'I can see the Shard from here'- pix of London's latest architectural horror

Page 2 of 2 Previous  1, 2

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Re: 'I can see the Shard from here'- pix of London's latest architectural horror

Post  eddie on Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:46 pm

'Modern buildings show no respect for the Tower of London'

The iconic 11th-century citadel that is the Tower of London, with its ancient walls, streets, steps and turrets, has been let down by a towering failure of City planners, says Simon Jenkins

Simon Jenkins

guardian.co.uk, Friday 20 January 2012 22.45 GMT


The Shard overshadows the 11th-century Tower of London/ Photograph: Veronika Lukasova/ZUMA Press/Corbis

Bad news. Unesco may soon strip London's two most prominent tourist sites, Westminster's Parliament Square and the Tower of London in the City of their world heritage status. Chief reason is the towering Shard, which will be western Europe's tallest building, now looming over both of them from its launch pad on the south side of London Bridge. Westminster's grouping of Abbey, Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and Whitehall is probably far enough away to survive the shock. The Tower of London is a different matter.

The rough-and-tumble old citadel has become such a London familiar that few people really know it. William the Conqueror's White Tower still sits nobly in the centre of the composition, sadly deprived of the original limewash that gave it its name. Inside are the original apartments, two chambers to each floor, and a Norman chapel. In the basement is a magnificent armoury museum. This remains the finest 11th-century structure in Britain.

On the river side of the Tower is Traitor's Gate and a suite of medieval chambers fitted out for Henry III (who kept a zoo in the grounds). This mini-palace has been recreated, complete with throne room and peaceful oratory looking out over the Thames – a serene view touched by the sadness of those passing to their deaths beneath.

Within this palace runs the last medieval street in London, a maze of ancient walls, steps and turrets. Here are the Bloody Tower, Raleigh's prison chambers, the Crown Jewels and the "leads" where Princess Elizabeth walked and contemplated death or coronation during the reign of her Catholic half-sister, Mary. The Tower enclave as a whole is a remarkable medieval town within a town. When inside, we can just about lose ourselves in Beefeaters, ravens, blood, guts and history.

Until the 1960s Tower Hill, overlooking the tower itself, was surrounded by the buildings, mostly warehouses, of a working Georgian and Victorian city. Most eye-catching of all, Tower Bridge, designed by the City architect, Horace Jones, in 1886, rose downstream in deference to the tower itself. The most famous bascule bridge in the world and still working, it perfectly complements the battlements and vigour of the Conqueror's fortress. Visitors can climb it and look down on river and city beneath, getting a closer and more evocative view than from the big wheel upstream.

That is about it. As Unesco rightly suggests, no city in Europe has shown less concern for the setting of its historic buildings than London. St Katherine's Dock just downstream of the bridge has been partly restored, but its tower facade is wrecked by an overwhelming glass box by Lord Rogers, and by the appalling concrete Tower Hotel. Whoever allowed this to be put up should be shot, and one day I assume it will be taken down.

Across the river lies the benighted site of warehouses cleared in the 1970s and left fallow as planners argue over what to do next. Had the waterfront been restored, as happened downstream in Wapping, this area would have been yielding rent and jobs for a quarter of a century. That is the true cost of so-called redevelopment.

Directly opposite the Tower is the mayor of London's oval building designed by Lord Foster and described by former mayor Ken Livingstone as a "glass testicle". It lurches strangely towards the river with, to its right, the frigid More London development. Meanwhile, on the north bank upstream of the Tower, is a giant atrium block also by Foster, blundering across the contour.

These buildings show not the slightest respect for the Tower or Tower Bridge. They are monuments only to insipid steel and glass.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: 'I can see the Shard from here'- pix of London's latest architectural horror

Post  eddie on Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:20 am

Why the Shard is the real star of the new series of The Apprentice

Each series of The Apprentice features loving shots of thrusting London landmarks, but what do these buildings say about Lord Sugar and his programme?


The Shard: expect to see a lot more of it on The Apprentice in the coming weeks. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian

Watching the new Apprentice last night, it was clear there was one character we were going to be seeing a lot more of: the Shard. Renzo Piano's thrusting new south-London skyscraper was pornographically gawked over throughout the episode. During one boardroom scene, the camera trained on it for so long, you could be forgiven for imagining that it was where Lord Sugar and co were.

In fact, as usual, much of the series was filmed at Sugar's Viglen headquarters, a giant tin shed on an industrial estate in St Albans (the "boardroom" is a TV set in west London). If the camera lingered too long on a nondescript suburban warehouse week after week, though, future candidates would defect to Britain's Got Talent and the audience would switch over to something less depressing, such as Crimewatch.

So instead, as we all know, The Apprentice tries to come across like a spy thriller: sweeping helicopter shots over London; portentous Prokofiev accompaniment; scrolling expanses of reflective glass; corporate skyscrapers – often at dawn or dusk, often juxtaposed with the fleshy crevasses of Lord Sugar's face, as he sternly surveys the skyline from a rooftop, no doubt wondering what time the next train to St Albans is.

The Apprentice has always sought to recruit architecture to its cause, though the entry requirements are less stringent than for its human candidates. Basically, if you're tall, new and not in St Albans, you're hired. Back in the mid-noughties, Canary Wharf and the Gherkin were the show's favoured camera-candy. Respectively symbols of Thatcherite Loadsamoney and New Labour cuddly capitalism, they summed up the macho, go-getting ethos of the show, but their symbolic stock declined with the FTSE 100.

Last season saw a new skyscraper on the block in the form of Strata, AKA the Razor, the black-and-white stripy tower with the wind turbines on top. Never mind that it was uglier than an Amstrad email phone, those turbines did their bit to signal a fresh, eco-minded, post-recession era. But now comes the Shard – taller, shinier, pointier, and above all, newer. It's up Apprentice street 110%, and the helicopter-cam practically steamed up with ardour last night. What does the Shard symbolise? Who cares? It looks great against a sunset.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: 'I can see the Shard from here'- pix of London's latest architectural horror

Post  eddie on Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:23 pm

The Shard: the view from Europe's tallest building

A trip up the Shard yields a 60-mile-wide panorama spanning London. But is its haphazard journey from pipe dream to reality a good thing for the capital?

Rowan Moore

The Observer, Sunday 22 April 2012


The Shard – an object of urban fascination. Photograph: Katherine Rose for the Observer

'Save us from a poke in the eye with a sharp stick," I wrote in the London Evening Standard, in 2000, when property developer Irvine Sellar unveiled plans for a 1,400ft-high pointy cylinder above London Bridge station. I went on to say that if he wanted to build something this big, which would be visible all over London, the least Sellar could do was hire a decent architect.

The sharp stick is now there and a little while ago I found myself high up it, wondering at a 60-mile-wide sweep in which I could see Southend-on-Sea in one direction and Ascot in the other, or, rather, smudges I was told were these pleasure grounds of poor and rich. You can see more clearly Heathrow's Terminal Five and the Queen Elizabeth II bridge in Dartford and Hertfordshire and the North Downs.

You can see, in other words, the whole of London, until now an unencompassable splodge that could last have been captured in a single view perhaps 200 years ago, to its perimeter and beyond. Close to, familiar and not-small objects, such as the Gherkin and HMS Belfast, look like large toys. It is both implausible and real, something well-known seen from an unprecedented place. It's hard to know what to do except gawp.

The stick is now named the Shard and has been redesigned by celebrated Genovese architect Renzo Piano, co-architect with Richard Rogers of the Pompidou Centre in Paris, who replaced the less glamorous firm of Broadway Malyan. The tower has also shrunk, to just over 1,000ft, as the Civil Aviation Authority was worried about planes crashing into it.

It is still big enough to be an object of urban fascination. A fox, a crane driver, base jumpers and other adventurers have all made headlines by getting to the top (or, in some cases, allegedly so). Unauthorised photos of the view from the top have gone viral, or viral-ish. Hacks and citizens are pouring forth their views: it's elegant; it's in the wrong place; it's a piece of international tower envy; it's a citadel of the mega-rich lording it over us morlocks below; it's a London icon. In truth, it is all these things. It is said to be penile, which can only mean that there are some odd-shaped penises out there.

It is also a monument to the hustling abilities of one man, Irvine Sellar. Sellar made his first fortune with what might then have been called groovy fashion boutiques in the 1960s, before moving into property, before going blazingly bust, before starting over again with industrial units in Portsmouth and Warrington. He is the sort of person who gets called a "barrow boy", who had limited experience of building above three storeys before he started on the Shard, and to whom the bigger, more established property companies would condescend.

Sellar bought the site of the future Shard, which is next to London Bridge station and was then occupied by a brownish 1970s building called Southwark Towers, in 1998. He had, he says, no idea it would soon be government policy to support dense development near major transport interchanges. But it was and he spotted a chance. "Railtrack didn't convey the site to me as well as they might have done," he says, "which gave me an opportunity to talk sensibly about building something tall." In other words, he had better lawyers than they had and he got his way.

He got London's newly installed mayor, Ken Livingstone, on his side and Fred Manson, a dynamic planner for the borough of Southwark. Sellar hired Piano, possibly because of criticisms in the press but more probably because he needed someone of Piano's reputation to get planning permission. They made an odd couple – Sellar is stocky and bustling, Piano is tall, well-tailored, and never visibly ruffled. It looked like a marriage of convenience: Piano would lend Sellar his cachet and Sellar would give Piano the chance to build the most conspicuous landmark of his career. Or at least, as few believed the Shard would really be built, Sellar would pay him handsomely to conjure up this spectacular fantasy. Sellar, it was widely assumed, would then sell the undeveloped site for a large profit.

In a few months, Piano ran up his designs. He came up with an elongated pyramidal shape, which he said was inspired by old pictures of spires and ships' masts in the Thames. He talked about its special, extra-white glass and how the canted surfaces would reflect the sky and produce "a nice light presence". Grasping for words at a press conference, he said it would look like a "… a shard … a shard of crystal".

The tower would be a "village", not a monolithic office block. There would be flats, a hotel and restaurants, as well as 570,000 square feet of office space. There would be public viewing galleries, so that Londoners could take possession of it and not just gawp at the exterior. It would be sustainable, to the extent that such buildings can be. Being next to a large railway station would mean that the thousands of people working in it would use trains rather than cars. A "radiator" at the top would use the effect of high winds to help cool the building.

English Heritage objected, in particular because of the Shard's effect on the view from Hampstead Heath, where it would loom over St Paul's. There was a public inquiry, which decided that the tower was a good enough piece of design to overcome such concerns. John Prescott, then the minister in charge of such things, declared that it was "of the highest architectural quality" and granted it planning permission.

Still, there was doubt whether it was possible to finance such a building, in an unfashionable location. Livingstone gave a leg-up to his favourite project by promising to move the offices of Transport for London there. Sellar signed up the Shangri-La hotel group. The credit crunch hit, which might have been terminal to a project so palpably of the profligate boom years, but then the cavalry appeared, in the form of the property arm of the ruling family of Qatar. As their oil wealth means they have no need for credit, the credit crunch did not bother them much.

Sellar now says that "there were moments when things weren't particularly good, but I have never thought that we wouldn't win this". He says he is "not smug or complacent. There is still plenty to do… a beautiful building apart from its architectural merit is not completely beautiful until it's fully let" and they are still looking for tenants for some of the office space. He also says that "it is not about being tall, by the way. It will never be the tallest, but it is the most beautiful". It's not quite believable that height is unimportant to Sellar, although he's right that it's fatuous to chase superlatives, given that the Shard does not quite equal the 82-year-old Chrysler building in New York. It is none the less the tallest building in Europe.

What is there now is more like the designs that Piano produced almost 12 years ago than seemed likely. The ecological radiator has been omitted, on the grounds that it would be expensive and that other equipment would do the same job as well, but otherwise his office has seen off most attempts to cut costs. The glass he wanted is there, as are the public viewing galleries.

He will have his "village", although it will be no Little-Mouldering-on-the-Marsh, and it is hard to see how the social mixing that is presumably part of the attraction of the village idea will take place. The different parts of the building have different lifts and entrances, which reduces the chances of maypole dancing or whatever its modern equivalent might be.

The Shard will have a luxury hotel, and 10 flats near the top, each one of which entirely occupies either one or two floors. These are currently shells, but it does not take much to see that their overflowing abundance of space and views will put them beyond the reach of all but the most hyper of the hyper-rich. Each is rumoured to be worth between £30m and £50m, which means that the 10 of them pretty much pay for the £450m construction cost of the whole building.

So there it is, impressive and with a certain stylishness, even if not quite achieving the "nice, light presence" that Piano promised. It will certainly become – is already – a London landmark and will take its place on T-shirts and tourist shows along with Tower Bridge and the Gherkin. It is made more interesting, if not really a village, by its multiplicity of uses. With its fantasy flats and Hollywood panoramas, it will feed the collective mythology of the city. Rich people may not be fashionable at the moment, but we still like to hear stories about them.

It is also a work of the punk urbanism in which modern London specialises. Other cities would look at the question of increasing development around railway stations and aim for some sort of coherent plan for achieving it. In London, they declared an intention and then gave first prize to the man – Sellar – quickest off the mark. They then dressed the consequences in "outstanding architecture". The Shard was the first and unfortunately the best of such developments. After it came other towers, such as the Strata in Elephant and Castle and the Vauxhall Tower, which repeated the same formula of height next to a station, intrusion on important views, an eco-doodad on top and architecture declared outstanding by John Prescott. The spawn of the Shard come nowhere near to the quality of the original.

So is it worth it? You might say that it depends whether you think London is more like a novel or a painting, about cracking stories and crazy contrasts or about harmonious compositions. Or rather, given that London is in fact a city, and therefore about the play of individual and collective, whether it falls within the hazy rules of the game. It is a thing that pops up everywhere, in views down streets, from parks, from the M25. It is the most conspicuous object in London. It seems to proclaim something significant, yet all it really says is that we have a wonky planning system and that someone called Irvine Sellar was smart enough to exploit it.

I appreciate that anarchy is part of London's DNA, but it is not all of it. I also appreciate Sellar's energy, Piano's skills and the thrills that the Shard offers. I like the view. But not that those skills and energy have gone into making something that, at bottom, is profoundly random.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: 'I can see the Shard from here'- pix of London's latest architectural horror

Post  eddie on Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:26 pm


15 Apr 2012: the Shard nears completionPhotograph: Stephen Lock/Corbis

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: 'I can see the Shard from here'- pix of London's latest architectural horror

Post  eddie on Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:30 pm


April 2012: the Shard, seen from inside the Tower of London. Reports have suggested that Unesco could strip the 11th-century Tower of its status as a world heritage site because of the Shard's impact on its panoramaPhotograph: Paul Simon for the Observer

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: 'I can see the Shard from here'- pix of London's latest architectural horror

Post  eddie on Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:32 pm


April 2012: the moon rises behind the recently top of the ShardPhotograph: Anthony Devlin/PA

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: 'I can see the Shard from here'- pix of London's latest architectural horror

Post  eddie on Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:35 pm


March 2012: the top of the tower disappears into cloud Photograph: Andy Lauwers/Rex Features

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: 'I can see the Shard from here'- pix of London's latest architectural horror

Post  eddie on Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:38 pm


A builder at work on the 66th floor of the Shard. HMS Belfast is visible on the river Thames below, the Tower of London on the north bank, and Tower bridge. In the distance are the tall blocks of Canary Wharf Photograph: David Levene/The Guardian

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: 'I can see the Shard from here'- pix of London's latest architectural horror

Post  eddie on Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:40 pm


December 2011:the steel framework is almost completePhotograph: Graham Turner/The Guardian

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: 'I can see the Shard from here'- pix of London's latest architectural horror

Post  eddie on Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:45 pm


The skyscraper building under construction and building site scaffolding in September, 2011 Photograph: Paul Brown / Rex Features/Rex Features

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: 'I can see the Shard from here'- pix of London's latest architectural horror

Post  eddie on Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:48 pm


July 2011: An aerial view taken on 26 JulyPhotograph: Tom Shaw/Getty Images

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: 'I can see the Shard from here'- pix of London's latest architectural horror

Post  eddie on Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:53 pm


May 2011: The Shard towers over the recently completed More London riverside development by London City Hall on the South Bank of the River Thames

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: 'I can see the Shard from here'- pix of London's latest architectural horror

Post  eddie on Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:56 pm


February 2011: Office workers walk through the London Place business district with the Shard building seen reflected in the backgroundPhotograph: Toby Melville/REUTERS

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: 'I can see the Shard from here'- pix of London's latest architectural horror

Post  eddie on Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:01 pm


January 2011: St Paul's Cathedral has dominated London's skyline for more than 200 years. However, as this picture shows, it is already being dwarfed in terms of size by the ShardPhotograph: Lewis Whyld/PA

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: 'I can see the Shard from here'- pix of London's latest architectural horror

Post  eddie on Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:07 pm


November 2010: The Shard is now the tallest building in London. Even in its incomplete state it is already dominating London's skylinePhotograph: David Levene/David Levene

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: 'I can see the Shard from here'- pix of London's latest architectural horror

Post  eddie on Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:10 pm


October 2010: When the Shard is completed in 2012, the skyscraper will become the tallest building in the European Union at more than 300 metres highPhotograph: Anthony Devlin/PA

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: 'I can see the Shard from here'- pix of London's latest architectural horror

Post  eddie on Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:13 pm


An artist’s impression of the finished ‘shard of crystal’ with its angled planes of glassPhotograph: Public Domain

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: 'I can see the Shard from here'- pix of London's latest architectural horror

Post  felix on Thu May 03, 2012 10:00 am

Love it or hate it, the story of the construction of the Shard made a fascinating TV documentary this evening on Channel 4 (if you missed it, you can probably catch it on 4OD ... cat )

felix
cool cat - mrkgnao!

Posts : 831
Join date : 2011-04-11
Location : see the chicken?

Back to top Go down

Re: 'I can see the Shard from here'- pix of London's latest architectural horror

Post  pinhedz on Thu May 03, 2012 1:23 pm

I had no idea that there had been so much construction at the World Trade Center site.

This thing is now taller than the Empire State Building:


pinhedz
Schrödinger's Hepcat

Posts : 11532
Join date : 2011-04-11
Location : DC

http://www.balalaika.org/

Back to top Go down

Re: 'I can see the Shard from here'- pix of London's latest architectural horror

Post  Guest on Thu May 03, 2012 8:53 pm

The other day I saw a documentary about very big cities. The man travelled to Shanghai, Tokyo, Daka, Mexico City and London. In London they went to this building under construction. And they also showed a day where people skated through the city all of them very happy. It was an interesting documentary but at the end of it there was a conclusion and it was: ah sometimes you have to travel to see the best place is your place. Probably London is a better city to live in than the others but it sounded silly.

Ah and in Tokyo they showed the smallest apartment I've ever seen. Scary. The man said he would go crazy living in there.

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: 'I can see the Shard from here'- pix of London's latest architectural horror

Post  eddie on Fri May 04, 2012 12:35 am

jade spinetta wrote:at the end of it there was a conclusion and it was: ah sometimes you have to travel to see the best place is your place.

“We shall not cease from exploring
And at the end of our exploration
We will return to where we started
And know the place for the first time.”

T.S.Elliot “Little Gidding” (No. 4 of 'Four Quartets')

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: 'I can see the Shard from here'- pix of London's latest architectural horror

Post  Sponsored content Today at 2:31 am


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Page 2 of 2 Previous  1, 2

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum