London redevelopment

Whilst walking down Oxford Street earlier this evening, I spotted a hollow façade, propped up with nothing behind it, which struck me as an emblem of the volume and scale of the current reconstruction of London.   There is a lot of discussion of the huge number of new tower blocks (see the vigorous and sarcastic denunciation of Boris Johnson’s planning policy by Rowan Moore in the Observer last Sunday), but much less commentary that I am aware of about the amount of rebuilding which is going on at the moment.   Is it a boom ?  Are we about to have a crash ?  Aren’t these things cyclical ?


Then I walked round the corner and discovered that Centrepoint itself is under wraps, which historically was the emblem of both the 60s boom (it was completed in 1966) and the 70s crash (it was unoccupied until 1975):-



3 thoughts on “London redevelopment

  1. Pamela Glasson Roberts says:

    I’ve always actually realy liked Centre Point, despite the bad press it got when unoccupied when I lived in London mid-70s so glad to see it finally being appreciated. Sad that the string of Korean restaurants on St Giles High St have gone. Many excellent cheap meals there.

  2. Michael Ball says:

    The former IPC Seifert tower on the South Bank has just been given a makeover, with all of the detailing removed and 11 storeys added on top. Seifert had carefully ensured that his building was not visible from inside the splendid courtyard of Somerset House. The extra height means that you can now clearly the tower waving frantically above the roofline as you enter the Somerset House courtyard, obliterating the sense of the river behind. How did this happen? English Heritage at the time told me that they had not been consulted by Southwark Council planners until too late – although I contacted them before permission was granted.

    What with the Garden Bridge hemming in Somerset House on the riverside (where English Heritage also sat on their hands) there seems to be a full scale assault on its integrity. Please ensure that this cannot happen to the RA courtyard!

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