Check out this picture of The Shard

I recently visited London, where I couldn’t help noticing the newest addition to the skyline since my last visit, The Shard. Here’s a picture:

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If you’re not already familiar with The Shard, it’s the conspicuous building in this picture that most looks like it might be called The Shard.

Now, I think that one of London’s greatest assets is it’s mix of old and new architecture. And I also think the Shard is a pretty cool building.

But unfortunately, I don’t think these two things — London and this great building — go very well together. My main quarrel is that The Shard is out of scale with the otherwise generally mid-rise city around it. The all-glass cladding is also… a bit icy for generally brick and stone London; like so many glass towers, this one has a cold, anywhere-ness that seems out of touch with London’s traditions.

All of that may change, however. During my visit I was surprised to see massive amounts of new contruction. Much of it was on new, glass buildings, and many of those were towers. My sense is that London is building upward in a way most European cities have not. It’ll be interesting to see how it develops in the next few years (or decades) and it seems like a good example of a city where market forces are driving development into the sky.

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