Blot on the Townscape #2 – The Blade, Reading

This is the tallest building in Reading (Berkshire, UK) and so the ridiculous silver cardboard pointy bit on the top can unfortunately be seen for miles around. Quote from the building’s website:

“Sharp thinking…...The curving form of the spire gives a distinctive lift to the skyline, a striking landmark representing the modern face of Reading.”

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It isn’t a spire, it’s a spike which has no purpose at all. It isn’t distinctive, it’s banal, and it isn’t striking, it’s an eyesore, but it certainly does represent the modern face of Reading, a town crammed full of third-rate office buildings (though there is at last an interesting looking one by Aukett Swanke under construction). A panel seems to have fallen off to add to the flimsy effect! The bit of scaffold tube strapped to the prow is an aerial I assume as I haven’t seen the developer’s flag up there yet! Perhaps it does nothing like the rest of it.

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It is an unpleasantly aggressive form, The Blade being the very appropriate name of the building! Both the ‘spire’ and the top of the building look like the lid of a box or a party hat, an afterthought with no design relationship to the rest. You can imagine the developer saying to the architects (Sheppard Robson, who should be ashamed of themselves): ‘That flat roof looks a bit boring guys, can’t you spice it up a bit…’

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Enjoy the rants about this building (and others) on the Bad British Architecture Blogspot: http://badbritisharchitecture.blogspot.co.uk/2010/04/blade-building-reading-by-sheppard.html

Photographs by me.

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