City As Material: Skyline

Last Friday we held our third Pitch In & Publish: City As Material event; the topic -“Skyline”. Taking part was our special guest, Simon Pope, as well as Giles Lane, Martin Fidler, Katharine Willis, plus our new addition to the Proboscis team, Radhika Patel, and myself. Meeting at Leadenhall Market, we listened as Simon explained his interest in the topic, whilst introducing the photo essay he created for the Skyline notebook, before starting our journey through the heart of the city.

Gazing upwards, we strolled towards the Gherkin and then Tower 42, before breaking off from our path to explore some secluded passages and elevated walkways, spotting little wonders you would never notice during everyday travels. Walking right past office worker’s windows, we got some unusual glances as we peered inside and discussed the relationship between the buildings in the City and its dwellers, taking heed of the abundance of CCTV camera’s recording our steps. These, plus the unusual nature of some of the areas we visited, almost make you feel as if you are trespassing, even though we were on public land; a hidden garden we wandered upon seemed to be a haven of exclusivity, with little seating alcoves that resembled guard posts.

Back in the main streets, we made our way to the Monument, our aim to ascend it’s 311 steps and be rewarded with an elevated view of the city. Traveling up the narrow, winding staircase was a hefty task, but once at the top the panorama was breathtaking. The sense of detachment from the lived in, street level, as the strong wind whipped across the tiny viewing platform, was poignant and surreal. 160 feet high, looking down at rooftops and across to spires, we saw London as a bird might, the human element below seeming very far away.

Thoroughly deserving of lunch, we had a rest, ate and further explored Simon’s photo essay, starting to pick up on themes and possible idea’s for the eBook we would produce back at the studio. Once there, we discussed the day and compared photos, as well as a GPS account of the route we took, from Katharine’s phone, and some amazing drawings by Martin, from a previous trip to the Monument. The concept of looking up, and down, rather than purely across at a skyline, really interested us, and inspired the format of the eBook we are currently creating as a result of the event. Look out for it soon on Diffusion, and keep track of the discussion online with the #cityasmaterial hash tag on Twitter. You can also view all our photos from the event on the City As Material Flickr page.

The next Pitch In & Publish: City As Material event, “Underside”, will be on the 26th of November, and will include Alexanda Deschamps-Sonsino as our special guest. Book a place here.

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