Broadgate and the City of London’s Architecture of Inequality

Originally published on frieze.com

It might seem odd to consider the 2010s through a building complex completed in 1986. Broadgate, the 32-acre office-and-retail labyrinth that sits between London’s Liverpool Street station and Shoreditch, has long been considered the architectural embodiment of the late-1980s economic ‘Big Bang’ that followed Margaret Thatcher’s deregulation of financial markets. As depicted in Boom, Bust & Bankers, a documentary (directed by Joseph Bullman) about the site that aired on Channel 4 in November, Thatcher herself launched construction work on the site from the seat of a mechanical digger. The masterplan and initial phase of the development were designed by Arup Associates with the Chicago-based architects Skidmore, Owings & Merill responsible for later additions. The result was a collage of large scale high-tech and postmodernist projects centred around Broadgate Circle, a travertine amphitheatre overlooked by shops, restaurants and trading floors…

Originally published on frieze.com

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