Archive for the 'places' Category

Poetic promenade

Thursday, March 18th, 2004

This morning, a hard won Google discovery finally delivered the information I needed about a landscaping project called Yoga Promenade by Team Zoo architects from Japan.
The images confirmed what we expected and will be useful inspiration for a project we’re currently working on that will include some sustainable drainage proposals. However, the pleasure of exercising my Google muscles, was as nothing compared to the results of the Babel translation.

Business celebration promenade

The road which is done exciting

From the business celebration station the road which faces to the fine arts museum.
It sets up on the middle of the road, the wound fullest capacity!
That? Cripes? The coming – it is lovely! !
with feeling, as for me large excitation (laughing).
In any case pleasant
The it does the love of design side and the does and with feels,
In addition looking at that, you feel that it is dear.
To every nook and cranny the space which is loved.
If originally “it calculates and is exhausted”
How, word is used, it is probably will be however,
I would like to say being able to meet, like this, is.

In the people who design this,
It increased with interest beforehand.
For the design the feeling,
It is enormous and “me likes and” being to be, it does.
Making those whose native consciousness is strong mainly the,
“Consciousness of senses is made to awaken” the person.
Me, senses very important ones
As, having caught,
Keeps making the feeling important,
Thinking that it is the human original living, the.
In the space of this one concerning really,
By mistake there is no my feeling and -!
The being able to think, the delightful.

When above this it makes small, the with special care honey the space to understand, it becomes harsh because,
This picture and the picture under tried enlarging.

There being a waterway, there being a bridge, in the road tile hundred one neck.
“You are disgusted to the various bench of gargoyle design and the like, bet? “Bench of shape.
Design of raccoon dog. Respectively there is a unique name, however it seems, as for here we would like to designate selfishly!

Business celebration promenade
“Elephant design group + planned technical laboratory”
Completion: 1986 April

It seems that Elephant Design Group is the fantastic translation of Team Zoo/Atelier Zo. You can see the original here.

Pop in for Art

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2004

A visit to Wolverhampton Art Gallery proved to be, as usual, quite fruitful. Coincidence took me there on the same day the local paper announced the news that the new pop art gallery will go to planning commitee next week.

To promote the proposal there is an exhibition in the contemporary gallery of the usual suspects, including quotes on the wall from Andy Warhol and Marshall MacLuhan. At the back of the room is a plan and cut-away aerial view, showing the proposed design by Niall Phillips Architects. I’m encouraged by what I saw and hope Development Control treat it favourably. Although if it’s dealt with by whoever approved the monstrosity next to the market; anything could happen.

Triangular in plan, the new building sits in an existing courtyard space with one side parallel to the existing buildinq – the other two travelling towards the street and colliding just past the building line of adjacent properties. The wedges of remaining space will provide an interesting tension between old and new. You might describe it as being one third respectful, two thirds cheeky. Which seems like a fitting recipe for a building to house pop-art.

Inside, the gallery is top lit and there appears to be some form of internal brise soleil to control the sunlight on the walls. Using natural light in a gallery is notoriously difficult; let’s hope Niall Phillips can pull it off. Viewing the work in a triangular space should be interesting and I’m looking forward to seeing the pieces chosen to face each other in the corners. Could be a happy marriage, could be Clash of the Titans. Either way, there is a danger that the form will negate the program. It wouldn’t be the first time this had happened with a gallery design, just ask Guggenheim. Often called the ‘mother of all arts’, Mother Architecture sometimes forgets that her children should be given the space to grow up on their own.

The main gallery is currently running an exhibition called ‘Forest’. A mixed bag really, but there are one or two items worth a look. Such as, Colorado Impression No. vi by Dan Hays and The Wax Room by Ken Parsons.

Hays’ work was inspired by Googling for his own name on the internet and finding another Dan Hays who’d published pictures of his home town, Colorado, on a web site. The resulting landscapes are painted pixel by pixel, as if produced by digital rather than analogue means. From across the room their form is quite clear, but as draw nearer you realise they’ve been heavily compressed; the jpeg algorithm forming new landscapes at the boundaries between objects. It’s equally captivating from any distance.

Stepping into Parsons’ Wax Room made me wish I’d worn my flares. Psychadelic and hippyesque1, the walls and ceilings are covered in back-lit, kaleidascope like panels depicting different types of landscapes. Scatter cushions are provided for you to sit on whilst you listen to the voice over tell you about the imagery, in between the rise and fall of atmospheric music. If you have an Afghan coat; wear it. All that aside, the detailing of the panels is a delight and each is executed with care and rigour.

Later, in the cafe on the fourth floor, whilst I struggled with the metaphysics of popforestart2, my nine month old daughter struggled with the physics of cucumber slices.

The beginning of this entry was accompanied by a cup of Gunpowder green tea and a Martin Joseph CD playing on the stereo3. It was a little bitter to begin with, but mellowed after I’d had something to eat. I’ll leave you to guess which one I’m talking about.

  1. Yes, I made this word up.
  2. Yes, I made this word up as well.
  3. One of the first CDs I ever bought was by Martin Joseph, it was called Dolphins Make Me Cry. I was clearly a rather melancholy teenager. Strangely, he was on Radio 2 again the morning I posted this entry.

Bournville, Birmingham

Sunday, February 29th, 2004

article submitted to

Each of the houses in Bournville were planted with six fruit trees. George Cadbury would visit personally every once in a while, to ensure that the gardens of his properties were being properly tended for. This was no vision of sustainability, his primary goal was to ensure that his staff were kept busy during their ‘leisure’ time; thus keeping them away from the Gin and the bedroom.

The Bournville Village Trust have a specific colour that all the external woodwork on the houses must be painted in. The British Standard for it is BS 10 B 15.

William Morris and his merry band of pre-Raphaelites were one of the major influences on domestic architectural style of the time. Their interest in the medieval period was born of a desire to return to a time of perceived simplicity and moral righteousness. The fact that they were often busy bedding each other’s wives didn’t seem to prevent them from being both prolific and influential.

I would advise that anyone who is in the area of Birmingham should take the time to at least go through Bournville once, to see an example of some fantastic social engineering, and experience an architectural vision that was to influence the aesthetic of City Council estates in Britain for years to come.

Foot Where?

Thursday, February 26th, 2004

At the climbing wall this evening. Chalk from my fingers infiltrating my PDA, each letter taking three attempts to write – my tendons sluggish from the lactic acid pouring into my forearms. A single missing trainer/sneaker/pump/dap1 meant I had to retreat to the resin rockface instead of my usual Thursday night trip to the Fencing Club.

For those interested in details, Crystal Leisure Centre in Stourbridge has a small climbing wall that’s good for bouldering. It’s £2.70 to get in and they’re open till 11pm. The wall has a good overhanging roof which, sadly, is now beyond my strength or skill. I like to stare at it and reminisce.

  1. delete as culturally applicable