"I have got the Drawing for Your Arms in the Pediment done to a quarter of the size, shall order it to be such next week" - Robert Adam in letter to Sir Rowland Winn, owner of Nostell Priory, 1774 Now that's what I call unfinished.
A few years ago when we extended our house to create a new entrance hall we greatly enjoyed flicking through the relevant pages in Christopher Alexander's "A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction". So much of it rang true with those "oh yeah" moments as we looked with fresh eyes at the way we used our … Continue reading The Waist-high Shelf
Love it or loathe it, Richard Rogers' Dome was the architectural icon of of Britain's new millennium. The hubristic creation of Michael Heseltine and Peter Mandelson, it was meant to symbolise our country's post-Thatcher renaissance, all Britpop and Cool Britannia. It didn't work out quite like that. Along with millions of other Britons, we didn't … Continue reading O₂MG, what have they done to the Dome?
A football agent being interviewed about the negative impact of his profession on the game was asked, shouldn't negotiating be left to the players' union, the PFA? Well, he replied, the PFA are nice people, but they're mostly former players, not businesspeople. If I was buying a house, I wouldn't trust a bricklayer to do … Continue reading Caveat emptor
A delightful letter to today's Guardian contradicts the fashionable received wisdom of modernist architects as purists riding roughshod over the interests of users. Defending Berthold Lubetkin's 1934 Penguin Pool at London Zoo, his daughter Sacha writes: I was astonished to read that "nobody thought to ask the penguins" about the design. My father steeped himself … Continue reading On User-Centred Design and the Wrong Kind of Penguin
Is this door with the sign that says other door the other door or is the other door that doesn't say other door the other door? Originally uploaded by mattedgar.
From Simon Thurley's fascinating Buildings That Shaped Britain we learn that Isambard Kingdom Brunel had only once travelled on a train when he designed the gloriously non-standard Great Western Railway from London Paddington to Bristol. Now that, for good or ill, is the difference between innovation and design.