Building London in a Hurry

 London is a jumble of impermanent building parts at worst and a continually changing display of architectural styles and lifestyles at best.

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Architecture critic Rowan Moore (WHY WE BUILD, 2012) writes about our desire for permanence and the futility of it. How can our built environment remain the same when our needs are ever-changing? Case in point: Currently there is a clutter of machines and materials at the bottom of Tottenham Court Road where the new Crossrail tunnel is going in with this becoming one of the 38 stations connecting Heathrow and beyond (west) with Canary wharf and beyond (east). The service will an additional 1.5 million people within 45 minutes commuting distance of London’s key business districts, and will have 200 million passengers each year.
This crossroads occurs just above the theatre district and next to Oxford Street where Selfridges and other large department stores are located. The new station will be the length of three football pitches and four stories underground.

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Within easy walking distance to the north is Store Street where The Building Centre is located. This is a meeting place for people in the industry and displays of the latest materials. Courses are taught here and public exhibitions are mounted. A model of central London takes up the front room, showing where new building has taken place, changing the face of the city.  On one wall is a graphic of the entire metropolitan area showing “hot spots” created by the Crossrail project.

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The adjacent gallery shows the past year’s 100 “best buildings” in photographs.

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London real estate is in a tumultuous time, with housing prices beyond the means of most people who work here and new schemes for residential development proposed weekly that will take advantage of the improved transportation system. There is a race on to keep up with the need.

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When the east-west corridor is opened, the authorities will begin on the north-south route. The many “villages” of London hope to prosper.

 

 

 

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