It began promisingly, with the boys’ own drama of demolition and diggers and a new view of St Paul’s from the east:
And giant bundles of steel swinging through the first cold air of winter, two years ago:
As the structure developed its subtle angles and reflective coloured glass seemed designed as a tribute to the cathedral:
Last spring I watched glass panels catch the light as they were slowly swung into place:
Round about this time I read an article (in the Guardian I think) by a radical architectural journalist about what a disgraceful development this was; I hardly remember what he said but it was along the lines of where are the people in all this, why another temple to commerce etc., but I thought, when I admire Conway Castle I don’t care that it was built by an English king to oppress the Welsh, and when I walk around a gothic cathedral I don’t think about heretics burned. I enjoy the metropolitan high finance spectacle of London, its energy, I even buy into that ‘world class city’ idea and almost feel excited about the Olympics. I don’t think about the function of all these new buildings.
But then suddenly it’s november again, a cold, wet evening rush hour and:
Blimey! All the deceptive reflections have gone. It’s a a fucking shopping centre! Selling clothes to people who’ve already got clothes! (Although you can buy chocolate there as well.) I curse my naivety and feel like a born again radical.
Kate Moss is there with her lips parted. She’s with a dummy. They look like gargoyles:
Some of the images have been mutilated by iconoclasts:
It’s doing my head in. I would like to apologise to that journalist, but I don’t know who he is. (I’m pretty sure it was a man though.)
But, like one of those horror films where the evil apparitions disappear at sunrise, a couple of weeks later on a cold, sunny morning in late november it all looked different again:
Especially if you lift your eyes up unto the heavens:
finally, some big words from the developers’ website:
ONE NEW CHANGE, LONDON
A BREATHTAKING MONUMENT TO MODERNISM EMERGES ALONGSIDE THE MOST CELEBRATED OF CATHEDRALS. A SPECTACULAR ARCHITECTURAL STATEMENT LOCATED ON A SITE LIKE NO OTHER. SETTING EXTRAORDINARY NEW STANDARDS IN DESIGN.
A rare jewel set to transform the City. With the most prestigious and desirable office space in London. Enhanced by breathtaking views, and a roof terrace offering a dramatic vantage point of St Paul’s Cathedral and the London skyline. And incorporating a retail offering of exceptional range and quality… One New Change, London.
Lovely photos Jonny and the post is lovely too.
I’m always really interested in the people and usage history of a building. it helps the buildings come alive for me and i like to imagine all the things that have gone on there throughout their lives. i like how the people and the uses change over time