Saturday, March 24, 2007

If in doubt, draw a diagram

Last post for the day now - I'm meeting Tom in a bit to watch the footie.

In mathematics it's generally considered to be useful practice to draw a diagram to guide you towards a formal proof (Matt is doing some research on whether this is all the diagram can be based on this book - quite interesting, or so I'm told).

I don't know if English Heritage is dominated by frustrated mathematicians, but they have also come up with an instructive diagrammatical representation of the London Skyline, which they hope will lend weight to their argument that building the Walkie Talkie tower at 20 Fenchurch Street just isn't on.

Look at these two photos:

View from Waterloo Bridge

View From Waterloo Bridge With Consented buildings and 20 Fenchurch St
First picture good, second picture bad. Convinced?

Not likely.

But now look at this:

English heritage believes that structures between the cluster of tall buildings proposed for the Aldgate area and the furthest visible point of the river should remain below a visual arc drawn between the two.

A masterstroke! See how the waterflow in the river interacts with the treeline and the top of the river wall to create harmony. It's enough to make you think about actually drawing in the arrows permanently on the river, and tying a cable from the top of Bishopsgate tower to the river, which would also, through incorporation of a deathslide, make leaving work quicker and easier for those working near the top of the tower.

But, much as I like diagrams as a way of cutting out the clutter and lending some precision to the argument... the Walkie Talkie actually fits in well in this shot. It only looks out of place when you see a natural colours photo. It's not ugly because it fails to fit a geometrical form that aesthetically pleasing cityscapes must satisfy (consider Toronto's jerky profile). The Walkie Talkie is just plain ugly and ill-fitting for a whole host of reasons.

And also, isn't jsut wonderful how, coincidentally, the Bishopsgate Tower lies exactly on the ark which sorts the good towers from the bad. Surely English Heritage can see that, with such an arbitrary starting point, it's possible to make the reverses argument starting with the Walkie Talkie being in the arc, and therefore giving free reign to build really tall buildings where the Bishopsgate Tower is. Was that well explained?

And, in case you're wondering - 3-0 to England's my prediction.

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