|Common sense arrives at the Gorbals -|
almost 50 years too late.
What I do know, however, is that it is visually more exciting than the rectangular monstrosities that arrogant architects and greedy construction companies vomited over Britain's cities in the 60s and 70s as a result of trying to digest Le Corbusier's unpalatable visions.
Times have changed to some extent. I wouldn't go so far as to say that the greed and overweening self-confidence of those in the property development trade has diminished, yet I would suggest that up-ended concrete shoe boxes are a thing of the past. Today's mega-buildings try to engage the viewer - in much the same way as palaces always have. In other words, such buidings' functions include those of inspiring awe, confidence in the owner and perhaps a sort of vicarious pride. Perhaps the greatest example in London of a building with a message is the solid, austere, imposing White Tower of William the Conqueror*. It certainly let the recently-conquered English know who was boss!
Whatever aesthetic progress has been made, I still opine (not very originlly, I admit) that economic reasons apart. The justification behind building such thrusting, phallic, erections is, as well as visually communicating a city's strength, vigour and confidence, quite infantile at heart: "mine is bigger than yours, so there".
Seville has also decided that in order to be a really modern city it needs a proper skyscraper, higher, much higher than its cathedral's bell tower.
So we have the elliptical Torre Pelli (180.5m). It is being built at the entrance to the old Expo '92 site and so is outside the heritage area. I like it. For more pictures, click here
|Artist's impression of the finished tower|
Last week, I had the privilege of seeing it wreathed in the early morning mist. As it is still open to the elements, the mist was flowing through it instead of around it and both the top and the base of the building were completely shrouded. It was a truly breathtaking sight and one that will be lost when it is finally enclosed. Unfortunately, as I was driving I was unable to take any pictures
At the moment building work has stopped as both the company that was to install the façade and the glassmakers who were to manufacture it have gone bankrupt. To make matters worse, the glass was patented by the manufacturer and so is the object of legal wrangles by the company's creditors
Still, hope springs eternal; work on the Cathedral was started in 1401, it was consecrated in 1507 and was terminated in 1927, so perhaps there's plenty of time left for me to snap the unfinished Torre Pelli in the mist.
Finally, Gentle Reader, if you are from London, please try not to indulge in Shardenfreud as you compare the two towers that are the subject of this post!
*Strange to relate, in Spain William is known as William the Bastard. Even stranger is that the Anglo-Saxons don't call him that, but we all know that history is wrtten by the victors.