London : An expression of Power
London is a city much further into the time warp, in comparison to Edinburgh, being dotted with a plethora of iconic buildings from various periods of time.
Being a politically and economically important city, there is a greater necessity for Architects to leave their imprints on the fabric of this city. The city places a rather high importance on an Architectural expression of power. The institutions of power, at various points of time have manifested this power as a built form.
Although this idea can be delved into further, at a surface glance one can put up a rough time line. The following observations are admittedly limited, but definitely give us an idea on the changing perception of power.
In recent times, The Cheese Grater, Walkie- Talkie are all additions to this timeline.
What we can see is a shift in power over time, from Religion, to the Monarchy to Finance. The shift is such that one never really supersedes the other – Just that the world’s perception of “power” has changed, without diminishing the importance of the precedents.
A common underlying trend is the need for this expression to be an “icon” and many of the buildings in this timeline have achieved this by the sheer size and mass of the buildings. While the churches adopted a monumental stance to portray the mightiness of God over man, the Palace embodies the stately lifestyle of the royals. With time, vacant land has become scarce and hence rose the need for vertical towers of high density. The financial dominance of a city is now expressed around the world through skyscrapers, with height being an indication of its global dominion. This explains buildings like the Shard, Cheese Grater, etc. whose architectural expressions have been deduced to an iconic form with an even more iconic nickname. These nicknames often deepen a sense of belonging between the people and their urban fabric.
Source : Google
The resultant of this is a powerful skyline for the city, with layered stories. The city speaks the language of many eras, all echoing amidst the voices of each other.