The British do love their skyscrapers. And to hate them. Give them a peculiar shape and allow them to dub it with a nickname, and the residents of this fair isle embrace them. Think the "Gherkin," and the "Cheese-grater" and the "Shard". If we can name them, we can tame them. Make them too high, and too pure, on the other hand, and we'll oppose them in every planning inquiry. Not for us clean lines and modernism. Twisted shapes and bulbous bits protruding is what we want.
Which makes the designation of Broadcasting Place in Leeds as one of the four best towers erected around the world in 2010 all the more comforting. The award, by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, puts Leeds Metropolitan University's new construction in a bracket with those high-soaring megaliths, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the Pinnacle@Duxton in Singapore and the Bank of America Tower in New York.
Broadcasting Place, in contrast, is relatively low at 70 metres (less than a tenth of the height of the Burj), certainly not shapely, with no fewer than 16 facets of the facade, and definitely eccentric, being made of deliberately rusted steel. All it needs now is a nickname. The "Rubik's Cube" perhaps or "The Nick Clegg" (it faces all directions)?