View Full Version : London Site with Architecture Good and Bad

Gregory Tenenbaum
June 23rd, 2006, 02:36 AM

Interesting site that I came accross only today.

Check out some of the architecture, good and bad.

And don't forget to look at the Battleships in Holborn Viaduct part of the site, and some of the other architectural oddities in London.


June 23rd, 2006, 12:20 PM
thanks alot, that site is great, Fleet St especially looks ace heading up to St Pauls and Shoe Lane with its postpomo take on the traditional overstreet bridges. Thearea has a great history, and very chequered so to speak - its simultaneouslythe oldest and most modern part of London - when they build skyscrapers there they have to factor in an archaelogical dig as that place is built over the Roman, medieval, Tudor, Restoration and Victorian cities, each annihilated by war, fire, bombing and hideous post war reconstruction. Of course much survives but its all mixed with the new and aging.

If you look at Fleet St youll see its a pretty grand throughfare leading up to the Cathedral, but youll notice it curves to the right just before the main front. This is due to the medieval streetplan faithfully kept straight after the Great Fire of 1666. The streets around the cathedral once formed the booksellers district but was burnt down, along with 6 million rare books, duringthe Blitz. The rebuild was a hideous postwar brutalist thing and it took near 40 years to be replaced by a neo-classical/postmodern development. BUT, instead of that one chance to open up that grand vista, they once again built across the boulevard, a supermarket with offices on top. Just so they could take in a few extra quid for Marks and Spencers, we are now stuck without that vista for ANOTHER 40 years and one of the citys greatest icons is just as hemmed in as its always been.... argh! Money dictates in London...

Its the same with Tate Modern across the river, linked by the Millennium Bridge its now the citys biggest attraction and the largest modern art gallery. A grand boulevard behind it forms a great diagonal cross the city, from the cathedral, to the bridge, the gallery, the imperial war museum and onto 'etoile Elephant & Castle'. But of course they went and lumped planning permission for a block of yuppie flats fat arse in the way, slap bang behing the gallery - gone Londons one chance for a single grand boulevard like Paris/Rome/Beijing. Grrr.

sorry off topic, cool site and ta.

June 23rd, 2006, 06:25 PM
^^ Ironically Wren originally planned for London to be totally re-laid. Haussmann then used some of Wren's designs to re-design Paris. London however really isn't made for wide long boulevards. The Mall probably comes closest, but London is more akin to the accumulation of thousands of villages over the centuries with urban in-fill. Hence why London has a sort of village/small town feel in pockets all over the place; Hampstead, Clerkenwell, Greenwich, etc...

Personally I think although a few things about London should change (ie opening up of the north and south river banks to cafes, etc...), London has tended to evolve when it needs to. Large-scale urban planning never works, hence why the below Wren design for London never got ahead: the people on the street wanted their plots, so that they could re-build their old homes, shops and offices to bring in revenue ASAP, hence why the Square Mile has mostly retained its Roman-Medieval road layout.

A great aspect is that because there aren't many large avenues, thousands of avenues and roads barely large enough for one car dominate the city creating immense density without the requirement for many tall buildings.



Gregory Tenenbaum
June 25th, 2006, 04:44 AM
Not at all a modern city looking at that map - its a maze.

I am a-mazed (pun intended) at how labrinthine your city is.

More shocking for me is that it looks more organised on the older map and more modern than it does now. When were all those new lanes put in?

June 25th, 2006, 08:44 AM
Not at all a modern city looking at that map - its a maze.

I am a-mazed (pun intended) at how labrinthine your city is.

More shocking for me is that it looks more organised on the older map and more modern than it does now. When were all those new lanes put in?What road network makes a city modern? Grids have been around for thousands of years, and some exist to this day in London (ie West End) from before New York opted for grids.

I tend to think of the network as being organic - like an organism as it spreads, not obstructed by large-scale masterplanning but controlled from the grass-roots, the single houseowner, etc...

I don't think you read properly, because that old map was a plan by Wren that was rejected in favour of the all road maps.

June 25th, 2006, 10:56 PM
Prowling, probing, puzzling and prattling.

Great link: thanks GT.:)


This is an excerpt from the website - this guy is good! http://www.ludgatecircus.com/
This section is devoted to ugly. The most hideous buildings in the neighbourhood. How dare they erect such monstrosities within a stone's throw of London's finest structure, St. Paul's.
But they did. It beggars belief that not only was someone paid money to come up with these awful creations but others were paid (out of public funds no doubt) to approve the designs.
Welcome to Ugly. The land of the emperor's new clothes. The place where nobody stood up and said "actually guys, the emperor is naked". We all sat back and let those tomfool architects take the Michael. And we let them walk away with big bucks too. Welcome to 21st century UK. Welcome to Blair Island; the country where the shape of our towns and cities is in the hands of the likes of John Prescott and Mr. Cherie Blair.

June 27th, 2006, 07:58 AM
Carter Horsley does something similar for New York: