October 01, 2003
A newly opened but not yet finished Sainsbury's

Today is supermarket day, in my little corner of the blogosphere. Both Jonathan Pearce and Michael Jennings, and coincidentally it would seem, chose today to write about supermarkets for Samizdata. David Sucher has already commented on these two pieces.

Jonathan, who lives a walk away from me, even wrote about the very same newly opened supermarket of which I am about to show you a picture. Believe it or not, this same new Sainsbury's that Jonathan wrote about is what I actually sallied forth to photograph with my new Canon PowerShot A70, last Saturday, when I got sidetracked by one of the other snaps I took into writing about this.

Anyway, here it is:


Notice anything odd about it? Correct. Well spotted. It isn't finished. The Sainsbury's supermarket on the ground floor is finished and open for business, but the stuff above is yet to be unveiled.

This must have happened before many times, but I've never before really noticed a building that is wide open on the ground floor, but still shut on all the floors above, because not even finished. I'll keep you posted. The longer the wait, of course, the more remarkable the contrast between how finished things already are at ground level, and how unfinished they are above.

As to what I think of the look of it, well, try as I will, I can find no mention of the intended look of this place on the Internet.

So far it seems very dull – corporate at its worst. That bland and unchanging first floor horizontal thick white slab, with those ghastly signs hanging off it, is presumably intended to make the place fit in with the other quite low buildings in the vicinity, but at the moment this looks more like an insult to these buildings.

But I have to say: at the moment. Because aesthetically, there's still everything to play for. When finally revealed, the final result could be anything from wonderful, with the first floor slab being the ideal foundation for what rests upon it, to boring boring boring, with the slab being but a foretaste of and resting place for further tedium. I really hope I'm going to like it, because as Jonathan explains so well, this place is already having quite an impact on the surrounding area. If it not only tastes good but looks good as well, that will be doubly good news for us Pimlicans.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 11:13 PM
Category: Architecture