London old and new – August 2007
One of the most endearing things about London is the way that the old and the new sit side by side, providing visitors and residents alike with a visual history lesson in the city’s past, and a context for its present. Much of this unexpected juxtapositioning is as a result of aerial bombing raids in the Second World War which sometimes left one side of a street totally decimated while across the road, the houses were fine. This meant that often there would be a vacant site in the middle of a perfectly architecturally homogenous suburb, providing planners with a chance to either try to replicate the past, or try something bold and new.
I have written before about the Barbican, a multi-use residential and cultural centre in the middle of the City of London. It is loathed by some and loved by others for its concrete brutalist architecture – but whether you love it or not, it certainly makes an imposing addition to the London skyline. Here, one of the Barbican’s residential towers is seen from Newbury Street, one of London’s beautifully preserved Victorian streets. I wonder what the Victorian residents of Newbury Street might have thought?
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