Welcome to Stratford, former home of the 2012 Olympic Games and now well into realising its Games 'legacy'. But perhaps you will find the London context more interesting:
Alternatively, you could take a swim in Hadid's swimming pool (the detailing is very good):
Surprisingly (this is the Olympics!), some of the detialing is very good. The people's vote may have gone to the Hopkins velodrome, but the money obvioulsy went into the Hadid building.
London's newest public space has opened in leadenhall, in the City – and it's very impressive (the Leadenhall building by Rogers Stirk harbour, oppoiste the Lloyd's '86 building and Foster's Gherkin)
Meanwhile, over at the British Museum, the new WCEC (World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre) extension designed Rogers Stirk Harbour has just been completed.
The Foster-designed Great Court at the BM is still terrific (although this photo was taken on a very, very quiet day! Add about 5000 other people and you have a better idea of what it is usually like, particularly in the summer):
Coming in October? You might still have time to see the latest Serpentine gallery pavilion (designed by Chilean architect Smiljan Radić). It's open until October 17th.
It's basically a fibreglass shell, housing a cafe and(characteristically) sat upon a set of large rocks that have been drilled through to take the steel frame that holds up timber decking and the fibreglass.
Nearby you will find the Princess Diana memorial fountains (by Gustafsen Porter) – well, not fountains at all, and rather fun on a sunny day when it's nice just to walk around the Serpentine lake, take tea or coffee in the restaurants, row a boat ...
Below. In case you missed it: the street magician Dynamo, over 1000 feet above the ground, as if hovering in mid-air at the Shard ... (He's that dot, right at the top.)
The Shard isn't everyone's favourite building (it's arguably in the wrong location, hits the ground in a less-than-satisfactory way, doesn't tell you what is in there (offices, restaurants, hotel and apartments), destroys the view to the dome of St Paul's from Parliament Hill, etc.) but has terrific views – as here, looking down upon the commuter railway tracks comming into London Bridge Station.
If you want views at a lesser price, try the London Eye. It's a terrific design (by Marks Barfield).
The first phase of new Foster work at the Imperial War Museum has opened. Despite being a place of 'boys with their toys', the IWM is always interesting (especially the Holocaust Gallery), but the Foster work is somewhat dense and overwhelming. See it and make up your own mind. It is, as the journalists say, 'a work in progress', but nevertheless interesting.
Another in the City, this time in Ludgate Hill, near to St Paul's: two office buildings by Fletcher Priest and Sauerbruch & Hutton. They are well advanced aand look pretty good. The S&H building sports the usual range of coloured cladding (their trade-mark), but appears to be quite sophisticated.
Two of the best of recent building are from the Dublin firm of O'Donnell & Tuomey: the Photographer's Gallery, near to Oxford Circus, and the London School of Economics Student Union building – an agitated architecture for an agitating student community!
Below: inside the O'Donnell & Tuomey Student Union building at the LSE:
We mentioned London as a city of rich mixes – well, this is a part of that: The Tower, One St George, Battersea. It's not the greatest of architecture (and neither is its neighbour, St George's Wharf, designed by Broadway Malyan), but is is how Londoners now wnat to live. Some of them.
The tower is located on the eastern edge of the Nine Elms district, where the Covent Garden wholesale market is currently located and where the new American embassy (a veritable fortress) is being located, togther with a vast set of new housing projects (which includes Battersea Poer Station).)
And, yes, new bookshops do exist in London. Lifschutz davidson Sandilands have just completed the reinvention of the former Central St Martins building (they moved to Kings cross, into a new stanton Williams building). It's very large and (like Waterstones in Piccadilly, in the famous old Simpsons 1930s building) has a cafe at the top.
London tends to turn its back on a number of homegrown international architects: Chipperfield and Zaha Hadid currently stand out.
David Chipperfiled now has a rather nice new office building at Kings Cross. It's simple, but packs a punch.
Hadid now has four contrasting London designs: a school in Brixton; a restaurant in Kensington Gardens; the Aquatic Stadium in what is now the Queen Elizabeth Park, and the ROCA sanitary fittings shop at Chelsea Harbour.
This is the gallery part of the building(done with Julian Harrap):
Hadid's Aquatics building shows that it was intedned as the show-piece of the Games.
London now has two buildings by the Renzo Piano Workshop: Central St Giles (with its de rigeur roof terraces and attempts to break up the building mass into ostensibly different buildings); and the Shard, which has an upper level visitor gallery).
The Shard is a building viewable from all over London, replacing other recent landmarks such as the Canary Wharf tower. Do we like it? Hmmm...it's controversial.
One of the finest works in London is now ageing and surrounded by new (and not very good) apartment buildings, but is still a terrific experience: Herzog & de Mueron's Trinity Laban Dance School. Access can be arranged (they make a visitor charge for a tour of the building, but it is worth it).
Other notable foreign architects working in London include Herzog & de Meuron, OMA and Jean Nouvel. This is Nouvel's equally controversial work near to St Paul's Cathedral (One New Change):
And this is OMA's bank building for Rothschild's. It is (unlike many City works) a surprisingly well-considered work which strives to relate its modernity to the historical context.
London is changing. By 2018 there will be 9m people in the central parts (we don't know how many will be in the metroplitan area – 14m?. It is becoming more dense. Whereas Londoners once lived in rows of terraced housing that spreads out into metropolitan suburbs, they are now learning to live in apartment blocks sprouting up in every part of the city. Here, for example,is an instance in south London by Panter Hudspith (in Royal Road; photo Morley von Sternberg) :
The scheme (developed by a housing association) is a courtyard block clad (as is currently fashionable throughout London) in brick.
But what is the Londoner's current ideal? A penthouse at the top of a tower near to the River Thames.
This is an example from Rogers Stirk Harbour: (NEO, which is adjacent to the Tate Modern. The practice has a similar scheme in the Nine Elms area that includes Battersea Power Station.
Iif you are interested in an older generation of Modernists working in London they are examples such as the Erno Goldfinger house at 2 Willow Road (owned by the National Trust and publically accessible). Golfinger (yes, of James Bond / Ian Fleming fame) liver around the corner to Fleming and this pre-war design upset the author so much he named a famous fictional villain after the architect and the whole matter ended up with lawyers.But the Goldfinger house is a marvellous example of a young architect (with a wealthy wife) speculating with a mix of the Parisian Modernism he loved and the Georgian terrace that made London so unique (the central two bays are the Goldfinger home).
(There are also some Tecton / Lubetkin buildings to see, as well as a fascinating home in south London by Patrick Gwynne: Homewood, also owned by the National Trust)
One of our favourites is this 1961block by Norman Bailey (Amen Corner):
Below: Homewood, by Patrick Gwynne.(If you want James Bind, it's in the Gwynne 1960s studio part of the house.)
Below: Highpoint, by Tecton with Lubetkin:
(There's quite a lot of Tecton / Lubetkin work in London.)
Art Deco? Depite what we're told, there is actually little of it in London.One of the best examples is the former entrance lobby to the Daily Express building, in Fleet Street (usually open for Open House London, designed by Ellis and Clark, with an interir lobby by Robert Atkinson (1932)). It now has a large banking building behind it, as does the adjavcent fomer Daily Telegraph building (both from the late 1980s):
These works are not new? It's an issue of quality, not vintage ... In fact, one of London's principal attractions is an ability to move from the old to the new, the good to the bad, the beautiful to the ugly, all within a few paces or a short bus or Tube ride. The mix is so rich that you can easily build up your own London. Certainly, this is not so easy in the central tourist areas, but move slightly away from them and a whole new metropolis opens up.
One of the other notable inter-war, Modernist works is the set of flats at Lawn Road (Isokon, by Wells Coates). Early famous residents included: Bauhaus émigrés Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer, and László Moholy-Nagy; architects Egon Riss and Arthur Korn; Agatha Christie (1940–46) and Adrian Stokes; Jack and Molly Pritchard lived in the penthouse. The communal kitchen was converted into the Isobar restaurant in 1937, to a design by Marcel Breuer. (Wikipedia links). It was more recently restored by Avanti Architects.
More from that period? How about the Simpsons building in Piccadilly (Joseph Emberton, 1936), now a Waterstones book store. (Also see the new Foyles building in Charing Cross, designed by Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands. Both have cafes at the upper level.)
Of course, for those who fail to relate to smoothe parametrics or 'stealth geometries' and have even lost patience with Modernism, there is plenty of an alternative aesthetic , such as the shabby-chic of the Pizza East / Michaelis Boyd restaurants. (There are lots of restaurants and cafes with this character, mostly in off-centre locations where rents are cheaper.)
Try this one, for example: http://thenudge.com/hitlists