Towering Infernal

London

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When architects want to hide the fact that they’re about to do something really awful, they hide their plans by showing you a rendering that makes all the buildings appear to be white. The nonsense above with its pretty little square and a handful of people strolling in the sun is the latest plan for Centrepoint, Oxford Street’s exclamation mark of a building that I’ve almost come to love since architect Richard Seifert saw an episode of ‘Thunderbirds’ and decided it was what London needed.

For into the hollowed-out money-laundering facility that is now central London, Centrepoint is finally finding its true place, as a fortress of apartments for the super-rich (with a smattering of poor-door social housing, natch), which rather strands Paramount, its rooftop nightclub, up the Thames without a paddle as the building works are to take years.

Just to ensure that the other end of Oxford Street doesn’t feel left out, it’s getting a nasty stump of its own. Pictured once again against a Mediterranean sky and a six-lane road where the sole tyrannic consists of a lone cyclist, say hello to another ‘Affordable Homes For Russian Criminals’ block. This time the illustrators have carefully avoided the main view – that of a giant lump dwarfing the increasingly tiny Marble Arch itself, as if Boris’s London is determined to bury the few remaining graceful buildings that still remain in the West End. May I refer you to this excellent site for more head-clutchingly awful buildings.

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3 comments on “Towering Infernal”

  1. jan briggs says:

    Your comment re Centrepoint being a fortress for the super rich is probably bang on – it does have a fallout shelter beneath the car parking below the present edifice! the giveaway spiral type way in to the car park indicates this and the building does have a very interesting history. I can’t remember it all but i know if readers are interested its got a section in Beneath the City streets

  2. snowy says:

    I think the link is a bit mal-formed.

    Is it meant to be?

    http://www.bdonline.co.uk/buildings/carbuncle-cup

    If so the Tesco in Woolwich is particularly nasty thing in dazzle camoflage, set off by highlights that range in tone from pus yellow to a very vibrant snot green.

    The Stratford student building looks like a giant bourbon biscuit.

    And the Cambridge student block was so bad they had to put a concrete wall around it. And even the architects own website seems to want to disclaim any reponsibility for the final mess.

  3. Steve2 says:

    Well given that pretty much the only people shopping in Oxford Street live overseas, its probably right that he only people who own homes there also live overseas.

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