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Friday, 26 February 2010

A great tool has been launched by  Hayes Davidson one of the leading visualisation firms in the UK, it lets you design your own London skyline. It does have some limitations because you can only use existing designs, but still great fun. So what did I decide to do with it? Of course, put the Burj Dubai in London. That immediately shows you how modest the buidlings that are considered tall in London are by comparison. I tried lpacing it within the City of London (above) and Canary Wharf (Below) and I think it looks great in both cases. I guess we need about 3 in London. What don't you try doing your own?

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

My first reaction was that the building looks more like a dumpling than a beacon of democracy, but on further reflection, it looks like it's been designed by Apple. Welcome to the new iEmbassy!

The proposals for the new American Embassy building in London were unveiled yesterday. The new building intended for a site close to the River Thames in Wandsworth will replace the Eero Saarinen embassy in Grosvenor Square which has been bought by the Qatari government. The scheme was designed by the Philadelphia-based practice Kieran Timberlak, with security being one of the main drivers of the design. The building, a 12-storey glass cube sits within a 30m blast zones and is enclosed by a moat on one side. I hope they have provided some sheltered space outside for those long hours I will spend in the rain waiting to be interviewed for a visa...
The first Obambassy to be commissioned, apparently it is intended to project a different image of America. As far as I can tell, it is an apt monument to the age of risk assessments. Although I hear that Richard Rogers didn't like it, so I might reconsider. More to follow..

WORLDwrite are doing an excellent job as usual, their latest WORLDbytes endeavour takes them to India, the first installment is available to watch online entitled Man-made Mumbai. The brilliant Sadhvi Sharma takes the crew around introducing them to the wonderful developments taking place in Mumbai. The sheer ingenuity and energy of Mumbai is astounding, this is where the future is.

In the first episode, Sadhvi goes to a shopping mall and interviews people who all seem to be in favour of shopping malls. This, unsurprisingly, goes against the prevailing western prejudices against shopping malls and 'consumerism', the catch-all phrase used to demonise material affluence. The programme got negative comments making precisely this moralistic critique without attempting to understand the importance of a modern retail network for India and the aspiration of its people. Some people are happy to see Indians living as poor peasants and maintain a romantic view of poverty.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

I listened to Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party, announce this morning on the Today programme her party's expectation of a breakthrough in the next general elections. In response to John Humphrys suggestion that her party might lose out as a result of the public's scepticism about climate change because of Climategate and recent revelations, Lucas claimed that the Green Party "has always been about both social and environmental justice" and is not a single-issue party. What? I thought the clue was in the name. Going for a bit of Red to spice up the Green brand, are we Caroline?