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.Read More
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.
Last thing I like is that there’s nothing obscuring the view. No railings. No health and safety. There’s no railings in Amsterdam by the canals and there’s bars by the water. Turns out its not as big as an issue as you think. So they left the view uncluttered. I like that.
We went on a tour and they said that inside everything is left exposed. This is so that while the students are learning about buildings the teacher can actually point to a working example right above them. It’s good stuff.
Nice architecture. Inspiring and educating while also fitting in with the area. Hopefully the start of good things to come with Wirral Waters.
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. Read More
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.
Once you got away from the towns it was just vast landscape and farms. Tiny buildings. Epic vistas. Out of the city on the side of a mountain and the buildings were not very tall but quite wide to compensate. I guess they’re low to allow the wind to pass over them as efficiently as possible.
Oh and wheelie bins. Surreal seeing them.