Brian Micklethwaite has a deep-dyed fondness for skyscrapers, even those that he himself declares to be utterly daft. At the moment, he is waxing all enthused-like about the newly-approved London Bridge Tower, an enormous pyramidal sliver to be constructed on the south bank of the Thames. In response to a comment (from one of we ill-informed Americans, of course) suggesting that London is best left with as few skyscrapers as possible, Brian begs to differ and offers this compact encomium:
The skyscraper was discovered and perfected in the USA yes, in Chicago and then in New York. But the idea that the rest of us should refrain, just so that Americans can be charmed by our silly little old cities, disgusts me. Why shouldn't we build them too? What are we, Hawaiian dancers in grass skirts who only survive by demeaning themselves with faked-up derangements of their past? If tourists don't like London when it finally gets kitted out with a proper skyline, say by about 2030, stuff them. Actually, they're going to love it.
Skyscrapers solve a universal problem, not a specifically American problem, which is how to fit lots and lots of people into one working place, of that special sort now called a World City. Skyscrapers are the way that cities Keep It Real. Paris, denied the twin stimulants of the Luftwaffe and the Modern Movement in architecture, now has nowhere to put any skyscrapers. London has been luckier. Result? London is a real place with a great, great future, and Paris is an increasing tatty nineteenth century stage set.
Paris, of course, does feature one famous skyscraper of sorts, but it is a resolutely impractical one.