Last night we opened the Developing City exhibition in a huge space in Foster’s Walbrook building. There was such a lot of space to fill that it was touch and go that we would be ready by the time the guests arrived, so today will give me a chance to take it all in at leisure. The space hasn’t been used before so there was a bit of a panic when ISG plumbed in the temporary loos to what they thought was a fully functioning soil pipe - it wasn’t and there was a last-minute dash to connect into another floor.
The introductory content about the City will be familiar to most architects so the interest is in the way JRA, Gensler and Woods Bagot have translated our brief to show their vision of what the Square Mile will look like in 2050. It’s not such a leap of faith as it might at first seem when you consider that the City’s Core Strategy determines what will happen up to 2030, and that current lot of towers are taking up to 20 years to deliver. I’ve let myself in for giving regular guided tours of the show.
One of my campaigns regarding City buildings is to change the nickname of the Gherkin to the Pineapple. Since the pineapple is a symbol of hospitality and welcome it seems very appropriate that such a recognisable icon should welcome the world to London. Anyway, it doesn’t look anything like a gherkin.
We’ve adopted the pineapple as the logo for the London Festival of Architecture this year and, in the way that sea captains in the 17th century returning from the tropics would fix a pineapple to their doorway to let neighbours know they were back and ready for a party, we’re asking architectural practices to do just that during the festival to show how welcoming they are. Sam Jacob from Fat is currently making his own pineapple to fix to its new office’s entrance and I’m really looking forward to seeing that.