Once upon a time we had great, influential architects who stamped their mark on whole areas of our cities and so created a cohesive feel to town centres and residential areas.
In the early 18th century the city of Bath was transformed by John Wood and his son in the Palladian revival style through the integration of architecture, urban and landscape design. This deliberately coordinated approach created a city which, despite further development is still beautiful today.
I’m certainly not knocking modern architecture but somewhere, somehow we’ve lost our way. For example, a particular beef of mine is the architectural approach to our capital city – who is keeping London’s skyline in check?
Well, it seems to me that there is no longer one coherent body which can look holistically at London to curb the excesses of tall building design.
Gherkin, Cheese-grater, Glass Shard, Walkie-Talkie; it seems there is a race to be different for difference’s sake and without due regard to whether all these high rise buildings should be there in the first place or not.
In years past, the Royal Fine Arts Commission looked after this area, then the CABE and after those august institutions fell by the wayside, it’s now Local Authority driven. English Heritage do have a conservation role but it does not seem to be stopping the excesses of globally ambitious developers and architects.
When the Canary Wharf area was developed, this seemed the ideal area for these peoples to play with such status structures in a designated area of their own – all well and good.
Now, however, there seems to be an endless drive by wealthy investors from China, Russia and the Middle East to bring innovative tall buildings back to swamp more Central London areas.
I think it’s a shame and can’t help wondering what John Wood senior and John Wood junior might have thought……
What do you think?