Thursday, September 27, 2007

My beautiful galleria

P1020758Gorilla, galleria, lager, regal, logger...

Those are about the only words I can think of with those 3 consonant sounds and no others (garullous has an s, and grilled has a gr not a g and an r).

I doubt that was a criteria when the architects of the Broadgate Tower were thinking what to put between the tower and 201 Bishopsgate. A gorilla would've been nice, and exotic rather than continental. Lager would have been downright irresponsible in these days of bingeing, and probably structurally unsound (unlike the gorilla - no one could claim a gorilla is structurally unsound!).

It's very clever what they've done. The railway running underneath the site means no weight can go straight down through the middle, hence the steel girder buttresses propping up the tower from the side. But these girders by themselves do look rather stark and industrial, and it's quite obvious that what they're doing is holding up the tower.

But just look at the effect now. Looks like a prism, a short section of DNA, or a half completed spirograph drawing. The top level of beams aren't structural at all - they are in fact held up by steel cables - but it's important they're there in order to convince the walk through galleria goer that they're inside a great big sculpture. Maybe they'll wonder since when Antony Gormley or Thomas Heatherwick have built skyscrapers.

You can see the tiered rear of 201 Bishopsgate in the photo too. Or would it be better termed an overhang. Either way I like the way it looks in general, but I wonder, looking at this particular photo, whether it'll defeat the object of having a big airy covered space in the gap between the buildings by crowding the space a little.`

As a final aside, the other day I was riding the top deck of a bus home. Looking out of the window I saw an elderly asian shopkeeper and what looked like several generations of his family gathered outside the shop. There was a very cheerful atmosphere. The kids were doing that thing where they look slightly upwards and swing their heads from side to side, grinning, to check if the adults are enjoying themselves as much as they are.

The reason for all this glee?

They were putting up a sticky banner in the window which proudly proclaimed they were now an "Oyster ticket stop."

And if that doesn't deserve a photo of a patch of blue sky, I don't know what does.

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