Nylda's Architecture Blog - 13 August 2018

Central London is rapidly changing.

It is difficult to say whether this change is good. The city is slowly being replaced with new skyscrapers that are racing to be the tallest and most noticeable. Detailed brickwork and concrete columns are being exchanged for large steelwork and glass. I no longer feel submerged into the small narrow environments of the busy Edwardian and Victorian construction Central London once was; instead we are now forced to look up to, rather than be part of, the development of the city. It is getting larger without taking up more space of the urban environment. Typically, we see that buildings and urban environments seem to be fitting more people into less space and this is especially the case when we look at London.

It feels as though we are slowly becoming desensitised to the perception of how our living and work spaces should look and feel. One could argue there is a focus on the aesthetic rather than the quality of living in the way spaces are designed, influencing the way we live. Perhaps, it is a reflection of the society we live in today, where there is greater importance on the appearance of the built environment rather than the quality of its function in relation to the living. An example of this would be the Grenfell Tower incident, whereby the quality of the building was compromised at the cost of many innocent lives.

It would be dishonest to just focus on what is wrong with the appearance of newer infrastructures and strategies. However, function should always be at the forefront of design. In fact, I think the challenge we should be taking on in the built environment - whether we are an engineer or architect - is to construct buildings with the idea that function of spaces are fluid. Could we not instead use older buildings as a template for the possible functions and design of newer spaces in Central London? I think if we are constantly under construction today, buildings that can be adapted for different functions over the course of history should be something to bear in mind.

We must acknowledge that buildings outlive the function they were initially designed for, so why not adapt to the older infrastructures that greatly contributed to the cities development?

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