Renzo Piano has vowed he would throw himself in the Thames if his super-tall Shard skyscraper turned out like the Barbican towers.
The Italian-born architect, who was in town for the London Architecture Biennale, made the extraordinary claim in front of a gaggle of international journalists on Friday.
Piano claimed he would be very disappointed if his 72-storey mixed-used tower in Southwark ended up looking like the much-loved Brutalist 1960s Barbican development.
Pointing at the landmark concrete towers, the 68-year-old architect said: ‘I will jump in the river if I do something like that.’
The international architect was speaking before his Southwark Cathedral ‘Sermon’ on Friday.
Piano’s highly-publicised Shard scheme at Tower Bridge is set to become Europe’s tallest tower at 304m high - although the architect confesses the top 60m of the glazed skyscraper will only house a ‘radiator.’
London’s most famous concrete residential towers were not the only target of Piano’s wrath.
The designer, who collaborated with Richard Rogers on the Pompidou Centre in Paris and helped him steer a herd of sheep through central London on Saturday, was also critical of the city’s drive to build more skyscrapers.
He said: ‘[London Bridge] is one of the few places that you can build a tower [in the capital].
‘You cannot make towers everywhere and London is a city which can be densified without necessarily making tall.’
He added: ‘[And] you can stop making more suburbs by filling in the black holes in the urban framework.’