Tuesday, 28 December 2010

....an hour to kill in London

During a trip to London last week I had a spare hour to myself; so I took the opportunity to visit Foster's 'The Gherkin' up close!

It's footprint is surprisingly small and whilst it dominates the skyline, it has a light non-oppressive feel at ground level and somehow, compliments the scale of adjacent low rise buildings.

The main entrance into the building is very subtle by the simple exclusion of perimeter glazing to eight triangular segments; the ground floor envelope is also recessed to create a dramatic external sheltered area behind structure. 

The detail of the form is tremendously elegant; the structure is subtlety evident behind the glazing and yet, the eye is still drawn to the kissing point of the glazing triangle at ground level.

Much to my surprise at the location of the Swiss Re building, I found an old favourite within photoshot....Lloyd's of London by Richard Rogers!

I visited this building for the first time in 1988 after its completion in 1986; it looks great today as it did 22 years ago.

The external stainless steel cladding to the stair cores maintains the building's lustre and the external services and lifts certainly retains dynamism.  

The elements of exposed concrete and ducting are showing subtle signs of weathering, however, for a building that was designed over 30 years ago, it'll still look great for decades to come.

Directly opposite Lloyds however, are the beginning's of 'The Cheese grater', again by Roger's, so hopefully another trip will perhaps be required around 2014. 

In the meantime, I'm looking forward to see the completion of Renzo Piano's 'The Shard' in 2012.