Tag Archives: structure

Kings Cross Station, Dome Roof, London (MacAslan, Vinci & Arups)

Kings Cross, John MacAslan, Arup, London

I took a train to Nottingham last week and had a few minutes in the station waiting for it to come in.  Having just had it’s first birthday the John MacAslan structure is looking good and well worth a few pics while waiting.

It was built by the French company Vinci and was engineered by Arups.

Here is a time-lapse of the construction courtesy of The Telegraph:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/road-and-rail-transport/9142586/Timelapse-building-new-Kings-Cross-station-dome.html

Ashford M20 cycle & Footbridge – Nicoll Russell Architects with Jacobs

I took some time out after a shopping trip to Sainsbury’s in Ashford recently and strolled over the (now not-so) new foot bridge that joins the Eureka and Warren Business parks together.  Great for getting to the cinema!

It was conceived by a practice based in far away Dundee:  Nicoll Russell Architects and according to their website it is designed to create a kind of memorable gateway to Ashford. Jacobs did the engineering and overall I think it is a success despite gaining early and unfortunate local notoriety as as suicide point  – not something you can lay at the door of the designers who have certainly created a visually striking structure.

Ashford M20 Foot Cycle Bridge, Nicoll Russell Architects, Jacobs Engineering Ashford M20 Foot Cycle Bridge, Nicoll Russell Architects, Jacobs Engineering Ashford M20 Foot Cycle Bridge, Nicoll Russell Architects, Jacobs Engineering Ashford M20 Foot Cycle Bridge, Nicoll Russell Architects, Jacobs Engineering

St Mary the Virgin Church, Fordwich, Near Canterbury, Kent

Church of St Mary the Virgin, Fordwich, Kent ©Robert Greshoff

Church of St Mary the Virgin, Fordwich, Kent
©Robert Greshoff

Popped in to see St Mary the Virgin in Fordwich after doing that traditional Sunday activity of visiting the DIY shop.   This is one of seventeen Kent churches entrusted to the care of the Churches Conservation Trust, a charity who sole function is to ensure that the historical and material aspects of local Churches is maintained and that they can remain open to the public.

Fordwich sits comfortably and sleepily on the banks of the Stour as it winds it’s way to the sea.  The present town bears very little relation to the buzzing place it must have been when it served as the main port for the arrival of Caen stone from France during the Norman reconstruction of the nearby Canterbury Cathedral in 12C and 13C.  Nowadays it’s main claim to fame is that it is the smallest place in the country to have a Town Council and it also has two fine pubs one of which is conveniently opposite the miniscule Town Hall!

Having negotiated my way past innumerable gravestones I arrived at the Church door.  The church itself is very much more substantial than the Romney Marsh building I visited last Sunday and the setting is no where near as unique but that said it does have some interesting features.  I guess from an historical point of view the sarcophagus (that supposedly once contained the remains of St Augustine of Canterbury) is of note. dating from 1100, it is carved with columns and with fishscale tiles on the sloping top  making it look a bit like a Greek temple but but beyond that the thing itself is pretty featureless.

The painting (1688) above the tympanium represents the Royal Arms of William III and Commandments but the best thing about it is the way it exactly follows the shape of the chancel arch below and so serves to emphasise the architectural structure of the building as well as to remind us to be good and pious.

And then there is the fine hand-pumped organ with a large lever protruding from the rear which, no doubt,  someone who didn’t pay enough attention to the commandments above the Chancel Arch was obliged to pump up and down until given the signal to stop from the organist.

And finally, the crowning glory has got to be the curious bully-beef tin hooked on the side of one of the pews.  It certainly never had the honour of holding any relics but what a fantastic piece of folk art – and I have no idea what it was made to hold!

Church of St Mary the Virgin, Fordwich, Kent ©Robert Greshoff

Church of St Mary the Virgin, Fordwich, Kent
©Robert Greshoff

Church of St Mary the Virgin, Fordwich, Kent ©Robert Greshoff

Church of St Mary the Virgin, Fordwich, Kent
©Robert Greshoff

Church of St Mary the Virgin, Fordwich, Kent ©Robert Greshoff

Church of St Mary the Virgin, Fordwich, Kent
©Robert Greshoff

Church of St Mary the Virgin, Fordwich, Kent ©Robert Greshoff

Church of St Mary the Virgin, Fordwich, Kent
©Robert Greshoff

Church of St Mary the Virgin, Fordwich, Kent ©Robert Greshoff

Church of St Mary the Virgin, Fordwich, Kent
©Robert Greshoff

After my shoot at the London Eye and County Hall on Friday, I stepped out of the Merlin offices and saw this which looks a bit like a slightly creepy 1970’s sci-fi film-set to me, but is in fact the old seat of London’s Local government.

County Hall, London, Merlin, London Eye

Some snaps taken out of the car window whilst driving back through London today

Making use of those idle minutes waiting for the lights to turn green.

There are some very colourful buildings going up at the moment and some curious naked women too!

London Streetviews London Streetviews London Streetviews London Streetviews London Streetviews London Streetviews

London Streetviews

Tithe Barns (1) – The Woolton Barn in Kent, England – structure revealed

Coming from a land where most building is pretty new (and new does not always mean good!) and the few 17C and 18C buildings that do exist are regarded as ancient monuments, I have long harboured a fascination with the old architecture of my adopted homeland, Britain. Here ancient really does mean ancient.  My exploration of the Cathedral over the last couple of years and more particularly it’s roof structures has led me to look more closely at other old timber structures in the county.

Tithe barns are an interesting case in point.  They are uniformly old, most dating from the 13 or 14C and more interestingly they reveal their inner most secrets without any attempt to hide or disguise how they are put together.  It’s all there and as been so for centuries.

Most tithe barns in this country are timber-famed structures, in contrast to the preference for stone on mainland Europe.  I visited the Woolton Barn recently. The structure has had some more recent soft wood restoration but it is essentially a 15C oak structure with the two ends glazed where there would normally be timber cladding.  This last feature makes the building very light (not a common feature in buildings of this sort) and enables it to be kept in use all year round.

Kent Barn

I love the raw and sculptural quality of the timbers and the fact that they have remained doing their job for so long.

Kent Barn Kent Barn Kent Barn Kent Barn Kent Barn Kent Barn Kent Barn

Kent Barn

A short note on tithe barns in general:  these structures were built throughout Europe to contain the 10% of produce that everyone was obliged to give to the church.  They were usually located near a centre of activity like a Monastery, Abbey, Church or Cathedral.

Although all shot in colour, I have presented most of these as Black & White images as this emphasises the structure and because I increasingly feel that unless there is a clear visual or commercial imperative, there is little need for colour!

The next barn I look at will be an older 14C building with a slightly more complex structure and a very much darker interior.  But it exists in it’s original location with pretty much all the original timbers in place.

Singleton Environment Centre, Nr Ashford 2006

As I am in London all day tomorrow, I thought I’d squeeze this in today!

I had a rather quick but interesting visit to the Singleton Environment Centre recently with my good friend Jasper.  I somehow missed this completing in 2006 (that was a very busy time!!).

132250-011Blog

I can remember during my first (and only) year of an architecture degree, my tutor telling me that most buildings are designed in less than ideal circumstances for less than ideal sites (or something along those lines).

This though looks like an ideal commission in a ideal location!

BBM Architects, Singleton Centre Building, Neaer Ashford, Kent

BBM Architects, Singleton Centre Building, Neaer Ashford, Kent

BBM Architects, Singleton Centre Building, Neaer Ashford, Kent

BBM Architects, Singleton Centre Building, Neaer Ashford, Kent

BBM Architects, Singleton Centre Building, Neaer Ashford, Kent

I think the building works ok, it sits comfortably in it’s surroundings and the tree columns place it very definitely in the mid naughties!  This said I remain slightly unsure about this sort of eco-modernism and I can’t quite put my finger on why!

BBM Architects, Singleton Centre Building, Neaer Ashford, Kent

But whatever I think, the people there were relaxed and obviously happy in the space and that has got to be the best test of any building.

BBM Architects, Singleton Centre Building, Neaer Ashford, Kent

(Apologies for the abundant fire extinquishers, benches, bins, gas bottles etc)