The Brunswick Centre, a residential cathedral

The resort-like plaza

The resort-like plaza

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.

The beautiful columns at the Renoir

The beautiful columns at the Renoir

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.

Buttresses

Buttresses

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.

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