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.