Listing 20 blog articles for the tag Skyscrapers.
If you have ever dreamed of building a LEGO tower up to the sky, this latest world record is right up your alley. A group of schoolchildren teamed up with workers in Hungary to create the world’s tallest LEGO tower. Situated in the shadow of the famous St. Stephen’s Basilica, the tower stands at approximately 114 feet, edging out the previous record of 112 feet, 9 inches set by Delaware students in 2013.
The tower required hundreds of thousands of LEGO bricks and once the “modern obelisk,” as Hungary’s mayor calls it, was completed, the team topped things off with a fitting crown for classic toy lovers: a colorful Rubik’s Cube. No doubt the cube’s inventor, who just happens to come from Hungary, would be proud.
Images and info via: Inhabit, Bigg and Reddit
The burgeoning banquet of high-rises within the heart of London was given a new, 225-metre tall kitchen utensil in June 2013, as the Leadenhall Building – christened ‘The Cheese Grater’ by the nickname-loving British public – topped out. Ever-present at the cacophonous trumpeting of each new tower’s arrival, Mayor Boris Johnson hailed the building as ‘the latest landmark to grace London’s iconic skyline’.
A landmark it certainly will be, and London’s skyline is contriving to become iconic with every steel and glass step. The Cheese Grater lines itself up alongside the Gherkin (Foster’s beloved corporate monument), and has since been joined by the Walkie-Talkie, Rafael Viñoly’s macho manifestation of the London’s new architectural motto: form follows finance.
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners have produced an inversion of Viñoly’s form, primarily due to their alleged concern for London’s Heritage – the diminishing floor plates of the skyscraper mean that views to Christopher Wren’s St. Paul’s Cathedral are preserved. But is this a logical path to take on an over-crowded stage where commerce is king?
Ken Shuttleworth – self-proclaimed Guardian of the Gherkin – bemoaned the Leadenhall Building’s impediment of views towards Foster’s tower, and stated that the Gherkin should be granted viewing corridors in the same manner as St. Paul’s. Of course, the idea that a 180-metre high shaft of steel and glass needs to have the airspace around it controlled in the same manner as a 300 year-old Cathedral is as extraordinary as it is ridiculous: applying this principle city-wide, central London would never see a new tall building again. Shuttleworth’s logic – more full of holes than this particular Cheese Grater will ever be.
The truth is, crucial factors when considering the merit of skyscrapers remain the same as with any other building typology: expression of form following function, and the quality of architectural details. Judging primarily on these two aspects, RSH+P have largely succeeded. The entwined lattice of steel bracing elements is prominent on the exterior, giving the sloping face of the building a striking appearance that communicates its purpose in a bold and honest fashion. This formidable frame also benefits function: with no central core necessary, every floor has a flexible internal layout. Even the lowly masses are granted a generously proportioned, sheltered public space at the base of the exclusive address.
Despite its use (the building will be inhabited by the City’s usual corporate profiteers), this latest incarnation of the High-Tech High-Rise is one landmark that Londoners can grow to be proud of. So Mr Shuttleworth, I put it to you: Perhaps the Gherkin is actually impeding views to the Cheese Grater now? What a curious turn of events…
The Angry Architect
The very British saga of David Chipperfield’s proposal for Elizabeth House took another twist in June 2013, as English Heritage and Westminster City Council forced a judicial review into government’s decision not to call in the scheme. Their argument: the building will encroach on the views of Parliament. The mighty River Thames, dissecting the two bickering councils, has taken on the appearance of a gargantuan rope in a perpetual round of tug-of-war... being pulled timidly in all directions by planners, ministers, members of English Heritage and UNESCO. Chipperfield is no doubt beginning to wonder if either team will ever lose their grip and tumble into the gloomy bureaucratic waters.
It’s another feast of epic nimbyism in the middle of London – and all the while the battle is being fought entirely on the wrong terms. The views to Parliament are barely affected at all, and even if they were, would it really be to the detriment of the city? Would tourists cease taking photographs of Charles Barry’s ornamental spires? Would the building crumble in the wake of faceless, glassy boxes springing up a few hundred meters away? UNESCO has ‘threatened’ to put the World Heritage Site on its endangered list, making Big Ben an architectural Giant Panda, and the House of Commons a very gothic Siberian Tiger.
The difference here, of course, is that the houses of parliament aren’t in much danger of becoming extinct. They are not going anywhere, nor will they every truly be in danger of ‘evil’ modern developments, the reason being that cities are made to CHANGE. They are organic entities: the idea that views need protecting, like displays of artifacts in a stuffy museum, is beyond antiquated. Great new buildings, of any style or size, create great new views too. In time, good quality architecture becomes part of the urban fabric, and the identity of a city is thus enriched, not damaged as UNESCO and English Heritage seem to believe.
Speaking of good quality architecture, English Heritage would do well to re-frame their argument around the highly questionable quality of Chipperfield’s proposal. Looking at the current CGIs, it appears that the architect’s digital artists accidentally nudged the contrast controls on Photoshop: the pale tones and pallid shadows belie how dark this looming slab of steel and glass would make the surrounding streets, particularly on a typical British winter’s day, when the sun tends to steer clear of this fair island.
Previous CGIs showed horizontal black bands between the expanses of glass; these have been muted with the oh-so comforting shade of ice-cold aluminium. While the intention may have been to ‘lighten’ the whole affair, it has only served to obliterate the single discerning feature from the external elevations. As a result, the block has all the identity of a paperweight.
If the quality of the architecture was truly mind-blowing, I have a sneaking suspicion that Chipperfield would not have stirred the English Heritage dragons from their dusty lair – as it is, he has a fight on his hands, and the Councils of London need their proverbial heads knocking together… Boris, get to it.
Agree? Disagree? State your case here.
The Angry Architect
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