Sunday, April 2, 2017

World's Ugliest Buildings, Part 3


Not everyone will agree with me on which buildings are ugly. I only managed to get as far as a look at the Agbar Tower, below, when I was diverted into ever increasing byways of buildings in London which, if not ugly, are unusual. You will need to form your own opinions.

Agbar Tower, Barcelona:

Let’s be honest from the outset, you’ve all thought it . . . this looks like a giant dildo. 

Or a bullet.

It’s located in Barcelona and is named after its owners, the Agbar group. It was opened in 2005, took 6 years to build and comprises 38 floors. Most of which are occupied by Agbar, a company controlling water supplies.

According to the architect who designed it, Jean Nouvel, Torre Agbar is intended to recall the shape of a geyser rising into the air. It was inspired by Montserrat, a mountain near Barcelona. He has acknowledged that it has a phallic character. The Tower is known by several nicknames, including el supositori ("the suppository").

It apparently looks better at night when illuminated by LED panels which change colour.



The Gherkin, London:

Btw, London has its own phallic tower, which was opened 2 years before The Agbar Tower. Dubbed “The Gherkin” (officially called “30 St Mary Axe”), it has 41 storeys, is 180 metres (591 ft) tall and stands on the former sites of the Baltic Exchange and Chamber of Shipping, which were extensively damaged in 1992 by the explosion of a bomb placed by the Provisional IRA in St Mary Axe, the street from which the tower takes its name. The building is today regarded as a good example of contemporary architecture.



The Walkie Talkie, London:

Whilst on things London, the following building in London is colloquially known as the Walkie Talkie but I haven’t been able to work out yet why that is . . .

Officially it is called 20 Fenchurch Street after its address. Construction was completed in 2014. It comprises 34 storeys and is 160 m (525 ft) tall and has a distinctive top-heavy form, partly intended to maximise floor space towards the top of the building where rents are higher.

In 2015 the building was awarded the Carbuncle Cup for the worst new building in the UK in the previous 12 months. The chairman of the jury that decided the prize, Thomas Lane, said "it is a challenge finding anyone who has something positive to say about this building", whilst a town planner at the nearby Royal Town Planning Institute described the building as "a daily reminder never to let such a planning disaster ever happen again."

During construction, it was discovered that the building’s windows acted as concave reflectors when the sun shone on them in summer. The ray of light and heat that resulted could put the Death Star to shame, with metal on cars being melted and a doormat of a shop being burned. The architects said this was because protective louvres that were part of the design had been removed. The building was renamed in the press as the "Walkie-Scorchie" and "Fryscraper". The glass has since been covered with a non-reflective film.



Let’s go for the London Trifecta . . .

Notice The Walkie Talkie on the left and The Gherkin on the right? Well the one in the middle is known as The Cheese Grater. Again, I’m not sure why but give me time, I’ll work it out.

Officially known as the Leadenhall Building after the name of the street on which it is located, it is 225 m (737 ft) tall and opened in 2014. Unlike the Walkie Talkie, it reduces in size towards the top, partly to comply with the protected sightline of St Paul's Cathedral when viewed from Fleet Street and the west.

On 1st March 2017 British Land and Oxford properties agreed to sell the building to C C Land,a Chinese property developer, at a price of £1.5 Billion.



The London roundup won’t be complete without a quick look at The Shard. . . 

Also referred to as the Shard of Glass, Shard London Bridge and formerly London Bridge Tower, The Shard is a 95-storey skyscraper in London that is 309.7 metres (1,016 ft) high, the tallest building in the United Kingdom.

It opened in 2012 and was designed by noted Italian architect Renzo Piano who designed it as a spire-like sculpture emerging from the River Thames. He was inspired by the railway lines next to the site, the London spires depicted by the 18th-century Venetian painter Canaletto, and the masts of sailing ships. English Heritage didn’t agree and claimed the building would be "a shard of glass through the heart of historic London", giving the building its name, the Shard.

After the Twin Towers fell in 2001 on 9/11, architects and structural engineers worldwide began re-evaluating the design of tall structures. The Shard's early conceptual designs were among the first in the UK to be amended following the publication of the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) report into the collapse of the WTC. The building is designed to maintain its stability under very onerous conditions.


Internal structure of the Shard's spire and radiator floors, seen from the 72nd-floor observatory


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