Beware the Conservationist Barbarian!
It's difficult to know where to start with this one. Surely nobody would expect a work of genuflection from this unrepentant architectural traditionalist towards a Moscow Mayor who has been responsible for an astounding amount of architectural desecration, a demolisher of historic buildings and erecter of gross edifices on an appropriately Stalinist scale. There are two interesting things about Jenkins' seemingly easily pricked bubble of Blimpish bombast, however. First of all the evident Victorian preference for reconstruction over restoration. While an uninteresting 19th century ensemble might suddenly take on some life with the addition of dirt, weathering, the marks and scars of history, what Jenkins and his ilk really want is history as a theme park, unblemished by the effects of actual historical change. The other interesting element in this guff being the invocation of (here we go) democracy. That demolition of the Modern and the reaffirming of the imperial is what Muscovites want might rankle with the inhabitants of the Narkomfin building, or the other housing projects left to rot, but nonetheless.
Apparently, given the choice, most Londoners would plump for Luzhkov's Disney approach to the rebuilding of long-demolished historic structures over Livingstone's preference for steel and glass towers. It takes something to make me want to defend the drearily unimaginative selection of edifices that make up 'Ken's Towers', but surely what people like about London is its historical messiness and speed of change: what can create in one corner of the square mile a collision of a medieval church, a regency bank, Rogers' neo-Constructivist masterpiece at Lloyds and the gherkin looming wobblily up behind, all seemingly facing each other off in architectural combat. While this might mask a reality of stagnancy and avarice, its surely preferable to this fantasy of cosy homogeneity. What the traditionalists, pasticheurs and the remnants of pomo want is a city where you can't see the joins: for all their critique of Modernism's alleged fetish for the ex nihilo act of creation and the clean sweep, these are people that would wipe away London's chaotic energy with one of Yuri Luzhkov's Speerian flourishes.