Archive for the ‘architecture’ Category

Press preview International Bomber Command Centre

January 17, 2018

My last visit to International Bomber Command Centre, muddy approach, shell of a building, hard hat, steel-tipped boots, hi-vis vests for access.

Today, a loose gravel approach to the finished building.

Not yet officially open, today was to give the media a glimpse.

Walking in, after passing through an open plan reception, a large auditorium, large screen, various interactive and static displays.

The interactive displays, students dressed the part, speaking what it was like, based upon recorded first hand accounts.

The interactive displays in the prison cells in the old Victorian Prison in Lincoln Castle give an idea of what to expect.

For the Centre, to collect these first hand accounts, was literally a race against time.

Since the first hand accounts were collected, of people in their nineties, a third of those who gave these first hand accounts are sadly no longer with us.

The static displays, a pair of flying boots, a lamp, playing cards.

The playing cards, on each card, hand written account of a bombing raid.

Dominating the room a large display.

On the large screen, bombing targets lit up. At first I thought, not many, that was until I noticed a scrolling bar. What was being shown was nightly raids, night by night.

A warning, a film was to be shown, almost like warning of an air raid.

Was this a warning to evacuate the room? Maybe.

Too loud.

Then I could see why so loud, when an Avro Lancaster took off, then the bombs dropped, then a building on fire, then footage from the air of the destroyed buildings, presumably taken by the Germans, then the lost people wandering the streets.

I was privileged to be able to watch this in a room on my own, well almost on my own, a BBC film crew and one veteran of WWII Bomber Command.

The impact would not have been the same in a room full of people.

To describe as emotional would be an understatement.

I later congratulated the Centre Director Nicky Barr and said she should she be very proud of what she has created.

She said that even though she had created, the first time she watched, it was a very emotive experience.

There are other smaller rooms, including dining room, with coffee, San Remo espresso machine and associated kitchen.

Not today, but when up and running, will be serving a special blend of coffee and tea created for the Centre by Stokes. They will also have on sale bags of the coffee and tea.

The Centre is not only a visitor centre, it will also be a research centre with archive material.

The Centre tells the story from all sides, the crew on the ground, the aircrew, and the Germans who were bombed.

What is the point some may say.

Syria. Look what Assad has done to Syria, bombed-out buildings, the only way he can retain control of Syria is to kill his own people, aided and abetted by Vladimir Putin.

Yemen. Corrupt House of Saud carrying out genocide in Yemen, weapons supplied courtesy of British arms companies.

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Upon the Earth Under the Clouds

November 3, 2017

Upon the Earth, Under the Clouds, a documentary on Danae Stratou’s large scale installation in Elefsis, with music by Brian Eno.

Wandering around Athens.

Awake in the morning with breakfast with a stunning view of The Acropolis,  and Olympian Temple of Zeus.

During the day, walk around The Acropolis, climb the Hill of the Muses with stunning views over Athens and out to sea, walk along the Koine Road, visit Library of Hadrian, the Ancient Agora, walk the streets of Plaka and Monastiraki, visit the National Garden, discover some amazing coffee shops where served by champion baristas, in one Little Tree, a bookshop cum coffee shop, latest book by Yanis Varoufakis.

Danae Stratou artist wife of Yanis Varoufakis.

Many thanks to Yanis Varoufakis for mention of this documentary.

Lincoln Heritage Day

September 10, 2017

Heritage Open Day is when buildings not normally open are open to the public, or with the example of Lincoln Cathedral, the entrance fee is waived.

There was though something extra. A guided walk following the route of The Battle of Lincoln.

I would have participated yesterday. Heavy rain put paid. I caught the end of the walk opposite Norman House on Steep Hill. I apologised for not joining the walk and learnt there would be  a repeat on Sunday.

Thus I was outside The Museum of Lincolnshire Life for an interesting walk.

As we finished up outside the Visitor Information Centre, to see if they had anything useful on The Battle of Lincoln, they do not, apart from 1217 The Battle of Lincoln, a Ladybird-style book aimed at children.

I did though find a collection of miniature knights. These were used by the artists to show what their full-sized Knight would look like. What will happen to these I do not know. They should be given permanent exhibition space somewhere.

It was unfortunate the Knights were removed last week. A huge mistake. Typical bureaucratic thinking. They have proved to be highly popular and should have remained in the street until at least the end of September, if not longer.

I picked up a programme for the Lincoln Book Festival. Small, with emphasis on quality. Contrast with the Guildford Book Festival, large with the emphasis on hyped authors.

I would love to go to the talk on Mona Lisa.

After the walk, I wandered to Stokes Lawn Café. A mistake, I should have walked down Steep Hill to Makushi.

It was then through the Castle Grounds, visit the Castle Shop, which is worth a visit. Usually such places house tourist tat. Lincoln castle must be the exception. I have never visited before. Worth a visit.

I picked up a copy Magna Carta by David Starkey. I am no great fan of his, but this was the best book on display.  I wanted it, not only for Magna Carta, but also the life of King John.

A bad King. He was forced by the Barons to sign, strictly speaking, place his seal on Magna Carta. What most do not realise, it was almost immediately reneged upon, annulled by The Pope, a French Invasion followed, and led on his death to the decisive Battle of Lincoln, the route I had just followed.

Appalling the amount of damage caused by Graduation in the Castle Grounds last week.

It had been cold and windy all afternoon, now rain.

I headed for Lincoln Cathedral.

Lincoln Heritage Day

September 9, 2017

Coolish, heavy rain.

Today Lincoln Heritage Day, various places open that not normally open, or for example Lincoln Cathedral free entry.  There was also a guided walk following route of the Battle of Lincoln.

Unfortunately heavy rain put paid to plans.

Starbucks in the High Street closed. The bad news, only for renovation. Use the opportunity to find coffee shops serving decent coffee, then do not return.

I looked in Mono Records, Bird’s Yard, then as I left, heavy rain.

I sheltered for a while in Makushi, then as the rain eased off in a potter shop.

Contrary to the sign in the window of the potter shop,  not mini-Knights these are miniature Knights.

The intention had been, maybe lunch at Bailgate Deli, join the guided walk, then as rain fell, free entry to Lincoln Cathedral. But rain put paid to that.

I had looked in the archaeological centre to ask of the walk, as they were leading it.  Lincolnshire Echo did not give full information.

On my way up Steep Hill, I met the guided walk, I apologised to the leader and learnt it would also take place on Sunday.

I had hoped for lunch at Bailgate Deli, but too late.

I walked back down Steep Hill to Pimento tea rooms. Excellent for tea and cakes, but food is not good.

It was then continue back down Steep Hill, too late for anything, a cappuccino in Madame Waffle.

I am still finding miniature Knights.

House of Cards portent of things to come

June 18, 2017

House of Cards 1993.

Grenfell Tower 2017.

Cob house within solar geodesic dome in the Arctic Circle

January 6, 2017

The Hjertefølger  family has been living on Norway’s Sandhornøya island, where they started their journey into sustainable living, since 2013. Their three-story cob home—built from sand, water, clay, and other organic materials—is encased in an aesthetically pleasing, and functional, solar geodesic dome by Solardome.

Placing the 25-foot-high dome around the five-bedroom, two-bathroom home gave the six-person family protection from strong winds and heavy snow loads, as well as cutting down on heating costs. The geodesic dome, which also covers a garden area, gives the family the necessary greenhouse environment to grow much of their food.  Apples, cherries, plums, apricots, kiwis, grapes, cucumbers, tomatoes, herbs, squash, and melons are just some of what they can grow in an area that is without sunlight for three months a year.

Tower of the Winds

October 17, 2016
Tower of the Winds

Tower of the Winds

The Tower of the Winds or the Horologion of Andronikos Kyrrhestes is an octagonal Pentelic marble clock tower within the Roman Agora in Athens that functioned as a horologion or clock.

The structure features or did a combination of sundials, a water clock, and a wind vane.

It was supposedly built by Andronicus of Cyrrhus around 50 BC, but according to other sources, might have been constructed in the 2nd century BC before the rest of the forum.

The water clock may have taken the form of a waterwheel.

The roof is a series of triangular slabs locked in place by a circular keystone.

Around the periphery is represented the eight winds.

Saint Vitus Cathedral

May 11, 2016
figures on main doors

figures on main doors

one clock shows the hour another the minutes

one clock shows the hour another the minutes

Prague Castle, seen from across the river, dominates the skyline,  especially  Saint Vitus Cathedral  and Lobkowicz Palace.

Saint Vitus Cathedral is situated  within the Prague Castle complex.

To pay to walk around inside, but can enter the main doors and enjoy the stunning view looking down the nave.

Had I paid, I would have learnt contains the tombs of many Bohemian kings and Holy Roman Emperors.

Two key features are the figures on the main doors and above the doors, and the clocks.

The figures on the doors, cast in metal, are amazing.

I was puzzled by the clocks, why one above the other? Why two clocks?  The time was such, they both appeared to be showing the same time.

It was only after observing over a period of several minutes, I realised one was showing the hour, the other the minutes.

Prague Castle

May 10, 2016
Prague Castle

Prague Castle

Lobkowicz Palace

Lobkowicz Palace

stunning views over Prague

stunning views over Prague

steps leading down from Prague Castle

steps leading down from Prague Castle

No 22 tram took me up to Prague Castle.

Novel way of paying. Pay for time not distance.

Ticket has to be bought in advance from a machine.

I alighted at the right palace and wandered in.

Police and soldiers on guard with semi-automatic rifles.

Very cold.

Prague Castle is a castle complex, many streets and buildings including churches, Saint Vitus Cathedral, museums, monasteries and palaces, including Lobkowicz Palace.

Stunning views over Prague.

Starbucks at Prague Castle

Starbucks at Prague Castle

Prague Castle, the location with the most stunning view over Prague, occupied by Starbucks. A grass terrace, a spiral stone staircase. They were even queuing.

Steps lead down from Prague Castle.

Church of the Infant Jesus

April 14, 2016
font

font in the Church of the Infant Jesus

cloak worn by the Infant Jesus

cloak worn by the Infant Jesus

Strictly speaking  Carmelite Church of Our Lady Victorious in Malá Strana but commonly known as Church of the Infant Jesus for the little infant Jesus wearing a cloak.

The infant Jesus is 16th century. Legend has it that the statue once belonged to Saint Teresa of Avila.

Up a spiral stone staircase, a museum of various cloaks.

When I visited, I was struck by a girl in her twenties, her face was lit up with joy as she looked at the statue.

I caught up with her as she left. She told me she was a student in Prague.

When Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho was unknown, he had yet to write, he travelled Europe. He asked the Infant Jesus to help make his dream come true to become a writer. He noticed the Infant Jesus was wearing a shabby cloak. He promised, that if he became a writer, he would return with a cloak.

Paulo Coelho marks St Joseph’s day with his friends. This year it was at Lobkowicz Palace in Prague  Castle. During the morning he visited the church and presented the Infant Jesus with a  new cloak.

The Infant Jesus is credited with miracles. Hence the pilgrims.

I was appalled at the disrespect shown by the hordes of visitors to the church.  Two women having a very noisy conversation on the stairs leading up to the museum, the noise echoing up and down the staircase. Two women walking down the aisle having a loud conversation. Then bang, crash, a tourist group erupted through the doors, their tour guide, Italian, laughing and shouting. I wish I gone after her and took a picture of her as she left, as she was unfit to be a tour guide. Then it got worse and worse.

I walked out in disgust.

Why do they not bar tour groups?

A shop near the church entrance, but closed when I left.

Across the road, shops selling tourist tat, images, replicas of the Infant Jesus.