Friday 27 June 2003 1.56pm
We were swindled over the City Hall
Nothing to do with the shape of the building - it looks like a wounded dalek or an emerging penis, either of which is fine by me.
The original design WAS brilliant - the cladding was superb.
But somewhere along the route to completion, the architect plans were changed without reference to the public and the building they put up is not the one they had planning permission for.
Stand in front of the building and look at it carefully. You will see that the central area of glass cladding is of a much higher and nicer-looking quality than the rest of the building
In the original design the entire edifice was covered with this cladding. It looked superb in the architects drawings.
When they actually put it up, they surreptitiously switched the majority of the cladding for what we have now. You honestly cannot say this is NICE?
It looks just like the cheap plastic panelling they covered the loos with on Birmingham Coach Station in the 1960s....
It's not my imagination - look in the Evening Standard archives - they did a whole page feature with side by side pics of the original design and the final structure, also wanting to know what happened, but as far as I know, no-one said anything in response.
I personally think they ran out of money and didn't want to say so.
Maybe New Labour cut the budget after Ken won the election, to spite him.
I saw Foster's dome for the Reichstag in Berlin and it's inspirational and truly brilliant. We were supposed to get the same, but we got its ugly cousin instead.
You are right - it does look good from a distance and also at nightime, but I live right next to the thing and it is a sad lost opportunity.
Just look at the quality of the cladding in the More London development behind it. Puts City Hall
The City Re building looks like Thunderbird 2 standing on its tail with the rudder missing.
The bouncing bridge is not a patch on the wonderful Hungerford bridge, which was not designed by Foster and therefore not publicised properly. Nor did it come in two years late and way over budget..
Foster is a hype merchant, there are much more talented architects around...