London’s buildings: Up, up and away

In the last months, a lot has been said about how tall buildings are getting in London, and how it could change, also in a negative way, its historic and outstanding landscape.

Should London become a town full of skyscrapers, comparable to Dubai, New York or Sao Paulo? Passionate about London say no; economy says yes.

The modern Gherkin (left)  in contrast to the Tower of London (first built in 1078). Photo: Captain Roger Fenton - https://www.flickr.com/photos/762_photo/

The modern Gherkin (left) in contrast to the Tower of London (first built in 1078). Photo: Captain Roger Fenton – https://www.flickr.com/photos/762_photo/

There are pressures for more dwelling units due to the very high prices in this area. Towers would help fund huge regeneration schemes. Today, the Europe’s tallest residential tower is in Vauxhall: The 594ft One St George’s Wharf.

In March, there were almost 250 tall towers proposed, approved or already under construction as announced by The Guardian. The New London Architecture (NLA) think tank says that 236 buildings will have more than 20 storeys.

London skyline chart: Big Ben is the shortest one

2012 London skyline chart: Big Ben is the shortest one

But critics say these “monster towers,” as they have been called, could destroy London’s skyline. The Guardian published this interactive guide to show how it is going to change – just click on each picture and find it out – and it is pretty astonishing!

The view east from Waterloo Bridge, as published on The Guardian: 1) Doon Street; 2) 20 Blackfriars; 3) Kings Reach; 4) One Blackfriars; 5) Ludgate & Sampson House; 6) 40 Leadenhall; 7) 52 Lime Street; 8) Pinnacle; 9) 100 Bishopsgate; 10) The Hotel at Heron Tower; 11) One Crown Place. Image: Hayes Davidson

The view east from Waterloo Bridge, as published on The Guardian: 1) Doon Street; 2) 20 Blackfriars; 3) Kings Reach; 4) One Blackfriars; 5) Ludgate & Sampson House; 6) 40 Leadenhall; 7) 52 Lime Street; 8) Pinnacle; 9) 100 Bishopsgate; 10) The Hotel at Heron Tower; 11) One Crown Place. Image: Hayes Davidson

They also defend there are already too many towers with silly shapes, and condemn the fact there is no planning on it.

At the end of April, the Guardian listed the 10 worst London skyscrapers – new towers, built and imminent – with Oliver Wainwright asking: Will the new tower frenzy spoil London’s skyline which is so full of history?

The Strata, the fourth worst skyscraper, according to the Guardian.  Photo: R28B - http://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:R28B&action=edit&redlink=1

The Strata, the fourth worst skyscraper, according to the Guardian. Photo: R28B – http://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:R28B&action=edit&redlink=1

David Edwards, architect, took all the plans for skyscrapers and created a vision of the future skyline. Londontopia published his concept designs.

 

  • NLA study

Knowing 250 towers were on the way, NLA developed an Insight Study into tall buildings in London, examining the impact this growth will have on the capital. A Project Showcase is also available, presenting a selection of tall building projects being delivered by or for NLA Partners across the capital.

 

NLA study logo

NLA study logo

 

  • The mayor’s rulebook

The London Plan is the mayor’s rulebook for development across the capital. It supports tall buildings where they “create attractive landmarks enhancing London’s character, help to provide a coherent location for economic clusters of related activities and/or act as a catalyst for regeneration and where they are also acceptable

 

  • History

Changing is part of the time passing process, isn’t it? Londontopia published a beautiful gallery of pictures that illustrate how London’s skyline has changed since the 1600′s.

 

  • Festival of Architecture

Open until June 30 in several places, The London Festival of Architecture consists of a program delivered by partner organisations – leading cultural and academic institutions – alongside associated projects and open studios by architects, engineers, designers, artists, and curators. In 2014, the festival takes ‘Capital’ as its central theme, and explores its various manifestations; from London’s place as the UK’s seat of government and finance, its flows of social and intellectual capital, the politics of regeneration and its impact on the city and its position as a world capital of architecture, through its practices and its built environment.

 

  • Modern architecture in the City of London

A video by The City of London shows its modern architecture from street level to 230m into the skyline:

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Dynamic art all over town

If you have a crush on street art, London is definitely a place to be – or, at least, to check out when being around.

But street art is alive, dynamic, and it may disappear faster than you have the time to know it first appeared. So, tracking information on the internet may be an excellent way to support and visit the best art in town.

The Hookedblog is an important source of updated information about it: which artists have been in town, what contributions they have done to the art scene of London, and the website explores details on artists’ styles, colours and effects.

Artist: Rone Photo: Mark Rigney Published at Hookedblog.co.uk

Artist: Rone
Photo: Mark Rigney
Published at Hookedblog.co.uk

 

It is all about UK street art, or, in their own words: “ephemeral art, graffiti, stencils, zines, tags, screen printing, illustration and everything and anything in between!” They’ve been online since 2005 and are an excellent source for those who want to appreciate street art and also learn more about it.

On Instagram, I’ve been following @londongraffiti. They publish pictures of recent art around the town, identifying who the artist is – many do not live in London – and explaining traces and features found on the drawings. Once again, there is much to be learnt from them.

Picture from the londongraffiti Instagram: "Aerial shot (from a bench) of @dankitchener , Dale G working the front of the car and @its_artista the side"

Picture from the londongraffiti Instagram: “Aerial shot (from a bench) of @dankitchener , Dale G working the front of the car and @its_artista the side”

Since it is all about pictures, also on Instagram I’ve enjoyed @artpiedotcodotuk, on modern and street art in London and around. When researching to write this post, I found out their amazing website. They make reviews on art shows and update a very intense blog. I particularly love this Banksys Now Wears Shoes entry.

Artist:  Dan Kitchener‘s (aka DANK)  Photo: Pierrick Senelaer Published at http://www.artpie.co.uk/

Artist: Dan Kitchener‘s (aka DANK)
Photo: Pierrick Senelaer
Published at http://www.artpie.co.uk/

The Walls Project is an effort by the Global Street Art to paint the world, starting with London. They arrange new walls for street art and spread the word (and pictures!) about it. In March, they were approaching their 500th street art mural. Another great group to follow in order to get updated information.

Artist: Alicé Published at: http://www.globalstreetart.com/

Artist: Alicé
Published at: http://www.globalstreetart.com/

That is far from being everything on London street art, of course, but these are my main references by now. I keep an eye on those to know what is going on in street art in London. Have you got any artists or websites to recommend? Have you spotted anything brand new out there?

The greatness of minimalism

The art of minimalism is great! It asks for attention to details, patience and care. For me, when it is associated to London, it becomes even more amazing, and there are many works worth to know and follow.

Roy Tyson has a project called Roy’s People – Explore the world of the little people! He creates images and installations using miniature figures to spread his vision of the world – sometimes, a very critical view, encouraging or provoking the audience.

'Anything's possible', a Roy's People installation

‘Anything’s possible’, a Roy’s People installation

His first installation, Mandibularis beetle, showed a family walking their pet, a beetle, on the beach: “The idea was based on the control the human race has over any other animal,” he explains on his website.

'The Family', Roy's first work

‘The Family’, Roy’s first work

He challenges people by creating intriguing, humorous, provoking and fun images, and he hopes he will encourage all ages to take an interest in art.

His most popular project is called Homeless – he leaves miniature figures around the streets of London for people to find and keep them. Each figure comes with a signed tag explaining what it is about and what to do next.

'The Grate Tower', by Roy

‘The Grate Tower’, by Roy

Roy has just finished an exhibition at the Curious Duke Gallery and The Other Art Fair, both in London. In July and August, he will be back at the Curious Duck Gallery, for a summer show. On his website, it is possible to buy prints of his work.

Steve Wheen runs the amazing The Porthole Gardener – A Guerrilla Gardening blog. He seeks to create unexpected moments of happiness, by developing marvelous and highly detailed gardens in holes on the streets.

One of The Pothole Gardener's work, with Tower Bridge and The  Shard in the background

One of The Pothole Gardener’s work, with Tower Bridge and The Shard in the background

“My little gardens are a respite from the greyness of London,” he says on his website. He looks for holes on the footpaths and tries to inspire people’s imagination.

The gardener's latest installation, published on his blog in March

The gardener’s latest installation, published on his blog in March

His project started as part of his Masters in Design and generated his first book, The Little Book of Little Gardens, published by Dokument Press late in 2012.

Cover of the book, published in 2012, born from his work posted on the blog

Cover of the book, published in 2012, born from his work posted on the blog

 

History alive on the streets of London

Predictably, there are thousands of apps about London – if you want some reliable nominations, check the ‘Top 10 Free London Apps’ article by Visit London, the city’s official visitor guide.

But a few of them are as amazing and lovely as The Museum of London app, called Streetmuseum and available on Google Play and iTunes.

Firstly, let’s make things clear: I’m talking about the Museum of London, which is not the British Museum. Since I’ve seen Londoners making confusion between them, I thought it would be nice to specify. The London one tells the history of – guess what? – London (wow!), and it is close to St Paul’s tube station.

The app gives a unique perspective of old and new London, from the Great Fire of 1666 to the swinging sixties.

There are two ways of using it: once you select a destination from the map, a historical image of the location appears onscreen, with historical information. You do not have to be in London to use it. The pictures are splendid!

information 2

Being in London, you can use the app’s augmented reality mode, which identifies your location and overlays the historic image over the current camera view. Just hold your camera up to the street scene and see the same location in the past. By tapping the information button, you get historical facts. Jaw dropping!

carnaby st

Streetmuseum is not brand new; it has been updated with over 100 new locations and images, dating as far as back as 1868. Also, its locations have been expanded to outer boroughs as Richmond, Brent Cross and Ealing.

To promote it, the museum has released historic pictures of London juxtaposed with modern ones. It is magical to see how a city can change so much and so little!

Duncannon Street, Westminster, 1902. The street was decorated for the coronation ceremony of Edward VII

Duncannon Street, Westminster, 1902. The street was decorated for the coronation ceremony of Edward VII

 

Palace Theatre in 1958. Photographer: Bob Collins

Palace Theatre in 1958. Photographer: Bob Collins

 

Gloucester Road Station under construction in the late 1860. Photo by Henry Flather

Gloucester Road Station under construction in the late 1860. Photo by Henry Flather

 

A scene of Oxford Street in 1905 by Christina Broom

A scene of Oxford Street in 1905 by Christina Broom

Who wants to live in the past?

It is extremely easy to feel you are living vintage days when walking out and about London, and it is not restricted to the 1960s, when the city had its golden Swinging era.

You can feel you are prior and prior in time since it is very common to find buildings constructed in the 19th, 18th and even 17th centuries.

But it is not only about walking around. It is possible to live a real experience of being in the past, no matter when. Restaurants, markets, parties, shops and tours offer distinguished situations and products that make all the difference!

The Vintage Festival took place last weekend, March 15 and 16, at the Southbank centre. Instagramers London was there to take those magical pictures, and you can take a look at them using the #vintagefestival and #igerslondon hashtags when logging into your Instagram account.

The Vintage Guide to London logo

The Vintage Guide to London logo

Being in town or wanting to keep up to date on everything related to the old times, The Vintage Guide to London is the zero point. They offer exceptional vintage scenes arranged by period – from Victorian to the Eighties – and it is possible to search for places in your part of town.

They are part of all social media out there, but the one I love the most is their Tumblr page; there are loads and loads of lovely photos. On Pinterest, pictures are organized by topic – hair and beauty, bars, restaurants, cafés. Very useful!

Lena Weber is its founder and editor-in-chief; she opened it up in June, 2010. She also runs the Queens of Vintage magazine – not specifically connected to London, but a treasure for vintage facts and products.

The free weekly TimeOut magazine keeps a vintage guide on its website, where even speakeasies and swap shops are listed – “Speakeasies were places for illegal boozing that came to prominence during the Prohibition era in 1920s America. But ever since, they have taken on a mythical status: teacups brimming with gin, suave jazz musicians and a glitzy, retro dress code,” they clarify.

1 day to go

Finally, the book The Rough Guide to Vintage London, published in May 2013, is also a terrific source for old times’ guide:

It covers over 200 budget and luxury attractions, from the East End hotspots of hyper-cool Hoxton and Shoreditch to the eccentric emporia of the West End, as well as the pick of London’s markets and the classiest vintage outlets north and south of the centre, all marked on full-colour maps.

It is from Consultant-Editor Wayne Hemingway and written by Francis Ambler, Emily Bick, Samantha Cook, Nicholas Jones and Lara Kavanagh. Grab yours on Amazon and go live those magical old days… Whenever they are.

Photo: Jorge Miranda Jr. – http://www.instagram.com/jorgemirandajr

Photo: Jorge Miranda Jr. – http://www.instagram.com/jorgemirandajr

Who wants a website with the .london domain? I do!

Last year, London & Partners, the official promotional organisation for London, with the support of the Mayor of London secured the new .london domain in a deal with ICANN, the global internet body.

The domain names go on sale on April 29. Yes, from that day on, we’ll find web addresses such as http://www.selfridges.london or http://www.museum.london. Amazing, don’t you think?

London will be one of the first cities in the world to launch its own domain. According to the official media, businesses, organisations and individuals will be able to register domains ending in .london in order to maximise their internet presence.

Dot London 1

For the first three months, they will give priority to the ones placed in London as it should be. During this period, anybody with an interest in the town can apply for a .london domain name. They explain the allocation of names will depend on the priority ranking.

London & Partners has disclosed that thousands of businesses have expressed an interest in it. In February, a YouGov survey of small businesses in London found out that more than one in four was likely to register for a .london web address.

Policies for being eligible for a .london domain are:

• What domain names can be registered
• The terms and conditions domain users must abide by
• Rules for acceptable use – complaint policies and procedures
• Privacy and data protection

Just wondering… Is “loving London so much that it hurts” a strong enough reason to get a .london domain?

I’ll stay here, dreaming about http://www.LillyLoves.London!

London numbers

According to London & Partners, the town is home to:

• 800,000 businesses, from global brands to local services
• more than 8m residents
• 4.2m workers
• 50,000 community and voluntary organizations

Quem quer um site com o domínio .london? Eu!

No ano passado, a London & Partners, organização promocional oficial para Londres, com o apoio do prefeito da cidade, garantiu o novo domínio .london, em um acordo com a ICANN, o órgão mundial da internet.

Os nomes de domínio vão à venda em 29 de abril. Sim, a partir desse dia, vamos encontrar endereços na web como http://www.selfridges.london ou http://www.museum.london. Incrível, não?

Londres será uma das primeiras cidades do mundo a lançar seu próprio domínio. De acordo com os meios oficiais, empresas, organizações e indivíduos poderão registrar domínios terminados em. london, com o objetivo de maximizar suas presenças na Internet.

Dot London 3

Nos primeiros três meses, eles darão prioridade aos situados em Londres, como deveria ser. Durante este período, qualquer pessoa com interesse na cidade pode se inscrever para ter um domínio .london. Eles explicam que a atribuição dos nomes vai depender de classificação de prioridade.

A London & Partners divulgou que milhares de empresas manifestaram interesse no endereço. Em fevereiro, uma pesquisa do YouGov com pequenas empresas da cidade descobriu que mais de uma em cada quatro pretendem se registrar para um endereço .london.

As políticas para ser elegível para um domínio .london são:

• Que nomes de domínio podem ser registrados

• Os termos e condições que usuários do domínio devem respeitar

• Regras para uso aceitável – as políticas e procedimentos de reclamação

• Privacidade e proteção de dados

Fico me perguntando… Será que “amar Londres tanto que dói” é uma razão forte o suficiente para conseguir um domínio?

Fico aqui, sonhando com http://www.LillyLoves.London!

 

Número de Londres

De acordo com a London & Partners, a cidade é residência para:

• 800 mil empresas, de marcas globais a os serviços locais

• mais de 8 milhões de habitantes

• 4,2 milhões de trabalhadores

• 50 mil organizações comunitárias e voluntárias