Saturday, March 08, 2014

London balcony views

click photo to enlarge
My current reading includes "21st Century London: The New Architecture" by Kenneth Powell. This interesting book, published in 2011, surveys over 150 notable buildings erected in the first decade of this century and includes a few that were under construction or planned at the time of publication. Two things immediately leap off the page at the reader; firstly the sheer number and quality of new buildings that went up in that short period of time, and secondly, the enormous amount of money that has been spent in London either building, extending or refurbishing major buildings. For example, the Royal Festival Hall refurbishment was costed at £50 million but eventually cost £110 million! The new Wembley Stadium also came in massively over its estimate at £352 million. The relatively minor Roundhouse refurbishment cost £19 million. In fact most of the projects listed in the book cost multiple millions or in excess of one hundred million pounds. The biggest outlay by far is the £16 billion currently being spent on Crossrail, the new rail links that go under the centre of the city. Sums of this magnitude dwarf the spending in other cities across the UK.

Whenever I've visited London over the past twelve years I've enjoyed this view of the centre of London from my son's balcony. And during that time the view has been constantly evolving with new, bigger and more striking buildings taking the place of older structures. Looking over the Thames at the skyline recently I took this evening photograph and noted the number of cranes and the almost completed "Cheese Grater" (left of centre) and the "Walkie Talkie" (near left edge of frame). There is more to come as the pace of change in London in recent years shows no sign of slowing down, unlike elsewhere in the country. One might wish that a significant portion of the largesse showered on our capital could be diverted to the regional cities and towns. But I can't see that happening any day soon.

Out of interest I include a shot taken from the same place later in the day.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Photo 1
Camera: Sony RX100
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 31.2mm (84mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/160 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On