Above: Portland House & Westminster Cathedral over Green Park. ©2013 Bauzeitgeist.
The increasing hideousness of the City of London's skyline is frequently decried just for the ugliness of the new architecture itself, but the loss of the capital's historic vistas, mentioned in terms of the now-carefully-studied "view corridors"–of St. Paul's in particular but also the Houses of Parliament in Westminster. The new glass-and-steel financial towers block the distant appearance of the cathedral's dome or the heroic Big Ben and Victoria Tower of Parliament. Paradoxically, the concern over these sight lines seem to overshadow the demerits of the new skyscrapers themselves, which it seems can be hideous as long as they are a referential distance from London's more ancient landmarks.
A counterargument to this is that it ignores all the terrible office buildings that have been rising in prominent locations across London for decades. As mentioned in the last post, this is a different issue in leafier west London, away from the narrow jagged alleys of the medieval City. These more residential areas have had fewer demands for tall buildings, more restrictions on new construction, and are home to two of the capital's largest parks, the perimeters of which space out a handful of tall towers, most of which were realized decades ago.
Portland House over the top of Green Park. ©2003, 2013 Bauzeitgeist.
171 Victoria Street, HQ of John Lewis.
Victoria Coach Station, Buckingham Palace Road. ©2006 Bauzeitgeist.
Portland House, visible with Big Ben, the Shard, Victoria Tower, One Canada Water, and the Westminster Cathedral.
The front of Buckingham Palace, with Cardinal Place and Victoria in the background.
Household Calvary Barracks covered in the last post. Celebrated another of the most hated buildings in Britain, it caused a Lord to once remark that Spence ruined two London parks with his monstrosities: the Household Calvary wrecked the bucolic idyll of Hyde Park, while the Home Office destroyed the serenity of Green Park (Portland Place aside).
the J. Edgar Hoover Building, the FBI Headquarters in Washington, DC, and is therefore all the more fitting that the building's apparent nickname was Lubyanka, after the enormous palace headquarters of the KGB in Moscow.
(4) Previous photos of 102 Petty France ©2013 Bauzeitgeist.