Alright, Brompton bicycles and bendy buses aren’t buildings, but they do make a world of difference to the way we enjoy London’s architecture, says Oliver Richards
My wonder is the Brompton bicycle, a wonderfully conceived, beautifully compact design. The cyclist experiences London’s totality from the skyline downward. You can read a town like London as you can good book – but its stories are told only to those who see the entirety of its buildings, not the edited version.
At journey’s end the Bromptonist packs up the bike in 13 seconds and walks into a meeting where colleagues are constantly amazed by this clever, simple, British invention – designed for our cities, not the suburbs of Europe.
Here then, my blunder enters the stage.
It was said that dinosaurs couldn’t feel what was happening to their tails until it was too late to react, and we all know what happened to them. The bendy bus shares these unresponsive characteristics. The driver is cocooned away from passengers and road users alike. To enable the bus to navigate the right-angle bends that are an essential part of London’s architecture, the urban streetscape has had to be reshaped at considerable expense. Crammed inside, passengers see only the street level view of our wonderful town.
Oliver Richards is a founding partner at ORMS Architecture Design