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Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Sky Pod, The City

Towering egotist Boris Johnson's architectural legacy will be a London skyline raped willy nilly by the filthy erections of willy-waving  'starchitects.' Could-be-anywhere skyscrapers thrown up by spivvy developers and financed by tin-pot despots from the Gulf to Guangzhou, these shameless shrines to Mammon are a depressingly familiar sight today. I don't dig Victorian pastiche. I'm no fan of mock-Georgian. I am not Prince Charles. Modern buildings per se are not my enemy: hello Hadid, Zaha; F off Farrell, Terry and take your tawdry towers with you! "But, hey! The little people will love any sub-Dubai crap outcrop as long as it comes with a cute nickname" reason the urban planners that have the ear of the mop-top Eton Mess in charge at City Hall. Today, I've scaled the 37-storey 'Walkie Talkie' (more of a 'molar implant' to my mind), a grim grey Goliath whose daft design meant the summer sun, reflected in and magnified by its concave curves, melted Mondeos parked outside. Nor is Oliver Wainwright, The Guardian's architecture critic, smitten: 'As a literal diagram of developers' greed, it provides painful proof that form follows not function but finance..poking its unwelcome bulk into the skyline from almost every possible vista." Like Kim Kardashian, only in concrete and glass, then? On the plus side, I suppose, the building's upper levels host a leafy new London belvedere; an indoor sky garden consisting of two vast banked swathes of sub-tropical foliage. Serving it, is an island cafe-bar run - like restaurants Darwin and Fenchurch on levels 36 and 37 above (both of which are blessed with more intimate bars, nota bene) - by caterers Rhubarb. In addition to those armed with bar or restaurant reservations, the aerial arboretum is open daily to the public; cue queues at the lobby level airport-style check-in. Order an £11.50 cocktail - Thyme For Tea, Chelsea Garden; or Autumn Breeze (vodka, pinot noir, falernum, beetroot and apple juices) - and the sort of snacks you'd expect of posh wedding canapĂ© slingers such as Rhubarb as you watch the tourists coo over the "Oooh, aaah, Barb-a-ra!" wraparound views . Open until 2am, Sky Pod is undeniably cool ... as in, climate- controlled to the point where wooly blankets and hot water bottles are provided gratis. Cool in the other sense? Only if you're a fan Center Parcs and crass glass carbuncles.
20 Fenchurch Street EC3M 3BY