Contrary to a pillar-and-post grade of certainty I am a marble, pillar and most-likely-to-be-inhabited-by-ghosts man when it comes to architecture. I appreciate that the art moves like any other art-form: studying the progress from observation, rather than intimately, often limits the ability to secure an articulate definition. However, if you’re simply looking the magnately obvious trends and sub-types, surely you can still voice an opinion, aesthetically at least. Hopefully this disclaimer binds well enough for me to proclaim: I hate current-trend architecture.
It all began, as most opinions do, through relativism. In London, narrow, cobbled alleys sprout and flower into resplendent marble feats. With wanderlust and hungry eyes I could almost trill at the sight of Saint Paul’s Cathedral and the more derelict nature of Shoreditch back streets. Now, something else exists to overshadow it all and blind the view.
I could with reasonably gritted teeth view Town Hall as a transparent (literally and figuratively) attempt to procure some prestige for whomever occupied the Mayor’s seat (long may Boris’ reign continue). The twin peaks of my hatred are the bovine ‘Gherkin’ building and the aptly named ‘Shard’. Gherkins are usually tossed to the side of grander, more appetising meals. Even in florescent beige polystyrene bowl the more discerning don of donors will toss them aside; tossing gherkins into salad implicates lack of dressing deftness and a disappointing stock of fresh, albeit supermarket sourced, leaves and vegetables. This is exactly what the Gherkin building is to me: a carelessly tossed pungent vinegar bulk to the canapé and succulent offers of the Bishopsgate, Spitalfields and the Moorgate area.
Then there’s the Shard. London’s boast the it has the largest dick in all the concrete jungles across the globe. The Shard is an ostentatious gloat that London has the funds and lack of capacity to be the most financially exclusive principality. With little space on the floor, the only way is up. The skyline swells with fractured shapes covered with glass scales. Building look like pirate sails stream-lining to conquer the buildings who achieve grandness with intricate stone carving and crafted curvature. The Shard, in particular, is the weed bursting through the patio and cracking cohesion surrounding it. A shard is fragment of something broken, a spoil of seamless surface and production of an inherent danger caused by a fragile object shattering.
Londoners are defined by their passion for their city from atmosphere to architecture. I bemoan the Lego inspired structures and the trend to substitute fastidious displays with formidable monstrosities. If the grand designers call it art, I happily proclaim I am a cretin.