Saturday 2 August 2014

There Might be Orcs

An interesting piece on the demolition of the brutalist, concrete architecture of postwar Britain. To which I mostly think, "good". Most of it is, or was, hideous. This is mostly talking about the provincial little towns - Portsmouth, Coventry, Birmingham. But I'd like to suggest, if we're knocking stuff down, we strongly consider the Barbican and the entire South Bank complex. Oh, and Euston Tower. Centre point - that can go. And Dunstable Quadrant? Not technically in London, but close enough for my grand redevelopment.
A genuine monument to the architect
But not just to replace it with bloody glass. Glass is great from the inside, as long as you're not next to the window on a sunny day. The views from the Central London bridges, looking east inspire me and get me down by turns. The really massive buildings are individually stunning, but collectively look like the play set of a giant baby.

"And if you're really good, you can have the Walkie Talkie to play with"
Let's put in buildings where every side apart from north has to convert sunlight into energy. Let's have buildings in the shape of giant trees. Or moths.Imagine a giant moth where the Barbican is, its wings made of solar panels, twisting through the day to face the sunlight. Let's build a giant grassed hill on the Southbank, with windows piercing it like the world's biggest hobbit burrow, to complement the tower of Mordor down the road. I tell you, when I heard the Shard was being evacuated due to a fire alarm, I was hoping there might be orcs emerging out of the building and scattering across Southwark.

A Place of Sanctuary from Orcs
The man who runs a society for the architects who destroyed our joy and imagination said,
"Architects are seeing their pride and joy reduced to rubble before their eyes."
Well, good. There should be a law that, when architects are getting on in life, the local public gets a vote on whether their work should stand. If they get a no vote, the buildings should be ripped down. It would encourage the next generation to remember the people who have to live with their follies, and not only consider their vanity. If your work is as bad as Coventry city centre, you should not have the right to a legacy.
Wouldn't get knocked down in the architect's lifetime
On the basis of my new law, the Walky Talky has got about 15 years. It doesn't deserve that long, The Telecom tower, however, woud stay forever. And architects would remember that all reinforced concrete and plate glass is like grass. It lasts just as long as we want it to.

1 comment :

  1. My daughter studied at Portsmouth, it's a bit of a curate's egg. When it's good it's very, very good, when it's bad it's like a Highway to Hell. (I'll have 3 mixed metaphors, please, Mr Grocer!0

    Mind, Harlow is worse.

    love Maggie xxx


Drop a thoughtful pebble in the comments bowl