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.
It’s the start of a new year for the business and time to look back on the last one. A weekend in sunny London spent in Clissold Park and Mike’s back garden. Me and the gang catching up with old friends and colleagues. Back in Edinburgh looking at the hard, but still attractive, Bakehouse Close. A comfortable scale of space with some nice details by Oberlanders.
Work is about making things and sketching is about learning from some of the great things others have made. A week spent looking at inspiring and dramatic development. This is O’Donnell & Tuomey’s Saw Swee Hock Building for the London School of Economics, more drama than you’d think would fit on such a tight site.
Victoria Street in Edinburgh, linking the Grass Market with George IV Bridge in spectacular fashion. A six storey pedestrian street sitting on a lower level that climbs from single storey to three storeys whilst looking like a crescent but mostly running straight. Other sketches of these two locations should be here.
Fraser watching a Dusty drama. The next few days will see drama too, as our political parties try to sort out a hung parliament. I’ve just realised that most people don’t realise that Nicola Sturgeon, the undoubted star of the whole process, isn’t actually standing. Dramatic days ahead.
The Cock is a pub designed by HTA about thirty years ago.At that time HTA were specialists in what people called ‘Public Housing’ so when someone called looking for a ‘Public House’, the entrepreneurial partners got right down to it. They did another twenty pubs after that, of which this is one. Just off Portland Place, this one’s a cheap place for a pint in an expensive part of town. I’m across the street for breakfast, reflecting on talking about sketching last night in Camden.
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.
One of the good things about travelling to the same places is getting to know the best places to eat and drink: I’d recommend Caravan on Exmouth Market, if you’re ever in the area.
I’d recommend a Porsche too, but not one like this, sitting in an airport departure lounge.
A Saturday morning eating cake and ice cream at soft play, just after breakfast? My kids would definitely recommend that.
Coffee, sketching and enjoyable chat for me, so I’d recommend it too. Not enough time to finish the drawing though. I’m sure there will be other parties.
We’re wrestling with the potential of some big brick buildings just now so I’m on the trail of the lauded examples. Designing buildings is hard, so it’s worth learning from those who’ve done it well, recently.These are round the back of Kings Cross. Two big blocks, by Maccreanor Lavington and PRP.There’s lots to admire: consistency, bold entrances, roof lines, grand changes in scale, well considered materials and junctions. Using decent quality brick to begin with, even.
On the way to Leeds in the morning I caught up with this odd looking engine.
She (he?) pulls the Caledonian Sleeper up from Edinburgh in the colours of the English, Scottish and Welsh Railway, which I understand is owned by the Germans.
No sketching allowed, no explanation given.
Sketching at the Brunswick Centre. I was going slowly so later filled the page with scenes from the Citizen M lobby, still busy around midnight.
Good foyer spaces, small but well designed bedrooms.
Watching people eating, at Kings Cross. Do you take the food to your mouth or your mouth to the food?
Lysistrata is good festival stuff: an audience of thirty, a cast of four, a tiny venue and art with ambition. Maybe this was the Fringe before the stand-ups came to dominate.
Most of the energy comes from Louisa Hollway, who covers the small stage in a few short strides.
The characters are less energetic on the sleeper to Edinburgh. There’s wi-fi in the bar, so you can catch up on the day, but I think mostly people are just trying to avoid going to bed. Earlier I sat outside the kind of independent café I love and admired the flamboyant gables on some Victorian housing in Finchley. I like the fun in this that’s missing from most contemporary brick built London housing.
A week in London, and 3 nice places to spend some time
1. London’s public space has had a makeover since I lived there.
The focus is kids and the device that gets them active is fountains you can play in. People used to point to Spain to show how kids playing could be a welcome part of civic space, but London does it too now. This one is Princess Diana’s memorial, swishest of the five we came across on our travels.
2. Ben’s shed. I spent some time looking at it and thinking about spaces to be creative in (with some help from the White Stripes*).
This might be what Ben would describes as ‘rus in urbe’
3. Eames lounge chair 670. You need somewhere cosy to relax after a day in central London with three under fives.