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Swiss Re Building an Instant Landmark

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,917
Points
36
BBC Article on the new Swiss Re building, nick-named "The Erotic Gherkin", in London England.

I like it - but I'm not sure if London is really a skyscraper type of city...
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
London has been a skyscraper city for some time, to the chagrine of some of its more conservative residents (like HRH The Prince of Wales.)

I actually like the Gherkin. Better than another boring box.
 

Howard Roark

Cyburbian
Messages
276
Points
10
Central London is pretty much low rise, except for the city of Westminster, which has a few highrise, mostly grouped around the Thames. There are a few exceptions the radio tower to the north and UCL’s monumental, authoritarian, art deco tower. For the most part the taller buildings or on the periphery of central London. The Paddington area to the west where you can see some of the Prince’s despised tower blocks from the highway, and then to the east in the Docklands, which has a Chicago feel to it, not surprising as the area was master planed by SOM.

London’s high-rises are spread out, but there are quite a few, the Barbican has several and Goldfinger did some great brutalist stuff, if you like brutalism.

The Swiss building was just underway when I left, but the renderings looked surreal, I try to shy away from being a fan of star architects, but Foster has a way of humanizing modernisms rough edges.

Foster is not with out its critics though, they also called his new city hall the "fencing mask" which was actually pretty appropriate.

oops, edited to avoid repeating others!
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
How did the London City Hall work, Howard? I thought it was cool/I liked the photographic images of it a lot (although I agree with your metaphor).
 

Howard Roark

Cyburbian
Messages
276
Points
10
BKM said:
How did the London City Hall work, Howard? I thought it was cool/I liked the photographic images of it a lot (although I agree with your metaphor).
Do you mean work as a piece of architecture or as part of the city?

I do like the building, though I think it fails in a few respects

The first renderings were really nice, a translucent oblique sphere facing upriver. Very clean and modern in the spirit of the late 90’s “cool Britannia”

I know that Foster has the technical expertise in his office (not to mention a close relationship with super trouble shooting engineers Ove Arup) to pull it off as envisioned, but something had to happen, cause what was promised does not look quite like what was delivered.

As a piece of architecture it is a bit clunky, that is, it looks awkwardly detailed and jagged where one would expect smoother more graceful connections. The farther away you get the better it looks. It is most striking when coming down the Thames walk on the north bank or crossing over the Tower Bridge.

As a part of the urban fabric it really does not engage the public very well, its bad on the south bank walk side and even worse when you approach from behind.

I speculate that they ran out of money sometime in the design process, Ken Livingston the once dethroned and reinstated mayor is not a favorite of Labor or the Tories, so not like the federal gov. would like to help him much.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,623
Points
34
Well, its better than the Lloydds of London buidling.... certainly more... some one get me a kleenex.
 

ablarc

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
713
Points
20
Hearst Building by Foster

New York's variant of Swiss Re:


The base was built in the Twenties by William Randolph Hearst in anticipation of a vast skyscraper. That is now materializing to a design by Norman Foster

The lobby with the inside of the Twenties facade as a screen of windows. The structure is Piranesian and triangulated, like Swiss Re:



Upper Lobby:



Construction photo, May 16, 2004, by Edward at Wired New York:

 
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