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New architecture on Tooley Street

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Sunday 20 July 2003 1.04am
1.) I kind of like the huge metal slatted facade of the new building on the More London site which faces you when you come north out of Bermondsey High Street into Tooley Street opposite the Great Wall Chinese Restaurant. Looks pretty impressive.

But the other glass buildings further behind all seem to finish in sharp triangular points, which is the very worst thing from the feng shui point of view. Just make sure a pointy bit isn't facing you, if you are working in one of the offices there, otherwise you will have to load up with goldfish, mirrors and chinese flutes.

2.) Anyone seen the final plan for the Tooley Street road layout?

There seem to be 3 times as many street lamps now - before we only had very tall ones, now we have lots of new medium and short ones too. Any reason for this? It's beginning to look like a steel forest.

Also lots of bicycle rests being put up as well.

Seems like the new Tooley Street is going to be two-way and one-way at the same time. Better take care when they unveil it.

3) And in front of City Hall, there are three new large balls stuck in the ground. At my last viewing they hadn't unwrapped them. I guess they are sculptures?

Could they be a message for Uncle Ken from London's car users?

Post edited (20 Jul 03 01:28)
Sunday 20 July 2003 10.20pm
Allegedly, the Scottish architects Benson and Forsyth (creators of Edinburgh's much praised Museum of Scotland) have had something to do with the design process. Unfortunately they don't have a website with a project portfolio.

From 's press release last year - ? marks were in the original !!!

The project objectives include:
? improving the traffic conditions so that people can move freely and safely
? seeking to meet the needs of local residents and businesses
? improving the journey times and efficiency of bus services operating within the area
? providing better facilities for pedestrians, people with disabilities and cyclists.

The key elements of the project to help achieve these objectives comprise of:
? widening and resurfacing pavements
? reducing street clutter and providing new and useful street furniture in strategic locations
? improved lighting - in direct response to concerns expressed by residents about night-time safety during the consultation process
? new parking and loading bays to assist servicing for local businesses.
? improved pedestrian and cyclist facilities, including new pedestrian crossings
? new contraflow bus lane provision from Tower Bridge Road to Fair Street
? reinstating two-way traffic along Tooley Street between Fair Street and Bermondsey Street
? increasing planting in the area.

Monday 21 July 2003 11.52am
Interesting! Can't see how loads of new lamp posts are reducing street clutter

The masterplanners for the site are Foster and Partners. The pattern of the buildings have been carefully researched to reflect pedestrian flows and connect the residents with the office workers and tourists- so they say. I suspect that the design of the buildings came first, and despite the bad feng shui, they look impressively confident.

Post edited (21 Jul 03 22:45)
Friday 25 July 2003 9.40pm
Took a leisurely stroll this evening between work and meeting folk for a drink. In response to Charles' three observations.

1 The "huge metal slatted facade" aka '6 More London' looks OK from a distance but as soon as you get close to you realise what a crummy standard of finish the new buildings have. I don't think it will weather at all well. I wonder whether, on a speculative / commercial job like this, Fosters practice has had much input after their initial design concepts got the planning consent.

Hope that the retail use at ground level has something different from plate glass, otherwise it will be damn dull from a pedestrian point of view. Interesting to see whether they try for a bar - it's south facing so could be quite pleasant for outdoor tables even though there is no river view.

2 The tallest lampposts are the old ones - they will get taken away eventually. However, in common with every other lighting project this is at the whim of 24 Seven, the contractor subsidiary of London Energy (the LEB as was) to wire the new poles to the mains supply and disconnect the old poles.

I'm disappointed by the design of the shorter new poles that only arry lights for the pavements. They are almost as thick as telegraph poles - don't appear at all well proportioned. Looks like the classic danger of "over-designing" street furniture.

Work seems to have come to a halt at Druid Street - I'll try and find out when the final stretch to Tower Bridge Road is now scheduled - suspect it could be tied up with the proposals for the "cooling towers" apartment block planning application for the coach park site behind the college building.

3 Equally mystified by the wrapped up balls - I can find no mention of an art commission on the GLA, More London, or Pool of London websites.
Monday 4 August 2003 10.14am
Did anyone see the 'statues' on tall poles unwrapped on Friday I think it was, they were then covered up the next day. I was expecting them to be proper statues but they are truly awful coloured figures, in rather 80's looking dress, they definitely look better in their white shrouds, or even decorated like snowmen as they were a couple of weeks ago.

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