and in just a few months time, he’s returning home for good. Everybody’s passing through.
What’s my point, you’re wondering; I’ve said this before. It’s just that I’ve noticed a large crack running the height of one interior wall, and it runs along the same spot on every level of the entire structure. Considering the dodgy building standards hereabouts, this might be a harbinger of disaster, although I am sure the management will maintain it’s something to do with plaster shrinkage. I’m concerned that one clumsy passer-by leaning against an outside wall could send Dovecot Towers crashing down.
So here’s why I envy Japan. It’s not the seafood, the scenery, or the art. It’s their attitude to architecture. Even large expensive structures are routinely demolished for practical, aesthetic and financial reasons, once they’ve outlived fashion or a useful life. Faulty or superfluous buildings are destroyed when society, architects and occupants acknowledge that a replacement is justified.
Brits are inappropriately sentimental about any old building (even a bad one) but this is my dream. With owner-occupiers having deserted Dovecot Towers, and since buy-to-let is dead, could somebody buy it, demolish it, then start again, ensuring better, larger flats designed for humans to live happy lives? Please? This newbuild thing just isn’t working out, but an accurate Japanese wrecking-ball could make it all better.
(NB: Last night, the main door was pulled from its frame, and left lying in the corridor. That shouldn’t be possible.)