This fake photo appears at the top of a piece about new building in London, this being how Nine Elms is about to look:
If you regularly travel by helicopter anyway.
Also adorning the same piece is this next view looking upstream at the same point in London, also including the now rather small looking box that seems to have sparked all this building excitement, the recently relocated US Embassy:
The style is incoherent modernism, i.e. the effect you get when you design your tower to be modernistic, and quite tall, and functional in shape rather than weird (which is rather too expensive to always be doing) but in no other way in harmony with the nearby designs. Many hate this non-style, but to me it seems all of a piece with London’s ruling ethos, to the effect that when in London I pursue my business and you pursue your business, and there is no boss of the two of us telling us to do our business is the same way, even though we are right next to each other.
I never trust these fake photos of buildings. This is one of those times when the fact that the internet never forgets can get a bit confusing, because the internet remembers all the various shapes each future building takes as it ducks and weaves its way from initial idea to planning permission to actually getting built. Rather than spending lots of time trying to guess exactly what will be built, I prefer simply to wait and see.
And as it happens I have been recently seeing some of these towers as they rise up, without me making any great effort like going to the river or even crossing the river and seeing it all close-up. My now regular journey back from the Royal Marsden typically sees me getting off the tube at Victoria and doing a bit of shopping, by walking south along Wilton Road to Sainsbury’s.
Looking back towards Victoria, I see Nova, with its weird-style red shape spiking upwards. This is the Carbuncle Cup style that I so relish, …:
… a style that is now being superseded in Nine Elms by a reversion to the more functional verticality of, for example, Docklands (although in Docklands there has been a tad more harmonisation of style between different towers).
Here is what I see when I look south from the same spot:
Which is a bit boring, but as I walk towards Sainsbury’s, things start to liven up, especially when the sky looks the way it did that particular day:
I only photo what is there to be seen. So, that bit of London at any rate continues to build, and continues to contain busy cranes.
And according to this report, that’s about to be the story all over London:
Love them or loathe them, it looks like despite a significant slowdown in building skyscrapers during the spring and summer in 2020, there was not the downturn feared because of the pandemic.
According to New London Architecture’s annual review of skyscrapers over 20 storeys or more, there are 587 tall buildings in the pipeline in London – with 310 granted full planning permission and 127 under consideration. A total of 35 tower blocks were finished last year.
That’s some pipeline. Although I wouldn’t call these new Things skyscrapers, exactly. The sky can sleep unscraped in its bed. More like Things of a Certain Size.
Nevertheless, I love all this. Not because the buildings will be much good to look at. They won’t be, although sometimes in combination they may add up to something quite dramatic. What I like is what they mean: lots and lots of people all living and working right next to each other, and gathering in restaurants and bars to schmooze with each other and to contrive new ventures and adventures, as befits a great city that is still growing as fast as ever it has.
Eat your pretty little heart out, Paris.