Tuesday, 4 December 2012

London's Skyeline - Iconicity or Prickly Hedgehog

Image by Nick Brown, courtesy of Observer/Guaradian Newspapers

Every now and again Rowan Moore, the London Observer newspaper's architecture critic, writes a stormer of an article.


Last Sunday his latest blast was on "Towering and Infernal: London's New Blight". This was not an anti-tower polemic; it was more of a concern for the way that  the skyline of the city is being ruined by the poor quality of the design of an increasing number of tall buildings that are being constructed in and around the city centre and their lack of relationship to their surroundings and their scant regard for placemaking, especially at and around their ground floors. 

Moore laments the rush for height of the current and previous mayors of London, respectively Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone, and the scant regard the central London Borough's seem to be taking to their own planning policies and local masterplanning guidelines as criteria for the design and massing of new tower proposals.

Moore is right on the money when he indicates that the recent rash of poorly designed towers are certainly not creating an iconic city or "iconcity" as he terms it and for me its more likely that what we are going to see is something more resembling a prickly hedgehog but one that lacks the elegance of a natural one.