The Weekly Review 2

The Weekly Review 2

In the Headlines

Moulsecoomb Place Towered Over

Built in 1790, Grade 11 Moulsecoomb Place, which is currently the home of a student advice service and student accommodation for the University of Brighton, is about to witness a seismic shift. Under the proposals by developer Cathedral, the student accommodation, that houses 163 students, will be demolished and replaced with tall buildings, which will house more students. Cathedral’s plans for this site include restoration of the historic gardens that will give greater public access; this might be a good thing as they have allegedly been closed to the public for 600 years; also, they intend to improve access to the nearby Moulsecoomb railway station. To top it all off, Cathedral will be creating an “affordable and sustainable” place to get food and drink.

A spokeswoman for the developer said: “The intention is to restore Moulsecoomb Place, the tithe barn and the gardens, converting them into facilities that bring community benefit and are enjoyed and used by many. The student accommodation next door is enabling development and will be high quality”. So, the monstrosities to be built west of the restored Moulsecoomb Place are the trade off?


Sustainable, affordable, and high quality: well we’ve been down these three pathways in the Lewes Road before and look at the result, the towers of Mithras Halls, a range of tall buildings from eight to18 storeys. They were given names from other parts of Brighton and Hove; Brunswick, Goldstone, Hanover, Preston and Regency. How nice, but be aware of developer’s speak, such as: “Our goal is to create a sustainable, lively and more accessible place, which brings benefit to the local community and the wider city.”

Is this development going to be, as always, build them high for profits and keep standards low; after all people will accept anything these days for a roof over their heads.

Information partly sourced from the Brighton and Hove News




I’m wondering what is driving this surge in tall buildings. As you have shown it’s not a question of land availability. But how do you think relative costs might work out? I tend to think that providing 6 low-rise lifts would be more expensive than 2 high-rise ones but there may be other cost savings, which make low rise cheaper that I’m unaware of. 


Interesting question. Obviously, any relative costings would vary according to the layout and size of low-rise and high-rise blocks.

But using the example of the 3D model, this showed a high rise 60-storey tower block and a low-rise 4 storey building built around a courtyard.  Each would accommodate180 flats. The major cost of lifts would be the reinforced concrete lift shaft structure and foundations supporting them. The lifts and mechanisms themselves would be a relatively minor proportion of the cost.

Looking at the high-rise model, at least 2 lift shafts would be needed, possibly 3.  So, if there were 2, that comes to 120 storeys of lift shaft (2 x 60 storeys), or if there were 3 it comes to 180 storeys of lift shaft.

Looking at the low-rise 4-storey model, you would certainly need more lift shafts – say (6) possible (8), which comes to either 24 storeys of lift shaft (6 x 4 storeys) or 32 storeys of lift shift. Much better ratio than the high-rise

Looks like a no-brainer to me.

3D model of the tower block and low-rise


Tweet of the Week



The above tweets are Paul Zara’s response to the argument that the 3D model of the tower block and low-rise (above) shows that it is possible to create the same number of units in both types of development. Paul is an architect who desires to live in Lake Shore Drive (see insert)

Lake Shore Drive


Film of the Week 


This week the video has had 691 views


Thought of the Week

High-rises=gentrification and inequality; Low/Mid-rises=resiliency and affordability

According to Suzanne H. Crowhurst Lennard, co-founder and director of the Making Cities Liveable International Council:, “The construction industry is a powerful engine for fuelling economic development. Tall buildings offer increased profits for developers. However, the higher a building rises, the more expensive is the construction. Thus, the tallest buildings tend to be luxury units, often for global investors. Tall buildings inflate the price of adjacent land, thus making the protection of historic buildings and affordable housing less achievable. In this way, they increase inequality.”

On the other hand, says Making Cities Liveable: “Small footprint shops and apartments in a fine textured urban fabric yield smaller profits, spread out among many individuals and businesses in the community. Over centuries, this human scale urban fabric has proved to be adaptable to changing political and economic times, making the community resilient, and durable. The City of Paris, with buildings no taller than 100ft, supports continuous retail along the street, making every neighbourhood walkable.”














One thought on “The Weekly Review 2

  1. While on the subject of Moulsecoomb, can anyone tell me who has decided to ignore the local pronunciation? On-board ‘next stop/station’ recordings on trains and buses pronounce it MOOLS-cm, emphasis on the first syllable, rhyming it with ‘pool’. Locals, particularly people who live or grew up there, pronounce it Mols-COOMB, emphasis on the final syllable, the ‘l’ almost silent. Very old maps spell it without an ‘l’, ie Mousecomb. Other ancient areas in the city with names reflecting the landscape place the emphasis on the final syllable, eg WoodingDEAN not WOODingdean, Black ROCK, Old/New STEINE. Might not seem very important, but local pronunciation is as much part of local culture as local words. It feels clumsy and disrespectful to ignore this.

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