The other night we were watching the latest episode of Doctor Who, season 10 episode 2. The Doctor and his companion, Bill, landed on an alien world of fields right out of Gladiator and some futuristic looking architecture. That architecture was not all CG models inspired by contemporary designs. It was actually Valencia, Spain and the work of Santiago Calatrava. It was a thrill to see it being used this way. The place is utterly bonkers and feels completely futuristic right down to the spaceship that’s landed at one end and is now an opera house.
Just down the road from me is the new Wirral Met College on Wirral Waters. It’s been there a year now and there’s a few things I really like. First up is the design. It reminds me of Icelandic architecture. I like the big windows so people can see in and out. Turns out there’s a reason for this. It’s so people passing can understand the use of the building and also invite people in. The idea is that you can see people learning a skill and maybe think you could try it too. Clever. On the flip side it the view inspires the students. They’ll see the area develop over time and how the skills they’re learning can be put to real world use. Again, clever.
I’m on a series of RIBA architecture tours over the next couple of weeks. The first was of shedkm’s very cool Littlewoods Bunker. Things I loved included the strong use of colour and bold typography against a concrete frame. Bold yellows, black and concrete. Nice. It’s a great little building and good to see the plans for the wider area. Once its all done the whole Littlewoods complex should be a great community.
As part of the Sensing Spaces exhibition at the Royal Academy in London the Chilean company Pezo von Ellrichshausen created a beautiful wooden installation that you could climb up to get closer to the wonderful ceiling. It was huge and really had presence in that room but when you were on top it’s all about enjoying the details in the room its taken over.
The Weeping Window is a small scale version of the Poppies that were featured at the Tower of London earlier this year. While it’s on a smaller scale it’s still incredibly beautiful and moving, especially at dusk. The way the colour of the poppies compliments and also contrasts with the stone of St Georges Hall. It’s stunning.
The display is on until 17 January, 2016.
I found the architecture in Iceland quite interesting. Reykjavik had some taller modern buildings going up by the ports but the traditional style seemed to be corrugated boxes with pointy roofs. I really liked the look. The cathedral was of course stunning. Iceland has a very Nordic feel to it with all the churches on the hillsides.
When you got out of Reykjavik the smaller towns felt quite American / Alaskan. There was no McDonalds but they had a Taco Bell. It’s a European country but it really felt American at times, in the smaller towns anyway.
Amsterdam has an interesting range of architecture. The older traditional looks the way it does for a variety of reasons. Houses are thin and tall because of cost. If you had a wide house you were quite rich to afford the land. So most are thin and tall. The buildings lean over the street a little. That’s not a structural issue it’s a design choice. It helps with the cranes on the top of each building and lifting goods in. They have to do this because houses are thin and tall and the stair cases are useless for pivoting a couch around. Pivot! PIVOT!
The Liverpool Biennial in association with artist Koo Jeong A and Wheelscape Skateparks have created the UK’s first glow in the dark skate park or glowpark. It’s a fantastic collaboration of art, architecture and culture to create something both visually interesting to look at and completely functional for skaters of all ages. It’s everything you could want from public art. I love it.
I miss Amsterdam. I really really miss it. Something always happened there. But more than that I feel like its the first holiday I’ve had where I actually relaxed. Before your mind goes there, no. Beer, chocolate and I’m slowly getting into whiskey. Thats all. No crazy coffee shopping. I couldn’t afford the laundry bills.
Anyway. I genuielly relaxed there. It was like home but without responsibility. So I was able to have all the fun I would at home without the “Oh work next day.” or “Better head home and do the laundry.” It was a week of street photography mixed with architecture and beers by the canals. If we wanted to stay out till 12am to do more street photography and afterwards relax with a beer by the canal till 1am we could. Man I loved that freedom. It was so liberating.