Icons or eyesores

Published 3 March 2014

Owen Hopkins tours the good, the bad and the ugly of City of London architecture.

  • The Good

    Built on the site of the old Broad Street Station next to Liverpool Street, the Broadgate office and retail complex stands as an exemplar of how to integrate the new with the old. With a loosely postmodern twist, Broadgate’s sophisticated public spaces and public art – notably Richard Serra’s Fulcrum, from 1987 – help weave the development into its surroundings and make it part of the City. Although less than 30 years old, it is under threat, with one part already demolished to make way for a monolithic office block.

  • 20 Fenchurch Street, by Rafael Viñoly

    20 Fenchurch Street, by Rafael Viñoly

    © Edward Webb/viewpictures.co.uk

  • The Bad

    Billed as the ‘building with more up top’, 20 Fenchurch Street – aka the ‘walkie- talkie’ – became infamous last summer when reflected light from its windows melted a car parked in nearby Eastcheap. That aside, it remains a deeply ungenerous building, blocking light from its neighbours and unduly dominating views of the City.

  • The Ugly

    Just behind St Paul’s Cathedral sits One New Change. Part office block, part shopping centre, this twisting mass of angular glass and steel rears up from its site like a crash-landed stealth bomber. The building’s textured brown glass gives it a dirt-coloured patina, while inside its canyon-like incisions garish retail outlets proliferate. As part of London’s cityscape, it offers little other than the proverbial two fingers to Wren’s great masterpiece across the road.

    The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: New Architecture in The City of London Owen Hopkins’ walking tour for Friends runs on 2 April and 3 June.