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Boris's Tower On The Olympic Park

Mr Tickle

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I've just watched it myself and I actually don't think Kapoor came across particularly well in parts, nor did it seem he could convince himself he liked it.

I say that because he seemed quite dismissive. I mean, you look at those early designs with the open staircases. Of course that was never going to fly! So why did they design it like that, then have to rework it in to the compromise we now have? I just feel if these things were considered more realistically and less idealistically by the artist at the very start it wouldn't look so messy. A solution could have surely been reached where the architecture didn't compromise the art quite so much.

The programme was spot on; the stairs are the fatal flaw. I've got used to the fairly ordinary looking viewing platform now (I still wish it was less 'functional'), and the looping structure itself is great, but the stairs are such a huge wart on the face of this tower. I hope the experience of going up it rescues it. I'll find out on July 29th...

But yeah, as TBF says, watch the promgramme on iPlayer.


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Kapoor Came across very well and was the reason it was worth watching ,

Along with his relationship with Catherine Findely who is a very good architect in her own right.

Interesting points razed where a Glass floor in the observation deck which Kapoor didn’t want , presumably Boris did.

I have mixed feeling on this it may have been interesting but personally I don’t like standing on those things,

I agree with Kapoor also that its not just the way it looks its the way it feels, if it was just the look we would have nothing but visual pap,

The views of the presenter can be taken with a pinch of salt as the Culture show is not a high end arts show.

the presenter would be beter suited to radeo one.

In any creative collaboration there will be heated debates as was the case with kapoor and Findlay,

I actually like the way Findlay’s architecture reacts to Koppres sculpture.

And Kapoor looked happy with the end result to me.

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The presenter's personal views are as relevent as yours or mine and I daresay he knows more about art than either of us, being the Telegraph's deputy arts editor. I can only assume the jibe about him being better suited to Radio 1 is because of his age. :rolleyes:


It wasn't a sycophantic presentation of the sculputre and its creators as it could've been from the BBC (who are after all the Olympic broadcaster), but nor was it dismissive of the structure just because it's not conventionally pretty. It did try to get under the skin of the sculpture, and it did - more importantly - reveal the competing visions of Boris, Kapoor, the architects and and the compromises that followed.

The only disappointment for me about the programme was the fact the initial competition for the commission was glossed over. I'd have liked them to have discussed that more.

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What bothers me about Kapoor is that he keeps saying things like, "The Eiffel Tower was hated by everybody for 50 years, or something like that. Now it's a mainstay of how we understand Paris. We'll see what happens here."

That's just blatantly false. The Eiffel Tower was criticized during the design phase, mostly by artists, many of whose designs were rejected. But the tower was already exceedingly popular before it was completed. Popular form the start with both the general public, and many of the “experts” who had criticized the initial design.

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The latest issue of The Architect's Journal feature the Orbit on its cover and an in-depty review headlined: Awkward, bizarre, sublime. Mixed review but odd enough, despite being tauted the worst part of the tower, the critic wrote the best experience is when coming down the stairs. He even lauded it to be "one of London’s greatest ‘rooms’ – for that will be how the mesh-enclosed spiral stairway must surely come to be seen in."

Interesting. Because from the picture the inside of the stairs looks really claustrophobic and cagey. I have a feeling it is more transparent if experienced in person and the motion of spiralling through the 'intestines' of the Orbit structure is the saving grace of the architecture. You can only tell when descending it in person!

Oh the article can be read online here


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  • 3 weeks later...

Verey Pleased I finaly have a ticket for the Orbit.

not pleased about having to pay another £6 delivery fee when I have already payed a delivery fee for another ticket on that day.greeeeee7269843818_710d22301c_b.jpg

You can console yourself with the knowledge that while you're in it you won't have to look at it. It's getting worse to the eye, not better!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Can someone explain to me what those spinning things on the poles are in the park? I saw them on TV and I see them in the photos above. Wind turbines or some art piece or both?

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  • 2 years later...

We don't have these in the United States. But this is my understanding of how they work:

When you get to the bottom
You go back to the top of the slide
And you stop and you turn
And you go for a ride
Then you get to the bottom

Either that, or you go out and kill a bunch of people.

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That ugly lump really added nothing to that park, world art or the Games- I imagine if it wasn't there we would have got a dramatic tall cauldron .....as per the early plans.

I think somebody probably realised, very early on, that the taller your cauldron, the more fuel you need to make the flame look impressive.

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