This is Second Home, in my second home.
It describes it’s self as a ‘carefully curated community’, and a ‘creative accelerator’. It’s certainly an interesting environment to do some sketching in.
A leaving do for Andrew, Massimo and Cheng, all returning to further their education. This is Massimo’s third leaving do. I pretend to be upset but I’m mostly glad they want to come back.
“Any story told long enough becomes a tragedy” said Alice Fraser at the start of her emotional ‘comedy’ The Resistance.
I’ve fallen out of the habit of keeping the sketch diary up to date, the online version anyway. I’ve kept the sketch books just the same but painting the six portraits I did recently used up all my spare time. Then I cycled across France.
I had an idea that I’d go back and colour up the old sketches and up load them all here: do a catch up blog. But of course I won’t. The thing about a diary is that the keeper is only interested in recording today, not writing up the past.
… and fascinating presentations: this one by Lara Feigel on her book ‘The Bitter Taste of Victory’…
…and this one on Women in Architecture and women in HTA. In the non architectural areas of our business: planning, graphics, sustainability and landscape design the genders are balanced throughout the grades. In architecture they aren’t. Something to sort.
Over the last year, we’ve had Mike Hopkins coming in to train our management team in a few useful techniques. We’re a business run by designers so it’s good to hear how the professionals do it. Contrary to popular perception (big egos/ sensitive souls) designers don’t really need to be treated all that carefully but they are good at questioning the conventional route. Mike has a straightforward style, telling our creative team what he thinks, and this is going down well.
Getting a great guided tour around the first bespoke build-to-rent building in the UK, for be:here.
Fraser and Isla have expertise too. Here they are showing two year old Ellan some advanced present unwrapping skills.
A man in a stripy jersey watching his kid at swimming lessons.
Julie watching the tennis and working out how we’ll get the boiler fixed. We moved into a house in the winter and the boiler burst. It now appears this happens to pretty much everyone.
Maybe the 25% of the population who’d consider buying a new house have got it right?
Fraser is learning to play tennis. I drew Isla watching him, then she drew him, and titled it.
At an office CPD, on lighting. Not a bad one. You learn more, obviously, from seeing the things skilled designers (and their visionary clients) have actually built than you do from watching Powerpoint.
Edinburgh has an extensive stock of ageing bungalows with big back gardens and they’re gradually being bought up by young families. A roster of talented local architects can transform them by taking a bit of back garden and building the kind of bright and open living space people are after these days. Few are as lofty and light as friends Asa & Daniel’s one, by David Blaikie.
Innes (and me), learning to be gardeners.
Lotus founder and all round genius Colin Chapman designed the Lotus Seven in 1957. By the early seventies it no longer fitted the more luxurious aspirations of Lotus, so Caterham bought the rights and carried on building it. Almost 60 years after it was first designed you can still buy more or less the same car.It’s simplicity itself. I love that it makes up for not having much power by not having much of anything at all. It’s tiny: you can walk around it in a parking space. ‘Just add lightness’ was the Chapman design philosophy and we enjoyed the thrilling results on a sunny day in Fife.In Soho in London. A little extra space on the corner of Berwick Street and Broadwick Street makes for a busy spot. People using their phones to text, talk and find their way to their next meeting. This corner gives them room to pause without being in the way and lets me watch urban life in narrow streets with lowish buildings. Lots of activity in not a lot of space.
When the London office moved to Kentish Town there weren’t many cafes selling fancy and expensive coffee. There are now. Places change and something gets lost. Off to the board meeting to discuss the ethics of working in Uganda, and London.
Start! F & I are off to school.
We went for a visit with HTA’s London Sketch Club and the London Society. The ‘kids’ weren’t that impressed, which certainly ups the ante next time I’m reviewing their work.
It’s a bit windy and not that warm but this could well be summer, so the real kids and I played outside whilst Julie did some shopping.
Catching up with Tom and Ray at the Etape Caledonia. Tom talked me through what to do if you have a bike crash in downtown San Francisco, as he’d just done. I may have over emphasised his beat up look, but not by much. The next day we thrashed round the 81 miles in the wind and the rain. Tough if you like cycling in the sun, perfectly fine if it’s the grit in cycling that you like.
The kids being chased round the garden of Grays Court hotel by Henry the resident dog. Our slightly rowdy bunch spent a warm and sunny afternoon in their elegant, calm garden.
Back in Edinburgh we are inside waiting for the hailstones to stop and the icy winds to die down.
Luckily some of the excellent Dr Seuss books are being made into films. We stayed in and watched ‘The Lorax’.
At last, the spring equinox. I like the dark, but on balance, we’re now in the better half of the year.
Sunnier, brighter and a bit more colourful: we’re all quite excited. F & I have a birthday…
… and I have a talk to do:
Just in case you’d like to talk about drawing in Camden on a Tuesday evening.
F&I engrossed by the family’s toy tablet.
They can work it effectively, better than their dad on his new Microsoft Surface. The Surface is a classic compromise: unimpressive as a tablet, not that great as a laptop, handier than carrying both around on a push bike.
Some waiting room fish.
Sitting in the lobby of Manchester’s Beetham Tower talking PRS with the nice guys who manage the residential half of the building. The Beetham is a little short of 50 storeys, and half an hour later we concluded our tour on the windy roof. I’d have done a sketch but I needed both hands to hold on and my eyes were shut.