"... this is one of the most aggravating public spaces we have ever been in. You feel so manipulated by a series of birch allees that lead to nowhere. It seems like you might be entering a giant maze... but no, it was just a line drawn on a paper and then put onto a plan and built. Clearly no more thought was given to this space than this minimal, simplistic idea. (If it represents some metaphor, then this space is even worse in our minds.)"
"The fact that people might use it could not have been remotely considered. It truly has the worst and most poorly located benches ever produced by man. In fact on a Friday night, June 6, 2003 at 10 PM, the only creature using the space was a giant rat at least 14 inches long including the tail. It was not a work of art. Maybe that is why we didn't even see any homeless people. "
Are the same design team being employed for the new project? [In the interest of Balance here is a link to an explanation of the planting by Kienast Vogt, the designers.
The overall PPS commentary on London (with some dodgily captioned digital photos of the South Bank - I'll e-mail my contact) is here
South Bank Centre, City Hall Plaza and the Shell Centre are all in the "Hall of Shame" category. Borough Market and the Hungerford and Millennium Footbridges are included as "Great Public Spaces".
I've never been a fan of Tate Modern's landscaping. But can you take seriously an organisation that puts London Bridge Station and The London Underground in its top category of 'Great Public Spaces' and calls Oxford St 'better than average'?
I quite agree with TUMJ. And what's wrong with the GLA complex? What about those wonderful water features - the stone blocks with water pouring over, the fountains, the "tree"? For once a public space has high quality materials and... space. What on earth makes Covent Garden "great"? It's an overcrowded tourist trap! Did they have any input from people who live in the city?
TUMJ - I have a sneaking suspicion that the office intern has done the website update from someone's badly captioned digital photos after their London event last year - from reading other text, I think the London Bridge comments were meant to relate to the new access to the Underground via the restored Victorian vaults, and Liverpool Street not Waterloo was the subject of several photos.
I'll include in my e-mail to them!
SEH - The GLA complex/More London is a failure IMHO, because it is an "institutional" campus of prestige headquarters with no street life, and with active frontages to the buildings confined to one row of anonymous glass fronted shops and coffee bars. It is only redeemed by the riverside setting. I also think you'll find that once the next phases of development take place City Hall Plaza will feel a lot less open as light and views of the sky to the south vanish.
My criticism is not of the glass Modern architecture per se. I believe that the absurd new classical medley in Portland stone and brick around Paternoster Square to the north of St Pauls has the same problems.
Covent Garden is a success because it has pedestrian priority and almost all buildings have a human scale, with very few long stretches without an active ground floor use.
Maybe if more of London was like that, the tourists would not all be concentrated in Covent Garden!
I thought the restored brickwork and feeling of space under London Bridge Station were lovely when they were first done - bravo Railtrack I thought (prematurely) for giving us some gratuitous space and loveliness - but now the effect is largely negated by having been covered up with adverising posters and filled up with retail outlets. Should have known.
, however Im glad southwark council have noticed how pathetic the river side is leading up to the Tate Modern from blackfriyers bridge southark council are so quick aren't they, if they really want to improve the river side they will have to demolish a few office buildings.
In the london that nobody knows there was a building called the egg braking plant, what a shame its not still there any art gallery would have to pay a P R firm a lot of money for a name like that.
As a foreigner, I have to state that I think the Underground is absolutely marvellous - so comprehensive and speedy.
In Dublin we have a light electric rail line - luckily I can avail of it, but it is even more crowded than the tube at times, the trains are not nearly so frequent, and it only goes up and down one line along the coast. If we wish to visit my mum in law (10 miles away, within 3 miles of Dublin city centre), it would take us over 2 hours on public transport, using rail/bus or 2 buses. That tube is fantastic!
I went to the GLA today as it was open to visitors. I really don't understand what the reason is for putting this building in the Hall of Shame...I find the outside an interesting contrast with Tower Bridge and the inside was beautiful, accessible and pleasant as a workplace. The views from the 9th floor are magnificent!
Finding the building beautiful is ofcourse a matter of taste, but 'a shame'? I don't think so...
What is planned for the empty area between the GLA and Tower Bridge..?