Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Unbuilt Wren
















Quasi laptop presenting / faux research aside, I've been quite enjoying the BBC series on 'Unbuilt Britain', available on cheeky VPN for another day or two? Of particular note was the man Mr Chris Wren's Masterplan after the great fire of London. The BBC compared it to Robert Bruce's Glasgow, and whilst the comparison is interesting and valid, a point the BBC missed was that Bruce, like Corbusier in Paris, was essentially provocative in his radicalism. Of course Bruce & Corb both knew that they were never going to be allowed to knock down the key historical monuments in their respective cities, but by suggesting so they caused a stir and added credence to their campaigns.

The context of Wren was quite different- in 1666 there existed a genuine opportunity to radically improve London's streetscape & infrastructure. Any monuments were destroyed in the fire and essentially it was only British short termist parochialism that prevented this plan materialising. And so London lives on with it's Medieval haphazard planning. Yes, it has its moments, but if you ever want to get anywhere it can't half be annoying.

http://www.architecture.com/LibraryDrawingsAndPhotographs/OnlineWorkshops/UrbanAdventures/01Wren.aspx#.UiXsFmSSD0A