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Globe: Skyscrapers threaten London, Prince Charles says

wyliepoon

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Skyscrapers threaten London, Prince Charles says

REGAN MCTARSNEY

Associated Press

February 1, 2008 at 3:52 AM EST

LONDON — Prince Charles warned Thursday that historic sites like the Tower of London have been “vandalized†by high-rise construction that threatens to ruin the character of the capital.

The heir to the British throne, who spoke at a conference on city planning, argued that poor planning could damage the integrity of Britain's historical areas — particularly criticizing tall buildings that dwarf smaller structures.

“We seem to be determined to vandalize these few remaining sites which retain the kind of human scale and timeless character that so attract people to them and which increase in value as time goes by,†Prince Charles said at St. James' Palace.

The speech was a challenge to London Mayor Ken Livingstone's support for a project near the Tower. The building, known as the “Shard of Glass,†would be Britain's tallest skyscraper.

Prince Charles suggested tall buildings be clustered in corporate areas. He pointed to Paris' La Defense, a business district full of skyscrapers kept separate from the city's famous museums and landmarks.

“The key point I want to make is that I am not opposed to all tall buildings,†he said. “My concern is that they should be considered in their context; in other words, they should be put where they fit properly.â€

His speech also took aim at plans to build more than three million new homes by 2020.

“My concern is that London will become just like everywhere else with the same homogenized buildings that express nothing but outdated unsustainability,†he said.

In 1984, Prince Charles criticized a proposed addition to London's National Gallery, calling it a “monstrous carbuncle.†More skyscrapers in London would be worse, he said.

“Not just one carbuncle, ladies and gentlemen, on the face of a much-loved old friend, but a positive rash of them that will disfigure precious views and disinherit future generations o Londoners,†he said.
 
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Ithaqua

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Skyscrapers threaten London, Prince Charles says

REGAN MCTARSNEY

Associated Press

February 1, 2008 at 3:52 AM EST

LONDON — Prince Charles warned Thursday that historic sites like the Tower of London have been “vandalized” by high-rise construction that threatens to ruin the character of the capital.

The heir to the British throne, who spoke at a conference on city planning, argued that poor planning could damage the integrity of Britain's historical areas — particularly criticizing tall buildings that dwarf smaller structures.

“We seem to be determined to vandalize these few remaining sites which retain the kind of human scale and timeless character that so attract people to them and which increase in value as time goes by,” Prince Charles said at St. James' Palace.

The speech was a challenge to London Mayor Ken Livingstone's support for a project near the Tower. The building, known as the “Shard of Glass,” would be Britain's tallest skyscraper.

Prince Charles suggested tall buildings be clustered in corporate areas. He pointed to Paris' La Defense, a business district full of skyscrapers kept separate from the city's famous museums and landmarks.

“The key point I want to make is that I am not opposed to all tall buildings,” he said. “My concern is that they should be considered in their context; in other words, they should be put where they fit properly.”

His speech also took aim at plans to build more than three million new homes by 2020.

“My concern is that London will become just like everywhere else with the same homogenized buildings that express nothing but outdated unsustainability,” he said.

In 1984, Prince Charles criticized a proposed addition to London's National Gallery, calling it a “monstrous carbuncle.” More skyscrapers in London would be worse, he said.

“Not just one carbuncle, ladies and gentlemen, on the face of a much-loved old friend, but a positive rash of them that will disfigure precious views and disinherit future generations of Londoners,” he said.
Some of that is fair in that tall buildings next to old ones does put the old ones out of context, but then you have to consider that London is a capital city and so will have to change and accomodate tall buildings.
 

adma

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Not necessarily; Paris is a capital city, too.

The thing about the City of London, though, is that it's already been allowing highrises in for about half a century or so, so there's little out-of-contextness remaining...
 

allabootmatt

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...and, London is a totally incoherent place, visually, compared to Paris. Which is has been for a long time; having never been smashed and rebuilt as an imperial showpiece like Paris (and indeed Berlin) were, London has always been a mish-mash of styles, heights, and ages. Which is what's silly about the likes of Prince Charles harking back to some golden-age, architecturally unified London. It never existed.

There's another issue, too, one that maybe the Prince isn't concerned with, but many regular folk are: London is becoming an intolerably expensive place to live, even for people with quite substantial incomes. Though none of these towers are going to contain affordable housing, it can't be a bad thing to start increasing the aggregate housing supply in the centre of the capital, which hasn't happened in a very long time.
So to skyscrapers, I say bring them on.

Anyway, just my £0.02.
 

syn

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We need to send Hume there to explain that London is no longer a small town, it's a city, as much as it's inhabitants want to deny it. The fear of height has to end :p.
 

Hydrogen

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From the Poundbury link:

Following New Urbanist principles, Poundbury was supposed to reduce car dependency and encourage walking, cycling and public transport. However, a survey conducted at the end of the first phase, showed that car use was higher in Poundbury than in the surrounding (rural) district of West Dorset.
 

allabootmatt

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Like Canary Wharf? That's happening already. But there are also lots of bits of central London with crap 50s/60s/70s buildings that I would love to see go in favour of some decent contemporary skyscrapers, even in the City; Lower Thames St and a big swathe of the neighborhood between Liverpool St and Farringdon Road come to mind. London has, without a doubt, some of the most unsympathetic Brutalist architecture on the planet. Some of it is worth saving, much of it not. So destruction is not necessarily of stunning Grade I/II listed structures...as opposed to the third runway plan at Heathrow, which does actually require leveling several. But that's another story.

The other thing to keep in mind is the price of land; at the levels of investment required to build anything in Zone 1 nobody is skimping on architecture or materials. There are some unbelievably gorgeous new buildings in London.
 

299 bloor call control.

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I don't care what they say, but I think this is a bigger threat to London:

tenpounds.png
 

adma

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The other thing to keep in mind is the price of land; at the levels of investment required to build anything in Zone 1 nobody is skimping on architecture or materials. There are some unbelievably gorgeous new buildings in London.

Yes, but they're still tall and/or too-sleek and/or obtrusive. It doesn't suit a Cockney Truman Show, or whatever Chuckie Baby prefers
 

drum118

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A year from now, that view will see a big change.
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By looks of it as of Tuesday, should be at grade by month end.
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3002305340_0f71d0948c.jpg
 

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