St Paul’s Cathedral is a dominant feature on London’s skyline. There are also lines of sight at ground level as you approach the Cathedral from a number of directions.
In addition to all that, local development has very cleverly employed glass so that not only is the Cathedral viewed directly, but also by reflection – in one instance, both at the same time.
Most people who visit St Paul’s Cathedral logically head to the main entrance at the west end of the building. And I am no different in that regard, usually. However, last week my route towards the Cathedral from the Bank of England brought me to the NE corner of the site, at the top of a street called New Change. Here there is a huge shopping development called One New Change. It’s described on its website as ‘a modernist building by Pritzker Prize-winning architect, Jean Nouvel, with 6,500 floor-to-ceiling glass panes in varying shades of red, grey and beige, flooding the floors with natural light’. What that brief statement fails to mention is that the glass also appears to vary in its reflectivity.
As I walked down New Change, looking up at this building, the Cathedral’s reflection hoved into view, and as a I walked further I reached a point where the building was slightly angled, resulting in a double reflection. The Cathedral appeared to be rising through layers of tinted mist. There are moments that momentarily take one’s breath away – and this was one of them.
Modern Architecture really does have the power to excite the senses. It creates new inter-relationships – is it not reasonable to suggest that glass facades have the capacity to create a ‘fourth architectural dimension’?