Carbuncle Cup - the annual circus of architectural luddism

Another year, another Carbuncle Cup shortlist, and another set of evidence that this award has pretty much lost all credibility as a genuine spotlight on the "worst building", and is quite obviously now just an exercise in bashing contemporary styles.

Thames Barrier

Dawn on Waterloo Bridge

Ah, a clear, crisp winter's dawn on Waterloo Bridge. Marvellous cityscape.

City of London skyline, dawn

All change on Upper Richmond Road

There really is a remarkable amount of construction going on in London at the moment.

Of course, the tallest buildings get the headlines - the Shard, Leadenhall building, 20 Fenchurch Street and so on. But there are cranes over suburbia, too: the housing shortage means seemingly every last derelict or obsolete building or bit of brownfield land is the site of a mid-rise "mixed-use" development.

This is well encapsulated by a third-of-a-mile stretch of the Upper Richmond Road (South Circular) between Putney High Street (for Putney Station) and East Putney Station. I take a look at what's being knocked down, what will soon rise in its place, and what my backseat-driver opinion of it all is.

Putney Plaza demolition

Valletta

This was the Valletta I set out for -- a city glowing warmly in the Mediterranean sun.

It was not the Valletta I flew into.

That was a grey, rainy place. It was something of a massive disappointment.

The winter of 12/13 in London seemed to last six months, bitterly freezing temperatures lasting well into what should notionally have been 'spring'. I was desperate for respite, not just for warmer temperatures but clearer skies, and the unbeatable feel of sunshine on skin.

And annoyingly enough, spring had finally broken out in the days before I left. And here I was, paying a lot of money to fly back into dreary drizzly dreck? Noooo!

Valletta from Upper Barrakka Gardens

River Brent — from Brentford to Perivale

Following the River Brent through west London from its namesake Brentford up to Perivale, I discovered an eclectic range of sights, including:

  • a 17th century manor house,
  • an 18th century flight of locks,
  • from the 19th century, Isambard Kingdom Brunel's first major structure,
  • from the 20th, a magical accidental motorway-cathedral-island,

all mixed up with some delightful (and some fairly average) parks, and rounded off with a nice sunset.

Abandoned boat on the Brent

Wye Tour, Part Three: Abbey, Bridges and Castles

The final chapter of my Wye tour is an ABC of picturesque, as I test William Gilpin's assertion that the correctly picturesque usually requires architectural intervention by taking in the delights of one ruined Cistercian abbey, a pair of contrasting bridges, and a couple of Norman-going-on-medieval castles.

Chepstow Castle above the Wye

Skyline spotting from London's hills

The Shard has taken most of the headlines by claiming the title of tallest building in the EU (and, briefly, Europe, until overtaken by Moscow's Mercury City Tower). But it's not alone: London has an ever-going range of skyscrapers, some designed by renowned architects; some designs great, some... debatable.

In this piece I do a round-up of some of the best publically accessible high points in London for a panaromic view of London's skyline.

Shard and City skyline from Norwood Park
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