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Old October 25th, 2006, 03:41 PM   #1
hkskyline
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UNESCO Concerned Tower of London Overshadowed by Skyscrapers

UNESCO visits Tower of London over skyscraper fears: report

LONDON, Oct 21, 2006 (AFP) - Officials from the United Nations cultural heritage organisation (UNESCO) are visiting the Tower of London because they fear it is being overshadowed by skyscrapers, an official told BBC radio Saturday.

In July, UNESCO's world heritage committee warned that the tower, founded nearly a thousand years ago, could be placed on its heritage danger list and noted "with great concern" a series of proposed new developments around it.

Committee members are now visiting the tower to assess threats to its setting from nearby modern buildings, which include the iconic Swiss Re building, known as the Gherkin.

World heritage committee member Kishore Rao told BBC radio: "If you have modern buildings coming up all around it and people -- pedestrians -- can't view a historic building against the skyline or in relation to other historic buildings in the vicinity, then it loses the value."

The committee has called for Britain to report on the situation by next February and has said it "regrets" that policies to protect the property and its environment have not been applied effectively.

The UNESCO experts will also visit London's Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey to see if they are being threatened by modern development plans.

The Tower of London was built as a fortress, palace and prison in 1078 by William the Conqueror.

It is one of London's most popular tourist attractions and is famed for its ravens and for housing the crown jewels of Britain's royal family.
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Old November 1st, 2006, 04:12 AM   #2
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It's good UNESCO is the new architecture police.
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Old June 21st, 2007, 07:52 AM   #3
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The Tower of London is under siege - from neighboring skyscrapers
20 June 2007

LONDON (AP) - It has withstood assaults from renegade barons, rampaging peasants, and Nazi bombers, but the Tower of London, one of Britain's top tourist attractions, is once again under siege.

This time the peril is from skyscrapers that threaten to ruin the view of the turreted tower, prompting the world's top cultural body to consider adding the 900-year-old fortress to its list of endangered world heritage sites.

Built on the orders of William the Conqueror in the late 11th century, the 90-foot tall stone building long dominated the city's panorama -- a symbol of royal authority meant to inspire awe in rebellion-minded Londoners and would-be invaders.

But by the time the tower was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988, the city had sprawled past it. Today, hemmed in by a noisy highway and overrun by tourists, the landmark no longer casts quite the same shadow in an area dominated by glass-canopied office buildings and hypermodern skyscrapers like the Norman Foster building known as "The Gherkin."

The World Heritage Committee will hand down its verdict on the tower sometime after its meeting in New Zealand on Saturday. The body says further construction could undermine the tower's profile even further.

The Historic Royal Palaces, an independent charity which maintains the building at the southeastern edge of London, says there are eight planned projects that could affect the tower's visual integrity. Among them is the Shard of Glass, which at 1,016 feet would be Britain's tallest skyscraper when completed in 2011.

The Shard might be visible from the tower's courtyard, diluting the sense of isolation visitors feel when they enter the fortress, said John Barnes, conservation and learning director for the Historic Royal Palaces.

But some argue the juxtaposition of old and new enhances the tower's mystique.

"In a way (the skyscrapers) add symbolically to what the buildings were about," said Alex Bux, a senior adviser to the mayor of London. "The tower was always a fortress on the edge of London -- the capital city -- and was always in tension with London as the capital city."

New buildings help give London fresh appeal, said Tom Hall, travel editor for Lonely Planet Publications.

"I think lots of people assume that visitors to London only want to see the old, (that) they only want to come look at the Tower of London or visit Madame Tussauds, and I don't actually think that is the case," he said. "One of the things that keeps people coming back to London is that it is a city constantly reinventing itself."

Although being listed as an endangered heritage site will not directly halt nearby construction projects, citing the Tower would be a "huge embarrassment" for the British government, according to Barnes. Other sites listed as being in danger include Everglades National Park in Florida, the Iranian city of Bam and the Katmandu Valley in Nepal.

Barnes said the Historic Royal Palaces was working to address UNESCO's concerns, and Britain's Department of Culture Media and Sport has also submitted a report to UNESCO detailing efforts made to protect the fortress's skyline.

Whatever UNESCO's decision, construction is unlikely to deter the approximately 2 million people who tour the tower each year.

"People want to still come and see it," Mike Rutter, a social studies teacher from Dallas, said at the tower, "even if they have to go through a maze of buildings to get there."
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Old June 21st, 2007, 03:38 PM   #4
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Seems to me this is being used as a cover story to malign almost every new development in the city by the usual culprits. How on earth would the Shard have any impact on the view of the tower of London?

London was built on business, the Tower once was set far apart from the city, but as the city grew the Tower was subsumed by the encroaching metropolis.

These trends can't be suddenly halted, London needs to grow, and buildings demonstrative of this will be constructed. The Tower was a symbol of the city's permanence and center of power when William the Conquerer initiated construction. The new buildings, whilst not military, symbolize the same qualities.
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Old February 4th, 2008, 07:30 AM   #5
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Prince Charles: Skyscrapers ruin London
By REGAN McTARSNEY, Associated Press Writer
Fri Feb 1, 1:50 AM ET

LONDON (AP) 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," 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.

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 3 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, 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.

___

On the Net:

Prince Charles: http://www.princeofwales.gov.uk
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Old February 4th, 2008, 02:17 PM   #6
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I thought all these new skyscrapers were meant to make London better, not kill it.
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Old February 4th, 2008, 06:15 PM   #7
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actually if anyones ever been to London, (damn maybe even live there) you'll know that the Tower of London is not surrounded by skyscrapers, nor is it slated to be, but by awful midrise blocks, either post pomo or brutalist. Its amazing UNESCO, English Heritage etc never made a sound when these were put up, some as recently as 2004, some facing directly onto the Tower walls. Its also just a big glorified roundabout I may add.

In short the development around the Tower of London is a national disgrace. HOWEVER it isn't, contrary to the reports, development in skyscraper form. The skyscrapers slated for The City area are over a mile away in some cases, it's just that their height alllows them to project above the view of the walls from a distance - nothing I may add that stopped all the highrises that already do the same since the 1960s.

In short, it's just an excuse, taken up by the Nimby's, with shortsighted UNESCO backing, to bring down highrise development in the city.
See it as it is I say.
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Old February 4th, 2008, 08:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the spliff fairy View Post
actually if anyones ever been to London, (damn maybe even live there) you'll know that the Tower of London is not surrounded by skyscrapers, nor is it slated to be, but by awful midrise blocks, either post pomo or brutalist. Its amazing UNESCO, English Heritage etc never made a sound when these were put up, some as recently as 2004, some facing directly onto the Tower walls. Its also just a big glorified roundabout I may add.

In short the development around the Tower of London is a national disgrace. HOWEVER it isn't, contrary to the reports, development in skyscraper form. The skyscrapers slated for The City area are over a mile away in some cases, it's just that their height alllows them to project above the view of the walls from a distance - nothing I may add that stopped all the highrises that already do the same since the 1960s.

In short, it's just an excuse, taken up by the Nimby's, with shortsighted UNESCO backing, to bring down highrise development in the city.
See it as it is I say.

I know! It's not as if you can even see the tower from many angles any more. What the hell is wrong with these people? Have they not considered that a whacking great big 7 storey building along side the tower, may have a bigger impact on the surrounding aesthetic than a skyscraper almost a mile away?

People like Prince Charles seem to only care what the city looks like from a very far (possibly safest?) distance. Whilst at the same time completely disregarding the ground level fabric of the city. Worries about homogenized buildings? - then why prevent the construction of one of our most novel and acclaimed new projects whilst at the same time disregarding all those bland monoliths that just because they happen to be under 10 stories tall?
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Old February 4th, 2008, 08:52 PM   #9
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Who cares what a figure head thinks? Its like when celebrities in America criticize the government for still allowing the death penalty or shit like that. We all go, ya, what ever, shut up, make your movies or records and over does on drugs already so we can mute the 2 weeks of Entertainment Tonight coverage of your not so awesome life!
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Old February 10th, 2008, 12:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Prince Charles: Skyscrapers ruin London
By REGAN McTARSNEY, Associated Press Writer
Fri Feb 1, 1:50 AM ET

LONDON (AP) — 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," 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.

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 3 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, 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.
I don't think Paris is an espeically relivant comparason to London. The former has a strong unifed design dating mainly from a single era where as the latter has grown organically over hundreds of years. We already have medieval right next to regencey, neo gothic, neo classical, art deco, modernist etc so these new devolpments are very much in the tradision of the capital. Each should be judged on its own merits rather than though some grand plan IMHO.
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Old February 12th, 2008, 09:14 AM   #11
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I don't think the problem is so much what's immediately around the Tower of London but generally what's happening in the City as a whole, since the Tower should not be looked at in isolation when the whole area is the historic 'birthplace' of London.
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Old February 12th, 2008, 07:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
UNESCO visits Tower of London over skyscraper fears: report

LONDON, Oct 21, 2006 (AFP) - Officials from the United Nations cultural heritage organisation (UNESCO) are visiting the Tower of London because they fear it is being overshadowed by skyscrapers, an official told BBC radio Saturday.

In July, UNESCO's world heritage committee warned that the tower, founded nearly a thousand years ago, could be placed on its heritage danger list and noted "with great concern" a series of proposed new developments around it.

Committee members are now visiting the tower to assess threats to its setting from nearby modern buildings, which include the iconic Swiss Re building, known as the Gherkin.

World heritage committee member Kishore Rao told BBC radio: "If you have modern buildings coming up all around it and people -- pedestrians -- can't view a historic building against the skyline or in relation to other historic buildings in the vicinity, then it loses the value."

The committee has called for Britain to report on the situation by next February and has said it "regrets" that policies to protect the property and its environment have not been applied effectively.

The UNESCO experts will also visit London's Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey to see if they are being threatened by modern development plans.

The Tower of London was built as a fortress, palace and prison in 1078 by William the Conqueror.

It is one of London's most popular tourist attractions and is famed for its ravens and for housing the crown jewels of Britain's royal family.
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Old February 12th, 2008, 11:14 PM   #13
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we have the problem in Liverpool. Towers being rejected and having floors knocked off because of there close vicinity to the World Heritage Site and blocking views of the Cathedrals. In some cases I agree but others are just plain annoying. English Heritage are very influential in these matters.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/m...de/6083260.stm
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Old February 12th, 2008, 11:30 PM   #14
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Quite frankly, I don't get why London should follow the global skyscraper war. What made London exciting was the London of the XIXth century. If I want tower exuberance, I'll go to Singapore or China.
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Old February 13th, 2008, 01:51 PM   #15
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i think you really need to visit London to understand the debate. Its one of the worlds most futsuristic city amalgamated into one of the oldest, in layer upon layer.

Its not a central Paris preserved in aspic and neither is it a skyreaching Shanghai. The skyscrapers replace old sixties concrete that sprouted on the bombblasts (1/3 of the city was destroyed in the war).
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Old February 13th, 2008, 08:14 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by the spliff fairy View Post
i think you really need to visit London to understand the debate. Its one of the worlds most futsuristic city amalgamated into one of the oldest, in layer upon layer.
I know London. Concrete buildings from the 60s do excite me much more than giant glass suppositories.
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Old February 14th, 2008, 09:28 AM   #17
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Maybe they forgot that we don't fly up to helicopters or go boating to observe the Towers, which only becomes prominent at ground level and at a very close range.

The towers are not high, office buildings from the 70's have overshadowed it long before.
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Old February 14th, 2008, 02:20 PM   #18
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The area is question - you gotta understand this is a part of the centre that is architecturally mixed to the extreme, in part largely thanks to historical fire and war. In short, it's no setpiece. There is no grand vista or radial streets, they still follow the medieval tangle, with little architectural conformity. The urban fabric lends itself to mix and change.

I understand if the skyscrapers are replacing old buildings (which they are not) this would devalue the richness of the city, but if they are put up on the concrete dross of the postwar era methinks it an improvement. There are already 25 protected 'viewing corridors' in the city for famous monuments, the new rash of skrapers do not infringe on these established ones:












London is not intramuros Paris, and it no longer looks like this if ya know what I mean, not since the Great Fire, the Georgians, the Victorians, the Edwardians, the War, the Postwar, the contemporary times:


Last edited by the spliff fairy; February 14th, 2008 at 02:42 PM.
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Old February 25th, 2008, 10:28 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giri View Post
I know London. Concrete buildings from the 60s do excite me much more than giant glass suppositories.
Then you my friend, are weird.
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Old February 25th, 2008, 09:01 PM   #20
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