Guide to London's Contemporary Architecture by Kenneth Allinson and Victoria Thornton (Auth.)

By Kenneth Allinson and Victoria Thornton (Auth.)

This guidebook covers the superior and finest structures accomplished in London through the interval 1984-1992. It covers a few a hundred constructions and is supported via images, line diagrams and maps. The constructions are prepared in geographical series

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The electronics are evidenced by blank cladding and a large green steel superstructure on the roof which accommodates the air conditioning plant. The security consciousness is evident in an acutely medieval, defensive quality reinforced by the security fence; the lack of a front door (just a security hut and a massive cantilevered gate which silently glides shut); and the strategic riverside position straddling a former dock entrance. It is rumoured that the building has multiple electrical back-up systems in the form of duplicate generators and links to the distribution grids on both sides of the river.

These three units are arranged in a C plan around a courtyard, with the brick-faced rotunda of the council chamber acting as landmark on the corner of the site. Unfortunately, this landscaped court has been closed off by a council fearful of its vandalising constituents. But the ground floor of the rotunda is a public exhibition space and most of the ground floor of the oblong block is freely accessible to the public. The latter has a 'circulation hall' shaped by a long curving, blue wall which faces onto the court through a glazed wall.

Such a complex cannot organically change and adapt; being dedicated to restricted purposes and functions, it is always in danger of becoming a dinosaur. Socially, difference is precluded by managerial policy and control, squeezed out, and relegated beyond the Canary boundaries. Don't attempt to misbehave. Nevertheless, it is remarkable - go there. But you'll be forgiven for a sigh of relief on return to the comparatively humane realities of central London. The architects for the buildings are as follows: A.

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