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Old January 29th, 2013, 10:38 PM   #81
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He has a point though. Wapping is more or less what you describe, yet it's as dead as a dodo next to Southwark. In fairness you did mention bars and restaurants, whereas Wapping only has the mid-density faux-warehouse apartments along the river.
It is not the buildings that make the South Bank exciting, it hardly ever is. Shad Thames and Borough Market are rather great and busy, and they also fit my description. I hate those canalside housing complexes you can find in places like Wapping, I'm talking about modern and exciting architecture, modern town houses.

Example from Berlin. A "British version" of this could look really good.



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Anyway I have to agree with others who ask why we need to have a uniform height along the riverfront, or indeed anywhere. Having the buildings step up doesn't always work. See how underwhelming the City appears from around HMS Belfast and you'll get what I mean.
We don't have to. True landmarks like the Shard (which isn't even directly on the river) and well designed apartment buildings like Neo are great. However, I think these new blocky builings look akward and out of place. In the name of diversity let's see some modern townhouses and warehouses. I think it looks underwhelming due to all the blocky mid-rises. Only 6-storey buildings with skyscrapers as backdrop would look much better. I think the walkie talkie is just making matters worse.

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Only the promenade makes it feel spacious obviously, the promenade has been far more extensive on the South than on the North bank since the late 1970s.

With the dense clusters springing up along the South, West towards Battersea and East toward Canada Water you can only expect this promenade to be increased to a length surely unsurpassed in any city? The Victorian embankment looks pitiful by comparison.
It's a great promenade, it's just the architecture isn't that great. The "promenade" along St George's Wharf is also the most sterile and boring piece of riverside one could imagine.

You can feel the spaciousness when you're crossing the Thames as well. The views are great both along the river as well as across the city. Too many high-rises close to the Thames could ruin this.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 10:41 AM   #82
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That Berlin development looks lifeless and impermeable. Is there any way through that wall?

Anyway I think the design of these buildings leaves something to be desired. They're fussy somehow. They don't need to start from scratch, but they should be simplified imo.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 11:51 AM   #83
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Why on earth you'd want something like that along the riverbank I don't know. It looks like a pleasant enough residential development for somewhere like the Isle of Dogs or the Olympic Park, but for the South Bank? Lord no. The Southbank is exciting, buzzing and full of atmosphere, the last thing it needs it an endless row of residential terraces.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 12:08 PM   #84
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Mr Bricks you should step back a few streets from the South Bank and into the fantastical carnivorous world of cul-de-sacs and driveway parking.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 12:54 PM   #85
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Was this considered ?

http://www.londonreconnections.com/2...ng-the-future/
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Old January 30th, 2013, 04:29 PM   #86
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Im not a fan of clusters, they tend to look awkward and constrained, Id rather have towers spread out over a large area.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 04:55 PM   #87
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The Southbank is exciting, buzzing and full of atmosphere, the last thing it needs it an endless row of residential terraces.
So it needs an office park? I'm not talking about an "endless row of terraces" but rather contemporary versions of wharves and warehouses. This could work very well on the North Bank around Millennium Bridge, extending the lanes and alleys south of St Paul's Cathedral down to the river. Don't you think? I'm all for diversity, and some of the bulky buildings along the Thames do fit in well. It could go horribly wrong though. Imagine the blandness that is More London (ok, it's nice at street level) but at 4x the height. Horrid.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 05:47 PM   #88
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Im not a fan of clusters, they tend to look awkward and constrained, Id rather have towers spread out over a large area.
Yeah, because the skyline of Manhattan and Chicago with their clusters looks worse than, say, Istanbul's spread of towers.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 06:12 PM   #89
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Neither Manhattan nor Chicago have clearly defined clusters, their towers are spread over a large area and not a cluster here and another there with barely anything in between. Istanbul doesnt look too bad, however it is let down by the poor quality of its towers.

Of course, here the towers wont sit in complete isolation, theres Neo Bankside and further east the Shard, however theres barely anything to the west and I think we could do with more towers south of the river. In short my whole point is that "alley" or "tunnel" of towers isnt something bad.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 09:31 PM   #90
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Kings Reach Tower and Kent House are West of here.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 11:39 PM   #91
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Neither Manhattan nor Chicago have clearly defined clusters, their towers are spread over a large area and not a cluster here and another there with barely anything in between. Istanbul doesnt look too bad, however it is let down by the poor quality of its towers.
Hmmm, I think they do. Downtown/Lower Manhattan and Midtown are clear clusters with a couple of miles of low-to-mid rise between them. Chicago has a clear single cluster with the Sears Tower as the peak.

If you're talking about random mini clusters that's different, and not what it seemed you meant at first because you clearly said you're not a fan of clusters. In that regard there is a danger of half-a-dozen mini clusters forming making London like like a smaller Tokyo. And who the fuck even praises Tokyo's skyline? Random skyscrapers would look equally shit imo, the best hope is for two dominant clusters based on the City across to Southwark and another centred on CW. Vauxhall will just be it's own little thing, maybe a taller version of Brooklyn or something.

Istanbul is saved because it has probably the best 'classic' skyline of any city in Europe.

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Of course, here the towers wont sit in complete isolation, theres Neo Bankside and further east the Shard, however theres barely anything to the west and I think we could do with more towers south of the river. In short my whole point is that "alley" or "tunnel" of towers isnt something bad.
It isn't really west that matters imo but east, where a single cluster can form together with the City. Vauxhall is destined to remain alone, there won't be real towers around Waterloo right opposite Westminster.
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Old January 31st, 2013, 01:27 PM   #92
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Actually Tokyo's multiple clusters are really cool. You go up a raper in one cluster, and look over the lower buildings towards the next cluster in the distance. It gives a fantastic sense of scale and perspective, and imo makes a very exciting cityscape.

Overall I'd say London's individual rapers are better than Tokyo's, so the end result will be even better.
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Old January 31st, 2013, 02:36 PM   #93
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I agree, one big cluster is vastily inferior to multiple clusters from a landscape point of view. Even Manhatten only benefits from the illusion of multiple clusters from the height variations within the single unregulated cluster. Its landscape heyday was pre War when it was more obvious to the viewer.

Multiple clusters are merely the modern take on the celebrated medieval and renaissance cityscape with its focal points of spires and domes but on a larger scale because our cities are on a much larger scale.

This works perfectly with Londons new vantage points and its Victorian era expansion combined with the interesting juxtaposition of areas from the snaking river.

Londons old celebrated landscape of spires and domes centered around the square mile, it is so much bigger now and the skyline really needs to realise that.

Obviously the danger is that with an individual building there is a greater chance to stamp an aesthetic quality. With clustering as we have seen in London with 100 Bishopsgate, the height reduction at Blackfriars and spoiled height ambition at Vauxhall and Canary Wharf there is the danger of the cluster aesthetic being subdued and left unremarkable and unmemorable.

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Old January 31st, 2013, 02:51 PM   #94
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This is obviously a matter of personal taste, but imo the skylines of NYC, Chicago, HK and even LA are vastly superior to Tokyo's or any number of cities with random individual buildings poking out (although Tokyo's sheer size makes it essentially unique and alone in the developed world to really be a comparison).

One or two dominant, large clusters gives a coherence that many small ones do not. That would include clusters with multiple peaks. Clearly building quality and diversity is key, so in many respects it's a moot point if crappy and dull looking buildings are default.
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Old January 31st, 2013, 03:50 PM   #95
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Have you been to Tokyo? I think Tokyo's great - much nicer to walk around or cycle around than any of the cities you've mentioned.
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Old January 31st, 2013, 06:30 PM   #96
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I was strictly talking about skylines, not the cities in total. I certainly don't think Tokyo has a terrible skyline either btw.
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Old January 31st, 2013, 07:19 PM   #97
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@Kerouac
Yes but New York, Chicago, and Hong Kong have far more skyscrapers than Tokyo. The American cities especially also have more variety of skyscraper architecture. They're probably the most celebrated skyscraper cities in the world, so perhaps you're being a little unfair?

Also these cities do have different clusters. Hong Kong's tallest seven skyscrapers are spread miles apart, and there are very few vantage points where you can see all of them at once (and even then you'd need 360-degree vision).

New York has two large clusters (Downtown and Midtown) and two small ones (Brooklyn and Jersey City).

You say that Chicago's "centred" on Sears Tower, but actually Sears Tower is right over to one side. There are also separate clusters, eg the one that will form around the 224m One Museum Park, which is well south of the main cluster.

Toronto has separate clusters at places like Mississauga.

There's nothing unuusual or wrong with London's wide-spread clusters. It's a great cityscape imo. And in terms of overall architectural variety and interest, I reckon London's better than any of New York, Chicago, Hong Kong or Tokyo.
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Old January 31st, 2013, 09:26 PM   #98
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Have you been to Tokyo? I think Tokyo's great - much nicer to walk around or cycle around than any of the cities you've mentioned.
Have to agree with you about cycling. I lived in Tokyo for 4 years but some 30-odd years ago (!) Cycling was a pleasure as one had to cycle on the sidewalks (not in the streets). The sidewalks were designed for cyclists and pedestrians. My weekly workout was to circumnavigate the Imperial Palace grounds. In those days, the only high rise districts of note were Shinjuku (it had then and now has an impressive ’cluster’) and Marounuchi. Apart from these, only the building named Sunshine 60 in Ikebukuro (Toshima District) stood out.

The problem with Tokyo is that it is so spread out and now interspersed with high rises throughout, that the sense of impact and drama is somewhat lost. But NYC and Chicago (and London) win hands down when it comes to walking. Less hazardous thoroughfare junctions to navigate!
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Old January 31st, 2013, 09:32 PM   #99
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@Kerouac
And in terms of overall architectural variety and interest, I reckon London's better than any of New York, Chicago, Hong Kong or Tokyo.
Not sure by this remark if you are referring to the last 400 years of London’s architectural and social development, thus including the Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian, neo-classical and even the Queen Anne years (Wren’s times) in your analysis. If so, I concur. NYC, Chicago and HKG were not around and Tokyo was in its feudal infancy in respect of a 'cityscape'. But if you are talking about more recent history, since the start of the 20th century, then London does not compare with the skylines you have cited.
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Old January 31st, 2013, 09:42 PM   #100
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I don't think the whole of London should turn into a New York. I do think we need a few more skyscrapers here and there. Although I would especially like to see the Canary Wharf area expand significantly and become a mini New York.

Clusters definitely work in London, I really don't like seeing single towers standing alone. Although the shard does work very well on it's own but, smaller, less outstanding towers just don't work for me.
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