Wednesday, 23 June 2010

London - as seen from the room in the Elephant

High speed lifts sped me up to the top of the new Strata SE1 tower at Elephant and Castle.

At 147.9 metres (485 feet) and 43 storeys high, the £113.5 million Strata is slightly higher than the Barbican towers (below, as viewed from Strata), making it the tallest residential building in central London.

I hope you'll like the photos I've snapped of the stunning views of London offered from some of the most expensive of Strata's 408 apartments (Click on images to enlarge).

My visit was part of a magazine feature I'm writing about 'affordable housing' in low-income areas of London. So, I'll post more soon about Strata's external and internal (below) characteristics and my impressions of its impact on the Elephant and its people.

I'll just point out that Strata is the first development in the world where wind turbines are integrated within the building, according to Brookfield, its Toronto-based developer and builder. 

Brookfield claim Strata's three five-blade turbines will contribute 8% of the building's total energy consumption.

Paul Coleman, London, June 2010

(Above): Strata SE1, photographed on June 22nd 2010 from the west side of Waterloo Bridge, from the point where I first caught sight of the tower being built in the winter of 2009.

Photos: Paul Coleman

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

The 'lady-shaver' adorns London's skyline

You've probably seen this building glaring back at you from south London with its three turbines and Gotham City look. 

I've heard London folk have already nicknamed the Strata SE1 building (above) 'the lady-shaver'. You can see why; the Elephant & Castle tower resembles a giant electric shaver. 

Next week, I'll be taking a sneak preview from inside this latest new addition to London's skyline. I'll share with you Strata's features and - hopefully - reveal some of its...secrets.

Paul Coleman, London, June 2010.

Image courtesy of The Building Centre

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Future of a London landmark

I'll soon be taking a closer look at the future of this landmark London you recognise its signature tower?

Paul Coleman, London, June 2010

Photo by Paul Coleman

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Trafalgar Square reflections on South Africa

I stood beneath Nelson's Column yesterday afternoon taking photos of football fans celebrating the World Cup 2010 kick off in South Africa and just for a moment cast my mind back to the anti-apartheid demonstrations that rocked London's Trafalgar Square throughout the 1980s. The South African Embassy on the east side of the square (above, behind football fan waving flag) now flies the flag of a democratic country no longer ruled by racial separation.

Yesterday (June 11), South African Londoners filled Trafalgar Square, waving the flag, singing the national anthem (above) and dancing (below).

The London regiment of 'Bafana Bafana' football fans, hooted their vuvezelas, celebrating the opening of the 2010 World Cup in their nation, the first World Cup hosted in Africa.

The opening ceremony, and the tense opening match between South Africa and Mexico played in the 94,000 Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg, were relayed by satellite TV and shown on a huge screen placed between the London square's famous lions. 

Bafana Bafana fans celebrated with a mix of disbelief and elation when South Africa's Siphiwe Tshabalala gave their country a 55th minute lead (below). But it was the Mexican Londoners who enjoyed the last cheer when Rafael Marquez scored a 79th minute equaliser to make the final score 1-1.

For South Africa, the event showed that whilst genuine economic equality remains a huge challenge, political freedoms have been won within a generation. The fun and friendly atmosphere was also London's part in the World Cup; perhaps the world's first truly global event, now that it's being hosted in Africa for the first time. As for Trafalgar Square, it had hosted yet another event to showcase London as a truly global city.

Paul Coleman, London, June 2010.

Photos by Paul Coleman