Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A castle under siege

English Heritage love the Tower of London.

And it's not surprising, what with it being such a pivotal place for the heritage of England, and they sure love that English heritage.

Not to mention a clear line of sight to the walls which contain that English heritage for miles around. They love the notion of that too. But they can't have it, as the building is already surrounded by blots, blights and carbuncles.

Tower of London eyesore hotelEugh! This is undoubtedly the worst offender. It was voted London's second most hated building during architecture week 2006 (a very representative 512 people - approx 0.0064% of the London population - cast votes).

Is Prince Charles right to condemn the 60's and 70's as the worst architectural period? Probably, as very many concrete buildings built in those times are already being knocked down. 30 years is a very short life span, which indicates that something was critically wrong with them. And it's certainly not the building materials. Concrete - as the concrete society (nearly as absurd an organisation as the Egg Information Service ("Hello - I'd like to know about eggs please" "Well you've certainly come to the right place.")) would no doubt back up - revolutionised construction when discovered by the Romans due to its strength.

Tower of london glass building 1Tower of london glass building 2These two are also... well, not too bad to be honest.

But they shouldn't be there. No, no, no, no, no! Get in the way of the heritage you see. Just look at that Indian fella there; looks proper distressed he does. Some people would say he's a bit alarmed at being the apparent subject of a photo taken by a complete stranger, but I think it's unlikely. No - heritage it is. Can't concentrate on it, what with a living city going on around him.

tower bridgeHang on - wasn't this supposed to be about eyesores around the Tower? Isn't that Tower Bridge, icon of the City of London, probably far more recognisable, elegant and beautiful than the Tower ever has, is or will be?

Ah yes - but it is of modern construct - Victorian era - so is a bit of an impostor. And would you just lok at the garish blue, and the quite frankly silly idealised faux-medieval turrets. It's worse than garish I tell you. Has no place next to that great bastion of British history - the Tower of London.

But... but... but... it looks nice

That's no matter - it has to go. How are people supposed to appreciate the heritage with that frilly monstrosity next door? It'll put them right off their Tudors!

(*Plays trump card*)Well - I'm English Heritage, so I'm right about everything to do with architecture even though heritage and architecture are by no means synonymous... and I say it can stay... so there!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

How the Willis was

Willis Building rearNot that it matters any more as I'm out of touch with the whole London skyscraper 'scene', but here are a few several week old photos of the last remaining incomplete parts of the Willis Building exterior.
Willis Building from Potter's fields
Cunningly located at the rear (which looks rather like a 500ml beer can) is the external service lift. I may already be too late to take photos of it being dismantled, but I imagine it would have to be dismantled from the top down, which will mean that glass is added to the building from the top down. In conclusion, it seems likely that the last floor to be completed will be the ground floor. How topsy-turvy!

Willis building pipeHere's another topsy-turvy feature. I can't work out if either a) the facade isn't quite finished, and there is still a pane of glass to be added once the need for a drainage pipe no longer exists; or b) it's a permanent feature, and the architects have developed a clever method of expelling air from the Lloyds Building's ventilation ducts via its reflection in the Willis Building. They both seem pretty likely to me.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The internet is bad!

Hungover graffiti headAnd I'm back in the game!

Sorry for the lengthy hiatus. It can be explained in both the following ways, but you must use your nous to judge which one is the truth.

  1. I was captured and interrogated by Sir Norman Foster vis a vis my unrelenting quest to get to the truth;
  2. Adam moved out, taking his wireless router with him. Following this Becky (short haired girl...hails from Torquay...lives in Clapham...hangs around London Fields...cons unsuspecting French youths out of £300...if you know her, know that her name is now mud) didn't move in and my evenings have been one long replacement finding hassle, interspersed with escapes to the pub to avoid the dreaded housemate interviews which don't even affect me as I'm moving out soon anyway.
Without giving too much away, I can reveal that not having the internet for a little while has opened my eyes to how much I have been overusing it since a) getting wireless; and b) transferring all my music to my laptop so it's on quite a lot of the time. I used to read before bed. Often bulky, absorbing, tomes that were too weighty (in both senses) to read on the tube. More recently I have taken to watching the daily show and Jeeves and Wooster online... neither of which are that good.

So I have generally been trying to stay clear of the internet.

But now I'm back (but you'll be glad to hear I'm nearing the end of Catch-22 and am spoilt for choice for what to read next).

Shoreditch posterHere are a couple of photos I took yesterday whilst wandering around Broadgate Tower and waiting for Emily to arrive so we could watch Half Nelson at Rich Mix and marvel at their mix and match animal wallpaper (probably the first wallpaper I've ever noticed since running my fingers up and down Nain's rough 'n' drab when I was little (and also ignoring the wallpaper on an external wall I noticed on Saturday whilst playing pool at the Elbow Rooms)).

The happiness guaranteed poster has accidentally been put up using non-transparent paste and that's why it looks like it's covered in semen. At least, I presume that's why it is. It does, now I think of it, compell the passer-by to 'love us'.

Happiness Guaranteed Fuck up
By the way if, like me, you use picassa on your PC but flickr online, you'll like this little utility.

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