Friday, 30 November 2012

Oxford Street: London's New Downtown?

The City of London lost its Downtown, tragically, through fire in the 17th century. But the heart of a city is its Downtown, both for residents and visitors. There is another city, however, the City of Westminster: its heart is Oxford Street. A Cloth Hall (Oxford Market) stood on the northern side of Oxford Street (where Market Square now stands) until the 1880s. The street is commercial and beautiful at the same time. Look at this building, look at those windows, that gable, that sunray stonework above the window pediment. All that stops this building competing with the equally delightful examples in Amsterdam and Brussels is its state of repair. I won't mention the shop front.

Sally Crawford, 30 November 2012

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Gable of the Day

Another Oxford Street beauty from the eastern section running from the Circus to Tottenham Court Road. This is the south side: north side next week.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

So beautiful and so unloved

Oxford Street is retail but I can so easily imagine it as a treasure house of fancy gablework in addition to retail.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Oxford Street Gables

Beautiful gables, even on a dull day. Does anyone ever look up and notice these?

Friday, 23 November 2012

Entertaining - or not?

Warning: architectural jokes coming up. This photograph from the Egypt in England exhibition shows part of the carved Egyptian Frieze at Warwick Road (Flaxyard Plc).

It depicts the god Seth. He originally carried the ankh, the symbol of life, but they've given him a power drill. There is worse: the goddess Neith, further along the frieze, is depicted seated 'to accommodate a service doorway'.

The whole thing was originally planned as part of an Egyptian-themed office development and is now part of the outside wall of a Sainsbury's.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Egypt in England

The lovely Bastet, mousehunter in chief

The frieze is part of an Egyptian frieze installed at Warwick Road and exhibited in Egypt in England. The architects are Flaxyard Plc and further along the frieze there is a particularly entertaining joke which I will show you later.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Glorious gables

An Oxford Street gable to note - isn't it beautiful?

Neglected Gables of Oxford Street

Three gables on the south side of Oxford Street between Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road. The roofline is already starting to change. Any Dutch- or Flemish-loving architects and engineers interested in taking this further?

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Gorgeous Gables of Oxford Street

An unsympathetic shopfront can massively detract from integrity of the building above it.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Revisioning Oxford Street?

I have always loved the buildings of Oxford Street. It's not the fault of the buildings if retailers and others install inappropriately designed fascias on the ground floors. The picture shows a beautifully restrained 1930s building in Soho Street that is being put under scaffolding and gutted. The buildings to the right of it, also under scaffolding, are on the corner of Soho Street and Oxford Street.

1. I wonder what is happening to the corner building – if any demolition is going on, I hope that Westminster City Council, part of whose glorious domain this is, will ensure that the new buildings will sit well with the existing fabric.

2. I wonder what is happening to the Soho Street building – it is a fine brick and Portland Stone façade with granite at the base. The ground floor fascia has been hashed about a bit and would benefit from appropriate restoration.