Thursday, June 09, 2011

City Hall and The Scoop

click photo to enlarge
London's City Hall is the work of Foster and Partners, more specifically the partner Ken Shuttleworth. Its circular/spherical shape, internal spiral ramp and green pretensions show it to be the offspring of the firm's earlier Berlin Reichstag. Londoners have, as is the British way, given it a variety of nicknames - the motorcycle helmet, the strawberry, the glass gonad and worse. None of these has stuck in the way that, for example "The Gherkin" has pinned itself to the Swiss Re tower at 30 St Mary Axe. Interestingly this glazed and transparent seat of London governance and democracy was built by private finance, made available to the city on a 25 year lease, and is located on private land on the south bank of the Thames: it is part of More London. You have to wonder why a metropolis such as London can't do better than this, and what will happen when the lease runs out.

The adjacent "public" amphitheatre" called "the scoop" (don't you hate this kind of use of lower case letters) was built after City Hall, and it wasn't until I'd passed by them a few times that I saw the echo of the building in the shape of the slate steps/seating of the outdoor theatre. This was clearly intentional on the part of the architects, and it works best when seen from upstream of the pair. On my last visit I tried to get a shot that illustrated the compositional juxtaposition. Unfortunately the light was rather flat, but there was just enough depth in the shadows to make this photograph that I converted to black and white with increased contrast.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 24mm
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/100
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On