See if you agree with our blogger's list of wonders and blunders and then tell us the buildings you love or loathe
I’ve always wanted to do my own wonders & blunders, and I know that many of you lot have too. So, I’m going to use this blog to finally do just that, and I hope that you will send in your masterpieces/disasters.
I’m not going to stick to the mag’s rigid formula, but rather have a top three for each.
1. Definitely number one has to be Inigo Jones’ Queen’s house in Greenwich, south-east London. Viewed from the Royal Observatory, it is simply breathtaking; the columns making it. Shame I can’t stay there and the monarchy can, but I suppose that it’s no place for riff-raff.
2. The JFK library in Boston, Massachusetts. From a distance, this gigantic glass cube seems to be perched ever so delicately over the ocean, inevitable that it will soon topple in. Incredibly striking from afar, moving when visited.
3. The RO Water Plant in Basra. I visited the city for the magazine a couple of years ago before the real horror stories started emerging in Iraq. The plant was disused, a mess, a triumph of poor design - it contained hundreds rather than just a few vats, reducing the amount of water that could be treated - but making our way through a gap in the fence I was greeted by the most beautiful sight that I’ve ever seen - a turquoise blue, sweet water canal heading off from the facility miles into the distance. With the sun beating, and the desert golden, I doubt I’ll ever see anything like it again. I also visited the Ham Dam sewage plant, but this had less to recommend it.
1. My absolute horror is Stratford shopping centre in east London. I used to live there, and getting through the centre to reach the station used to take an age and would wind me up each and every saturday when it was particularly busy. Most annoying of all is the seemingly endless string of parents using their kids’ pushchairs as weapons to barge past people rather than vehicles for their screaming young. Why the hell the market stalls are allowed in that crammed space, causing intense congestion and innumerable irrational arguments, is beyond me. Thank god it’s being demolished for the Olympics.
2. The Imax cinema on Bournemouth seafront. I grew up there and was used to brilliant, unspoilt views, until the council decided to give planning permission to this monstrosity, shadowing the otherwise glorious beaches. Uch, simply terrible.
3. The houses overlooking Dachau concentration camp in Germany. These appear to be fairly modern - so why did local authorities and developers think it was a good idea to build two-storey homes that look directly into the yard where upwards of 30,000 prisoners are thought to have been murdered. Mind-boggling.
There were so many more that I could have added, particularly blunders - 99% of brutalist architecture, anywhere in Athens - but I’m pretty pleased with this list. What do you think?