Friday, 31 December 2010

You Are the Quarry

Today I made it down to the Nine Elms Road and it's environs and found such a lot of good stuff that it'll probably take a few posts to get through it all....

As suspected not much activity to report at the power on to the first stop, the '...low bunker-like Royal Mail sorting office' on Nine Elms Lane -  which presents itself to the very busy Lane dressed in a lovely irridescent engineering brick with recessed pointing, dark framed windows etc etc.  The larger part of the building by far sits back from the brick facadism in the form of a hulking gridded black glass shed but the whole thing works quite well together by dint of it's low slung moody darkness plus the odd flash of colour (eg the Royal Mail logo and the yellow bay doors).

Inching on from the Royal Mail toward Vauxhall, we find to our surprise that the excellent, demolished and previously noted HMSO has not yet gone completely.

Indeed, if one sneaks round the back there are still some good bits left...

...sloping plinth, crinkly tin, primary colours and even grass-crete.
Me likey.

To get that amazing grass-crete shot, I had to walk round Jack Barclay's Bentley Service Centre and, on the way there, found this touching detail, framing a fire door, in front of a fence, looking onto a service road, leading to the back of a post office:

And I'd bet my house that an architect is responsible for this little piece of poetry, working for tuppence ha'penny and probably shining Jack Barclay's hub-caps on the weekend out of the goodness of his heart.

Waterloo Road, London

Bit of a vague title to the post but can't see the road number on any of my photos or Streetview...also no real clue as to it's identity from the signage so if anyone can help me out in identifying it's provenance I'd be grateful.

If you have a look at it on the satellite image it appears on the corner of Waterloo Road and Sandell Street and you can see it's quite big, mixed use, offices with residential high-rise behind with the highest tower at 20+ storeys.

Lot's of nice details here and many personal favourites such as the sloping brick plinth...

An earlier post on William Whitfield featured Oriel House, a building from , I would guess, a similar date and likewise combining dark brick with framed/curtain wall construction - see here - and although I really love the medieval-ness of the brickwork in the Whitfield the marriage here of the two different flavours is much more comfortable (actually, thinking about it...I'd put this building a bit earlier than Whitfield's...say 1977 vs 1985???).

The two images above show the office space facing onto Waterloo Road and are flanked by a much lower part presumably to bring the scale of the street facade down to that of the adjoining buildings:

 ...with a little bit of the Classical to welcome you to the 'Gasgoine Room'.

More later on the relationship between Classicism and Brutalism....

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Evleyn Grace Academy, Brixton London SE24: Zaha Hadid Architects 2010

The assurance and self-confidence of this building reminded me of some areas of central San Franscisco (eg.around Botta's modern art museum) visited a couple of years ago which seemed to express a different level of civic ambition than we might normally see in the UK.  My only criticism here would be that it's all slightly too compressed.  Expand the whole thing by 30% in all directions and it's a masterpiece.  Well it's pretty brilliant anyway - one of the highlights of the year.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

And Finally (for today).

A new architectural 'ism' (actually an 'ia') occured to me the other day and I've been trying to figure out a clever way to drop it into a post, without success, so without further ado would offer 'Po-Mophobia' to the world and define it as...

' An irrational fear of the history of architecture'

...but would also be interested to hear other definitions for this new and exciting term!

Nine Elms

Contrary to what I say in the post below I don't think I did previously blog about the building (one of the buildings) knocked down to make way for the American Embassy in Nine Elms it - or it's ghost, courtesy of out-of-date Streetview - is...

I think this building really deserves an architecturally literate critique, which I am not up to providing - although I feel it might have something to do with Jim Sterling...

Holding post

No time to post properly at the moment but when I do...the intention is to survey some of the buildings on a route I have taken several times in the last few weeks along the Nine Elms Lane toward Westminster Bridge as I was struck by how many good things there are around this area - with a bias towards those of a light industrial aesthetic/typology - because this appeals to me - and is also sadly but not necessarily wrongly probably under pressure of demolition with the arrival of the American Embassy nearby (which saw to one of my favourites already mentioned in an earier post...any guesses???) as well as the always iminent and never actually happening redevelopment of Battersea Power Station.