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Modern Deco Styling

These are flats on the corner of Steel Street and Saltmarket, Glasgow. There is some deco influence here:-

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.

Maarssen, The Netherlands

Just to show I’ve been in the Netherlands this is a canal:-

The canal runs through the town of Maarssen, which is near Utrecht. The photo was taken from a traffic light bordered bridge over it which every so often opens up (along with warning noises and the necessary red lights) to let boats through.

We had gone to see the good lady’s nephew who lives in Maarssen. This nearby house was built in the 30s. Pity the main windows have been replaced:-

It has lovely stained glass in the gable windows, though.

Some of the modern houses in the street where said nephew lives have been built to mirror the deco styling of the 30s ones. Nice curve here.

Flat roofs, protrusions, porticos, porthole windows.

Good “reflection” here.

The theme is reproduced with variations.

Our nephew’s house is less deco, though.

The Netherlands

The ferry left Harwich late firstly due to “a cruise ship in the next berth” and then to the fact that they couldn’t get the engines to start. (Cue cries of, “They cannae take it, Captain.”) It was an electronic problem apparently. As a result we were an hour late arriving at Hoek van Holland.

Almost the first thing that happened after we got off the boat was we got lost. Our intructions said to take the second exit from a roundabout. It should have been the first. After a slight detour we got onto a road on the top of a dyke, which was pretty intimidating as there didn’t seem much room if there was any sort of traffic problem or accident. I missed another turning, found myself in the wrong lane and had to enter the A 20 motorway to Rotterdam. I was able to get off and pull into a petrol station where I consulted the map I had bought and worked out a way back onto the route I needed. Dutch motorways are brilliant, very well sign-posted.

Unfortunately the delays meant we hit Amsterdam at rush hour. Four north bound lanes more or less jam-packed. Fun. I wasn’t quite sure of which junction to come off the Amsterdam ring motorway but I spotted a sign for Leeuwarden and Heerenveen and took it. This route meant we drove over what used to be part of the Zuider Zee – on the Afsluitdijk, with the IJsselmeer on our right and the Wadden Sea hidden behind the dyke to our left. This was a weird experience but the dyke is a fantastic piece of civil engineering. At each end it has a set of huge sluice gates to allow the IJsselmeer to drain into the Wadden Sea. Presumably this only happens at low tide.

North of Amsterdam the traffic became very much lighter. Most of the way was motorway and the journey passed very quickly.

At certain junctions the motorway regulations stop a few hundred metres before the roads meet. This happened just west of Heerenveen where there is effectively a roundabout between the A 6 and A 7 motorways. (In Groningen two motorways meet at a set of traffic lights.)

I was struck by the number of smallish industrial units near the motorways and at the edges of towns – way more than in the UK. Old Dutch buildings tend to be traditional with pitched roofs. The industrial buildings all looked modern and were either rectangular boxes, some up to seven or eight stories, or else replete with curves.

The towns seemed tidy and prosperous looking. That may be due to the brickwork pavements and cycleways. I can’t say I noticed any litter.

Modern Glasgow at Night

Most of the buildings I featured in the two previous Modern Glasgow posts are lit up with coloured lights at night.

This is BBC Scotland from the North bank of the Clyde.

And its entrance on Pacific Quay.

Here’s Glasgow Science Centre (at dusk.)

The Hydro manages to look like a spaceship.

Modern Glasgow 2

The first is engineering rather than architecture. The Clyde Arc – immediately dubbed by local wags the Squinty Bridge as it crosses the River Clyde on a diagonal. Also in the photo is the Finnieston crane – all that remains of the shipyards that once lined the River Clyde here.

Right next to the Glasgow Science Centre (see previous posts) on the south bank of the Clyde is the new BBC Scotland building. It looks externally like a giant shoe box. Internally it’s more interesting as anyone who’s seen television interviews given inside will know.

The entrance is on the west side and is adorned with BBC Alba as well as BBC Scotland. There is a largeish scuptural thingy here too on the right of the photo. (Squinty Bridge in background on left.)

This is how the BBC building looks from the north bank of the Clyde.

Just a touch along the south bank towards the Squinty Bridge lies the premises of STV (Scottish Television) part of the Independent Television network, ITV. This shows the STV logo at the access road (and the Finnieston Crane.)

This is a closer view of the STV building. Another shoe box, though smaller than the BBC Scotland one. The round building to the right was I believe once an entrance to a pedestrian tunnel under the Clyde. (There is a similar rotunda building where it debouched on the north bank which now houses four restaurants.)

Modern Glasgow 1

Glasgow seems to have a liking for bulbous grey architecture.

This started with the building whose construction saw it immediately dubbed the Armadillo. Its “Sunday” name is the Clyde Auditorium. It sits on the north bank of the Clyde in Finnieston right by the Crowne Plaza Hotel (where Eastercon was held this year) and the SECC and has certain structural similarities to the Sydney Opera House.

On the other side of the River Clyde lie more examples. The nearest to the camera here is Glasgow’s IMAX cinema. The other silvery building is the Glasgow Science Centre of which the tall white tower on the left is also a part.

This is a closer view of the IMAX. It looks like a giant silver slug. The entrance is on the other side.

And here’s the Science Centre closer up.

And the Science Centre from the north bank of the river. The paddle steamer Waverley is at anchor.

Better view of the Waverley, the last remaining ocean-going paddle steamer in the world.

Glasgow’s newest concert venue is the latest addition to the bulbous grey architecture fixation. It’s the Hydro.

Satellite 4

So. That was Eastercon.

The Convention hotel (the Crowne Plaza, formerly the Moat House) was hard by the River Clyde. It’s the tall building. The footbridge is called the Bell’s Bridge.

The bridge is in its swung open position here.

I met quite a lot of old acquaintances and made some new ones. Plus I bought two books.

The two panels I was on went well and I didn’t make a fool of myself (I think.) The one on steampunk had an unexpected extra panellist.

Yes, a steam driven dalek!

Well, a dalek made to look steam driven by fellow panellist Peter Harrow, a fount of information on all things steampunk. It was actually radio-controlled. The chocolate rabbit was a nice touch.

Oscar Niemeyer

The architect of Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, a riot of modernist buildings, and much more besides – including the UN building in New York – Oscar Niemeyer, has died.

The civic buildings in Brasilia are stunning architectural statements, still futuristic in form, some of them even spaceship-like. Whether they succeed on a human scale is another matter and Brasilia has been criticised as being not easy to live in without a car but, nowadays, that stricture could equally be applied to cities and towns with more conventional architecture.

Images of Brasilia along with other designs by Niemeyer can be found here.

Oscar Niemeyer 15/12/1907 – 5/12/2012. So it goes.

York Art Deco 5.

This is Specsavers, York. I forget which street it was on. The windows still look original!

Specsavers, York

Waterstones: mainly for the windows. The upper ones seem to have been replaced at some time.

Waterstones, York

This is the south entrance to a modern retail outlet building with an Art Deco style exterior. It’s just off the A 19 Selby Road, York.

Retail Outlet off Selby Road, York

There were some nice deco style pillars to the left of the entrance.

Art Deco Style Pillars

All my Art Deco pictures of York are on my flickr.

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