Monday, July 03, 2017

Concrete London

I am adapting to London as the days pass, but still I wonder what they were thinking when they built these concrete bunkers on the Thames River. This is the National Theatre, part of Southside which is one of London's entertainment precincts. (There is a similar but smaller commercial building in Sydney designed by a famous architect and I always wondered why he remained 'famous' after creating such a person unfriendly building.)
So much concrete could kill a precinct but the inventive citizens of London have found a way around the architectural nightmares that are built around them. They colonise the in-between spaces with all sorts of makeshift structures, like tents, containers and caravans and set up shop in them. These temporary-permanent structures are everywhere and serve as canteens, pubs, ice cream shops etc. They don't add to the beauty of the area but at least they are functional.
Container food outlets at Southside.
Outside the National Theatre sits a sculpture of two naked women with perky breasts. It is called London Pride. It apparently commemorates the Festival of London which was held to cheer people up after the war.  I think it rather suits the building.

'London Pride'  by Frank Dobson

Not all of inner city London is concrete. There are some attractive council buildings, like those outside my window. They are older and brick and were probably considered old-fashioned by the concrete architects. I wonder which will survive longest.
My view, with council flats and London Shard behind them.

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