Brian Micklethwait's Blog
In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.Home
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Most recent entries
- Mr Ed has some metaphorical fun
- A picture of a book about pictures
- To Tottenham (8): Zooming in on some Big Things
- Playing golf versus following cricket
- Quota bicycles
- Another Capital Golf car
- Battersea Power Station then and now and soon
- Timing shits instead of forcing them
- Lincoln Paine shifts the emphasis from land to water (with a very big book)
- Classic cars in Lower Marsh
- Stabat Mater at St Stephen’s Gloucester Road
- A selfie being taken a decade ago
- Gloucester Road with evening sun
- Lea River footbridge
- “Yeah, no …”
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6000 Miles from Civilisation
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Adventures in Capitalism
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China Law Blog
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Category archive: Cranes
Then being five and a half years ago, with a sunset behind it and some birds in front of it:
The structure in the foreground there is …:
… which is on the other side of the River from me, across Vauxhall Bridge Road and turn ride along the path next to the River.
Right now, Battersea Power Station is in a rather different state, which you can actually see rather well in that famous view from Ebury Bridge Road, looking out over the railway lines that leave Victoria to go south over the River:
The whole area, in it and around it, is being turned into apartments. They’re even going to have their own new tube station, at the far end of a new bit of the Northern Line.
The first one there was taken from Battersea Park railway station, the other two shots from nearer to all the building. That fake-up of how it will look tells you ... how it will look. If you are a helicopter traveller.
What’s happening in Battersea is the one great exception to the otherwise inexorable drift of London’s centre of gravity eastwards.
A friend, one who evidently drops by here from time to time, recently noted that I am spending a lot of time in East London. Indeed I am.
Given that what interests me is places that are changing, and all the cranes and commotion associated with all the change, and then what they finally turn into, this map, of London “skyscrapers” in the pipeline, explains why:
I found that map in this report.
The reason I say “skyscrapers”, instead of just saying skyscrapers, is because I doubt whether all these … “skyscrapers” will really be of the sky scraping sort. I suspect they’ll just be rather tall. More like tower “blocks”, I suspect, most of them. Or maybe something between a block and a true skyscraper. Well, we shall see.
More interesting, to me, is that obvious hot spot there, in Tower Hamlets. There is a London borough that is really living up to its name. Just now, Tower Hamlets is also famous for being a hot spot of local government corruption. There is a lot of news coverage of how former Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman was bullying people to vote for him, than there is concerning mere money grubbing. But you can’t help wondering if all those planning permissions were somehow a part of this story.
I remember, when I was a teenager, travelling through Croydon on a bike trip I was making around London, to get a ferry to Scandinavia. (Ah how I wish there had been digital cameras then!) And the thing was, Croydon was then a brand new tower cluster. I was amazed, as it came into view over the brow of a hill. It was the nearest thing I had ever then seen to Manhattan, in this then green and cautious land. And a year or two later, a whole bunch of Croydon councillors found themselves in jail. I remember thinking then that if crooked councillors are what it takes for a decent cluster of towers to get built, then I’m for it.
It stands to reason that planning permission is going to go to the highest (in both senses) bidder, from time to time.
On the other hand, it could just be that the whole of London wants lots of towers in that part of town. Greenwich is also heavily involved in that hot spot, and I am not aware of any above average degree of corruption there. Comments from people better informed about such things than I am would be very welcome.
Throughout my decades of living in London (about four of them so far) I have been feeling the centre of gravity o
I find myself becoming ever more entertained by those cranes at the top of buildings, for cleaning windows. The ones that look like this:
Is it a crane? Is it roof clutter? It’s both!
The above photo was taken in March. And then, in April, this month, I took this next photo, because, although not by itself very significant, it really adds to the story being told above:
I did a bit of cropping on both these, to make them more identical, in all but the essential difference they illustrate.
For you see (which you now do), this particular window cleaning crane has the trick of disappearing into the (very visible) roof of its building like it’s not even there.
One moment: roof clutter, of the most obtrusive sort. Next thing you know: roof clutter gone.
There is another such window cleaning crane, very near to the above window cleaning crane, in fact just across the road from it, on the big ugly building with the curved roof, from which a window cleaning crane with a curved bit of roof on it occasionally emerges. And in February, I chanced upon this window cleaning crane in action:
From form emerges function. Function functions. Then function disappears back into form, like nothing had happened.
Five, when they were still building it, as viewed from the south side of the river:
And now, from a little spot in the City called Bunhill Fields, which is a graveyard, through some leafless trees:
The first photo was photoed five years ago last Thursday, and the second was photoed ten days ago.
The more I see of this Big Thing, the more I like it. And I am hearing others say that they like it too.
While I’m about it, one of its admirers singled out what happens at the top of the Walkie Talkie. This looks like this:
I took that in January of last year.
This afternoon I was in the vicinity of Angel Tube Station, and after my socialising was concluded I took a walk along the Regency Canal, starting at the eastern end of the Islington Canal Tunnel, and proceeding east, until it got dark.
I refer confidently to the Islington Canal Tunnel, but in truth I only today became aware of its existence.
Another thing I only became aware of today was this tower:
This is Chronicle Tower, as I later discovered after much googling. Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, who have been in business for many decades now. I remember them from my days as a (failed) architecture student.
Almost all of the pictures of Chronicle Tower on the internet that I found are from the other side. But I find that roof very diverting. On the right is my close-up of it, tilted to fit into a vertical rectangle, thereby enabling me to fit more detail in. I must say, I am impressed by my camera’s ability to record detail, in fading light, at something near to its maximum zoom.
There’s no doubt about it. Architects are now taking steadily more interest in “designing” the tops of buildings. Soon the days of flat roofs and random clutter, for all the world to see and enjoy, if it’s far enough away to see the roof, may soon be gone.
I particularly like the way we can see the window-cleaning crane there.
LATER: It’s not like me to miss this, but ... Dezeen reported yesterday on this same building. Their report includes a better version of my left-hand picture.
The tower designed for property developers Mount Anvil and Clarion Housing includes 300 apartments – of which 35 per cent are considered affordable – and a five-story, 405-square-meter penthouse with 360-degree views from all levels.
So, that would mean that 65 percent of the apartments are considered unaffordable.
My favourite (scroll down here) is this one, a Buddha under construction in Thailand:
Sculpture that’s of something. Scaffolding. A magnificent crane.
Yesterday I was at Clapham Junction. Here is what I photoed when I went to the far northern end of platform 12 (I think it was), further from the river than I usually find myself, and looked back towards London in a northerly direction:
I say London. That’s mostly Battersea, in the form of all the new buildings springing up around the new US Embassy, which you can see at the bottom of the Spraycan. The Spraycan is the big tower on the left (although if you google “spraycan”, I’m guessing that all you will get is lots of spraycans). The Embassy is the box with the crinkly diamond pattern on it.
The only serious evidence of life beyond Battersea is the Shard, on the right of the Spraycan.
But, ... cranes! I make it sixteen of them. Lovely.
Here is what this was looking like. Lots of cranes. Lots of scaffolding. And big signs on the perimeter fence celebrating glorious moments in Spurs history:
2.1, in pleasing contrast to the masculinities of football and construction, a girly bus goes by.
3.2 features how the new stadium will look from above.
It will be entertaining to return in a couple of years time, to see how it all ends up looking.
In this report, you can see more pictures of progress, viewed from above.
At present Spurs seem to be doing rather well. Today, they drew with Man City, having been two goals adrift, which was a result, and they are in second place in the Premiership.
I had been expecting them to be doing rather badly just now, what with this new custom built headquarters being now under construction.
To Tottenham (6): The Spurs Shop
Fog in Victoria
To Tottenham (1): A fine day (especially for scaffolding)
A dogs and cats building
Wembley Arch lighting contrast
Another TV aerial
The Dome and Tower Bridge aligned
The Big Parliament Tower and the Shard as seen from the Westminster Cathedral Tower
Photoing Tate Modern from the Oval and the Oval from Tate Modern
Centre Point and surroundings as seen from the top of the Tate Modern Extension
M20 bridge destroyed by passing digger
Views of Epsom and views from Epsom
Quota Shard with quota cranes
Dernbach decisive again
More photos from last Friday
A lurid sunset
The hottest day of the year (4): An antique view from Waterloo
The draw that turned out not to be
Photoers photoing the views from the Tate Modern Extension
Views from the new Tate Modern Extension
Temporary Oxford Street
The right moment and the right alignment
Are London’s cranes about to depart for a few years?
New York construction cranes in action
The new US Embassy – from my roof
New Thin Things in New York (but not in Lower Manhattan)
Incoming imagery from Antoine
Using your crane to protect your cement mixer
Another walk along the river
Sickness and sunset
A crane folds itself up
Checked out: The Big Olympic Thing
How cranes might not keep falling
White vans in Kentish Town
148 to Burgess Park
Orange coloured London
Matt Ridley on Epicurus and Lucretius
Less heat and more light
Remembering the summer sun
Very local fog in London
Man on horseback – and cranes
BT Tower with cranes
Crane on fire
A day in BMdotcom heaven (4): A tale of two penultimate overs
Some quota reflected cranes and a quota white van
Rainbow over Millbank
Photoing down by the river
Cranes and a bridge (but not in a good way)
The light outside the Proud Archivist on the evening of July 22nd
Golden Cheesegrater with cranes
With GD2 in Richmond Park (1): Views of London
Photographers by the river
Smoke over west London
A very distant and yet very good view of the Big Things of London
Big Thing alignments from the top of Westminster Cathedral
The new Wembley Stadium under construction plus a white van
Ballerina and crane
The view from outside Waterloo Station
How Centre Point is looking just now
Viewing the clutter at Centre Point
A weird view of the Wheel - and cats in Tiger
The wrong kind of cranes
Christmas Day photos
In the City with Gus
I just like it
Sunshine - construction work - artificial rain
The ballerina and her support act
Ballerina with cranes again - this time with added spy cameras
Quota ballerina with cranes photo
A tumult of cranes (and the Spraycan)
My week in Brittany 2: A crane holding a bridge at Canning Town!
Big Things through a gasometer
Smaller Old Thing in front of Big New Things
A Sunday ramble
Big Things in the sunset
What to call the sneerquote Salesforce /sneerquote tower? (plus a quite profound tangent)
Compact Cats buried under London’s poshest homes
Pavlova with cranes
I see cats
Me and the first cranes at London Gateway last September
Other things last Wednesday
South Bank Architects?
The ROH from the ME Rooftop Bar
Eiffel Tower with chimney pots – La Défense ditto
The text of my talk for Christian Michel last night on the impact of digital photography
Digital photography as telepathy
Ice sculptures in Docklands – Big Things from Docklands
Battersea crane cluster
Quota crane and quota plane
Ballerina with crane
More photos of things past
The Kelpies of Falkirk
I need to photo this again
Sunrise from my roof
My own personal Big Thing viewing platform with close-up Roof Clutter
Cranes seen through Cardinal Place
Another picture from yesterday
Birds on a crane
Two favourite photos from September 5th
Baltimore: cranes - a bridge - scaffolding
London Gateway from above
Shard with roof clutter and a crane
There are cranes and there are cranes
Wandering about afterwards
Art without Artists
Giant cranes made in China for new London super-port in Thurrock
Four crane photos
Progress with the Vauxhall crane
New crane up
A new crane has already arrived
Close-up of the ruined Vauxhall crane
In Borough High Street
Cranes over Vincent Square (again)