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Buckingham

After we left Bicester we made our way to the hotel we’d booked in Buckingham.

The town has a swan for its symbol. In golden form it appears as a finial (it looks too big and heavy to be a weathervane) on the roof of the Town Hall.

The town centre is pleasant with a mediƦval castle-type building which was also once the town jail.

The Sainsbury’s Local (On the road in) has a look of Deco about it. There are good horizontals in the brickwork and stepping on the roofline.

The shop has been blended in well with the flat-roofed thirties house to its left.

There is a lovely Art Deco frieze on the wall of The Buckingham School, a Sports College. Note the swan logo. I assume the BCC stands for Buckingham County Council.

Bicester, Oxfordshire

On the way from Woodstock to our hotel we were passing by Bicester, so decided to stop for a look.

It’s a pretty standard English market town sort of place but there was a modern shopping centre that had deco aspects.

And further round a bit there was this interesting looking old church.

Dovercourt (Harwich)

We spent the first night back in Britain in Harwich and in the morning had a stroll into Dovercourt which is cheek by jowl with Harwich but whereas Harwich is on the southern bank of the River Stour opposite Felixstowe, Dovercourt lies to Harwich’s south and lines up NNE to SSW (pointing ESE) where Harwich is more E to W (pointing N.)

These 1930s houses hinted at Art Deco.

We walked on towards the town centre past this building which looked as if it might have once been a garage but I have since discovered was the Regent Cinema. Strong horizontals, delicate upper window.

At the bottom of a slight hill there was a football ground, the home of Harwich and Parkeston FC. The sign says Ridgeon’s Football League but the Wiki article says they’re in the Essex and Suffolk Border League and also illustrates that the club has seen better times than at present. The ground is the Royal Oak Ground. Good stepped Art Deco styling to the entrance here.

There’s a photo of the club’s stand here.

In the town itself was what was in its prime surely a Woolworths.

This was up a side street. Minor deco but definitely has it in the roofline. I’d like to have seen the original windows.

Almost next door was a defunct? bingo hall (also once a cinema?) It was morning so I couldn’t tell if the restaurant on the ground floor is still a going concern.

Up another side street I found an old Co-op. This has all the hallmarks of deco but again has seen better days. There’s something drastic has occurred to the building. The facade is distinctly bent – focused on the rightward central pillar.

Dutch Motorway Landscapes

For some reason there are art installations studded along Dutch motorways. This one shows a concrete elephant.

There are several of them!

No visit to the Netherlands is complete without a photo of a windmill. This one is right beside the motorway we travelled back by.

This is the same windmill from the reverse angle.

This is not quite typical of modern Dutch commercial buildings but they do seem to like curves.

The same building from the side is revealed to be inhabited by KPMG.

Aa Kerk, Groningen

Apart from the Martini Tower there is another building with a tower in Groningen city centre. This is the Aa Kerk. Photo taken from the edge of the Vis Markt.

Groningen from the Canal(s)

Like most Dutch cities/towns Groningen is built round canals. (Or they were built round it.)

This is an unusually wide expanse of water where at least two of them meet:-

I include the one below mainly for the flag on the prow of the boat in the picture. It’s quartered in red and blue, the quarters centred on a white cross with what at first I thought was a blue cross within. (I’d seen it at a distance flying on a house just outside Opende.) I worked out it was the flag of Groningen Province after seeing a different flag, blue with white diagonal stripes containing red hearts, which was obviously that of Friesland. On seeing Groningen’s flag closely the central cross is green.

There are lots of lovely buildings on the canal:-

The Martini Tower used to be the tallest bulding in Groningen. It still is for the town centre but a taller one now lies on the outskirts. It was very difficult to snap the tower from the boat. Street furniture kept getting in the way.

Or splashes on the boat’s windows!!

Another wide expanse of canal allowed this of the tower in the distance:-

This is the tower from the town centre:-

It has a sundial about halfway up:-

Another striking building:-

We were told this is the smallest house in Groningen. It’s the one in the right-hand part of the white building (and the right half of that):-

Interesting corner building here. Not to mention the statue of the kneeling figure:-

Many of the bridges over the canals in Groningen have to open up to allow the boats underneath. This is one of them:-

Art Deco in Groningen (ii)

Just across the road and up a bit from the stunning possible cinema in Groningen is Pension Tivoli.

There’s a good curved canopy on this at the door but I got my angle wrong for showing it properly. The pillars at the door have a fine style as well. You can just see the top of the canopy and pillars at the door in the crop below. Fine windows here too.

This next shop was only a few doors along. Lovely curved wall and window. Good leading on the other windows:-

A couple more doors along. Note stained glass:-

Back in towards the town centre again was this, which has good trianguloid windows.

These can be seen to better advantage here:-

Good detailing on the brickwork:-

Hunkemoller is minor deco. Nice round metal frame bits in the windows though:-

Huis de Beurs is on the corner of the Vis Markt. Great colour. It was almost impossible to take a photo without a cyclist in the way. Spot the detailing on the roof line.

One shop had beautiful tiling on its entrance:

Art Deco in Groningen (i)

Groningen was a happy hunting ground for Art Deco. On the way in to the town centre past the Museum I saw the side of a building that looked a bit deco (vertical features) but made of what I thought was modern brick so passed on.

Just further along though I came on this very Egyptianate (and so true deco) shop. Le Souk:-

Not too far on was this:-

Just off the Vis Markt (fish market – absolutely heaving the day we were there) was Sumo:-

This was later, from across the market after we had circled round Groningen:-

Some time later we got back to the lane we had come up from the Museum and I realised that the earlier brick building I mentioned above was Deco. Might it be a cinema? Brilliant verticals and horizontals, flagpole, little square windows, detailing picked out in red and yellow. Delightful.

I had hoped the photo would show the vertical brickwork in the lane but sadly it hasn’t. What had alerted me to it was this stunning window on the main road:-

Groningen Railway Station

Groningen Railway Station is an architectural confection, superficially a bit like St Pancras. A Cathedral to steam.

This is its exterior from the ring road:-

It’s the interior that’s the gem though.

Apparently until quite recently all this lovely brickwork and decoration was covered up by plasterboard or something. When that was stripped off they discovered what they’d been missing. (There’s a couple of pigeons up there somewhere in these two photos.)

This is the cupola in the roof of the entrance hall:-

This is the vaulted roof in a side corridor!

And here is the stained glass in the windows round the entrance hall:-

More stained glass:-

Groningen Museum (Groninger Museum)

First a word on pronunciation. You might think Groningen is enunciated as Grown-ing-en. It isn’t.

Since the letter g in Dutch (certainly at the start and end of a word) is pronounced more like the Scottish “ch” sound – as in loch – and the final n is not emphasised, the name actually sounds more like HHrrrown-ing-ih. (I assume Groninger – HHrrown-ing-er – is an adjectival form meaning “of Groningen.”)

Anyway the museum is one of those modern architecture buildings that seems to have bits sticking out everywhere. I liked it. It reminded me a bit of the Imperial War Museum North.

It’s prominent from the ring road.

We didn’t have enough time to go in as we were going on a boat trip round the canals that encircle the town centre. You can’t go to The Netherlands and not go on a canal. This is the museum from the boat jetty.

And this is from the canal as the boat comes back to its starting point. That colour scheme could make your eyes go funny.

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