On one of my regular walks, I opted to head towards Hoxton, know as 'hipsterville' and one of the creative quarters of London. My route started from my base in Clerkenwell in an easterly direction
Three new buildings close to Hoxton, all wanting to be noticed.
Meandering my way there I came upon a particular grouping of astonishingly ugly new buildings. It is another example of the developer's habit of tracking the creative community, responsible for single-handedly rehabilitated often depressed neglected areas, and it doing so they are the makers of their own demise. It happened to Clerkenwell and Borough over the past two or three decades. Hoxton, in addition to its creative community, has seen Cross Rail contributing to the arrival of many estate agents there to hike up property prices and reap their profits.
And yet more added to Silicon Roundabout .
Though the inevitable escalating rents, we will once again see the departure of the very people responsible for invigorating these places by making them so appealing in the first place with their coffee shops, alternative stores, bookshops and gallery spaces.
In the heart of Hoxton all buzzing with of interest.
Amazingly I have worked in central London since 1960. Back then there was still bomb damage from WW2. I watched the many hurriedly built ubiquitous glass office blocks going up, especially surrounding St Pauls, close to where I was working at the time.
1960's office development surrounding St Paul's.
I also watched those same office blocks demolished in the 1990's. When I scan the London skyline today I am astonished how ugly it is becoming. It seems like some kind of 'mine's not only bigger than yours but a different shape', it's so depressing.
London's increasingly cluttered skyline.
Architects and their egos know no bounds, and whether you like it or not, we have to endure the sight of their handy work for many, many decades. Thank God that there are still some that have the sensitivity to understand how people want to use a building and how they need to feel inside.
At its very best architecture can be an uplifting and emotional experience, but it can also be a harsh and alienating one.