Bloomsbury, that odd sock of London. One moment it’s nurses’ quarters, the next a sturdy row of Georgian terraces. You’ll be walking down a street wondering what shady area of London you’ve come into only to be confronted by the soaring architecture of the British Museum. With a little bit of everything, Bloomsbury’s greatest asset is its diversity, its least appealing aspect a population that seems transient, just passing through.
Once, at the very heart of this transience, lay the faded glamour of the Brunswick Centre slowing dissolving into the muck like a very dirty iceberg set out to sea. Then one day, the whole modernist residential-complex-cum-shopping-plaza was given a facelift and suddenly it became the queen of Bloomsbury rather than that place with a few crap shops. Now people who lived in Bloomsbury had a place to go.
It always had good bones. Surrounded by these mighty concrete columns – light and skeletal – I love the way it feels a bit like a precursor of Calatrava‘s beautiful structures in Spain (and elsewhere). There is a pleasant moment walking around the Renoir cinema where scale is blown out of proportion and suddenly I feel very, very small.
I’ve never been in any of the flats. Similar to rice paddy terraces, they slope down to the shopping plaza and are reminiscent of a small village. Architecture makes or breaks moods. In my head, living here feels like a very happy experience.