The natural follow-up to the Oxford, England edition of Cranes Without Context would be Leeds. Leeds was the third metropolis visited during our much-too-short UK trip back in May. There aren’t many tower cranes in Leeds, but we’ll take what we can find.
Thanks to Cranes Without Context, I can finally start doing something with hundreds of photos from our May visit to England. You’ve seen posts from London; we also stopped in Leeds and Oxford.
Sure, Oxford has all that Harry Potter stuff, if you’re into that sort of thing. I concentrated on the old architecture, and these few tower cranes. That’s right, you heard me: TOWER CRANES > HARRY POTTER.
One month ago we were in London, marveling at architecture old and new. And there’s a whole lot of new on the way. One of those projects is One Blackfriars. Like much of what’s being built right now around London, it is very distinctively shaped, and gorgeous.
One Blackfriars is a development from Berkeley Group. The 50-storey (no stories here; this is London, after all) glass tower will have 274 apartments and 161 hotel rooms along the south bank of the River Thames. The design is by the architecture firm of SimpsonHaugh and Partners. The general contractor (seriously, as I wandered London and saw this name on lots of new construction, I thought each one would include a large movie-theatre complex. Silly tourist.) is Multiplex. Multiplex is not a place to watch films and eat popcorn; Multiplex is a massive global construction company.
First off, let me assure you I didn’t spend all our time in London taking pictures of tower cranes and construction sites. That would have been a wasted opportunity to see the English countryside and historic buildings. But I like the cranes, so I didn’t ignore them, either.
I make much of the tower cranes in Chicago. We have a lot. 32.5 at the moment, now that No. 508 is being erected. But London? That city has tower cranes. And if you think the counts are close, let me illustrate the gap by showing you two construction projects, with a total of 20 tower cranes between them.
Battersea Power Station
“Massive” is a popular word in England. I heard it to describe a multitude of things. It’s also become somewhat click-baity here in the States. But this Battersea Power Station redevelopment can be described in no other way. It is indeed massive. It will include architecture by Foster + Partners, Gehry Partners, and more. Features will include an elevator up to an observation deck within one of four existing smoke stacks, and the restoration of two old maritime cranes. Ten tower cranes *and* they’re restoring the two Thames-side cranes? Amazing.
Want to know more? (SPOILER ALERT: You do.) Please click this link to learn more about Battersea Power Station.
Like the Battersea project, Southbank Place centers around an existing building, this one being the Shell Centre tower. The 27-story building will soon be surrounded by seven more towers, five of which will be residential, with the remaining two serving as offices. Five different architecture firms are contributing designs to this development. Which is, to be honest, also massive. But duh. Why else would it need TEN TOWER CRANES.
I will not attempt to explain any further, as there is too much to know. Click this link to learn more about Southbank Place.
You think Chicago has tower cranes? Okay, yes it does. Chicago does have tower cranes. But London has tower cranes like they’re being given away. Every direction you look, cranes. Turn the corner, another crane. Look to the left, you might see 10 tower cranes. On one site. There might be too much home work to do here, but for now, just have a few photos. If I figure out what the words should be, I’ll post ’em later.