ABN AMRO Headquarters

250 Bishopsgate
London, United Kingdom

Contributed by Project for Public Spaces

The brutal design of this building is indifferent to the interesting neighborhood that is next to it.

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Why It Doesn't Work

This building should not be in London or any city, not even Houston or Atlanta. It would not add anything anywhere. We don't even think it should be a stand-alone building in a suburban office park. But to locate next to one of the most vital and interesting neighborhoods in London is a travesty of the highest order. One can only think that people who work in this building must be from another planet that must be placed on this earth to stamp out anything of interest around it. To even think of putting such a building in the city is amazing. It reminds us of the Bonaventure Hotels in Atlanta and Los Angeles, which Holly Whyte labeled the "most brutal" buildings imaginable. We thought we would never see another building like this in any city after exposing those disasters.

The design of these buildings, like the Canary Wharf complex, is driven by fear. They are designed to be separate and apart, aloof and indifferent to the world that they have removed themselves from. It is scary to think what the people are like inside these building, what decisions they make and what impact they have on the rest of the world. The contrast between ABN Amro and Spittlefields Market and the Whitechapel and Aldgate Neighborhoods is probably the starkest anywhere. This new development imposes a way of life that is so contrary to, alien to, and so inferior to what is already there. Build on what is there. Don’t destroy centuries of growth and impose something so superficial and empty in its place.

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