Looking down the Thames


At the end of last week we took the train down to London for a short break in the Capital. Our main motivation, besides a chance for a breather before I get into a heavy period at work, was to go and have another look at the David Nash exhibition at Kew Gardens, where a number of new works have been installed since our visit last autumn.

Given the time of year, it was a gamble with the weather, but it was kind to us. It was cold, but it didn’t rain, and during the Friday, although it was gloomy and overcast early on, the cloud cleared during the morning and it turned into a fine day.


We went into the centre of London on the Friday evening and I snapped the above photos while we were crossing the Millennium bridge at dusk.

The London skyline, particularly east of St Pauls close to the river, has changed dramatically in recent years, and is continuing to change as new skyscrapers are still being erected.  All lit up they provide quite a striking view. But I think there is a real danger that London’s skyline could be overwhelmed with too many skyscrapers dominating the view and distracting from the more modest, historic buildings like St Pauls and Tower bridge.

5 thoughts on “Looking down the Thames

    • Hi Kate. I did see the piece in the Observer and think he makes some god points. I’m not against new buildings, quite the contrary. It’s important for architecture and cities to change and move on. But it has to be done carefully. And it seems to me that the building of many of the new skyscrapers in London are being driven by greed and vanity. I wonder who’s going to fill all that space they’re creating?And I think that the cluster of skyscrapers being built around Vauxhall is particularly inappropriate – and they don’t even seem to be particularly attractive or architecturally interesting. And we’ve seen this week one of the dangers of constructing tall buildings with the tragic helicopter collision at Vauxhall.

      • Indeed! Making architectural interventions in the urban fabric of any city can be incredibly challenging, but a considered response to such a diverse context is the mark of a great architect. So many of these new projects make little attempt to relate to their surroundings, while not even providing useful urban functions! I’m interested in seeing whether practices I admire (such as David Chipperfield) can fare any better.

        Inspired by our brief conversation, in the next week or so I’m going to do a discussion post on London’s skyline. I’d love for you to stop by and contribute!


      • Kate

        I’ll be very interested to read this discussion. I’ve subscribed to your blog, but perhaps you could drop me a note to make sure I don’t miss your post

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