New York Times takes aim at London’s ‘cacophonous’ skyline


Source: City of London Corporation / GMJ

Discretionary planning system and penchant for starchitects blamed for “jarring profusion of odd skyscrapers”

New York Times columnist has taken aim at London’s “jarring profusion of odd skyscrapers” and claimed the capital’s “cacophonous” collection of recently-constructed tall buildings is the result of a discretionary planning system influenced by the names of starchitects.

Business and economics writer Peter Coy praised the elegance of Renzo Piano’s Shard and KPF’s Scalpel, and noted the distinctive shapes of Foster & Partners’ Gherkin and RSHP’s Cheesegrater. But he dubbed the late Rafael Viñoly’s Walkie Talkie “a bulbous cartoon of a building” and referenced its victory in Building Design’s 2015 Carbuncle Cup as evidence.

Coy wrote this week that there is an economic reason why London’s skyline looks “so weird” and pointed to research from LSE emeritus professor Paul Cheshire comparing starchitect projects with those by other firms.

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