A High-Visionary Superhighway

Ian Martin designs a series of cycle superhighways for London

MONDAY Restore Halloween to its original neo-Gothic glory by rendering it in a Victorian font and reintroducing an apostrophe bisecting the ‘e’s, to give the lateral axis a stylish 7/2 split. Also, let’s face it, an apostrophe looks a little like a bat.

TUESDAY Who does the General Secretary of the Communist Party and President of China think he is?
This jumped-up Rotary Club chairman says he wants an end to the ‘weird buildings’ that are making his country a laughing stock. Apparently we all have to rethink the concept of what a landmark in China looks like. Well thanks very much, Comrade Boringbollocks. Nobody’s laughing now. I’m halfway through three huge schemes in Blingnang. They’re now useless. Back to the drawing board.

What really sticks in the craw is that I, in common with my colleagues in the international epic space community, have gone OUT OF MY WAY to make sure my weird Chinese landmark buildings demonstrate cultural sensitivity. Still. I’m sure the ‘President of China’ knows best.

Into the bin goes my opera house that looks like a bowl of dumplings and noodles, my stylish faux-Modern restaurant (‘Succulent Panda’) lofted on chopstick pilotis and my zero-carbon, counter-torqued ‘Chinese Burn’ residential tower resembling a human arm.


WEDNESDAY My old friend Darcy Farquear’say, the metrobohemian cultural cartographer and dandy, has become embroiled in yet another imbroglio.

The International Foundation for the Preservation of Ancient Architects has filed an official complaint about Darcy’s piece last week in The Well-Dressed Controversialist.

In it, Darcy defended a bouquet of apartment blocks designed by ancient architect Chuck Lehry next to what used to be Battersea Power Station, which is now some sort of luxury air farm.

Lehry is of course protected from architectural criticism by UNESCO’s Humane Conservation Protocol 451, which threatens severe penalties for ‘comments that may tend to erode the subject’s reputation’. Newspapers and magazines are forbidden to allow an image of Lehry or his architecture ‘to appear on any page where it is in danger of being overshadowed by something more interesting’.

Darcy’s huge mistake was playing devil’s advocate. He suggested that (in the mind of a philistine) Lehry’s marvellous confection of titanium, centrifugal force, spun glass, puréed concrete and diamonds might resemble a ‘Dalek Clusterfuck’. Unfortunately, this is the only bit people can remember from the article and suddenly there’s talk of Lehry’s legal people taking the case to Strasbourg as a hate crime.

THURSDAY It seems as though Darcy’s apology has only made matters worse. At a press conference today Lehry gives the finger to a journalist who asks about Dalek Clusterfuckgate.

‘Let me tell you one thing’ he snarls. ‘In architectural journalism, 98 per cent of everything that is written today is pure shit.  There’s no sense of awe, no respect for genuine auteurs. Just unadulterated shit. You people here in this room right now? Assholes. I give you bastards new ways of looking at the ways rich people can inhabit a city, sometimes even for a long weekend, what thanks do I get? None. You make me sick, assholes.’

And with that Lehry’s whisked off to decompress in a UNESCO-approved red carpet conservation area, attended by parasycophants.

FRIDAY I’m designing a series of cycle superhighways for London. It’s absolutely essential to provide safe and direct passage through the capital for cyclists.

Don’t just take my word, as a cycle superhighways imagineer, for it. An entire synod of eminent architects signed a letter to the mayor of London demanding them, so I think we should see action pretty soon. These superhighways – reminiscent in style perhaps of the early days of the internet – should not simply be ‘visionary’ but ‘hi-visionary’.

Cars and bicycles must be separated, for their own good. These days ‘I am a cyclist’ can mean either that they ride a bike or that they are deeply prejudiced against anyone riding a bike. Let’s face it, the only way to separate bikes and cars is to commandeer all pavements for use by cyclists only.

Obviously that has a knock-into effect on pedestrians, and my solution is a series of pedestrian superwalkways. Where will they go? I’m afraid that’s outside my brief.

SATURDAY Five-a-zeitgeist theoretical football. Murmured Cobblers 3, Fumbled Wobblings 2 after extra striation and a touch of seasoning.

SUNDAY Create ‘superlieway’ in the recliner.

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Updated: 01.11.2014 — 02:52