Behind the corrugated mask

London’s wheels keep turning, occasionally spinning wildly. We probably wrote about the frankly rather mediocre Vauxhall Bus Station back in the distant past, noting how the clunky canopy, bizarre ‘ski jump’ and Airstream-inspired ticket office felt like typical salves for the capital’s short architectural attention span. Now the whole thing is being threatened with removal. Ironic that structures like the wretched St George Wharf will no doubt see their way through countless cycles of fashion and reappraisal and forever be far too expensive to buy back and rebuild, whereas small-ish ventures seem ripe for regular and endlessly renewal. The scheme wasn’t exactly a shining example of community-centred infrastructure, but it has become a public space of sorts. The bus station is even a minor masterpiece compared to the rest of Vauxhall’s haul of 20th century buildings. Once up on a time this stretch of the river, graced by wasteland and the Nine Elms Cold Store, inspired the occasional architectural vision, just as Battersea did upstream. We particularly like the Crystal Span / another London thing. The Harrow Dominion is an epic piece of cinematic Art Deco that has been hidden away since the early 60s behind a corrugated metal facade. One day, perhaps, the Dominion will emerge once more.

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