Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Shard March update

click photo to enlarge
A couple of days in a cloudy, rain-swept London allowed me to have two walks into and through the city and the opportunity to gather a clutch of photographs including today's showing the current progress of The Shard. In December this building passed the height of 1 Canada Square in Canary Wharf, becoming the tallest in the UK and the European Union, and the second tallest free-standing structure in the UK (after the Emley Moor TV transmitter). It is currently near its projected maximum height of 1,012 feet (308.5 metres). Superlatives in the world of tall buildings are, of course, transitory, and The Shard will doubtless soon be removed from its current pinnacle.

Speaking of pinnacles, he said, segueing into the next topic like a radio DJ on autopilot, the next tall London tower to reach for the skies has made a strong appearance since I was last there in November. Bishopsgate Tower in Leadenhall, now to be called The Pinnacle, was to have been about the same height as the Shard, but after concerns from the Civil Aviation Authority it is losing just under twenty metres. This is another deliberately "different" shape for a city tower, resembling to my eye, a loosely coiled tube of paper. The very ugly concrete service core is already quite high, and when it gets its curved glass curtain walls that sweep up to its summit it will be another distinctive addition to the London skyline. At the moment I'm holding my judgement on whether the quality of being distinctive will be paired with being distinguished. It's certainly no Shard, but perhaps I'll warm to the real thing more than I do to the architect's illustration. Incidentally, it will be interesting to see if the more populist, "The Pinnacle", is adopted by Londoners or whether, as is their habit, they confer a more appropriate and less respectful soubriquet. Indeed, I wonder whether the new name was a calculated attempt to forestall such an eventuality!

Today's photograph, like a couple of others I've posted of The Shard, was taken by resting my camera on a balcony rail by the Thames in Rotherhithe, downstream from the City.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 168mm
F No: f5
Shutter Speed: 1/20 sec
ISO: 3200
Exposure Compensation:  -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On