London builds…something.

Public art or public eyesore? The mayor of London — the host city for the 2012 Olympic games — has commissioned a tower for their Olympic Park meant to be their own “mini-Eiffel.”

Some 400ft high – admittedly a little shy of the Paris landmark’s 1,063ft, but higher than the Statue of Liberty – the Olympic tower will resemble a giant ampersand of coiled metal. . . .

Nicknaming it the “Hubble Bubble”, because it looks like a giant shisha pipe, [mayor Boris Johnson] said of Kapoor’s design: “He has taken the idea of a tower, and transformed it into a piece of modern British art.

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“It would have boggled the minds of the Romans. It would have boggled Gustave Eiffel.

“I believe it will be worthy of London’s Olympic and Paralympic Games, and worthy of the greatest city on earth.”

You can judge that for yourself. The structure is largely privately paid for, which should at least quiet criticism about spending public money on a “giant ampersand.” But whether it deserves to be mentioned in the same sentence as the Eiffel Tower is another question entirely. Johnson went on:

“If Paris can have the Eiffel Tower, then we thought the Olympic site had to have … something.”

Of course, considering that our own Ground Zero still stands empty after almost nine years, maybe “something” is better than nothing.

What do people think? Love it? Hate it? Waste of £19 million?




  • Margaret Cabaniss

    Margaret Cabaniss is the former managing editor of Crisis Magazine. She joined Crisis in 2002 after graduating from the University of the South with a degree in English Literature and currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland. She now blogs at

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