Most large scale modern architecture does not appeal to me; it's too big, too in-your-face and lacks manners towards neighbouring buildings. Often boringly simple, too; I'm prejudiced against the sort of building you can take in at one glance. Try doing that with St Paul's, or the Palace of Westminster; there's too much subtlety of form and wealth of decoration. But in Ice Diaries, the novel I'm currently two thirds through writing, London is covered in twenty metres of snow from which only the tallest buildings emerge, and they are almost exclusively new buildings.
- Bézier: This is a luxury block of flats on Old Street roundabout where my heroine, Tory, lives. Her flat is at snow level on the tenth floor. It's a distinctive building shaped like two half barrels. The manager very kindly showed me round, which was useful.
- The Gherkin: I'm quite fond of the Gherkin. It's an interesting addition to London's skyline, though it's now disappearing behind the tedious rectangular blocks of more recent even taller buildings. It has an innovative double skin that makes it extremely energy-efficient. My cage fighter hero hides his snowmobile there.
- The Barbican: brutalist sixties concrete, for a while the tallest residential blocks in Europe, built on an area bombed to rubble by the Germans in WW2. An historical part of London where Pepys once bought a table, it's a great loss to the City. The Barbican's layout is so maze-like it's unwise to try to cut across it. Beth Two in Replica was chased through the Barbican by MI5. In Ice Diaries, Tory and Morgan go to a ceilidh there in Shakespeare Tower.
- Strata: also known locally as Isengard or the Razor, this is a 43 storey block of flats of supreme ugliness at the Elephant and Castle on the south side of the Thames. It won the Carbuncle Award 2010 for 'the ugliest building in the United Kingdom completed in the last twelve months'. It has three wind turbines on top. In my novel, this enables the commune living there to have electricity.