Roger Williams in his essay America says : ‘Canary Wraf appears a harmless historical fantasy, something of an architectural zoo…’1.
When I was visiting Canary Wharf it remind me his words and a lot of George Orwell book: “Brave new world” where perfectly designed human move around cold, in a way empty and structural environment, people have tasks to accomplish they do them well and that’s the only interest they have. As Foucault Michel states:’ Discipline ‘makes’ individuals it is a specific technique of a power that regards individuals both as objects and as instruments of its exercise.’ 3
Everything is built for purpose of business, there is no other reason for a object to be there, if it doesn’t serve the function.
Although there is no sign of history, just the presence. Time is running as fast, as never before, only in the weekends it stands perfectly still, then business stops, letting few wonderers get lost in this enormous maze that is build from glass and concrete, as it is no place for home, family or other more personal affiliations except some restaurants where people in dark blue suits take they lunch, tourists that come here, have a lot of things to be surprised for.
Glass boxes and more of them to be built makes the most of Canary Wharf environment and some perfectly designed trees in little squares to imitate a real place where the same human used to earn living
Inside the large, grey underground station that is connected with several shops that tend to invite consumer in, with vivid commercials ‘it reminds him, in articles, photos and advertisements, of the need to live on the scale ( or in the image ) of today’s world’ 2. Even though surrounding still feels very mechanic and gigantic. At times cold sterile female voice announces information that gives an impression that everything is under control and strict surveillance.
To leave this part of the city for me is a joy, return to traces of the history that has been left on the streets, imperfect and human that comforts just like a hug from a friend that is as warm and friendly as the parts of the city that has been formed with time, with it’s good and bad qualities, happy and sad history that what makes the most of the human.
Rigger Williams ‘America, E14’ The anxious city, Routledge; New Ed edition (25 Nov. 2004) chapter 7
Auge Marc Non-places: introduction to anthropology of super modernity, From places to non-places, 2, Verso (2008), 61-93 (p.8).
Foucault Michel ‘The means of correct training’ Discipline and punishment: the birth of a prison, Penguin (1979) 170-194 (p.170).