Tonight’s offering is mostly photos, apologies to all on a dial up connection. As promised in my previous entry, I visited the Fantasy Architecture exhibition at Walsall Art Gallery on Sunday.

We arrived with only hours to spare, Sunday was the last day of the exhibition, if you haven’t been yet you’ve missed it. The tight deadline didn’t worry me as I’d brought the whole family and I knew this would only be a cursory glance at best. Taking your kids to a gallery can be both a burden and a joy, depending on your luck/mood. Our most successful visit yet being a trip to the Tate Modern, during which our son decided he would turn himself into an installation to demonstrate the acoustic qualities of each room – screaming and laughing at everything. The faces of the other visitors was itself a picture that deserved framing.

I managed to get a few moments peace this weekend thanks to a model by the artist Nils Norman entitled Let the Blood of the Property Developers Run Freely in the Streets of Hackney. Josh and Josie were captivated by the detail (on the left).

nils norman

It was a much more extensive collection than I’d expected since it has sifted through the archive of the RIBA library and produced work from over 150 years of architectural drawing. One of the most striking realisations to come from this diversity was how pathetic many of the contemporary computer generated illustrations looked against the hand crafted work.

Here’s the FAT project I mentioned in the previous entry, against a drawing of the design for the Imperial Monumental Halls and Tower by John Pollard Seddon and Edward Beckitt Lamb.


And I’m not just talking about whether bigger is better. An MVRDV image of their Pig City project suffered from the same problem against a Paulo Soleri sketch of equal dimensions.

The Fourth Grace – the latest dream from Will Alsop to prove itself beyond the imagination of the people who have to fund it – was looking somewhat less than graceful.

forth grace

A model of Foster’s Twin Towers proposal was also on show. It’s better than Libeskind’s.

kissing towers

Regardless of contents of the exhibition, a trip to Walsall gallery is always a delight. It’s one of the best pieces of contemporary architecture in the Midlands. It’s rigorous, inviting, intriguing, warm, dark where it should be dark and light where it should be light. The coffee is quite good too.

The foyer is a knockout.

walsall foyer

It’s a lesson in how to make an entrance to a public building.

walsall stairs

I’ve trained my daughter to do a little jig whenever she’s within 20 metres of good architecture.

walsall entrance

It passes the test with flying colours. Go see for yourself.

2 thoughts on “Fantasy Architecture, Fantastic Architecture

  1. Hi.. Wondering if you could let me see some of your images of this building? Doing a project on the structure of it and yours seem like they might be interesting.



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