Tall, unnecessary, poorly designed. Or not?

This morning I’m travelling to a meeting, so I walked to the train station and made a point of noticing what’s around me.

Two things stuck out. A tall monument and a nondescript office block that looked down on those nearby. Both were clear against the skyline.

The monument is a lasting testament to the victims of a cholera outbreak and showcases the work of artisans, then and now. Years ago lightning damaged the top of it due to inadequate protection, which was neglected until relatively recent expert restoration. The money spent, then and now, could have been used to provide better healthcare instead.

The office block is like many office blocks and its construction doesn’t stand out in any way, except that it’s taller than its immediate surroundings. It’s a modern build, but makes me think of the many 60s offices that are no longer in use – which these likely will be in a few decades. Instead of building this high-rise, much more characterful older buildings could have been renovated and preserved.

It’s easy to write one off as an eyesore and the other as a waste of money, but one can take another perspective on this. The monument serves as both as inspiration and reminder, which drives progress. The office block speaks of our ability to adapt and renew as times and constraints change.

Neither is inherently good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

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