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London Now!
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London Now!
The Shard

Great cities aren’t made but evolve, a mysterious alchemy of past and present. That’s what makes London alluring, the layering of history and the contemporary. These days, Londoners are talking about the Shard, the highest skyscraper in the city which is visible from almost every vantage point (some grouse it’s too high and too visible). The locals have opinions, too, about the Olympics coming later this summer, with the new Olympic Park sited in a long-derelict East London borough that’s been cleaned up, overhauled, and made sustainable, not just for the Games but far beyond. The post-2012 plans call for building a community for thousands, with housing bordering a sylvan park, right next to one of Europe’s biggest shopping centers, and a hub of mass transit lines. Elsewhere, along the streets—and underground—are vast improvements created by some of the best designers from Britain and abroad. Despite ongoing economic uncertainty, London is keeping its competitive edge as a true global capital. Check out the ever-changing city in this special section. — Cathleen McGuigan

Photo © Rob Telford

The Shard

Crystal Palace
An enormous exclamation point on the London skyline, Renzo Piano's Shard challenges the city's old notions of fitting in and offers a new approach to high-density growth.

Photo © Rob Telford

New Court Rothschild Bank

Banking on History
OMA tucks a new home for London's storied Rothschild headquarters into a tight site in the city's financial district.

Photo © Iwan Baan

New Court Rothschild Bank

Ticket To Ride
London is in a race to complete major infrastructure projects before the Olympic Games even begin. Call it the "London 2012 Effect."

Photo © Hufton+Crow

Olympic Stadium, London

Wave of the Future
Designers behind the London 2012 Summer Olympics look well beyond the Games' closing ceremonies, creating venues that can be readily disassembled or adapted to long-term needs.

Photo © Morley Von Sternberg

The Olympic Stadium

Going for the Green
Can London oust the ghosts of Olympics past and find ways to reuse its venues?

Photo courtesy Olympic Delivery Authority

After the Deluge


After the Deluge
How have past Olympic cities measured up for reuse, post-Games?

Rio 2016

Rio 2016
Though London's Games have yet to leave the starting block, work on Rio's Olympic venues is well under way.

Image courtesy AECOM

2009 Alexander McQueen evening gown.

Design City: Incubated Here
In an increasingly global economy, maybe it¹s futile to stamp any design with a national identity. But Britain still reigns when it comes to exporting cool.

Photo © V&A Images / courtesy Design Museum

Material Man

Material Man
Thomas Heatherwick’s unconventional approach flouts design orthodoxy.

Photo courtesy Heatherwick Studio

Cathleen McGuigan

Editorial: Lessons from London
How the 2012 Olympics became the “alibi” for reclaiming a derelict swath of the city

Photo © Michel Arnaud

 

Shad Thames

Shad Thames
Along the narrow cobblestone road of Shad Thames, a bit of preserved Victorian-era Britannia on the south bank of London, the adage “What’s old is new again” rings especially true.

Photo © Rob Telford

Coming Attractions

Coming Attractions
Though this year's Games have set a deadline for new construction in the city, for some major projects the finish line is still a few meters away.

Image courtesy Herzog & de Meuron

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