Ever get the feeling you've been cheated? Here's a box on stilts, plonked smack
into the backdrop of a neat little edwardian high street. This greatest of
carbuncles is one of the most grostesque sights of all, and yet is still
proclaimed by most as being the best of modern design and urban planning.
Really? Oh no it isn't. It's horrible. And dont let any old supposed genius tell
you otherwise. I'm sick and tired of hearing about how this 'gift to the
is better than traditional London buildings and listening to all the
correctness about regeneration for the underprivileged. This blue box ruins the
area and does nothing for the poor except provide a warm place to sleep
in the daytime.
Opened in 2000, it's already looking cheap, dirty, and shabby. This place has been talked up like no other giant shed before it, so much that you expect to see Babylon itself. But on rounding the corner from the high street, and after passing the exquisite frame of the Jones and Higgins building, you are confronted by this block of B&Q shop dimensions. Why do they rave about this rubbish when they denounce the nearby Elephant & Castle shopping mall? There is no difference between them, but at least the Elephant can excuse itself as sixties styling.
The inside of the library is as funtional as could be. Nothing spectacular there. Nothing to justify all this trumpeting. But the elevation of the giant reading room does incidentally provide great views of the metropolis. Even the lifts have windows onto this horizon. It's a shame that they dont clear up their back yard full of municipal flotsam, as this would add to the visual entertainment. As for the garish coloured glass, well, it's interesting, especially in the men's room, which was bathed in lime green sunlight. Shocking!
So there you have it. If you want awesome library design, please refer to the Henry Tate victorian offerings that still delight parts of London: These can be found on my Libraries Page. It's a shame these fine buildings are not given the same press as this overrated Peckham shack.
Charles (of London Town)