Well, I think ‘must try harder’ is probably relevant here. One blog post and then I piss off for over a week.
In my defence, I did turn a whole extra year old in this time, and that took a fair amount of effort on my part.
So the main thing I wanted to write about was how lazy British people are when it comes to experimenting with architecture. This topic spawning from, what I can only assume is every less-well-off person’s normal time-wasting hobby: looking at pictures of places you would quite like to go but will probably never be able to afford to.
In my procrastination around the interwebs, I came across this picture:
Which, as well as being a ridiculously awesome idea for those of us who fear public pools and the inevitable ‘little accident’ by any given number of children allowed to run around wildly whilst their parents sip their 5th Mojito of the day, is just an amazing piece if ingenuity. It makes me want to go to Mumbai just for this. Which is the real tourist trap – cool things you just wouldn’t see at home.
The UK, however, don’t seem to have picked up on this. I racked my brains for the best in British architecture and came up with these:
Coupled with being possibly the least inspiring structures to have ever existed, they’re in stupid locations. The Angel of the North is in Gateshead. Now, I might be completely ignorant, but I’ve lived in the UK my entire life, and, not once have I ever wanted to go to Gateshead. In fact, apart from this, I’m not even sure what is in Gateshead, or precisely where it is on a map. This said, I’m probably not going to want to go there just to see a tall man pretending to be a plane.
The Bullring is in Birmingham. Slightly better location, second Capital and all, and it’s just up the road from me. But all they seem to have done here is disrupt the centre of a town containing the UK’s second largest population in order to build something that blinds you as soon as the sun comes out. I suppose at least it’s functional (containing the Brum branch of Selfridges – a shop that is pretty much impossible to afford anything from that comes in a bag any bigger than your own fist.)
30 St Mary Axe, or ‘The Gherkin.’ Quite a historical site, although I’m not really sure for what reasons, and built with a purpose in mind (although, again, probably priced way out of any normal person/businesses price-range) . But they built it in London, and, lets be honest, if you’re a tourist in London, you’re probably there for something other than what is essentially a giant falace.
Of all of these, The Queen is still the one that generates the most cash for the UK. Well, you can’t argue with that infrastructure.
My point, however strangled a route it took to get here, is that the UK’s economy is floundering (along with most of the rest of the worlds), and we seem to be putting all our hopes on Tourism and jobs generated by the impending Olympic games. The problem with this is that once they’re over, all you’ll have is a great big empty stadium that no one will want / be able to afford to use (Millennium Dome anyone?)
I reckon, if we put a bit more effort into having things that you wouldn’t see anywhere else, we would generate immeasurable amounts of tourism, and therefore cash flow, into the country (case in point: our Monarchy). So, take heed British Architects, if jobs came with marks, like me, yours would be: must try harder.
Disagree? Tell me why.