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Any judgement of the architecture itself is duly compromised

Posted on 25 September 2010

Any judgement of the architecture itself is duly compromised. If Ernst & Young and the rest love their new pads, then the architecture has met the brief set by More London Development.Is it enough, though? Despite the deep, clear floor plans, the panoramic views, the refined external detailing, the textbook fracturing of the overall massing of the office blocks, there is something bland about the overall effect. So far, the 13-acre More London estate contains London’s second-busiest Marks & Spencer Simply Food outlet, a More Champagne Bar, a Caffe Nero and a Cafe Amore; there are 63 mature tulip and red oak trees, fibre-optic gizmos, and public art by Stephan Balkenhol, David Batchelor and the Turner Prize nominee Fiona Banner.And thus, architecture as data from the Facts and Figures section of its prospectus; a success story, a new place that is already a tree of urban plenty for the 5,000 people who work there, and for the 20,000 who will, in due course. Architecture as prime location – in this case, 280,000 square metres of rent-slabs four minutes’ stroll from platform nine at London Bridge station, and about five from the Monmouth Coffee House’s trendy boudoir in Borough Market Architecture as daily bread, daily landscape and daily art. From the ninth floor of Ernst & Young’s piece of the action, London’s skyline can be meticulously audited from Battersea Power Station in the west to Canary Wharf in the east.Architecture as power-base.

In one site, master-planning was the key; in the other, architectural detail has been the big, and very thorny, issue

First up, More London. Two major architectural projects in London cast Dickens’ unforgivingly “boney light” on what it takes to make acceptable modern sense of old places. There’s hard And there’s very hard. They’re pretty soul- destroying – even more so when, just before you go on stage, the managing director says to you, `we had Lee Evans last year – he ripped the roof off!’.”But it does not serve much purpose to compare Hill with other stand-ups; he is that rarity in comedy – a genuine one-off. They’d come up to me afterwards and say, `you were shit, mate’.

The other one I get from passers-by is `you’re all right, but I’ll tell you who is really good – Lee Evans He’s naturally funny’ Every now and again, I do corporate gigs. I remember sitting stony- faced through some comedians and thinking `why is that funny?’ when everyone else in the audience was laughing their head off.”Hill recollects performing on bills in clubs “when people hadn’t come to see me specifically. In another 30 years’ time, the same might be true of babies conceived in same-sex unions.. is thought-provoking, and can be used as a lens through which to discern our attitudes towards parenting and family, as well as our notions of what is `natural’.”Thirty years ago, there were no children alive who had been conceived outside the body. Now there are millions of “test tube” babies, maybe even one living in your street.

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