Wednesday, 28 January 2015

A Year in Pictures – 27 January 2015 – Another Monstrous Carbuncle (5)

Here we are again on Eastcheap, this time on the south side of the street, looking north to show just how boorishly 20 Fenchurch Street, aka "The Walkie-Talkie", dominates the more modest buildings around it. The chief fault of its design is that it offends the normal expectation that a building will not be larger at the top than it is at its base. I hear wonderful things about the spectacular views over London to be had from the garden terraces and restaurants that have been laid out at the summit, but these treats exact a terrible cost from the London skyline considered as a whole.

It is of course frightfully clever to maximise space at the top of a building, as the best views bring in the highest rents but, again, this has been achieved by a structure that, when it is seen in its entirety, seems to have very few supporters.

In the foreground is the church of St Margaret Pattens, whose foundation in all likelihood goes back to the 11th century. The present building, which replaced earlier structures destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666, was constructed in 1687 and has the only spire designed by Christopher Wren in a mediaeval style. The church has long been associated with The Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers, pattens being wooden-soled overshoes, later soled with iron rings to elevate their wearers above the muck and grime of the streets of several centuries ago. The church has a small but interesting display of these items.

HEALTH WARNING: Though it seemed a good idea at the time, I made the mistake of using a polarising filter on my cameral when taking today's photograph. This has had a strange, blunting, effect on the light and colour in the image. Also the camera I use for most of these daily images is a small item, with a fixed zoom lens that is not very forgiving at wide angles, resulting in a curved "barrel distortion" of the roofline of the buildings in the foreground. We live and learn...

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