June 23, 2004
The Vortex will be better than it looks in the picture

vortex1a.jpgI have a piece about the Vortex up at Samizdata, the original newspaper story that I'm linking to having been in last Saturday's Guardian.

Already there is the inevitable comment to the effect that this is an ugly building and that "classical London" could do better. I disagree. I think that if it gets built it will look fine. But, the picture that "Make", the name of the new practice set up by former Foster (and Gherkin) man Ken Shuttleworth, have issued does make the thing look rather ugly, as another Samzidata commenter has pointed out. But it is the picture that is ugly rather than the thing itself, in my opinion. The colours will surely look good on the final building, but only because they won't look a bit like that for real. They'll instead by softened by distance and by London's weather. But the colours do make this picture look ghastly.

I only heard about the Vortex only by accident, as a result of having tea on Saturday with someone who had a copy of the Guardian with him, and who, crucially, shares my fascination with skyscrapers and drew the story to my attention. I should have mentioned it then, but subsequent time spent immediately afterwards looking at crazy art at the Chelsea Art College end of term show put it out of my mind.

Another commenter has pointed out that it looks a lot like this:

Kobe.jpg

True, but this, the Kobe Tower in Japan, is a lot smaller, and inside (except at the top) there just seems to be a vertical column.

But scroll down here and I think you get some idea of what the Vortex might look like from ground level.

I say bring it on.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 07:03 PM
Category: Architecture