Events, dear boy, events…

Continuity in Architecture hosted an afternoon of guest lectures on Thursday 26 October. Three speakers brought the clear light of practice into the stygian unknowingness of the Cordingley Lecture Theatre and demonstrated to an intent audience that the field of design in the built environment need not be abandoned to the shrill purveyors of ‘iconic’ architecture. Here was work from Scotland, Ireland, England, Wales and Italy as at home in metropolitan contexts as in rural ones, and as coherent as it was diverse.

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Clive Albert of Malcolm Fraser Architects, Edinburgh, led the charge with a withering attack on a well-known architectural fashion victim (just in case any dullards in the audience had found themselves in the wrong place) a feisty attitude which was echoed by the subsequent speakers. What followed was a confident discussion of a growing body of work related to arts organisations, infused with the inspiration which comes from the poetic and the choreographic, united by the motif of the cascading section. These projects culminated with the Newcastle Dance City building (above), a daring raid south which displayed a degree of sophistication sadly lacking in other, more prominent, London–designed, additions to the geordie cityscape.

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The afternoon was anchored by Yvonne Farrell of Grafton Architects in Dublin who braved a blustery Irish Sea to tell the audience about the practice’s Bocconi University building (above & below) currently on site in Milan. Developing from a series of educational projects for schools and universities in Ireland, the Milanese will be treated to a robust and complex slab of city where ribbons of office space hang over a submerged lecture theatre, with the public realm providing the glue. The materialisation of this formidable structure was described in terms of skyscape and groundscape and promises an exemplary demonstration on how the city should interact with academe.

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Closing these discussions, the context broadened out to a wider horizon with the work of Robert Camlin of Camlin Lonsdale Landscape Architects. From a base in Llangadfan in mid-Wales the practice has produced urban regeneration projects in Liverpool, Dublin and Manchester which read from the ‘book of the land’ to tie together history and topography, activity and texture in multilayered compositions. Despite these achievements the most tantalising project remains the unbuilt project for the walled garden of the National Botanic Gardens of Wales (below), with its rigourously organised typology of landscape.

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The themes which emerged for the benefit of the students present from the roughness of the event was the need for the persistent exploration of proposals through drawing and model, however modest in their materials, and the need to base that work on a relationship to others rather than indulging the self.

“Love it or hate it it’s worth a closer look before it goes”

…says Ian Stirland also known as “eat at joe’s”. His Flickr photoset of Preston Bus Station is definitely worth a look as the slow countdown to demolition continues. His latest pictures show modernism undermined by irrationality:

The bus to Hogwarts?
Outside

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Inside

As Ian points out, you can arrive but you can’t leave…

George D. Thompson has a slightly different angle on the place. Click on the picture and read…

The Largest Bus Station in Europe

Milano Possibile

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In 1998, when ‘Continuity in Architecture’ was ‘Atelier Italia’, we ran a series of projects in Turin and Milan. The short Milan project asked for a scheme for one end of a less celebrated leg of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. The projects engaged with the idea of the building facade as a wall upholding the public room of the city. The students produced a webpage showing a selection of proposals using the set view down the leg of the Galleria. Spot the CAD drawing.

From Casabella 512, April, 1985, quoted in the project introduction:

The search for continuity can be read as an attempt to achieve an urban dimension, almost perhaps an example of “civil architecture”, a term which described certain building types in the 19th century fit to carry out a particular role in city life for its public designation, distinctive characteristics and formal restraint. We can only hope that buildings able to deal with memories, traces, remains or more simply buildings of the past, without falling for nostalgic re-evocations, will be a recurring feature in our cities.

Original project introduction

Student drawings

Stirling Prize

“Channel 4’s Building of the Year: The Riba Stirling Prize (8.10pm) meets the solipsistic profession whose stranglehold on the populace it patronises and torments recalls the medieval church’s attitude to the peasantry. Architecture is the new tyranny. And Mariella Frostrup is one of the judges. No preview. Watch your blood pressure.”

(From today’s Financial Times TV preview page)

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Make the flag from a stack of 28 North Americas

Andrew Crompton has contacted us to offer the chance to inspect fragments of this building preserved in his lonely eyrie in the Kantorowich Building. Andrew’s website at cromp.com is a source of fascination. It contains charmingly illustrated applications of tesselation and research into the fractal nature of everyday environments. It also depicts the continuing search for the product which will make his first million. Have a look.