Posts Tagged ‘architecture’

Local Architecture in Watercolours and Prints

April 24, 2015
R H Foster

R H Foster

Local Architecture in Watercolours and Prints is an exhibition at the Guildford Institute by Susie Lidstone.

The exhibition captures in watercolours some of the wonderful buildings on the Surrey-Hampshire border.

A pity she had not painted The Tumbledown Dick before it was destroyed for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s.

Each painting has a few notes about the building, who owned it and how it came to be painted.

It was unfortunate the paintings were obscured by glass, reflections from the windows and lighting.

Why, oh why, oh why, do artists not know how to display their work to best effect?

The cobbler, R H Foster no long exists. It was a shop of many generations in Downing Street in Farnham next to the greengrocer (which does still exist). The last in the line asked that the shop be painted before it closed for the last time.

The Escherian Stairwell

December 30, 2014
Relativity (1953) - M C Escher

Relativity (1953) – M C Escher

Ascending and Descending (1960) - M C Escher

Ascending and Descending (1960) – M C Escher

Waterfall  (1961) -- M C Escher

Waterfall (1961) — M C Escher

One of my favourite artists is Dutch graphic artist M C Esher (1898-1972). Much to my annoyance, I was once in Lincoln, the Usher Art Gallery had an exhibition of his works. It opened the day after I left.

Several of his drawings make use of the illusion of perspective.

Relativity (1953), ascending stairs, arrive back at the starting point.

Ascending and Descending (1960), ascending stairs, arrive back at the starting point.

Waterfall (1961), a seemingly perpetual motion machine, water flows along a channel, cascades down a waterwheel, then flows back along the channel.

Can we in three dimensions recreate this illusion?

The man tells the girl to go up the stairs and meet him on the next floor, and to the girl’s surprise upon reaching the so-called “next floor” she finds herself ascending stairs to where she left the man. She is is so astounded, she runs back the way she has come, back along her original route and she cannot believe the man is still there.

Welcome to The Escherian Stairwell, designed by Filipino architect name Rafael Nelson Aboganda.

Located in Rochester Institute of technology in New York, it is named after M C Escher.


January 10, 2011
The Strait - Peter Rooke

The Strait - Peter Rooke

Lincoln by Michael Jones and Peter Rooke is an excellent guide to the street scene in Lincoln, the ancient Roman city of Lindum Colonia, the county town of Lincolnshire. Text is by archaeologist Michael Jones and watercolours by artist Peter Rooke.

Following a brief introduction to Lincoln, we have a series of watercolours with accompanying text. The format is right-hand page a watercolour by Peter Rooke, with accompanying text by Michael Jones on the left-hand page. At the back of the book a more detailed description of Lincoln.

The book lacks a bibliography. Suggested further reading The City by the Pool by David Stocker (ed) (Oxbow Books, 2003).

Lincoln is an excellent companion to Lincoln by Ann Yeates-Langley.

Also recommended is Lincoln by David Vale.

Signed copy!

Top story in The Art Daily (Monday 10 January 2011)!

Also see

Capturing Lincoln Cathedral

Lincoln Stonebow and Guildhall

Wind turbines on buildings

October 31, 2009
wind turbines on apartment

wind turbines on apartment

Over the last year I have watched apartment blocks being erected. Walking past a couple of days ago I noticed looking down at me like modern-day gargoyles a row of wind turbines. Cosmetic window dressing, an exercise in futility, as functional they are not.

The wind speed would be too low, the wind turbulence too high for any meaningful power generation. Were the wind speed to be of sufficient velocity, I doubt the building could handle the torque generated. Three of the wind turbines are in a row too close together, three are in a valley on the roof. The apartments immediately below the wind turbines are going to be disturbed by the noise, and possibly vibration, though if well balanced, vibration should be minimal.

What struck me as I have watched the apartments being built is that there is extensive south-facing roof areas, and yet no use has been made of this roof area for solar energy collection, either for water heating or electricity generation! The roof should have been covered with amorphous silicon roof tiles or slates, converting the entire south-facing roof areas into a solar-power generator, powering the apartments, with the surplus electricity fed into the grid.

Curious, I went back the next day to make inquiries and investigate further.

I spoke with the marketing suite, who directed me onto the site. I wandered around the site. From what observed and those I spoke to, the wind turbines are mere window dressing. There are higher blocks further into the site, but these were not used for the wind turbines. They are in their location because they are visible from the main road!

What I found was an opportunity lost. The site is on a gentle south-facing slope. Ideal for buildings to be passively heated, but no advantage taken of what the site offered. No use made of heat pumps, no solar arrays on the roofs or integral to the roofs. Two of the blocks are heated centrally, but not by a combined heat and power plant.

The wind turbines were shipped in from the States!

We learnt in the 1960s not to house social housing tenants in blocks. Those same mistakes are being repeated all over again. The developer has not been able to sell the apartments, 40% have been sold to a housing association, I was told these are inferior apartments, all housed in the same block. I hate to think what this little estate will be like in ten years time with bored kids and angry teenagers hanging around.

Access to the site was very dangerous. An accident waiting to happen. I was almost run down.

Much can be done with new buildings to make them energy efficient and net power generators, but it is not being done. This is due to lack of vision by architects and builders, but also to blame are local planning authorities whose level of competence goes little beyond the siting of a garden shed.

Local generation is important. A development of this scale should have had on site a local combined heat and power plant running off natural gas, feeding the apartments with hot water and electricity, any surplus electricity generated fed into the national grid. The ground floor apartments could have been fed by ground source heat pumps, the top apartments with roof-top solar collectors.

We need community-owned wind turbines, powering local communities, with the surplus fed into the national grid. It is a moot point whether or not this site could have had its own wind turbine, as it is on a slope running down into a dip, but they could have invested in a nearby community wind turbine.

No development should be permitted unless it is carbon neutral, furthermore, it should be a net generator of carbon-neutral electricity and low-grade heat.

Also see

Keith Parkins, Soft energy paths, heureka, May 2001

Keith Parkins, Wind turbines on buildings, Indymedia UK, 31 October 2009

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