24 February 2010
A little bit of the US in south London: bike-free
The winning design for the new US Embassy has been announced. They'll be moving from their current position, in posh Mayfair, to a spanking new building on the south bank by Vauxhall, at Nine Elms, due for completion in 2017.
The Philadelphia-based practice KieranTimberlake won the bid. They've taken time out from making shoes and pop singles to come up with this bold vision (right). Perhaps it was inspired by 'local traditions', such as the 3-D headache of the Michael Faraday Memorial at the Elephant and Castle.
And a real, genuine bit of America-in-Britain the new Embassy is. Because despite all the mentions of the 'environmental responsibility', 'sustainable design' etc, guess how much mention there is of bikes? Yup: sod all. Nothing about parking or access. Oh well: the terrorists will just have to drive there, like everyone else.
Mind you, given that Nine Elms Lane has one of the Britain's worst bike lanes, that's hardly surprising. Who'd want to cycle there anyway?
This is one of my favourite stretches of it, not far out of Battersea. In the space of fifty or so metres, the lane is blocked at least five times by posts in the middle of it (right) - two of them for signs informing you that it's a bike lane.