Central St. Giles
Central St Giles, the first UK project by internationally renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano, has become a colourful London landmark, although controversial to say the least! Architect Piano later designed the unique Shard structure, reviewed earlier in this post. Central St Giles is a 400,000 square foot, £450 million mixed use scheme, developed on a Ministry of Defence site that was vacated in 2005. The area around Central St Giles, known as St Giles, was historically a run-down quarter of the capital. The developers transformed the traditional image of the area by envisioning a high-class retail and residential development. The result is two buildings: a 15-story residential block with 109 flats, of which 53 are designated as “affordable” (which, by London standards I am assuming are still expensive!), and a larger 11-story commercial, horseshoe-shaped building, now leased by companies such as NBC, Universal, and Google. The latter is irregularly shaped with recesses, projections and roof terraces to add visual interest and reduce its mass. The project has had its fair share of criticism. Its color scheme alone has drawn barbed comments.
Are we going to see a deluge of Pantone buildings by infinitely less talented, novelty-hungry architects and developers who wouldn’t know a Bridget Riley painting from a Victor Vasarely colour chart?