Monday, April 09, 2007

Strategic view #5 - Greenwich Park London Panorama

view from Greenwich observatory
I said a few weeks a go that I would systematically visit the 'viewing place' for each of London's strategic viewing corridors to give a 'qualitative visual assessment' of the view towards the 'strategically important landmark.' The landmark in Greenwich's case is St Paul's Cathedral. It is also worth noting that the view is also 'the only designated London Panorama that is part
of a formal, axial arrangement.' For this gumph and more I recommend reading chaper six of this.

One slightly less gumphy bit is this:

The background of the view is currently unimpeded, offering a clear silhouette of St Paul’s Cathedral with Tower Bridge in its immediate foreground. The ability to see light between the upper parts of the various elements makes it easy to recognise and appreciate the landmarks within the context of the City.
It's very true. A lot of the other protected views are, I think, slightly silly as they protect the view of St Paul's specifically, even though you can hardly make it out (going by the photos in the official papers). Anyway, below is the proof that you can indeed see the outline f St Paul's:
view from Geenwich observatory of City
Shame about the tower in the foreground though - how did that get past the planners? I smell the stench of corruption.

But what's my opinion of this protected view? Well, I think it'll take some beating. As the panoramic photo at the top shows, I'm not alone in thinking it's worth sitting and enjoying. I myself cycled 25 odd miles (in a round trip, which I grossly underestimated) to get there. It's 4 views in 1:
  1. City of London
  2. Docklands
  3. Parkland and Maritime Greenwich
  4. Millenium dome
I don't think the Millenium Dome's anything to write homw about; in fact, I think it looks like an ugly industrial facility - it's far too flat and undecorated to look like anything elses - but I imagine some people like to see it.

Question: will views of the Gherkin ever be protected? I noticed in one of the Waterloo panorama shots that English Heritage have been parading about that the Gherkin will be virtually obscured from the West by the Leadenhall building. With all the furore about St Paul's and the Tower of London I think people seeking to protect the London skyline's integrity forget that they are not the only buildings worth looking at.

Oh - and to whoever commented, you'll be glad to know that from Tuesday, cycling to work will take me through Southwark, so taking a look at some of the buildings you suggested is a definite possibility. Vive la diversification.

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