Wednesday, March 28, 2007

# Canary Wharf

This is is London's traditional financial centre, The Square Mile, Canary Wharf. These three buildings are the three tallest buildings in UK - One Canada Square, HSBC Tower, and Citigroup Centre. Although not as impressive as US's skyscrapers, these are considered some "WOWs" for UK.

I have been to Canary Wharf a few times to visit friends, and I could always feel a difference between the place and the Central London.

Central London is full of people and activities, and lots of buildings scattered everywhere. People are rushing, crowds are shoving, street-sellers are shouting out prices of their goods, shops are busy, shopping streets are packed full of crowd, weather was crappy as usual traffic was haphazard...

Canary Wharf is full of tall buildings, and lots of working people wearing suits, carrying solemn looks. The place is spacious, and cleanliness is maintained. I like the cleanliness, but somehow, I feel some feelings of emptiness when I was there a few times.

I don't know how to describe it, the place seems perfect and nice, well-planned and well-maintained, but it lacks of a feel of... life. I know it's somewhat a crazy notion, but that's the feeling that the environment gave me.
Just like these statues, the place feel the lack of "Living Qi"

Perhaps it is due to the fact that the whole place is such a concrete jungle that the "Qi" that it exudes is that kind of cold, metal "Qi".
The "metals"...

Perhaps it is because the city garden is man-made landscaped that it look too fake.

Perhaps it is due to the fact that the place is only full of working people, looking serious and rushing for work during weekdays; and become lifeless during weekend when nobody is around.
Some French-style open air cafe. Only difference was the seats in France were full, here most are empty.

Perhaps it is because I have been too used to living in places in London like Wood Green or Whitechapel which are so pack full of activities, street markets, all kinds of people (different races, different backgrounds, different social classes), where almost everyday we can hear police siren going off or see police cars zooming past. (Hmm... it's starting to sound a bit like the dodgy end of London now...)

Perhaps I'm a bit too particular about places, but I prefer a place which there are some communities and people and activities, where we can observe life going on, than a place which are clean and beautiful and well maintained, but somehow you just don't feel you belong there in someway.

Canary Wharf is really nice and clean and meets all the requirement of proper town-planning. I enjoyed my leisure strolls with friends at the place, I enjoyed the calm feeling I have with the quiet surrounding. But somehow, I just can't feel I can actually belong the the place like that.

More photos taken in Canary Wharf.


The Moody Minstrel said...

What you described is exactly the way I feel about the Shinjuku area of Tokyo. When you're among the tall, glittering, new skyscrapers it just seems so totally artificial and lifeless, but if you go a few blocks in any direction you wind up in either a shopping or entertainment district, and you're suddenly in a completely different world.

Canary Wharf was still very new and under construction when I was in London (in 1994), and I never got a chance to check it out. Maybe that's for the best.

Pandabonium said...

I toured there with the "International Real Estate Congress" in 1988. The Canary Wharf project was just getting started along with demonstration flights into London City Airport - all part of the Docklands development project.

Yeah, it's all pretty cold stuff - not human in scale or mix of building purposes.

Jih Ying 致颖 said...

Great composition! You can do without a DSLR. When were these taken by the way?

Tempting me to go there for an outing soon. Still ruing over the poor weather during my last outing Sept last year.

I think most people love Canary Wharf. I like it too, especially on weekends when it's not too crowded. The only downside is it's too perfect, too artificial sometimes.

Found a favourite spot by the side of the river, near Royal China and Four Seasons Hoel.

YD said...

whew... I thought I was the only one having the mixed feeling of "Gosh I should be loving it cuz it's so beautiful!" and "Am I in some dead beautiful city?" and "Where have all the life gone?" all at the same time.

Interesting to hear that Shinjuku has the same "layout", it seems that this phenomenon is more due to common human nature than distinctive by geographical location. Financial people perhaps?

I was just musing, what if we have someone like Gaudi who did the designing? It would have made a stark difference to today's world. Business people will not be all in ties and suits, but in wacky clothings chilling out in the weird -shaped office... Nah, imaginations...

I don't exactly remembered when the photos were taken, cuz they are taken during different trips. But I think some are 2 years ago, some are from last year and some are from this year. Taken mainly using my camera phones W800i and K800i. Light and portable, great travel companion, hehe...

perhaps there is something beneath our hearts that feel we are not perfect for such perfect things, that we could not feel the deep connection to them... What am I talking about...?? @_@ I also dunno.

I have the place I like there as well, it's the walk along the river near Lotus restaurant. Of course, we ended up in Lotus. ^_^