November 02, 2004
Foster photoshops Shuttleworth

Don't try to say that too fast.

From last weekend's Sunday Times:

THE tactic is more redolent of Stalinist Russia than the rarefied air of an architect’s office. A "team photo" of employees of Lord Foster, who has designed some of the world’s most famous buildings, has been "airbrushed", downgrading the importance of the architect’s former right-hand man.

In the original photograph Ken Shuttleworth, a former senior partner, is in pride of place beside Foster. Shuttleworth is credited by many with being one of the creative forces behind Foster's "gherkin" tower in the City of London.

In the published version, however, included in a new book of Foster's work, Shuttleworth has been shunted sideways and back one row into the crowd of some 350 workers.

Graham Phillips, a senior partner who was away when the main photograph was taken, has been pasted into the prime slot at Foster's right hand.

News of the picture doctoring will add to a dispute in the world of architecture over whether Shuttleworth – nicknamed "Ken the Pen" for his rapid, immaculate draughtsmanship – has been given credit for his role in the gherkin.

Shuttleworth, 52, left Foster’s firm in December after almost 30 years to start a rival practice, Make. He employs 18 former Foster staff.

It will be absolutely fascinating to see what Shuttleworth manages to do on his own.

Adam Tinworth has been kind enough to send me copies of Grid, the magazine about property development which he edits, and there is a spread in the latest one he has just sent me about Shuttleworth's plan to build, somewhere in London, the Vortex. But the Vortex picture in Gris seems to be very similar to the one I used in these two postings, so the plan doesn't seem to have advanced very far since June of this year. But maybe there have been developments and I missed them.

Adam's Vortex commenters make the point that a city can only have so many iconic buildings, Gherkin style. I reckon about another dozen such icons should be erected (such as this one), and the Vortex, and a few more memorable edifices, and then London can get back to piling high and selling cheap, i.e. building towers which are collectively impressive but individually less so, like
these ones.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 11:39 PM
Category: ArchitecturePhotography