Friday, 5 January 2018

built to last

I was astounded to arrive at Tottenham Court Road this morning to discover buckets collecting water pouring through underground ceilings and little pieces of yellow and black tape marking trip hazards on the floor. If this were one of the old tube stations desperately in need of renovation, I might be inclined to feel sympathy, but this is the flag ship station in the new Cross Rail and it’s only been open for a couple of years! To me it’s a true indication of modern day style over substance. We live in an era where seemingly nothing is built to last. Apple have finally admitted to “planned obsolescence” with their iPhones, and I wish architects would follow suit. People literally had to fight to keep the iconic 80s Paolozzi mosaics in Tottenham Court Road which look as fresh today as they did there they were made, but many have been ripped out or covered over with shocking pieces of shiny plastic and untreated “industrial chic” concrete, which cost a fortune, look fabulous for a few weeks before becoming tragically tatty and gnarled.

When those beautifully-tiled, Art Nouveau tube stations were built in the 1880s and again when they built the fabulously futuristic buildings at the end of the Piccadilly Line in the 1930s, people wanted architecture that would still be there in a hundred years. And they got it... with style icons being created in the process. It’s almost as though modern day people don’t think the world has a future. And with Trump sitting with his finger on the nuclear button you can’t really blame them!

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