The following sketches are from a collection of studies I have undertaken, documenting some of central London’s highest profile building sites of the last decade. Drawing a lack of building might seem quite strange, but this practice of ‘chasing’ demolition sites permits the opportunity to capture unique views of the City’s landmarks that may not have been visible for the some 50 years, and after a very brief interlude, may not be visible again for another 50 years.
As dense London creaks and groans, and the towering buildings fall only to be rebuilt double, these drawings are both a snapshot from the past, from an age when Wren’s spires stood tall on the skyline, and a speculative precursor to a new future, in which Paternoster Square and One New Change are just promises of a new version of the City. These views no longer exist and we may all be gone by the time they reappear, so it seems important to grab a fleeting impression of them, whilst the window is open.
Saint Nicholas Cole Abbey in the forground with the tower of Saint Mary Somerset just visible through the rising steelwork of the 95 Queen Victoria Street
The tower Saint Bennett’s dome hovers momentarily over partially constructed Salvation Army building
Demolition to make way for Jean Nouvel’s One New Change afforded a dramatic panoramic of St Paul’s east end
A new development on Cheapside gives Saint Vedas, in the forground, a few weeks in the spotlight with the tower of Saint Mary Le Bow beyond