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"Use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?"

Monday, 23 November 2015

Breathless in Nine Elms, more shocked than awed

One Nine Elms development at Nine Elms, Vauxhall, London - a 56 storey tower will be "breath-taking"
Have to agree, it is truly breath-taking. I want my breath back, please!
I am guilty of under-selling the creative skills of  the One Nine Elms developers'  marketing people.

Couple of weeks back, posted a joke item on the slogans on the big fences surrounding the site.

Item showed the words: ONE NINE ELMS: JAW DROPPING

So yesterday I walked past the site again and realised they'd come up with a whole family of two-word adjectival phrases, for example: ONE NINE ELMS: BREATH TAKING



Breath-taking? Yes, they're right. The massive amount of pollution caused by the tens of thousands of truck-miles the must've been clocked up as bits of these monster buildings are brought to the site is quite enough to take our breath away, thanks.

All through the summer the air was full of dust and grit. It was truly breath-taking, lung-irritating stuff.

As for awe-inspiring, well the architect's impressions of the finished development rather suggest not. Shocking, maybe, but not much awe.

It looks like a great deal more of  the same old staggered filing-cabinet style apartment towers, rising up to 56 storeys - a bit higher  than the existing St George's Wharf tower. I mean, how could that inspire "awe"? It would need to reach up at least twice that height, up into the clouds, to make anyone used to craning their poor old necks towards the Shard to feel anything other than bored.

I like tall buildings, I just hate bland architecture and towers full of bland "luxury" flats that are designed specifically to inoffensive to any potential buyers, who nearly always are not going to live there but sell them on.

One Nine Elms says it will be offering "Luxurious riverside living". There will also be a "luxury 5-star hotel" to service the apartments (whatever that means). The promotional video is a slick bit of computer animation with the statutory tall blonde lady gliding around an apartment admiring the views…which include the not-too-distant prospect of the Canary Wharf towers, where maybe she works.

Anyway, as those Nine Elms people are so keen on phrases to describe their work, here are a couple more possibles to write in big script up on the fence: daylight-thieving, view-ruining, wind-tunnel-effect-creating, yawn-inducing, stomach-churning…oh, there's plenty more.

But don't get the impression Microgroove33 just loves to snipe and groan: where there's good news, we are ready to blast it out, full volume. And so today it's great to report they have provided a cycle-path of sorts on the otherwise closed northbound side of Wandsworth Road. It's a bit of an obstacle course,  with plenty of cheery blokes in orange waving you through. But it beats trying to dodge the oncoming trucks on the other side.

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