scribbles tagged ‘architecture’

looking for a guide

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009 | tags: , , , ,  |

Oxfam art nouveau shop frontWith the quick approach of my HOLIDAY to CAIRO I skipped out  in search of some Holiday reading. Normally I pop into the tiny yet beautiful Reading Oxfam.   The friendly staff and customers chat, the book choice is excellent,  always something to inspire and entice.

One of my friends has recently moved to Cairo and made a specific request for a copy of the Lonely Planet guide to Egypt.   Alas, the local Oxfam cold not deliver

A short walk to the Waterstones chain, a small Victorian style shop front.   Inside the store is like the TARDIS   it goes backwards and upwards,   from house to house with glass roofs between.   The store is architecturally beautifully designed and maintains unusual features such as  the mezannine floor pictured below

Once I stopped looking at the architecture and started looking at book shelves   I was lost with no idea of where  the ‘Travel’  section might be.   Looking at the labeling on the shelves only tells you what is here,   not where something that is elsewhere might be.   Unperturbed I wandered over to the foot of the stairs (both of them)  expecting to find a list of the sections on each floor.   Nothing.

Waterstones in ReadingThe  front door did not offer a guide to the store store layout with the sections identified.     The cash and information desk by the door was being stormed by an outsized  orderly  queue of people.   Glancing  back into  the huge store I felt a little overwhelmed and wandered in looking at shelf labels and the people nearby,   which are the staff who might help me?   Before full panic could set-in, eye contact with a lady….

Lady: Can I help you?

Wendy:   Do you have a map of the store layout?

Lady: What section would you like?

Wendy:   Is there a display showing where the sections are?

Lady:   No,   I’m working on that,  what section would you like?

Wendy: Travel

Lady: upstairs ahead through the arch,   on the right hand wall arranged in alphabetical order by country

Wendy: Thank you,  love the display thing you’re working on

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warehouse wanderings

Monday, March 23rd, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

During 1980, like any self-respecting UK punk, I would indulge myself in freeform meandering  around deserted warehouses.  

In those days who didn’t?    

The right  warehouses were quite good places to hide from the strange people that send messages describing our past in ways I don’t remember.   Gradually, deserted warehouses became harder to find as rampant film crews,   homeless people, musicians and punks  sought their particular ambience.      

OMD sang Messages

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Friday, March 13th, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

Fire escapeEmergency exit from a Northern English office building.

Using the helter skelter  is an anytime activity, not reserved for emergencies.

I didn’t check if there was a helipad on the roof for emergency entrances.

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Thursday, March 12th, 2009 | tags: ,  |

National TheatreThe title of this architectural style certainly captures my experience of its implementation.  

Why would architects want to impose brutalism on their users?   I’ve not quite grapsed the subtlety here.   Maybe there isn’t any subtlety.   Any public building that requires it’s users undertake a training course in order to understand it is a public building that has failed on at least one experience level.

The Royal National Theatre on London’s south bank is a Grade II listed building,   a brutalist building.  I do not appreciate Brutalist buildings.   It reminds me of Portsmouth’s now defunct Tricorn Centre.

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Saturday, June 28th, 2008 | tags: ,  |

Not ‘Our father’ in a christian sense,   in a continuously circulating open entry elevator sense  like a vertical escalator!   I coudn’t find any explanation of why this name was applied to this type of elevator,   maybe because it felt so scary that you were advised to say some Paternosters before attempting to jump onto it.   Of its origins  the elevator museum say:

Englishman Hart developed idea of a continuous human bucket elevator called “The Paternoster.” 1884 — J & E Hall installed the first Cyclic lift (Paternoster) in England.

Things are developed and possibly patented at different times in different countries,   with different names and different design details,   the US patent for a Paternoster style elevator  was granted in 1934.

In the early 1980’s Aston University’s main science building had a working Paternoster inside  to the left of where  where the external ‘sky lift’  was added in the late 1980’s.   I vaguely remember that it ran between the 2nd and 7th (top) floors.

It was good fun jumping on and off the ever-moving Paternoster,  especially during the then annual Charter (May )Ball in the early hours of the morning wearing a ball gown and under the influence of cheerful freinds and alcohol.   Many people would not use it because it just didn’t look safe.


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free and fabulous

Sunday, February 17th, 2008 | tags: , ,  |

The Natural History Museum,  originally opened in 1881 and now open 7 days a week,   free to everyone.     It’s got Mammoth skeletons, literally, Mammoth!   Designed by a young manchester architect, Alfred Waterhouse, the building itself is a work of art.     Arches have spines and unique varied animals climbing them.

There are no rules posted about the use of cameras which meant I got a tiny-bit snap-happy.

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Flat Eric in Portsmouth

Wednesday, October 5th, 2005 | tags: , , , ,  |

Flat Eric went to the Factory Outlet shops in Gun Wharf. He particularly enjoyed the ‘Animal’ shop.     He was a little disappointed that the Millenium Tower is still not open to visitors…


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