Last year, at the end of July, I went on an expedition out East, to the Dome and related attractions and excitements, and this evening I was looking through all the photos from that expedition, some of which I’ve shown here already. And, I found myself rather liking these two photos, both of the London City Island tower cluster, on the other side of the River from where I was:
This cluster is just the the other side of the River Lea (the final meanderings of which create the island in question), from Canning Town Station. The one on the right photoed about forty minutes of wandering downstream after the the one on the left.
In the second and smaller of the two images in this 2015 posting from the Old Blog, now here, you can see an aerial fake-photo of how they then merely reckoned it would look. By now, it’ll be finished and occupied.
London is fast become a city not so much of towers, but of tower clusters. The Big Things of the City have now coalesced into one big lump. Docklands ditto. Battersea is heading that way. Soon there’ll be another cluster, upstream from Tate Modern. In the years to come, it may join up with the nearby cluster around the old Shell Building at Waterloo, next to the Wheel.
The light wasn’t that good when I photoed the above photos, but you can see what I want you to see. What I like about this London City Island cluster is that, well, I like it. Its basic job is to fit lots of people into a small area, without excessive cost or bother in the form of “architecture” – unfunctional curves and weird shapes of various sorts, or strange structural illogicalities. This isn’t Starchitecture. It’s a collection of Machines for Living In. But, because the design of all the blocks has been made, as it were, to “rhyme”, the effect is rather pleasing, unlike the usual London cluster mess. Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t mind cluster messes. They’re very London. But I’m glad that one of these clusters is a bit more aesthetically coordinated, because it makes a change. The bright colours of each of the towers adds to the air of a group of buildings all designed at the same time. In London, this seldom seems to happen.
But, if you come back at me and say it’s just ugly lumps, in the usual London way, well, so be it, I won’t argue. Like I say, basically these are Machines for Living In. What they do for London is accommodate more people in comfort. How it all looks is somewhat beside that point.
But, I like the way it looks.