London: Bread and Circuses

Jonathan Glancey’s impassioned and often hilarious diatribe against the mediocrity of much recent architecture in London, and the increasing commercialisation of the capital’s public spaces, should be required reading for everyone involved in the design and planning of the 2012 Olympics. Here he is on the ill-fated Millennium Dome: ‘It promised visitors the most fantastic day out in their lives. Well, not quite so fantastic as walking the dog in Greenwich Park, or going to get some chips. Not very fantastic at all really. The Millennium Experience, its entrance flanked by a branch of McDonald’s, proved to be an exhibition of corporate sponsorship. The future the Dome was meant to represent appeared to be something to do with burgers, out-of-order rides and commercial propaganda. The next-door-neighbour’s cat could have told us that for the price of a tin of Whiskas.’

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