New Buildings In London

Christopher Fowler
It seems as if London's architects are becoming more individualistic of late. After the identikit offices of the eighties and nineties, the challenge is who can stand out more - or perhaps fit in more. Two good examples here; offices in Soho's Bateman's Buildings that have opted to return to Soho's original 18th century alleyway style (without the upper floors coming out so steeply into the street), and a series of buildings by Renzo Piano in High Holborn that I disliked at first, but appreciate now as a difficult, dingy corner that needed brightening up. Added to the new 1930s style building in St Martin's Lane, it seems architects are cherry-picking the best of different eras and melding them together in new ways. If this trend continues, it will certainly break up the uniform look of the city and make it a more interesting place to walk through. And there's a great article on 'The lure of the lurid' in architecture here.
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Rachel Green (not verified) Sun, 04/07/2010 - 08:48

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Lovr them both. High Holborn looks like lego

Steve (not verified) Sun, 04/07/2010 - 17:28

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

They were working on the leggo buildings back when we were living at number 13 Red Lion Square. Didn't like them then, still don't. I DO rather like the other one though.

Helen Martin (not verified) Sun, 04/07/2010 - 20:11

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Love both of these, but where does the idea of a uniform look in London come from since you can wander around in styles from practically every era of the last 400 years? If you only stay in one area I suppose you'd get a feeling of uniformity. I wonder if you could start at the White Tower and work your way outward and through an historical sequence to the modern suburbs.

Anne Hill Fernie (not verified) Tue, 06/07/2010 - 15:13

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Please, PLEASE let this trend make its way to Manchester. BBC staff are going to be appalled when they see the (so-called) 'Media City' development in Salford that will be their new home - a masterclass in badly thought through Lego-tecture and creepily devoid of people after 6pm - brrrrr.

Anne Hill Fernie (not verified) Mon, 19/07/2010 - 14:26

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Don't know if anyone saw the excellent article in the Saturday 'Times Review' (17 July) by Stephen Bayley talking about the 'tooth-aching superficiality' and 'architectural one liners' of much contemporary developments (he was specifically citing the 'Playschool colours of Renzo Piano's Central St Giles development. It was good to see his assertion that it is OK to object to 'ugly' modernity - that hating 'bad' buildings does not make you a hater of 'new' buildings per se.