Learning English - Words in the News
22 August, 2007 - Published 13:37 GMT
The London cityscape is undergoing a major transformation with many tall buildings appearing and many more on the way. The backers say it all symbolises London's confidence as a global financial centre. But not everyone agrees. This report from Rob Broomby:
London's skyline is upwardly mobile. Work is about to begin near the Thames on a building called the Shard, a spire of steel and glass that will literally skewer the skyline rising 310 meters. By some measures the sky piercing spike will be the tallest building in Europe, a mark of London's growing confidence according to the developer Barry Ossle:
OSSLE: To make London compete at the highest level, one needs modern architecture, new buildings, iconic buildings.
For him big can be beautiful. The dome of St Paul's Cathedral still stands out above its neighbours - it's a protected view - but in the heart of the financial district, what Londoners call the City, there's a reach for the sky that will see 9 or 10 new high rise buildings shoot-up in the coming years, with a similar number again to supplement the existing towers of the downstream business development known as Docklands.
But tall buildings don't suit all tastes. UNESCO recently warned that the 1,000 year old Tower of London - the Thames-side home to the crown jewels and a key London landmark - was at risk of losing its World Heritage Status as new buildings muscled in. Love them or loath them, there is confidence in buckets here and the new buildings symbolise it. London will never look like Manhattan and on a global scale its buildings may be puny but it is striding into a new era, whilst trying not to forget its past.
Rob Broomby, BBC
high rise buildings shoot-up
don't suit all tastes
the crown jewels
World Heritage Status
there is confidence in buckets
Try a comprehension quiz based on this story
Download lesson plan 83k