Sunday, 11 December 2011

If I could write...

If I could write what I wanted to write to apply for my MA, it might have started like this…

“Dear Good Sir/Madame

I am applying to your course today because I want to know more, understand more, create more. I am desperate to be among those that know, and discover, among those that think harder and more deliberately than anyone else in the field of architecture and design. I want to take from your compatriots that what I hope they can take from me, a sense of perspective that only they or I have.

I wish to discover something within my skill set that I can offer to a greater audience, and work with others to create something unique, interesting, and ultimately…fun. I don’t yet know what this “thing” might be, and I don’t yet know how I might go about discovering what it is that I want to create. I don’t know where I will be in 12 months time, and I can’t comprehend what it is that might appear from much discussion, thought, a dabble of model making, and reams of drawings in some form of media. But I can promise you it will be comprehensive, exciting, and, wish a twist of charm, challenging….”

Monday, 5 December 2011

Like it!

Walking in the cold light of darkness that now comes into existence around the depressingly early time of before work finishes gives me a generous moment to reflect, or more accurately drift senselessly into whatever my mind feels is most comforting.

But yesterdays moment of day dreaming took me to wondering why I like things, but of course, more specifically, architectural things. You would think architecturally lovely things are typically easy to find; type in “awesome architecture” into google and you’re presented with a ream of architectural beauties, from modernist, to hyper modern, classical, post modern, big twisty computer-y things that are big, and other such glossy big giants. But then you study, and you’re told that these aren’t as lovely, amazing, super cool awesomeness that you’ve told your friends that you’ll one day create. No, you’re told that in-fact Robin Hood gardens is an impressive piece (I agree),  La Torette is a master piece (I wouldn’t have said otherwise), and anything Gaudi is stupendous (of course!). But my first feeling towards these three are, knock it down, does anyone live there, and theme park. But now I’ve read a couple of books, drawn a couple of buildings, and talked to a tutor or three, my line of though now echoes rather than rejects those lines…although Casa Batilo still troubles me.

Now this is the dilemma, or not really a dilemmae, but due to my architectural infancy in theory,  I’m going to “put it our there”. If architecture is meant for everyone, as everyone inhabits architecture in some form or another, then should it take an education on the subject to truly like or dislike it? Or does it take the most educated to be the final word on good or bad architecture. Hopefully this (not so smoothly) segues onto the commentators and critics of architecture…

When ever I look at, or experience a building I…typically stumble through the threshold and neatly forget that I should be really investigating the space I’m in. I’ll simply utilise the build for what it’s for, be it the post office, or bank, home, or work. It is really the architecture that is commentd on, criticed…or blogged about that truly grabs my attention, moreover those written by people of high stature that I find myself asking, “If they like it, shouldn’t I?” These are professors or editors with years of experience, with an ability to articulate beautifully the poetic nature of form, the ingenious resourcefulness of materials, or the brutal simplicity of function and paint which ever building that see fit in the brightest of lights….or verbally raze any creation to the ground. They talk of buildings in ways that I could have never appreciated when I was a youngling devoid of higher education. They consider the all and everything, and I would only feel the something or nothing. But to know whether or not I like it? To really know…well it’s a dam sight easier to agree with the leaders and be lead, rather than stand askew and say the opposing…

They are the lead on architectural propriety; they do not scoff, shout, or moan (omitting publications from the Telegraph) about what they have seen. They deliver considered opinion backed by the publisher their words are printed on, of which the design community laps up. But how many settle to be lead and to agree and share the view of the leaders, and who, for that first reason when they walked into a building and saw opposite to the words of their design journal, turn a shoulder, and sticks with that instinctive thought? 

Monday, 14 November 2011

Having a H-archi-tack

I’ve been spending the better half of this month pouring over the injustices that present themselves as the modern day hospital. As we all know, the NHS is long standing institution that sits, perhaps not uncomfortably, but I suppose tentatively within the spectrum of politically, and socially conscious.  For both citizens home and aboard that both benefit from such an organisation, and for those that are left with a bitter and ever lasting after taste of coming into contact with this socialist beast, it remains a major player, for better for worse, within British culture.

Now being a blog that’s meant to attempt to talk about architecture in some form of knowledgeable format, it would of course makes sense to delve into a piece of hospital architecture that summons the good bacteria from within, a sort of Actimel archetype just for places of health care. But I fear hospital buildings of this type are far and few between, and we’re left instead with a fast food burger that is, while cheap and affordable for the masses, leaves you both wishing to flee the premises as soon as consumption is complete, and with a questionable desire to end your life, even if the latter notion it’s just though a verbal “figure of speech” murmur.

It seems that as hospitals are at the expenditure of the tax payer, the building has to be on the cheap side, and not only does it have to be on the cheap side, it has to look on the cheap side; the solution? An inevitably, and horrifically un-imaginative brick exterior, and a gloriously pale white wash interior giving all but those that have lost their sight a clear cut feeling of depression. This made worse by the prologoned wait in the waiting room. As you sit glumly in the company of the variously should bed bound characters seeking the attention of a good doctor, you can’t help but crave anything other than the environment you’re stuck in. But why is it that one of the most fundamentally important elements to the workings of a modern community is so underplayed architecturally?

This lines me up to drop in at least one of the unconventional hospitals that have done away with the politically acceptable bore fests that are typically erected. Now this is no new piece of architecture that has delighted the many children that have unfortunately been part of its history; The Evelina Childrens Hospital, by Hopkins Architects, it's a real charmer. The brief was simple “design a hospital that wasn’t a hospital”. Lovely. And it worked. Even more lovely. Now the ins and outs of this design are there for anyone to explore. So i leave it to you....

....or just click on this. Far

Sunday, 6 November 2011

World Architecture Festival 2011

I just returned from the World Architecture Festival, although it’s only slightly worldly, nor festival-y…it’s a conference of smartly dressed men donning the latest understated greyscale garment, infiltrated by few others...

Regardless of first impressions, there was time to enjoy the mêlée of gorgeous work presented by a unique range of characters, from the witty and charismatic, to the confused and obnoxious. A chance to watch judges challenge the architects with both piercing questions, and less so piercing questions…”Your name is BIG, why are you so small?” to which the slight and well postured defendant quickly retorted “because we’re busy”….love it.

It was a chance to meet and greet the architectural famous, to speak directly to directors, designers, critics, and commentators. It was a chance to rub shoulders, ever so gently, with a group of people that are ever so slightly trying to change the world. But this was not a political rally, nor a dogmatic affair of banners and hard hitting punch lines. There was no over riding motif of radical change, it was a collective of people who made comment, made gestures of change, or hinted at new form. Some dared a little too far into the realms of conceptual design, and some where a little too delicate and floundering. But all the work on offer had one simple, unifying property, to make the world a better place.

Now I immediately shun, or at least squint slightly at token lines such as the one just written, but without churning over reams of text to fully articulate something slightly classier and devoid of cliché, it remains a simple truth.

And with that, I share with you the link to WAF for you to explore the great mass of projects on offer, and in particular, the firm that I have a slight affiliation with, Desitecture.

Saturday, 12 March 2011


Online blogs are difficult. Much is said, and little meant. Stories delivered, anxieties explored, anecdotes poor from the finger tips of one eager blogger to the next. Success comes to the few.

They’re difficult because their both sides of wrong. It is the grey area of bad, it is the loop holes of law, and the miss fits of society, and with this, an explanation is due it’s course, although I would imagine that you already know.

You write in a dairy because it’s private, but that very definition you can right in complete confidence that no one else is going to read your inner most thoughts, and your inner most thoughts might just be the most profound thoughts you’ve ever had….but then again, your consideration of the earth moon lift being the next best thing for man kind may, to the same extent, be the most ridiculous thought anyone has ever had. But regardless, it doesn’t matter what you talk about, be it naughty fantasies, how you might wash the under side of somewhere you wouldn’t talk about with your closest friend, or deliberating the Con-Lib debacle, it’s private, it’s yours, and it cant be judged.

You’re a journalist, a columnist, and you strive to pick out the gems of literacy genius. You strive for poetic argument and humours anecdotes. You depict the current climate of toady’s societies, and suggest the road we might be blindly stumbling down. You paint pictures so vivid with your words, that…perhaps you should have just hired a painter, but never the less, its published work, but it’s also judged work. The true kicker, is that it’s paid…a sort of compensation for delivering the ideas contained within the thicket of your brain in a digestible and politically correct manner.

The blog on the other hand, takes the bad points of both these styles, and congeals them into one handy mess for us to continually negate, ignore, and aimlessly plough through. The blog offers little chance of getting paid, unless of course we subscribe to the off chance that leaving an advert page to the side may lead to one of my many followers getting credit checked, getting a loan, and me receiving a pitiful one off reward. On the same line, it offers us little freedom to write what we truly want to right about.

I am in the constant knowledge that I have at least one fellow blogger that will engage with these slightly erratic words and lay a judgmental eye over the ideas I attempt to communicate, but at the same time, there is good chance that no one will read this, so opportunity to right full heartedly has been missed.

But I can help but feel that there is a point, there is a pull, there is a squirming little part of my gut…or what ever it is in there, that’s saying to write, that’s saying to type, that’s saying to think these things, even though I know I will inevitably change my stance with in the week.

What is a blog for…?

It’s ruddy difficult…