Change is inevitable

Thursday 28 Oct 2010

Jean Nouvel’s One New Change opens today

One of London’s most favoured cultural landmarks and regular hit with the tourist brigade, St Paul’s Cathedral, is today overshadowed by the official opening of a new neighbour – Jean Nouvel’s One New Change. The colossal mixed-use facility offers 340,000 sq ft of office space and 220,000 sq ft of retail and restaurant facilities in the historic Cheapside district in London’s city centre.

Developed by Land Securities and designed by Jean Nouvel with Sidell Gibson Architects and engineers Arup, One New Change experienced something of a rocky start. True to form, staunch traditionalist Prince Charles made his feelings towards the glass and steel hulk clear from an early stage, attempting to have Nouvel thrown off the project when he learnt of the architect’s appointment. Next came a barrage of protests from a forum of local residents brainstorming derogatory titles for the mixed use facility.

Against all the odds One New Change is due to open today at noon, its 6,000 glass panels glittering in the hazy sunshine that is London in late October. Colour has been an issue for many critics of Nouvel’s latest creation, the rusty brown hues fuelling negative reviews from online bloggers who labelled the design ‘a gigantic piece of tat’ and even ‘a turd’. These reviews have been mixed with excited retail enthusiasts who argue: “Anybody who works in the area would tell you there are too few shops in the area. If you come to Cheapside at the weekend it's dead. Not even your Prets and Starbucks are open so hopefully it will inject a bit of life.”

The hope that the internal offerings of the immense mixed use structure will be enough to silence Nouvel’s critics is a far fetched one however, as the close proximity to the 17th century iconic beauty of St Paul’s Cathedral seems a bitter pill for many to swallow.

Sian Disson
News Editor

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