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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

Saturday April 19 2014

Indeed:

image

Actually it’s National Theatre Bookshop.  But I prefer my edited version.

Sunday April 13 2014

Literally about three people whom I spoke with at LLFF14 may now or soon be flooding in to BrianMicklethwait.com, expecting, perhaps, libertarian profundities.  But this is not that sort of place, is it?  No it is not.

Here, I do things like display photos of London, like this:

image image

On the left, a shot taken by me on May 19th 2004, showing how Vauxhall bus station looked when it was under construction.  On the right, how the same building looked when completed, photoed by me last Christmas Eve.

What a very odd object this is.

The 2004 photo was taken with my second digital camera, which was a Canon PowerShot A70.

Monday April 07 2014

No, this is not a plan to reduce the height of Battersea Power Station until it is mostly only its chimneys.  This is a roof garden:

image

A slice of urban heaven, if that picture is anything to go by.  Alas, it may not be, and most of us may never be allowed up there to check.

I heard about this at Dezeen, and found bigger versions of the same pictures here.

It looks like London is going to get itself some Frank Gehry wobbliness.

The English language is strange.

Consider this.  We’re talking football, not something we often do here, but we are.

Suppose one of us says: “Liverpool are back.” This means that Liverpool, as in the single club Liverpool, is now doing very well, and much better than they have been doing for the last couple of decades or so.  Which it is.  Top of the Premier League as of now.

But suppose someone says: “Liverpool is back.” It would be clear from that remark that what is meant is that the entire city of Liverpool is on the up-and-up, footballwise.  And it is.  Both Liverpool (the club) and Everton, the other big club in Liverpool, are doing well just now.  And Everton … are.

So, “are” is singular, and “is” is plural.

Very singular.

In other soccer news, check out the new Spurs stadium that they are going to build, which is to be called the Naming Rights Stadium.

Prediction: Spurs will do surprisingly badly (i.e. they’ll be eleventh rather than seventh, their current default position) for the next few years.  Why?  Because of this syndrome.

Saturday April 05 2014

Big Ben is the most famous Big Thing from among all the London Parliament buildings.  But the other Big Thing, almost as famous, is “Victoria Tower”, by which I mean the one that’s a bit thicker than Big Ben, as tall, and with about five big spikes on top rather than just the one.  Until now I had supposed that Victoria Tower was St Stephen’s Tower, but St Stephen’s Tower is another name for Big Ben.  Certain wankers are fond of saying that Big Ben is really only the clock in the tower.  But the rest of us long ago decided that Big Ben is Big Ben, all of it, tower, clock, the lot.

Or then again, maybe “St Stephen’s Tower” is really ”Elizabeth Tower”, because just recently they decided to call it that, instead of whatever the hell they used to be call it.

I say, screw the damn name changes imposed by the damn politicians.  If everyone out here in Human World thinks that Big Ben is actually Big Ben, the clock and the tower, then I say the clock and the tower are Big Ben.  Usage trumps political mucking about.  What something is called is discovered, not decided from on high.  Elizabeth Tower my arse.  Nobody I know calls it that.  Nobody I know even knows that anyone else thinks it’s that.

Here’s a bloke who says: ”It’s called St Stephen’s Tower”, and a commenter then says: “Don’t call it Big Ben”.  But the test is, do you want, when talking, to be a wanker, or do you want to be understood?  If you want to be understood, you’ll say Big Ben.

That Big Ben is Big Ben is a fact reinforced by all the stupid name changes flung about by the politicians.  The “Big Ben is not Big Ben” tendency can now no longer agree about what Big Ben is supposed to be called instead of what it is called, so: they lose.

So anyway, forget about Big Ben.  Here are two recent snaps I took of “Victoria Tower”, both of them containing other things besides the Tower in question, which is how I like to photo London’s Big Things:

image image

In each case, the other stuff has come out very clearly, and the tower is present only as a backdrop, in one case rather too strongly lit and in the other case not strongly enough lit.  But that’s the thing about these Big Things.  They are totally recognisable even if they don’t come out that well.  That’s almost a definition of a Big Thing.

Why the brightly lit Union Jack umbrella?  Well, I just like it.

As for why I have become so fascinated by chimneys, I think I can answer that.  For me, chimneys represent a, yes, fascinating staging post between the kind of purely decorative and impressive roof clutter that the Victoria Tower makes such resplendent use of, and on the other hand the entirely utilitarian roof clutter, to do with the sending and receiving of electronic information, the accommodation of lift shafts, equipment to clean windows, as such like, that prevails now.  Chimneys of the sort to be seen above are both there to do a job, and yet are also shaped to look somewhat elegant.  For me, chimneys of this sort are an interesting moment in architectural history.

The umbrella photo was taken from Westminster Bridge, far side of the river from Parliament, just behind the tourist crap kiosk as you cross the river going south, on the right hand side, on July 6th of last year.  The chimneys photo was taken from within the Millbank Triangle, i.e. in a spot in the middle of the triangle with, as its edges: Victoria Street, Vauxhall Bridge Road and the river, on December 12th of last year.

By the way, “Victoria Tower”, as I have been calling it, has sneer quotes attached because that used to be called “The King’s Tower”, but They (sneer capital T) renamed that in honour of Queen fucking Victoria.  No wonder nobody has any idea what to call the fucking thing.

I seem to have turned into The Devil’s Kitchen.

From a report on an exhibition at the Building Centre (which I will definitely be looking in on soon), about the burst of new tower building that is about to happen in London, and in particular in Tower Hamlets, this:

Structures of over 20 storeys were usually only found on council estates or in the business hub of the city, yet new plans reveal that over 80 percent of the 236 planned towers are set to become luxury residential buildings to cater for London’s growing population. 43 percent of the all the proposed high-rises have now received approval and 77 percent of them will be focussed in Central and East London, with Tower Hamlets set to play host to 23 percent of the futuristic towers.

And, from a report about the alleged misdeeds of the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, this:

The government has ordered outside auditors to examine allegations that an east London mayor sought to shore up his vote by diverting £2m in public grants to Bangladeshi and Somali groups.

The communities secretary, Eric Pickles, said staff from the accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers were already in place at Tower Hamlets council. A file is being passed to the Metropolitan police.

Hm.  A corrupt mayor.  And, lots of new towers.  Coincidence?  I choose to doubt it.

If my guess (and I stress that a guess is all it is) is right, then to many, this would be an argument against all the towers.  They can only be built if the builders find some way to line the pockets of the mayor and his favourite voters.

But I like towers.  To me, this confluence of events is more like an argument in favour of local government corruption.

Besides which, doesn’t “Tower Hamlets” sound like a place where there ought to be lots of towers?

Thursday March 20 2014

Yes, here is another strange science-fictional artificial landscape, photographed by me a few days ago, to set beside this strange artificial landscape, photoed by me last August:

image

Both these images were contrived in the same way with the same raw material.  But what is the raw material and what did I do with it?

Tuesday March 18 2014

I still can’t get used to the internet.  I never really will.  You can find all kinds of stuff out in a few seconds.  You know that, and so do I know it.  But, unlike (probably) you, I will never get truly used to this.

Last night, for instance, there was a TV show on about Fossils, fronted by this old Fossil Professor, and mention was made of – and a little sliver of film was shown of – a building (with lots of fossils in it) called the Royal Ontario Museum.  I said, that looks like that Daniel Libeskind museum in Berlin, in the saw cuts in big blocks style.  So let’s see about that Royal Ontario Museum shall we?  Sure enough, that is Libeskind also.

I had imagined that the saw cut style was specifically used only for that Berlin museum, to make you wince when you look at the building, same as you do when you find out the grizzly details of what happened to all those Berlin Jews.

However, it now seems (to me) that Libeskind just likes doing saw cuts.  Am I getting this wrong?

Maybe I could google that question also, and find out if anyone else agrees with the above.  But that’s enough answers for one posting.

Libeskind doing the saw cut style in Ontario
Other things last Wednesday
Under Blackfriars Bridge
Me trying to tell Norman Foster and Richard Rogers apart
South Bank Architects?
Vladivostock from above
Faberge - Brutalism
The ROH from the ME Rooftop Bar
Big Things happening in the City
Seven London bridges from the ME Hotel Radio Bar
Strata quota photo
ME Hotel Radio Rooftop Bar
London’s Big Things from Alexandra Palace
Church really dwarfed by modernity
Three more Paris pictures
Eiffel Tower with chimney pots – La Défense ditto
Big Thing news from New York and London - and a picture of climate alarmism losing
Sandcastles that will live for ever
Spraycan seen through the Wheel
Dencity
The Tate Modern extension nears completion
Digital photography as telepathy
Ice sculptures in Docklands – Big Things from Docklands
Battersea crane cluster
Upside down photo
Westminster Tube photos
3D printer sighted!
Old London photos
Model Big Things
I’m not the only one who suffers from rightward lean
Big Things on a better day
Big Things and small things
Taking photos with Big Flat Things
More photos of things past
Polish girls in Moscow doing a selfie
Dezeen continues to delight
Bizarre reflection (December 6th 2006)
I need to photo this again
Sunrise from my roof
Early start tomorrow
Wedding photography - old and new
A vanished building and a bendy bus
The Heron Tower restaurant
My own personal Big Thing viewing platform with close-up Roof Clutter
Here are two photos I took earlier
Cranes seen through Cardinal Place
The roof of Victoria Station
Twisted picture from Burgess Park (untwisted with Photoshop Elements)
Battersea sunset
Morgan – Abbey reflected in Morgan – Abbey reflected in other cars
Bad and good in bad weather
The Walkie Talkie and its surroundings
Art gallery made of scaffolding
Photoing each other - and photoing stuff in the canal
Chess set made of London’s Big Things
A day in and around Olympicland with Goddaughter One
Chicago sunset
Bridges for animals
Is this the beginning of the end of the Golden Age of Roof Clutter?
Shard with roof clutter and a crane
Views from Kings College
Blank-faced tower – crazy hairdo
An old Mini and a new Mini
Rooftops
A scaffolder likes Jeremy Clarkson
Stairs Thing outside St Paul’s
Views from the Hackney Wick station footbridge
Pictures from Georgia and Warsaw
Big Things blocked by the trees of Southwark Park
Wedding photography (4): Preparations
Wembley Arch with balloons and with umbrellas
Hong Kong housing that looks like abstract art
Remembering a warmer day
Blythe Hill Fields: What what you can see from them and what they look like
Wandering about afterwards
Crossrail grubbings
Piano strikes the right note again
Four crane photos
Panoramic view of London from the top of the BT Tower
Alastair James on Blythe Hill Fields and smartphones
Talking architecture at the Libertarian Home social
At the bottom of the Shard
Reflections on and in Westminster Tube Station
Strata with chimneys
Big London Things with clutter in the foreground
New crane up
An afternoon in Croydon
Here are (a lot) more photos that I took on March 27th
Interwar Old English pub dwarfed by modernity
Click to see the big picture
Waterloo sunset with vapour trails
The Bezier Building and a hideous advertising erection at the Old Street Roundabout
Strata behind roof clutter
Millbank Tower with street light
The view from the train
The top of the Shard
In Borough High Street
Another excellent spot to photo London from
Dream and reality in Mumbai
Lining Things up
62 Buckingham Gate
Shard reflected
Latest C4 logo sculpture
Only railings
Beware the Men In Orange!
Another blurred photo of Strata
No Misc April – Misc May
Misc March
New Blackfriars station entrance
A view of Westminster Cathedral tower and the view from Westminster Cathedral tower
Snaps (in Paris and London - and of the Millennium Footbridge)
Pictures of the Libertarian Home meeting in Southwark last night
Changing views from the Monument
Google Earth and Mr and Mrs Goose
The Big Olympic Thing from nearer
The Shard looking like it’s in a 1950s postcard
A happy British Summer Time to all my readers
A Happy Christmas to all those still reading this
Shard even nearer to completion
Street social services management integrated command sub-centres
London from the east
The Shard nears completion
Freedom Tower and Gary Johnson at Samizdata
The final Steve Jobs Thing will be a brand new custom-built Apple headquarters
One World Trade Center
WWWhat a great afternoon!!!
More shiny new headquarters buildings
On the superfluity of the Paddington Basin rolling bridge
Nil scrap value
“Things appear almost impossible to escape from …”
Another pub
The Armstrong Gun
The docks beyond the Dome
BrianMicklethwaitDotCom not threatened by the end of the Big Thing Boom
The Shard from beyond the Barrier
Someone doesn’t understand what I mean by roof clutter
Gormley’s South Bank Men
Strata from a station
Blue Men on a boring building in Borough High Street
Kyrgyzstan cemetery and awesome frogs
Mmmmm … scaffolding!
Photographing change from the Monument
If you can’t beat them hire them
Stunning aerial photo of Shanghai
It’s interesting …
A Spanish high speed train bridge and a Spanish aqueduct
What camera is best for doing short videos about architecture?
October 2007 conversation about modern architecture with Patrick Crozier
Shard progress
St Valentine’s Day talk by me on architecture
And here’s the proof!!!  Sixteen little square pictures!!!
Professor C. Northcote Parkinson on the Edifice Complex
Leytonstonia
Shard in the clouds
Superb Shard pictures
Mmmmmm … Asian skyscrapers!
Abandoned Bangkok tower
Shard in rain
Beyond the Dome with Goddaughter One
Sexy architecture
More bridge magic
The Razor through a bus and without the bus
Cathedral photo
The Gherkin from Englefield Green
Big Singapore Thing
Recent Shard shots
Photoing the World Cup
Strata from Waterloo
Glass on the Shard
Same tower different look
Eye shadow
Shard sitings and and an agreeably honest rabies prevention sign
Strata through a gap
Light and shade
Shard getting bigger
Surrey are now crap at cricket but they are sitting on a gold mine
Visual modified cliche - Wheel and Wheel reflected
The bottom half of the Tokyo Sky Tree
Glass is now very strong
Car in in front of sloping houses
Brightly lit buildings against a dark sky
Airplanes converted into architecture
Why my libertarianism has the look and feel of socialism
The Shard starts to show
London is about to be Kapoored with a big new Olympic Games Thing
Cranes
Sushi and scaffolding at Victoria
Strata SE1 - seen on the way to London Bridge Station
Shard takes shape
The right to photograph
Awesome shot of Dubai
In Alicante
Reds against Blues in Munich
Two New York stadiums temporarily next to each other
Towers under the weather - and a steam engine steams to the rescue
Hasselblad hit by custom-built headquarters disease!
Saying it with lights in the Victoria Station shopping centre that were still switched on!
Free Skullcandy on a bus in snowy Edinburgh
Burj Dubai looking semi-sane
The Shard is definitely being built!
Picture of an aftershock of the credit crunch rippling around the world
Lining up those London landmarks
What’s up with this?
Luxembourg church in hill and Luxembourg footbridge
How building St Peter’s Rome split the Catholic Church and how marzipan was invented in Luebeck
Wuhan railway station under construction - with sunset behind
A local view
Of lists and distant totally photorealistic skyscrapers
The concrete monstrosities of the South Bank may be about to get colourful
Jonathan Meades on city planning
Slumponomics
Another London lump?
Structural decoration
Quota posting
Photographers in bother
Stuff in the foreground I wasn’t expecting
The Wheel through some Art
Crane cluster photo
Wheel etc.
Toys and big toys
Another view over London
Quota photo of the BT Tower
Work begins on the Shard of Glass
MBA - necessary but insufficient
The Rand revival - and some thoughts about Rand’s failure to understand architectural tradition
Ancient Sheffield dwarfed by modernity
Professor Dowd and I contemplate a stately home from a distance
By bus to Sheffield
Docklands towers with barbed wire
The Shard may actually be being built
The towers of London from the Copper Horse
The Long Walk is easier if you have a couple of horses pulling you
London continues to build big
Star Wars mosque and rockets mosque
Picture charging advice please
A view from Vauxhall Station
Colonial Governor’s Mansion dwarfed by modernity
Another fine day and more not Billion Monkey pictures
Palming them off with a sunset
Why Willem Buiter blogs and why I do
A movie staircase and a window
Sheep under wolf’s clothing
Bricks
Brisbane church dwarfed by modernity and this posting behaving very strangely
On top of Tower 42
An abstract view of Kings Place
Family get-together
Lump art and dinner in sky
More sticking up stuff
City of London lumps and a south London spike
Profundity and silliness
Big Pictures
Jellennium Bridge
Monster buildings and monster people
London after dark from above
Towers above the Dubai fog
Euston Arch
Billion Monkey lady! – Gherkin! – Monument!
Modernity dwarfed by church
To Greenwich by train and back by bus
Modern above ancient
More Beijing smog-blogging
Bird’s Nest in smog
What’s this for?
The original Burtynsky Nanpu bridge picture
Edward Burtynsky photos the towers of Shanghai
Roger Scruton on Prince Charles’s new town
Billion Monkeys earlier this evening!
To let – one Ark
Church covered in church pictures
Politics again …
Big Bens - Wheels - Big Ben teapots - telephone box teapots
San Francisco from Sausalito
Self-guided photo-tour of the streets of San Francisco
Outstanding and numerous aerial photos of St Petersburg
Billion Monkey Alan Little?
Airplane over Putney
The Gatwick Beehive
Another view of the tower of Westminster Cathedral
New classical music venue just down the road from Kings Cross Supplementary
I’ve been busy today so here’s a nice picture of the tower of Westminster Cathedral
Not a hot day in January for the Billion Monkeys!
The moving bridges of Chicago
Ursa major
Gives a whole new meaning to Mile High Club
The white stuff
There’s a crack in the cracks at Tate Modern
Beetham Tower – and a couple of other towers
Bookcase staircase many books electric book manybooks.net
At Bethnal Green railway station
The Shard is a Middle Eastern skyscraper but in London that still counts
Wheel obscured by reinforcing rods
Picture of Taipei 101 that came with Jesus
Tower in the distance
Three proper photos … and three Billion Monkeys!!!
Guess the city (2)
Guess the city
Victorian roof clutter
The robotic future
Gherkin with men in front
Michael Jennings photos Disney Hall
Billion Monkey madness and a proper picture
The new South Bank
Another target rich environment
Pictures of the year
Talking about St Pancras at St Pancras
Southwark at dusk
A bog standard (but rippling and therefore ultra-cool) tower soon to be built in Chicago
NatWestTower42
More St Pancras snaps
The space between the buildings
Eurostar says goodbye Waterloo hello St Pancras
The Ofcom bulge
The UK is not crowded
Architecture talk
A picture of a Wheel seen through a field of corn
I hope I’m wrong about this
Russian weirdness for the Anglos
Park Plaza detail
Billion Monkey men - Billion Monkey ladies - and a giant dolly
Photos - four transport - two artistic
Renaissance Man
Combining the genres
Engadgetry
Lots of links
Old cranes - new cranes
A new tower in Manchester
Photo-ing the weather
Assorted London quota photos
The Big Things of London
Billion Monkeys in the sunshine!
Comparing classical music with modern architecture
Footbridge in the dark and cricket
Not what it looks like
Shame you can’t do this kind of thing here
Taipei with skyscraper
Church dwarfed by modernity
Tall chess men and tall buildings in the evening
Not much of a mystery detail
“It took about a year …”
The Nanpu bridge approaches
Diamond Synchrotron
Robot car park in New York
Other people’s photos (2): New architecture in Hamburg
Billion Monkeys and people waving blue things!
Pictures of the world for the world
London photos by Fabio
By the rivers and canals of East London with Goddaughter One
Another quota photo of the Docklands towers
My computer is improved - plus some London towers
Cranes and street lamps and mp3s
Deceiving the eyes of Paris
Two views of London’s new Parliament
More ways to use the best pictures
Two sunset photos
What’s this?
Billion Monkey spots sunlight pattern bounced off Gherkin!
Tower with lights
Tate Modern Extension
Getting that roof clutter onto my computer
Lords pictures from last Monday
Westminster Cathedral reflections
Cricket with landmark
Abolish aesthetic planning permission
Zooming in on the Wembley Arch
London landmarks and London lumps
The Ben Pimlott lump
Strange reflection
Presumably the noise is not a problem
Nearby landmarks and a special effect
Must
Billion Monkey lies on the ground in front of Westminster Abbey!
Ugly flats in the sunshine
Billion Monkey photos flats in Bombay
Shadow on the Shell Building
Holocaust museum repeated as fashion?
Billion Monkey takes photos of Mexico City from helicopter!
Another view of the BT Tower
The Telecom Tower
Billion Monkey screen and another blurry pigeon
Grey skies looking weirdly blue
Light and lights in grey London
Same towers - different light
The evening sun through the windows of the Albert
The new Sainsbury’s in Wilton Road
Picture perfect
The new stand at the Oval
Digital preservation
Photography in public places (and it all depends what you mean by public places)
Tourist traps – foregrounds – cranes
An east London photo on the right