All posts tagged: Architecture

A visit to the Barbican in the City of London.

I don’t know about you, but I thought the Barbican in London was simply an arts centre – “simply an Arts centre” there’s an understatement for a start. Just how wrong can you be? My wife, Sue, knowing I like Brutalist architecture bought me a ticket for a guided architectural tour of the ‘complex’ and complex it is. Not only is it an arts centre – by the way, this section of the development was finalised and built last – but it is a housing project comprising around 2000 flats.  First, throw away all preconceptions of what a ‘housing project’ of this size would look like. The project was conceived in the late ’50s by architects, Chamberlin, Powell and Bon. They planned and delivered a high quality, wonderfully detailed living space, and due to the management of the terms of the letting or sale of the units, it has remained so ever since. Strict conditions apply regarding what the occupants can and cannot do –  but I’m getting in front of myself. If I may backtrack; The area …

Travel: Hampi, Karnataka, India

What a place! If your ‘gob is not well and truly smacked‘ by this place then you have no soul. The natural landscape is strewn with huge granite boulders, some piled precariously atop one another, some say, they have been there for thousands of millions of years, formed by the ancient tectonic plate movements of the earth’s crust. It’s certainly a landscape which dwarfs the visitor, not only in scale but in time. It’s also been a natural quarry for the indigenous people for many centuries. Working with the hard crystalline granite – not an easy task I’m sure – artisans and artists first quarried the stone by splitting boulders – you can see evidence of this all around. Boulders with pockets chiseled in line litter the area. It’s said these pockets were filled with balsa wood which was soaked with water. The expansion of the wood split the stone. The boulders were then worked to produce exquisite objects, some huge in themselves, and elements for building construction. There is much to see in Hampi but, for …

Victorian cast iron men's urinals under railway​ arches. Central Birmingham. Late 1970's

I talked yesterday of beauty in decay…

Yesterday  I reviewed the book ‘Beauty in Decay’. I mentioned in that review I was interested in this as a subject myself. I have very little work to show in this genre, despite being involved in urban renewal myself, which inevitably meant the destruction of these buildings. Way back then, sadly,  I didn’t carry a camera wherever I went. That’s a great regret to me – and should be a lesson to us all. However, in the mid to late 70’s I did get the occasional frame which indicated my leanings in this direction. I post three here. I hope they interest you. At an exhibition of some of my work back in the 70’s a critic said I was from the “dustbin school”. I was offended back then, I would take that as a compliment today. The image at the top of the page shows a Victorian, cast iron, men’s urinal in central Birmingham. It was placed underneath the railway arches on the approaches to New St Station, near to the Bullring. I returned …