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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Category archive: Architecture

Thursday February 14 2019

Here.  The verdict is: They knew what they were moving into.  They should install blinds or net curtains.

Or, turn the viewable-from-the-Tate-Extension living rooms into art installations.  The judge didn’t say that; I’m saying that now.

I’m rather surprised by this verdict, but also pleased.  Because this is now one of my favourite London photo-spots, and there is lots to be seen looking south, besides into other people’s living rooms.

From this spot I have photoed many, many photos, of which these are just four, taken in July and August of 2016:

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Those photos all illustrate the problem that the flat-owners now have.

But, this next little clutch of photos, taken at the same time, illustrate what could be another answer:

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In these photos, what dominates is the way that light, rather than coming through the window from those living rooms, is instead coming from outdoors London and bouncing off the windows.  At the time I took these photos, I was thinking about that (to me) rather appealing crinkly brick surface that this Tate Modern Extension is covered in.

But now, it seems to me that I was photoing another sort of answer to the problem that these flat-dwellers now have.  Could the glass windows be replaced by glass that is more reflective of light, while still letting the outside view in?  Or, could the existing windows have some sort of plastic film or sheet stuck on them, preferably on the inside but maybe on the outside, that would contrive the same effect?

A problem stated is often well on the way to being a problem solved.  The judge said: It’s up to you to stop the light bouncing off the interior of your home from zooming up to the onlookers at the top of the Tate.  You knew this was going to happen.  Sort the problem yourselves.

It will be interesting to see how things change with these windows, and inside these living rooms, in the months and years to come.

Tuesday February 12 2019

I left it too late and I am now too tired to do anything here today, so here’s a random quota photo:

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Taken in May 2015, from the South Bank, looking north across the River.  I’m pretty sure that’s the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.  But feel free to disagree.

I hope - although I promise nothing - to do better tomorrow.

Monday February 11 2019

The Guardian quips:

You wait decades for a city …

The city in question being London.

… to get a world-class concert hall and two come along at once.

GodDaughter2’s family used to live in Wimbledon, back in the last century.  Something tells me I will be back there quite a lot in the next few years.

The first of these two halls is, I should say, this one.

How about another superb state-of-the-art concert hall somewhere in the Thames Estuary, out East.  That would be very cool.  Something like this.  Maybe later, eh?

Saturday February 09 2019

Yes, that’s what this Thing is called:

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And, as I think you will probably deduce from the number of photos I took of it, I rather like it.

It is to be found just south of The Dome, and I got a look at it from across the river when I visited Docklands, pn Thursday January 17th of this year, where I also took other photos, like this one, and these ones, and these ones.

I don’t really know why I like this thing so much, but I surmise that part of it may be that it contrasts itself with the surrounding banal architectural rectangularities not by being completely different, but by being more subtly different.  Sculpture often seeks separation from its urban surroundings by going totally curvey.  No straight lines at all, except maybe in the form of a flat plinth.  This Thing stands out too, but in a more dignified and respectful way.

Plus. It’s a lot of fun how different it looks depending on the exact direction of any sunlight coming towards it.  I only got about two versions of this, but there are surely many more to be enjoyed.

Plus, it’s bigger than your usual Art.  I like that.

Soon, I will return to that part of London but an extra Tube stop away, and I will take a closer and more 360 degree look at this very pleasing Thing.

Friday February 08 2019

When I was a kid, “Air Forces Memorial” meant this building which looks out over Runnymede, and which was only a walk away from where we lived.

But there are, of course, several RAF Memorials in London, and here is a photo I often try to take but seldom do very well with, of the eagle which perches on this memorial:

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This eagle usually comes out blurry, with only the trees behind coming out well.  All that reflected light off the gold of the eagle seems to frazzle the brain of my camera.  But not on the Monday before last.

The above photo was taken from the other side of the river, with maximum zoom.  Swivel to the left a bit and you see this even more famous item, which is now, as already noted, smothered in scaffolding:

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I especially like the pile of staircases on the left of the scaffolding.

Wednesday February 06 2019

The Monday before last really was a very good photoing day.  (I’ve been calling it Sunday but actually it was Monday, Monday January 28th.  I remember at the time being confused about what day it was.)

First, seconds after I had stepped out into the sunlight, there was this:

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That being me, in among the branches of the tree.

Then, following further excitements yet to be revealed, there was this lighting effect.  And then there were these smartphone-photoing ladies.  And then these guys, also photoing, with another shadow selfie added by me onto their backs.

Then I went past the Wheel, and gave that the Wheel and Tree treatment:

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And just before it got dark, I ended up at the top of the Tate Modern Extension.

When it was dark, I climbed into Blackfriars Station, and walked over the river to Blackfriars Tube.  And enjoyed the view, with its weird reflections of the station in the sky above the City Cluster:

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I love how the black sky turns blue in that.

But before I went home, I dropped in on Waterstones, in Piccadilly, to see if the newly released paperback version of The Devil’s Dice was on show.  And it was:

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I am finding it exhausting just thinking about that day, and how it ended.  It was very cold, and the cold takes it out of you, by which I mean me.

Monday February 04 2019

Last night I dined at Chateau Samizdata, which is in the Fulham Road.  I always get there early, but like to be exactly on time in order not to disrupt the preparations.  So, I typically walk about a bit, looking for photo-ops.

Last night I walked east along the Fulham Road towards the centre of London, and came upon Michelin House, which I knew was somewhere around there, but had never clocked before as being so very near to Chateau Samizdata.  This building occurs at the point where the Fulham Road is turning into Brompton Road.

It has a wonderfully eccentric stained glass window, at the front, at the top ...:

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… which had been thoughtfully lit from behind.

I image-googled this building, and I could not find this particular view of it.  There are one or two views to be seen of this window from inside the building, but none that home in on the window, in the dark, from the outside, with that all-important internal lighting.

I think that this window deserves to be viewable in as many ways as possible, from inside, and from outside.  As does the whole building.

I considered cropping my photo, but the photo exactly as taken supplies just that little bit of architectural context, so I left it as was.

Saturday February 02 2019

Recently I paid a visit to Docklands.  The Big Things there add up to a quite impressive cluster, but are, on the whole, individually, unlike quite a few of those in The City, rather characterless and bland.

There is, however, an exception.  This:

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It’s One Park Drive, now nearing completion.

Here are a few more photos of it that I photoed:

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Circular in plan.  Its surface changes from one effect to another as you move up or down.  Next to a stretch of water.  I’m guessing they were thinking of these two towers in Chicago.

Thursday January 31 2019

Last Sunday was the second near-as-makes-no-difference cloudless day of 2019, and I love it when sunlight bounces around London, in the way that it did in, for instance, this photo:

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That’s the scaffolding covering, at the bottom of Big Ben, and those reflections are from the windows of the building across Westminster Bridge Road, with the big towers on the top, the one where the MPs have their offices.  The one on top of Westminster Tube Station.  Portcullis House, that’s the one.

This next photo shows rather better what’s going on:

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As you can see, and as all Londoners will already know, Big Ben is smothered in scaffolding, while it gets a makeover.  The sunlight, as you can now see more clearly, is coming from over Parliament, bouncing back off the windows of Portcullis House on the right, and hitting that white surface at the bottom of Big Ben.

Wednesday January 30 2019

I like One Kemble Street, and I like the BT (two links here) Tower.  So, imagine my delight when, while exploring my photo-vaults, I came across this very sweet Big Thing alignment, photoed from the top of the main bit of Tate Modern (i.e. not the taller Extension building behind):

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This was taken in February 2008.  Which means that that the BT Tower still had its big circular things attached.

Tuesday January 29 2019

I do like an interesting hat, when I photo a photoer:

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And I admire this photoer’s choice of subject matter.  The Scalpel was looking especially fine, its angle catching what was left of the setting sunlight.  We’re at the top of the Tate Modern Extension, by the way.  A favourite spot of mine.

But, going back to that hat.  What does it say on it?  P........S?  Philadelphia Eagles?  Pittsburgh Steelers? A bit long, but conceivably one of those.

Hang on, I wonder if I photoed any more photos of that same photoer, which might shed light on the matter.

Yes:

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I hope a robot couldn’t identify this guy from that photo, what with it being so blurry, although I dare say his loved ones could.  But, anyway, what that says is that the hat goes P....OTS.  And we have our answer.  He is a supporter of the New England Patriots.

And no wonder he is proud to be sporting this celebratory headgear.  The Patriots are due to contest Super Bowl “LIII” (53), against the Los Angeles Rams, this coming Sunday, which I will be watching on my TV.  Here is a Daily Telegraph report about that.

The game will be played in Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium, of which, the Telegraph says:

That jagged-looking roof opens and closes in a very pleasing way:

The “:” is there because there then follows video of this pleasing effect (that being it on YouTube).  I greatly enjoyed this.

Blog and learn.

Sunday January 27 2019

There was a meeting in my home last Friday, at which Simon Gibbs spoke, most eloquently and engagingly, about “What Libertarian Home Has Done Right”.  (I made him choose this title.  He is far too modest to have chosen it himself.)

Also on Friday, at this blog, I had already featured a cat photo, taken by my friend Dominique Lazanski.

What I had not expected was that Dominique Lazanski would get a mention in Simon’s talk, but she did.  Very favourably, as a Libertarian Home speaker who did much to soften the atmosphere of a series of meetings that might otherwise have remained rather beery and blokey and not sufficiently female friendly or, to use a word Simon likes a lot and which he himself epitomises, not “kind”.  Libertarianism is, after all, all about making the world better, which definitely includes kinder.

I had been intending to put up more than one Dominique photo on Friday, but meeting preparations meant that only the cat made it, that day.  Here are all the other photos I had already liked and set aside for here, along with a photo of a cup of coffee, which I added to the collection to get the number back to a convenient one:

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Click and enjoy.  Most of these little squares are mere excerpts from the originals, so you will have to click to enjoy.  But even if that doesn’t appeal, the basic point here is that Dominique Lazanski is, like many others these days, someone who combines taking very good photos with having a very full life doing other things besides taking photos.

This is the big photography story these days.  This big story is not how good the very best photographers, the Real Photographers as I refer to them here, are at taking photos and how very, very good their very best photos are.  No.  The big photography story these days is how good people like Dominique Lazanski are at taking photos.

To find out more of who Dominique Lazanski is, go to her website, or to here Twitter feed.  To explore all her Instagrammed photos, go here, that being where I encountered all of the above photos myself.

I chose my favourites, partly by particularly noticing the last two and the most recent of the above photos when they showed up on Facebook.  In addition to being a Dominique Lazanski friend I am a Dominique Lazanski “friend” on Facebook.  And the rest I found by simply clicking through all of her Instagrammed photos very fast, and noticing which ones I found myself pausing at.

Those drinks are included because I drank one of them myself, on Christmas Eve.

It could be that I am mishandling the Social Media, again, and spilling beans that are not mine to spill.  If Dominique finds out about this posting and informs me that she regrets it and would prefer to be living in a world which did not contain it, then this posting will be expunged forthwith.

Saturday January 26 2019

This looks promising.  I’ve been waiting all my life for a really good orchestral concert hall, to replace the abominable Royal Festival Hall, and it looks more and more like the City of London is going to oblige.

Here’s how they are now saying it will look:

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Well, maybe it really will look like that.

Here’s what the outside will look like:

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Combines being boring with being ungainly and awkward.  But then, that was what I thought when I first saw the fake-photos for the Walkie-Talkie, and now I love that Thing.  Maybe this Thing will play out the same.  Hope so.

This is how the top of it will look:

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This is apparently where the horror that is Jazz will be perpetrated.  Sorry, if you like Jazz. If you like it, like away.  But I hate it, ever since it stopped being pop music.

But, that view looks great.  So, the question is: Do I like great views out over London, more than I hate Jazz?

A good way to learn more about this building, what it consists of and where it is, is to watch the video in this Classic FM report.

As for their report, I particularly like when they quote Simon Rattle, whose musical castle this will surely be:

At the press briefing for the new concept designs, Simon Rattle batted away concerns surrounding Brexit, saying: “It’s important for us to remember there are other things going on in this country other than Brexit.

“It won’t make anything easier, but we are trying to deal with something else at the moment. I think we also have to place our confidence in the extraordinary cultural life of this country, and support it.”

Life goes on.  I sense that Brexit Acceptance may now be setting in.

They say it’s going to cost a mere £288 million.  You can double that.  But The City will surely find the money, and I am very glad that The City is having to find the money.  I love classical music, more than life, but nobody who is indifferent to it should be forced to pay for the likes of me to listen to it being performed.  (Any more than I should have to pay for Jazz.)

Friday January 25 2019

Yes, a rather excellent James Bond villain cat, photoed in London’s Columbia Road, in the Bethnal Green part of town:

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Found in the Instagram feed (click on that for her most recently instagrammed photo) of this lady friend.

Columbia road is, as other photos in this set make clear, noted for its flower market.

Wednesday January 23 2019

Yes, more on the towers and trees theme, this time with a photo taken in December 2007.

One of London’s most significant recent buildings, I believe.

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Photo photoed from the vicinity of another more antique tower, the Tower of London.  The Tower, because for several centuries, there was just the one.