Expanding Architecture and the Issue of Sanctity

Many are reluctant over the construction of the Shard of Glass tower in Central London, believing it will compromise the London skyline and more importantly, the prominence of St. Paul’s Cathedral.    The Shard of Glass tower stands at 1,000ft., costs about 400 million pounds (approximately $635 million), and is halfway through completion.  However, new photos of the Southbank panoramic (along the river Thames) shows the tower ‘trumping’ the iconic St. Paul’s Cathedral.

The cathedral is symbolic as the lasting legacy of Sir Christopher Wren, the man responsible for rebuilding London after the Great Fire of 1666.  Completed in 1711, St. Paul’s has served as an important part of British history; funerals of Lord Nelson and Sir Winston Churchill were held there, as well as peace services which marked the end of the First and Second World Wars.

As of now, St. Paul’s is the tallest building in the City of London (the area along the Southbank, approximately 1 mile in diameter), and its skyline is protected by the government sector the  National Heritage.  However, though the skyline of London is certainly beautiful, historical, and deserves (to some extent) preservation, I personally feel that expansion through architecture is an inevitable facet of modernity.  Look at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York–beautiful, large, and very important…and also surrounded on all sides by buildings far taller than it.  Does that make the cathedral itself any less significant?  No, not really.  Does being in the midst of skyscrapers detract at all from the cathedral’s history?  Absolutely not.

St. Paul’s is breathtaking inside, and at 400 ft. tall, still quite a prominent figure in the London skyline.  The Shard of Glass does not compromise it’s distinct place in British history, or even it’s distinct place in the City of London.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not exactly excited over the Shard of Glass.  I am simply suggesting that St. Paul’s should generate awe for its own merit, for the architectural feat in itself–not in comparison to its surroundings.