Piano strikes the right note again

Ever since I was reminded of those highly coloured buildings near Centre Point I have been meaning to check them out.

Yesterday, as I had been intending to do for several days, having known for several days of the excellent weather that would prevail yesterday, I did this.

Almost as striking as the buildings themselves are the reflections of their bright colours in nearby windows, and in fact my first clue that I was in the vicinity of my architectural prey was just such a reflection.

Here are some of the pictures I took, in the order I took them in:

I really liked these buildings. I had feared 70s style vulgarity. They are better than that, much better.

And I came to this conclusion before I learned, this evening, while concocting this posting, that they are the work of Renzo Piano. That’s right, the very same man who also designed the Shard:

You might also have once said the area was grey, but not any longer. If you go there now you will see a series of slabs of colour – orange, red, apple green and lemon yellow – vibrant as a row of casseroles in a Conran shop, rising 12 storeys into the sky. These belong to Central St Giles, a nearly complete office development by celebrated Italian architect Renzo Piano. “I wanted to make a building that smiles,” he says in explanation.

And to my eye he as succeeded. He hasn’t just supplied bright buildings. He has brightened up the whole area. I hope they don’t fade, or that if they do, they will be easily restored to their current brightness.

When photoing these colourful slabs of modernity, I concentrated on their sunny side, the south side. When the weather is warmer, I will surely return and check them out some more.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

One thought on “Piano strikes the right note again”

  1. Michael Jennings added a comment:


    I also really like those brightly coloured buildings. In my mind, what Renzo Piano is good at is office buildings with a little bit of flair. He doesn’t go overboard in the manner of the Gherkin, where you get an office building in which the foibles are so extreme to be annoying to the people inside, but none the less makes buildings that still manage to stand out from the blandness. I think he is less good with public buildings. (The Shard is almost a public building).

    I see rather a lack of tenants in the retail spaces below the coloured buildings though. Maybe things will improve when the Tottenham Court Road station tedevelopment is finished. Or when the recession ends. (Ha).

    Posted by Michael Jennings on 07 March 2013

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