Postmodernism Lands

London's contemporary architecture was born in the City and the Docklands in the mid-1980s. The former centrepiece was Lloyd's of London (1986; pi 17), Sir Richard Rogers' 'inside-out' masterpiece of ducts, pipes, glass and stainless steel. Taking pride of place in the Docklands was Cesar Pelli's 244m-high 1 Canada Square (1991), commonly known as Canary Wharf (see p161) and easily visible from central London.

REACHING FOR THE SKIES

Mayor Ken Livingstone has suggested that London needs another 10 to 15 skyscrapers within the next decade if it is to retain its pre-eminence as a financial capital. English Heritage initially contested some of the following proposed high-rises on the grounds that they might obstruct 'strategic' views of St Paul's Cathedral, but its fears have been assuaged. All five of the following received planning permission and are on their way up.

20 Fenchurch Street (Map p110; 20 Fenchurch St EC3) Rafael Vinoly; 177m. The idea behind the 'Walkie Talkie' shape is that bigger top floors can command more rent, making the tower more profitable than others.

Bishopsgate Tower (Map p110; 288m; 22-24 Bishopsgate EC2) Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates; 288m. Scaled down from more than 307m, the 'Helter Skelter' will still be the highest tower in the City when completed.

Heron Tower (Map p110; 202m; 110 Bishopsgate EC3) Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates; 202m. The four fa├žades of this stepped skyscraper will each be different, reflecting the buildings they face.

Leadenhall Building (Map p110; 122 Leadenhall St EC3) Sir Richard Rogers; 224m. This 48-storey tower nicknamed the Cheese Grater faces the architect's own Lloyd's of London building.

London Bridge Tower (Map p126; 32 London Bridge St SE) Renzo Piano; 310m. Luxury Asian hotel group Shangri-La has already signed up as a tenant on 18 floors of this thin, tall glass spike.

With a youthful New Labour in power at the end of the 1990s, Britain's economy on the up and the new millennium looming, attention turned to public buildings, including several landmarks that would define London in the early 21st century.

Tate Modern (Herzog & de Meuron, 1999; p129) was a success beyond even its architects' wildest dreams. From the disused Bankside Power Station (Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, 1963) they fashioned an art gallery that went straight to first place in the top 10 London tourist attractions, and then walked away with international architecture's most prestigious prize, the Pritzker. The stunning Millennium Bridge (Sir Norman Foster and Antony Caro, 2000; p130), the first bridge to be built over the Thames in central London since Tower Bridge (1894), had a case of the wobbles when it was first opened, but it is now much loved and much used. Even the Millennium Dome (Sir Richard Rogers; pi81), the dunce of the class of 2000, probably through no fault of its tentlike exterior, has got a new lease of life as a sometime concert hall and sporting stadium called the 02.

The graceful British Library (Colin St John Wilson, 1998; p167), with its warm red-brick exterior, Asianesque touches and its wonderfully bright interior, met a very hostile reception. It has now become a popular and much loved London landmark.

With a youthful New Labour in power at the end of the 1990s, Britain's economy on the up and the new millennium looming, attention turned to public buildings, including several landmarks that would define London in the early 21st century.

Tate Modern (Herzog & de Meuron, 1999; p129) was a success beyond even its architects' wildest dreams. From the disused Bankside Power Station (Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, 1963) they fashioned an art gallery that went straight to first place in the top 10 London tourist attractions, and then walked away with international architecture's most prestigious prize, the Pritzker. The stunning Millennium Bridge (Sir Norman Foster and Antony Caro, 2000; p130), the first bridge to be built over the Thames in central London since Tower Bridge (1894), had a case of the wobbles when it was first opened, but it is now much loved and much used. Even the Millennium Dome (Sir Richard Rogers; pi81), the dunce of the class of 2000, probably through no fault of its tentlike exterior, has got a new lease of life as a sometime concert hall and sporting stadium called the 02.

The graceful British Library (Colin St John Wilson, 1998; p167), with its warm red-brick exterior, Asianesque touches and its wonderfully bright interior, met a very hostile reception. It has now become a popular and much loved London landmark.

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