This is where Stormzy ‘Vossi-Bop’ed

Some of you will know this building as the Royal Exchange. The area above Bank Underground and the home of the Bank of England.

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Others will know this area as the one Stormzy recently filmed a music video in, being surrounded by dancers wearing Boris wigs. The moment happens at 30 seconds, although it is fun to watch him rap on a closed Westminster Bridge in front of a half restored Big Ben.

This was before the lockdown, he is just rich and powerful enough to get Westminster Bridge closed I guess.

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Picture: Stormzy/YouTube

It’s interesting to see the setting of a music video. I know this area is much, much more than that but the song has probably introduced it to a lot of people. After all it has been seen over 88 million times. And here it is when it isn’t closed for rap.

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I got the same beautiful weather though!

Not sure if rap is your cup of tea, but I had to share once I remembered where I had seen it recently. I do like that Stormzy is happy to show off certain parts of London though to the masses, and that British rap has come a long way.

Vossi Bop is a dance for anyone wondering. A good way to get that daily exercise in during isolation!

 


 

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London’s modern landmarks

When I was younger I always imagined that the skyscraper clusters of cities would be the most active. Like all of the time. The sheer scale of them and how they light up at night, they always look alive 24/7. Especially with how movies love to pan over them during scenes.

But this isn’t the case. Outside of the 9-5 they are lonelier areas providing nothing more than a skyline to gaze at. A beautiful skyline. London has great skyscrapers and despite not being the biggest in the world, have a lot of character. From the Gherkin to the Walkie-Talkie to the Shard (which is in fact the tallest in Europe), they aren’t dull to look at.

Below is 22 Bishopsgate. I managed to get this shot whilst the sun was bouncing off it onto the commuters below. This was originally planned to have a ‘helter skelter’ shape and be even taller, but was abandoned during the early stages of construction in the 2008 recession. The height was also scaled down as to not interfere with the flight path of London City Airport.

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I have always loved skyscrapers, and the UK has been behind in building these. But we are in Europe afterall, and skyscrapers are only just seeing the light of day in this continent. One reason being it’s history and not wanting to distort the view of historical buildings. I guess there are more rules around what can be built around historical sites.

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The Walkie-Talkie, towering above the street below. With the floors above being wider than the ones below, sunlight caused a problem during construction. The beams of light reflecting off the glass hit the pavement and scorched it, melting a car and caused people to fry eggs in the street. The news report below was quite amusing to watch at the time.

I think London is now in a skyscraper boom, with clusters in the City of London (as seen in these shots), Canary Wharf and also Vauxhall. As I have mentioned I like them, but understand they aren’t for everyone.

What about yourself, when you think of London do you associate it with modern buildings such as the London Eye and the Shard, or the historical sites such as Big Ben and Tower Bridge? I guess the older attractions are still the most popular, but who knows what the future holds. The castles and bridges are constantly shrinking under the sight of these huge towers, maybe they will create a legacy of their own…

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I’ve just noticed the taxi’s reg plate reads ‘CAB’, haha.

 


 

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak I am somewhat limited as to what I can do in London, but I aim to post as much as I can during this time. I promise to have some great posts coming your way once this is all over as I continue to explore London.

Stay home, stay safe and happy blogging!

Sam


 

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The library that was too heavy…

There is a library on Swantson Street that met a very sad fate. It sank right into the street below however it isn’t all bad, some of it remains to remind us that it is possible to fill a library with too many books.

At least that is one of the stories. It is called Architectural Fragment and designed by Petrus Spronk, part of the Swanston Walk Public Art Project. This info taken from visitmelbourne.com

I have walked by it multiple times however as everything was so new for me until recently, I didn’t really give it a second glance. But a few days back I gave it a proper look and realized it was giving the illusion of a sinking building. It looks very cool that’s for sure.

Despite it not being an actual ruin it is still a shame to see mindless graffiti on it. That and the countless people passing by not giving it attention as it becomes submerged makes it seem like a building that was once grand and dominant in the city, now a victim of time. A fate libraries may indeed face with audio books and the like.

What are your thoughts on this piece of art?

 


 

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A sneak peak at the view from Brisbane’s tallest building!

Yesterday I took a walk through the Botanic Gardens and gazed up at the new Skytower. I decided to do a quick post as it has grown to be the tallest building in Brisbane and the third tallest in Australia.

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I want to say thank you to @emilyblackwrites for allowing me to share this next view from what seems to be the very top of the building. It is a great shot looking down at the gardens I was walking through in my featured image.

What a great shot! The gardens look tiny from here, as does everything. To think this is going to be the daily view for hundreds of residents is something to envy, but thanks to Instagram we all get to share it for a moment.

What do you think of the building? Let me know!


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section and Travel Diary

Follow me @samest89 on Instagram and @octstw on Twitter

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Happy blogging,

Sam

Brisbane Skytower: Brisbane’s new tallest building 

I’ve walked past this building daily and watched it grow over time. So for this reason I thought it would be good to do a quick post on it.

It’s an impressive size and is now the tallest building in Brisbane.

Walking through the Botanic Gardens it dominates the skyline. It’s almost complete by the looks of things and looks awesome with the sun hitting the windows. Even being surrounded by tall trees isn’t enough to block out the view of the 887ft tower.

Sometimes it is hard to capture the perspective in a photo, but being Sunday there were markets on in the gardens and this helped take care of that.

This is the view right underneath it. Skytower will also have the highest infinity pool in Australia. Not a bad view during a swim!

It’s a great addition to the Brisbane skyline, if high rises are your thing. It’s also the joint-third tallest building in Australia, rivaling the bigger cities of Sydney and Melbourne.

Brisbane holding its own!

 


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section and Travel Diary

Follow me @samest89 on Instagram and @octstw on Twitter

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Happy blogging,

Sam

The best view Sydney can offer

I’m not talking about the city sightseeing bus. I’m talking about the great high-rise behind it. I was walking by (around the time I was posting about the Sirius Building) and it made me think about the daily benefits Sydneysiders have over tourists, only to probably take them for granted.

Think of the views from this building, the Gateway Plaza. The people that are too busy to gaze out of the window and the distances you could see from the highest floor. It is a shame to think some of the tallest buildings in any city are the ones that are built for workers. Now I understand that these buildings wouldn’t be there if there wasn’t a demand for office space, there are more people in a city trying to earn a living than people visiting it on any day. There are towers that have tourists in mind such as the Sydney Tower Eye, so tourists aren’t exactly getting a bad deal. But what if every building had an observation deck for people to use? If one floor was designated for those looking for a different view of the city, for a small fee would this earn the company more money than an office full of employees? I am sure someone out there could do the maths. Maybe they have and that is why most high-rises don’t have them.

So that is my thought for the day. Have you had similar thoughts? Are you a city bus tour kind of person or a selfie from the top of the cities tallest building- kind of person?

I am not the best with heights, however I also get travel sick. I think a great view over the city wins for me with some great memories of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur and the Empire State Building in New York City. Very impressive buildings and opportunities I won’t forget.

Is this building ugly? Pt 2: An update on the Sirius Building…

Can you remember a few uploads back on Wednesday, I posted about the Sirius Building on The Rocks in Sydney? A concrete building that I did not particularly like the look of, although some of you had mixed feeling towards it.

Well, it turns out that the last resident, Myra Demetriou has left the building.

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Yesterdays farewell event. Photograph: Ben Rushton/AAP

The Sydney Morning Herald website states that:

Following the state government’s 2014 decision to sell the site and invest the proceeds into social housing elsewhere, Ms Demetriou has featured prominently to the campaign to allow Sirius residents to remain.

The campaign being the Save Our Sirius Foundation, or SOS for short. They even made a cake in the shape of the building for Myra’s farewell event.

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So oddly, my post was published very close to the last occupant leaving. Pretty crazy timing, I must say. The Guardian in the UK also has an article on this, and briefly describes the reason for the state selling the building:

The sales are designed to fund cheaper and more accommodation elsewhere, in the hope of easing the state’s huge waiting list for public housing. It has variously been described as “heartless”, a form of aggressive social cleansing, and short-sighted.

Not many people are happy with the move, that is clear. SOS has also shown interest in buying it from the state government.

I try not to sound too much like the media when posting on these kind of local news stories, however it is hard not to. I won’t keep blogging in this style or nature, as I feel I am just copying and pasting other websites coverage. If it isn’t my own work, I don’t want to put it out there. This story was one that I had to post however, as it was directly linked to my recent post Is this building ugly?

So the question still remains, will it stand the test of time? The answer will be revealed sooner than I imagined.


Photographs taken from The Guardian, courtesy of Ben Rushton/AAP.

Is this building ugly?

I pass this building everyday on route to work, I thought I would at least dedicate a post to it. Not that I like the building, in fact the exact opposite is true. I find it ugly but I wanted to wait for a blue sky before snapping an image of it, I tried during a cloudy day and it makes for an incredibly dull photo. Some would say that adds to my opinion, but it just made me feel gloomy.

So this afternoon I got off the train in Wynyard and made my way back onto the Harbour Bridge to take a decent shot.


Not that I want to be mean, it’s beautiful in a weird way. A bit like a pug. They aren’t the most beautiful dogs out there however that makes them cute. There is beauty in the concrete cubes. 

I’m sure the residents of this building make up for it in their home decor, however looking at the building I am unsure if people live in it. It would be fascinating to have a high rise building abandoned in such a lively part of the city.


If there are residents in there, I’m sorry for taking photos of your crib. 

Update: Apparantly there are residents. Over at Wikipedia, I learned a little about this complex, formally known as the Sirius Building.

Anecdotally, unit 74 of the Sirius building became somewhat of an unofficial Sydney landmark; its sign displaying ‘One Way! Jesus’ clearly visible to Harbour Bridge commuters. The sign was in place for around 10 years, although the owner of the sign, Owen McAloon, and his motivations to spread a Christian message remained generally unknown.

Since 2015, the Sirius Building has been at the centre of controversy over plans to remove the residents, sell off the building and possibly redevelop the site, with opponents of the plans seeking to secure its protection as a heritage building.

I’m not sure how many commuters and tourists have been converted via a sign outside of a resident window, thankfully it isn’t that easy. 

But I do feel this view is a great photo opportunity, brutalist 70’s architecture with a backdrop of modern highrises. It makes me wonder how many buildings we are constructing today that will be seen as an ugly eyesore by future generations. It’s almost impossible to predict which ones will stand the test of time until they do. 

So far, this one has!

They don’t make ’em like they used to

It is true that we sometimes don’t give something the true respect it deserves until it is gone… Maybe we did give it the right amount and just miss having it around today. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve reflected on this as I get older. 

One thing I hear regularly when looking back is how we ‘don’t make ’em like that anymore’. As if the engineers, soldiers, artists and ways of life of yesterday were light years ahead of today’s equivalents. Today’s thoughts are inspired by an old picture that was shared on social media today of Grey Street in the 1950’s, a Georgian Street that looks as pretty in the centre of Newcastle today as it did back then. As I am from this city, the majority of posts I see daily are about the region, full of snow at this moment in time.

This was taken in 2017, but hasn’t changed much since 1950

Firstly, I want to give praise to social media for allowing so many fascinating articles to be shared daily, in amongst all those food shots and click baits. To think how difficult it has been for past generations to keep in contact at all, I’m am sure they would have snapped up Facebook in a heartbeat.

Secondly, despite history gracing us with some incredible architecture, we would have to completely ignore today’s innovation and developments to suggest that great designs are victims to time. They didn’t leave us behind, they are rising up as we speak. 

I mean, I only have to look at my recent shots in Singapore to remind myself of this. 


Then, who could forget this building in Dubai?!


It would be pointless to even compare the monument on Grey Street to the Burj Khalifa in a side by side shot, the monument would be almost unrecognisable. Then we have the Jeddah Tower. Upon completion in 2020 will be well over twice the height of the Empire State Building. Insane.

Yes these buildings focus heavily on height. No these buildings aren’t as commonplace as the detailed architecture that line the streets of Georgian or Victorian England. But wouldn’t our great grandparents marvel at the sight of a building that pierces the clouds at the heights we see today? 

And with that, can we really say with confidence that they don’t make ’em like they used to?

Burj Khalifa photo credits: 

Clay Banks- Unsplash

Denis Harsch- Unsplash

Melting pot

Buildings vary as much as people. Probably more so in fact. As diverse as a city population may be, each building also has its own look and character. At least buildings don’t have a problem standing side by side, as a species we could learn from this…

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I love that the heights and structures vary so much. Some old, some new. Some being ripped down and some rising from the foundations. I sometimes think of what a futuristic society will look like- will all buildings look much more alike to reflect the globalization of Earth and an ever more increasingly connected world? Maybe our great, great grandchildren will follow the same trends as we do and opt for buildings that vary as much as they do today. In the present, the varied styles reflect humanities ever changing beliefs, opinions, tastes and ambitions. They remind me how different each and every person is and the benefits and challenges this brings.