architecture

More from the Barbican

St Pancras

Chapter 1: She adored London, a city as passionate and beautiful as she was.

Towers

The Barbican

I am a big fan of Brutalist archie-tecture, it has something of a bad reputation due to some grim but well-intentioned social housing projects, but in fact the name just refers to the technique of finishing buildings with raw concrete (béton brut). Brutalism also makes much of straight lines, angles and solid geometry, and the Barbican is a lovely example of this.

Tamar Bridges

If you grow up in east Cornwall the main shopping place to go is Plymouth, which unfortunately is over the border in Devon, where they talk funny and are inbred and so forth. But you do get to go over this magnificent bridge. It was built in 1961, the UK’s longest suspension bridge at the time, and is still not paid for.

Brunel’s famous Royal Albert railway bridge. It is always a bit worrying going over this as the train has to go super slow, for fear of the whole thing collapsing into the river. I am sure it is not likely to collapse any time soon, but you cannot help thinking that as the train picks its way gingerly across.

London! part 2

London!

It is quite an attractive city really, and one day a fresh-faced and talented youth set out with a camera to capture its beauty, and ideally some modest amounts of Belgian lager. Me and glamorous assistant had various intresting adventures including finding one of those magical disappearing shops that is full of sinister occult artifacts such as eg a cursed monkey’s paw, or a banjo. This is us loitering suspiciously on the South Bank.

Enjoying a sophistercated drink in the NFT film café, which is super posh and full of arty cineaste types, still one does feel rarther superior drinking in there a bit like Noël Coward or someone. I should get one of those smoking jackets. Unfortunately I cannot afford it now due to the beer being about fifty million pounds a pint.

It looks like it is leaning but it is not obviously, that is just the drink kicking in. This is the famous BT Tower, which lights up at night and subtly shifts and changes its colours, a bit like a giant expensive lava lamp, that is a critical hub of modern digital communications. What I like is that if you look really closely, you can see a bored office worker getting ready to gob on the unsuspecting millions below.

We walked across the all-new footbridge to Embankment, replacing the old one which looked like it was nailed onto the side of the railway bridge by a bunch of drunken students as a joke. Whenever you walked across it you were wondering whether a passing train wouldn’t just dislodge it altogether and send you toppling into the Thames’ murky riverine maw (good writing). This is obviously one of the most valuable graffiti in the world, as it is artfully floodlit and protected by such as razor wire.