Hitsville UK

Vortices, Gherkins and Domes, Oh My

Architecture is the third rail of cultural weblogging. If you don't believe me, please refer to the comment left me by the estimable -- seriously, when is he going to re-activate his own weblog? -- ac douglas below, in response to a post in which I wasn't even talking about architecture, except obliquely.

I generally don't bring up architecture here because I know that I don't know much of anything about it, beyond knowing case by case, not unlike the nameless hero of Green Eggs and Ham, what I Like and what I Do Not Like. In Los Angeles, for instance, I definitely like the new Walt Disney Concert Hall. I definitely do not like (though I admit that I have not yet seen the interior firsthand) our new Cathedral. (Embarrassing confession: while the cathedral was under construction and I was driving past it on a regular basis, it took me months to figure out that its coloring was intentional and permanent and that it was not in fact still encased in plywood.)

I also like much of what I have seen of the newer buildings of London. That seeing has been entirely through photographs, and most of those have been filtered through the camera eye of Brian Micklethwaite. This week, Brian has given us two posts -- one at Samizdata.net, the other on his Culture Blog -- about The Vortex, a project proposed by architect Ken Shuttleworth. Shuttleworth, who has just struck out on his own after years of close association with Norman Foster, is responsible for the SwissRe Gherkin -- now there's a building I'd like to see in person -- and the no-longer-wobbly Millenium Footbridge across the Thames.

Click to see it all

Click to see it all

Brian has considerately re-linked one of my favorites of his photos: this one (detail at left) of walkers on the bridge with St. Paul's behind. The arrangement of figures and the tone of the light in that photo always reminds me, in a sudden mental shift from London to Paris, of the splendid rainy street scene by Gustave Caillebotte (detail at right) that is displayed so prominently at the Art Institute of Chicago.

As you can gather, these also are things that I like.


The comments to this entry are closed.