The Skyline of London

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1 A Before you read 1. Which London landmarks do you know? Match the pictures and the names a) Buckingham Palace e) St Paul s b) Covent Garden Piazza f) The Globe c) Houses of Parliament g) Tower of London d) O 2 Arena h) Tower Bridge 2. What do you know about these buildings? How old are they? What happens there? Talk to a partner. 1

2 London s modern architecture 3. Have you ever seen these buildings before? Do you remember their names, their nicknames or what is special about them? Write down what you know about each building below the picture

3 B Read the texts 1. Match the buildings to the pictures on page 2. The Walkie-Talkie Even before it was finally completed in 2014, 20 Fenchurch Street became famous for its ability to fry eggs on pavements nearby. More dangerously, it also damaged cars parked in the adjacent streets. It was originally nicknamed the Walkie-Talkie by local residents because of its shape, but after discovering its rather infamous characteristic, it has also been called the Walkie-Scorchie because it scorches things in its reflective path. The Walkie-Talkie s cooking talents come from its curved shape and the fact that it is covered in glass. It therefore acts as a concave mirror which then focusses the sun onto a small area nearby. All this sounds like a very unusual mistake, but actually the architect who designed it, Rafael Viñoly, has done it before. He designed a hotel in Las Vegas which did a similar thing. His excuse was that London had suddenly become so sunny and that it must be due to global warming. Both buildings have since been slightly changed to avoid this problem. Just a few minutes walk from the Thames, 20 Fenchurch Street is worth visiting for its rooftop garden and viewing deck. You can enjoy some great views while relaxing on a sunbed. There are also bars and restaurants in case you get hungry or thirsty. City Hall Another modern building worth visiting in London is City Hall. It was designed by one of Britain s most famous architects, Norman Foster, to be particularly environmentally friendly. Foster is famous for his designs all over the world and, in Germany, particularly for his modernisation of the Reichstag. The name City Hall is misleading as it is not actually a city hall. It is the home of the Greater London Authority which is responsible for the whole of Greater London and was only established in the year 2000, two years before City Hall was completed. You can find City Hall opposite the Tower of London right next to the Thames. You can t miss it because of its interesting rounded shape and even if you are not interested in architecture, it s worth popping in to have a look around. They also have lots of free exhibitions which are usually about London or have been produced by Londoners. Canary Wharf The official name of this building is One Canada Square which is in Canary Wharf. It was built in 1990 and was Britain s tallest building until the Shard overtook it in There are shops and a Dockland s Light Railway station on the bottom floor but the rest of the building is taken up by offices and is not open to the public. One Canada Square with its pyramid on top is mostly known as a London landmark and can be seen when approaching the east of London from land or air. Canary Wharf itself is one of London s main financial centres. When it was built it caused a lot of uproar as it was built on part of the West Indies Docks which were once part of the busiest port in the world. It was also one of the poorer areas in London with cheap housing. The houses were knocked down and the poorer people had to leave the area to make way for the rich! 3

4 The Gherkin 30 St Mary Axe, otherwise known as the Gherkin for obvious reasons, even if the vegetable is green and not quite as pointed, is in the City of London. It was built by Norman Foster, a very busy man, on the site of a building that was damaged by an IRA bomb attack in The Gherkin, which has won prizes for its appearance, can be seen from 20 miles away to the north and more than that to the west. It is used for office space and is not open to the general public. The top two floors can be hired for private events though, if you are very wealthy! The Shard The Shard, which looks like a broken piece of glass (hence the name), is the tallest building in the European Union. It is just over 309 m high and has 95 floors. There are two observation platforms towards the top of the building, a hotel on floors 34 to 52 and a selection of restaurants throughout the building. The higher viewing deck is on floor 72 and this is partly outside. All the walls are glass and from there you can see London in every direction. Apart from being Britain s highest building, the Shard is most famous for being climbed and for being jumped from, mostly illegally. One legal event was when 40 people, including Prince Andrew, abseiled from the 87th floor to raise money for charity. C Now it s your turn Vocabulary 1. Read the text again and find other words which mean: a) next to (adj.) b) well known for a negative trait (adj.) c) curved inwards (adj.) d) to direct many things towards one point (verb) e) by a small amount (adv.) f) to visit for a short time (verb) g) to come near (verb) h) wealthy (adj.) i) a broken piece of glass (noun) Comprehension 1. Explain why the Walkie-Talkie can fry an egg. 2. Explain why the name City Hall is misleading. 3. Give some reasons why somebody might want to visit 20 Fenchurch Street. 4. Explain why some people weren t happy that One Canada Square was built. 5. Explain why the text says that Norman Foster is a busy man. 6. Which building would you see first when you drive to London from the East? 7. Which building would you see first when you arrive in London from the West? 8. Which building could you visit if you want good views of London? 4

5 Discussion Look at the pictures of the new and old buildings. Discuss your opinions of them in small groups. Think about these questions: 1. Which do you think is most attractive? Why? 2. In general do you like the new or the old buildings? 3. Which would you like to visit most? Why? 4. Which would you most like to live or work in? Why? Would you be happy to live or work on the 30th floor of a building? 5. Which building would you most like to have in your town? Why? 5

6 Teacher s page: The Skyline of London Lots of new buildings have sprung up in London in the last few years. Some of the best architects in the world have designed them but what do your students think of them? Do they prefer the old ones? A Before you read a) Buckingham Palace 1 b) Covent Garden Piazza 8 c) Houses of Parliament 3 d) O2 Arena 4 e) St Pauls 2 f) The Globe 7 g) Tower of London 5 h) Tower Bridge 6 2. Here is some information about the buildings: Buckingham Palace: built in 1703 for the Duke of Buckingham hence the name. It s the official residence of the Queen/The British Monarchy. St Pauls: built from 1675 to 1720 by Sir Christopher Wren. It s the seat of the Bishop of London and is an Anglican cathedral. Many famous people are buried here e.g. Lord Nelson, or their funeral was held here, for example, Winston Churchill. Houses of Parliament: officially called the Palace of Westminster. The present building was built from 1834 to It is about to undergo major repairs, meaning that the government might be resituated for a few years. O 2 Arena: This was built inside what was originally the Millennium Dome. The Millennium Dome was complete in 1999 and was opened on 1 January It was built to house an exhibition. The O 2 arena is now a sporting arena and is also used for concerts. The Tower of London: The first part of the tower was built in 1078 by William the Conqueror. It now houses the Crown Jewels and is a major tourist attraction. Tower Bridge: completed in The bridge can open to let tall boats pass through. The Globe Theatre: opened in This is a replica of the original Globe Theatre which was where Shakespeare put on many of his plays. The modern building is an open-air theatre and is used primarily for Shakespeare s plays. Covent Garden Piazza: officially just called Covent Garden. The buildings around the square were built from the seventeenth century until about There are several cafés, pubs and restaurants here and this is the area where you can watch street musicians, for example. C Now it s your turn Vocabulary 1. Read the text again and find other words which mean: a) next to (adj.) - adjacent b) well known for a negative trait (adj.) infamous [*---] c) curved inwards (adj.) - concave d) to direct many things towards one point (verb) - focus e) by a small amount (adv.) slightly f) to visit for a short time (verb) to pop in g) to come near (verb) to approach h) wealthy (adj.) - rich i) a broken piece of glass (noun) - shard Comprehension 1. The Walkie-Talkie is made of glass and is curved. On a sunny day the sun falls on the glass walls and is focused on one spot like a giant magnifying glass. The magnified sunrays heat up anything in their way and can therefore literally fry an egg. 2. A city hall is usually where the official business of a city is carried out, but City Hall is not used for this purpose. It is home of the Greater London Authority which is responsible for the whole 6

7 Teacher s page: The Skyline of London metropolitan borough of London. 3. Somebody might want to visit 20 Fenchurch Street to get a good view of London; to relax in the rooftop garden; to eat or drink there. 4. One Canada Square was built in a poor area of London and took away cheap housing, meaning that the poor had to leave that part of London. 5. You can read in the text that Norman Foster designed City Hall and the Gherkin and also redesigned part of the Reichstag in Berlin. 6. Canary Wharf 7. The Gherkin 8. The best would be the Shard. Discussion Individual answers expected 7

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