Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The Ealing, Hammersmith & West London College building, Gliddon Road, Barons Court, London W14 (by Bob Giles of the G.L.C Architect's Department, Schools Division,1965-1980).

The satnav unexpectedly took us along the A4 to Heathrow last weekend (instead of the quicker but presumably less direct M4) which was lucky because it's full of architectural gems standing untouched at the edge of autopia.  Reminds me of how Nine Elms Road was before the mega-redevelopment in that area and  will try to get along there with my camera in the near future.

The steps above are part of the GLC further education building, taken from Laurence Mackman's flickr set - which has 6 or 7 good shots of this interesting Stirling-esque building.  Also - seen via satellite below:

Monday, 20 May 2013

St Giles Hotel, Tottenham Court Road, London WC1B

Postwar excellent site attributes this to Elsworth Sykes 1977, and I'm not arguing with that.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Park Hill, London SW4

I always admire this small estate when I pass by and have quite likely posted an image or two before but thought would stutter-out what I like about it in more detail. I'll adopt a list format:

1. Dark brick and dark roof tile (which you can't see!)
2. in-out modelling of the facades/blocks
3. how the facades look a bit classical from one angle and a bit modern from another.
4. the concrete cills which double as little planters under some of the larger windows
5. white windows, panelling and fencing - showing that not all window frames need to be dark (although they almost always look better this way)
6.the slim strips of exposed concrete which i guess either are concrete lintols or an allusion to them

There are two other estates that I can think of which successfully combine dark brick and white windows.  This one off the Peckham Road, below, which deserves a post of its own in due course.
The other is the Lennox Estate in SW15 which also has crisp concrete banding contrasting with the dark brick and nice proportions to the vertical elements.  Images here, Will Faichney's excellent record of UK council housing stock + well balanced commentary.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

B&B visit - Royal Danish Embassy, Sloane Street, London, Arne Jacobsen 1975 (i think)

About a fortnight ago we amazingly managed another building visit, first to Jacobsen's Danish Embassy, (thanks to Louise for showing us round) and then by foot to H R Cadbury Brown's Royal College of Art. Thanks Boris for the tour of the architecture dept at very short notice.

Jacobsen's Embassy we reckoned to be a painstakingly bespoke building in the guise of something effortlessly modular.  The modular 'concept' (we're back in the 70s here) follows through from the large scale (ie the facades) to the small - eg the simple but pretty nice meccano style staircase.  There are lots of ventilation grilles - clearly a good thing - and it's all done in a sort of second world war camouflage grey/green...and why not.

a short distance away on the opposite side of Sloane Street we have this very smart office/retail affair.

and more or less opposite this, we have ...
Slab & tower period piece maybe by Richard Seifert and, I ought to know, but this surely is also Seifert...
Continuing along south side of Hyde Park couldn't walk past Basil Spence's barracks without taking a few photos...

Friday, 10 May 2013

sidney opera house in lego

really doesn't suit a lego treatment but i still love it

Thursday, 9 May 2013

working backwards...

...from the Normandy posts...

Last bank-holiday weekend we spent a night in sun/cider soaked Bristol.

Couldn't help noticing that nothing pre-1960 seemed to have been affected by the 'See No Evil' graffiti project around Nelson Street.

One building that was deemed a worthy canvas is the former Magistrates court.  Couldn't find out name of the architects via Google as usual but did find some really intriguing pictures of the interior here.
as you can see the building is for sale.  It deserves a repreive from the predictable calls for it's demolition and 'city's biggest eyesore' tags, so if you're feeling flush why not step in.  I'll convert it for you into an inner-city mansion.

the actual biggest eyesore in Bristol is the interior of the Marriot Royal Hotel (about as royal as Coronation chicken) and which I couldn't bring myself to photograph.

I thought on the next visit we could try the other city centre Marriot as it's in a decent 60/70ss building but unfortunately they've Victorianised the insides .  Here's the outside and the entrance lobby

nice chandelier.

The only interesting modern architeture I spotted apart from the Magistrates Court were carparks...

I should subtitle this post 'Becoming Alan' because, following on from carparks I'm now going to badger you about (assume Partridgesque voice)...
 ...window replacement!
I once asked a London planning officer why his department frequently gave consent to replace original windows of their council housing stock (usually interwar or 60s/70s) with ugly UPVC , and the answer appeared to be that, whilst the planners didn't always like them, they also didn't like to say 'no' to, as it were, themselves. So slight conflict of interest to the considerable public detriment.

The picture above therefore shows a very rare thing; a sympathetic window replacement to a building type which doesn't usually get the honour. 

The other thing that Bristol has is good roofs...from Brunel's Temple Meads train sheds to the old Brook Bond tea packaging factory (now 'Spike Island' studios/gallery/workshops) and the city centre market hall (name of which have forgotten)...
vaulted in-situ concrete roofs at Spike Island

To my mind there are not enough Peter Randall Page works around...

And that's about it from Bristol unless anyone can tell me who the building below is by?  John Launtner maybe?  The model was sitting unattended in one of the Spike Island studios...