Tall Buildings


like tall buildings, big long things that reach up to the sky. Yes, the old fashioned sky scraper. I’m sure there’s something entirely phallic about this interest, so I won’t mention the Gherkin at all – especially not it’s shape, nor the fact that despite it’s exceptional green-ness (no 1 hated colour – blame my father) it is a wonderful, exciting and dramatic building that does add oomph to the traditional London skyline.

Not a lot of them in my home town, but more and more of them in my adopted town – which is a good reason to hang on here that bit longer. The first one I really had the hots for was the Orient and Pearl Tower in Shanghai – it’s so pretty – round and pointy and pink and so well lit up at night. The Chinese are very good at tall buildings – Pudong new area (as it was in 1997 when we were there) had some with interesting and imaginative ‘caps’ for want of a better word. You looked from the Bund across the Yangtzee  to this array of wonder and magic. Here, have a read about it and look at some pix – you’ll love it too. And yes, we went up it as well, and into the exec pod at the top due to ‘connections’ at the time. Mmm…


London is the city of regenerated tall building projects. The GFC stalled everything there for a while and I gazed upon the Strata Tower from my window, standing neglected and forlorn waiting to finish its thrust skywards. In the recent past I watched cranes and men doing foolish and daring things way up there in the sky and was very happy to be earth bound. It’s now finished and does, from some angles look like a resting owl, considering what it’s doing there marooned in Elephant and Castle.

But potentially the building i will love the most is the Shard, currently moving ever skyward at an alarming rate. I travel in and out of London Bridge Station every day and i must confess it did take me a while to work out exactly where the building was being built. You have to have you eyes open and every once in a while travel on into Charing Cross and then you see the drapes and the larger than life sign emblazoned for even the blind to see. Down on street level the amount of glass is awe inspiring. The amount of men working on the site equally so – they must have a break as we disembark the train in a morning because we invariably meet a host of them coming down the station road to the adjacent street – all with their Mace safety yellow vests on.

The Shard will be the tallest building in London and for those of you into facts and figures – courtesy Wikipedia –

General information
Location 32 London Bridge Street,Southwark in LondonUK
Status Under construction
Groundbreaking March 2009
Estimated completion May 2012
Antenna or spire 310 m (1,017 ft)
Roof 305.7 m (1,003 ft)
Technical details
Floor count 87 (Including Radiator floors)
Floor area 111,400 m2 (1,199,000 sq ft)
Companies involved
Architect(s) Renzo Piano
Structural engineer Arup (Building Services), WSP Cantor Seinuk (Structural Engineers), Robert Bird Group(concrete temporary works) Ischebeck Titan on most floors 40+ for concrete support
Contractor Mace
Developer Sellar Property Group

Thus one of my plans in life at the moment is to remain in this fair city until the Shard is completed – a shiny pinnacle of glass and engineering wonder, that i can gaze upon for miles on my inward journey of a morning and be pleased that all is right with the Empire after all and perhaps England can be great again one day?

Scratch that – I’ll just marvel at the building and be grateful I don’t have to clean the windows!


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