Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Secured investment

A bit of a filler as I haven't had much time to continue my research or go visit building sites.

Actually, that's a complete and utter lie. I've just been lazy.

Here's the filler: an article from skyscraper news confirming that investment has been attracted to build the Bishopsgate Tower.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

To begin at the beginning

I've started researching the genesis of the current 'let's build lots of tall buildings in London' policy. I'm disappointed to report that the word 'skyscraper' is very much lacking in the vocabulary of the committees that decide such things. For shame.

It's a hefty task (I plan on registering with the British Library), so not much to report yet... bar this slight anomaly.

As reflected in the summary of this blog, Ken Livingstone is seen as being largely responsible for the high-rise boom. The earliest public, official record of this is in October 2000:

I support high buildings, both as clusters (such as in the City, Canary Wharf and Croydon), and as stand-alone buildings (such as the Post Office Tower and Millbank Tower), where they are in close proximity to a major public transport interchanges and contribute to the quality of London's environment. I have no objection in principle to London having the tallest of buildings.

A long time ago, I think you'll agree, but not as far back as this, from July 2000:

Another case of Chameleon Ken just following the trend? I will investigate further.

Monday, November 20, 2006

This machine kills fascists

Sorry. Did I say 'kills fascists'?

I meant to say 'assists me in my quest to chase down skyscrapers in the city of London, and only cost me £130 off a guy called Lee in Peckham. Bargain!'

My camera did a weird perspective effect. I can assure you that everything about the bike is in order.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Song to watch skyscrapers by

I had a notion when I started this blog that things which somehow had the feel of skyscrapers about them would count as relevant. Yes! I am a long way from home by Mogwai definitely has that feel.

I can be pretty pretentious with music, but have got less so over the past few years. Despite this I feel I should point out that Mogwai's early stuff really was far superior to their later dirges. Young Team, on which Yes! I am... is the opening track, seems to have vanished into obscurity, with many people thinking Come On Die Young is their first album.

I've included it in the blog because the middle bit reminds me a bit of standing at the base of a cluster of skyscrapers and looking up, turning on the spot. The song as a whole makes me think of flying through the window on a boring train journey; one of the few songs to instil in me such a crisply formed image.

Here's the luminescent blue glass of the building next to the mayor's office which I thought was the shard of glass until a few weeks ago:

As I recall, it was cloudy, so god knows how it got to be such a bright blue colour as the glass looked pretty plain from most angles. I blame refraction.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Ad-Sense dubiosity

Is it a real word? I hope so as it's better sounding than dubiousness.

For those who don't know, ad-sense is the service which adds those little adverts at the top of the page. I skimmed through the terms and conditions of having them on my blog, and one of them stipulated that I'm not allowed to click on them, as every time someone clicks on them I get paid a small fee; seems reasonable.

But what if I'm interested in what it advertises. The loop Google don't seem to have considered is as follows:

  1. Ads are placed to appeal to the type of people who will read the blog

  2. The type of people who will read the blog are the type of people interested in its subject matter

  3. People who write blogs tend to write about subject matter that interests them

  4. Therefore
  5. People who write blogs tend to be part of the target market that the ad-sense ads are aimed at

By which I mean; I clicked on one, but only because I was genuinely interested in what it advertised. What if the adverts catch my eye on a regular basis? According to the argument above this is to be expected (and the same goes for all other bloggers). Should/could this be interpreted as fraudulent behaviour?

I wonder. I really do.

The ones there at the moment don't interest me at all though. BAD Google. Having said that, typing in this post may change which ads appear, so I may like them. Would be weird and nice if this complaint about the quality of my adverts brought about the presence of more amenable ones.

Willis building

Willis building
Originally uploaded by Rhysickle.
Here's the definitive picture of the Willis Building from the day; yes, it is a bit overexposed. It's smack bang in the middle of some other tallish buildings (including the Gherkin), so it's nigh on impossible to take a step back to take the whole thing in in one photo. This is the best I could do.

The Willis Building is a 3 tier building. While I'm playing catch up with the write ups, and while the not bad at all Lead Balloon is on TV in quarter of an hour, I shan't go any further with the facts concerning its architecture for now.

Did you notice that? I slipped in the word 'architecture' - there it is again. I checked Technorati out of curiosity, to see if my blog appeared anywhere near the front page on searches. It was number 5 for quite some time on searches for London Building; nowhere on London Architecture though. That will all change though. Architecture architecture architecture. London London London. Skyscraper.

Manipulative - moi?

So a pretty poor photo, but as I remarked and videoed earlier, the most aesthetically pleasing of the new buildings I visited. Here's a better photo. Notice the gap in the netting around the top - that's for the crane to hoist things (possibly 2 men in a bucket) up. The building opposite is pretty unusual. The closest London comes to the Pompidou Centre. My feelings towards it are vague.

It does however exemplify a point I will, in a roundabout way, try to make with this blog; that modern buildings do not automatically qualify as eyesores simply because they're near old buildings. Andrew Marr (or possibly the other, fatter version of him. John something - answers please?) reckons Millbank Tower is an eysore simply because its within a mile or so of the Houses of Parliament, when it's actually not too bad a building.

So, the Pompidou-esque building is built where - presumably - once stood an English bank or insurance firm building of the classical tradition. Here's what's left:

Notice you can see right through the windows above the archway. That's right - it's just a facade. The combination with the ultra modern builidng behind is uncanny, interesting to look at and awe-inspiring. Certainly not ugly or catastrophically damaging to the standing of the older of the two structures. St Paul's cathedral is on a slightly different scale, but the principle still applies: modern next to ancient is not neccesserily a bad thing.

Compare with this faux-gothic, pander to the ancient architecture corporate sculpture. Ugly weak folly.

I've missed the start of Lead Balloon, so to finish quickly, here's a rather lovely image I ran 100s of yards and dropped my camera case in a puddle for. It's a crock of Willis Building construction site at the end of the Rainbow.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Broadgate Tower, late October

finished building posterContinuing with the mission of remembering and writing down things I saw a few weekends ago in and amongst London's skyscrapers. Tonight I'll be concentrating purely on Broadgate Tower. It's not a stand-alone thing, but comes as part of a complex with 201 Bishopsgate. It's located where the derelict ground in the middle of this satellite map used to be. I think it's the closest of the new developments to my home, at 1.7miles. I'm not sure why it's called the Broadgate Tower as there's no street called Broadgate in the area; another thing to investigate.

When I went there a few aspects of the building caught my eye. There were these struts which twist between the sides of the buildings. I've now noticed that if you look at the poster of the finished building the plan is to paint them white. I had thought that maybe they'd be beginnings of a plush atrium. They're currently very rusty so will need some polishing up.

There were some segments of metal tubing, which I presume will be an air vent or something. A took a photo of a bucket builders climb into to be hoisted aloft by the cranes. It says a maximum of 2 people, but I reckon it could just about take 3. I forgot to make a definitive count of the cranes, but from looking at the photos from different angles I'd say there were 6. All red. Here's a link to a photo taken from the position I intend to take a documentary photo from on every visit, no matter how brief. Hopefully one day it will result in a short time lapse film, but here is the best photo from the day:


Yes - I've changed the heading of the blog to all lower case, partly coz this looks cool and google, but partly because I've decided to capitalise one letter at a time as new tall buildings go up in the City. Will have to decide what constitutes tall, if 2 tall buildings in one project count as 2 or 1, and a methodology for selecting letters.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Why work at Broadgate?

Originally uploaded by Rhysickle.
Today I have been at one with technology. Technology has been gradually accumulating over the past few days:
  • Broadband at home made live last Tuesday
  • After several days of not being arsed connected it on Sunday
  • Adam's dad's wireless router arrives Monday morning post. We fail miserably to get it to work that evening
  • Adam's dad comes through with a fool proof path through to getting it to work. As Adam might say: "Legend!"

Other notable occurances are Firefox 2.0 arriving (sadly missing the open selected links extension), my getting the stereo re-setup in the lounge, blogger finally getting integrated properly with Google, and Gumtree finally (I hope) delivering an affordable yet nifty bike into my life (this bike will eventually be my trusty sidekick in the hunt for skyscrapers.) And I've started my new web editor job... so it seems a fitting time to resume the Blog.

That was quite a digression.

The stuff I'm going to talk about briefly this evening (it is late!) is pretty old, dating back to the Willis building video. The same day I went by the Broadgate tower building site. More photos to come (again, dated, but worth documenting), but thought I'd pick this one as the first as it intrigued me.

There are a series of 4 posters aimed at encouraging top-flight business director managerial types to relocate their business to Broadgate. Slogans are:

  • 85 tons of cardboard was recycled at Broadgate during 2005
  • 1 mainline station and 4 underground lines
  • 5 public squares and open spaces
  • 13 tons of glass is recycled at Broadgate each week

85 tons of cardboard per year; are they proud of how much or how little they recycle? It seems like ridiculously little for one of London's main business streets. I should follow this up. Also, only 1 of the posters talks about business benefits i.e. the transport., and twice as many as this talk about recycling. Extraordinary! Do businesses really care that much about recycling that it deserves twice the space as train links?
I think Broadgate plc, or whatever they're called, have a poor grasp of their target demographic.


This is the sort of thing I should be writing about, but haven't as the internet is dead on Brownlow road.


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