Admiring the Britannia on the last day of the Easter holiday. It’s an interesting tour: a glimpse into a world where hierarchy must be emphasised in everything from crockery to wall panelling to drink, otherwise the illusion might slip.
We’d spent some time in York, having fun and looking at trains.
This might look like boys activities, but we all enjoyed it. Back home, the Stockbridge Arts Club had it’s first meeting. It’s a foil to our partner’s “Book Group” and might take a little while to find it’s core purpose…
Waiting for a train in Dundee, thinking about what the new station might be.
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.
Our HTA Sketch Club joined forces with the London Society for a trip to the Royal Festival Hall. I was inspired by some 1951 illustrations of the design, and by the characters who came along to draw and chat about it afterwards.
It was a great pleasure to meet octogenarian former architecture tutor Maggie, who set me straight on a few things.
Earlier, I felt among friends with oldest pals Scott, Pete and Dougal…
…and alone hogging a big empty table in an otherwise packed west London restaurant.
Back home with Isla and Fraser.
Watching progress on site at Castleward, Derby. I like the houses with the trees so close: let’s see if the buyers do. The houses look quite conventional but have layouts you might describe as quirky. (Surely: intelligent response to a complex problem?) It’s housing at quite high densities, but it’s houses, not flats. The idea is to give families the chance to live in the city centre.
You could have the celebrated (and fairly quirky) Brunswick pub on your doorstep too.
I stopped off briefly in Newcastle on the way home. I like the new glass pavilions in the station in the context of John Dobson’s beautiful Victorian shed.
In a couple of months, this is going to be Quartermile’s best new bar, bringing some new life to the central square. I like a lot about Quartermile, and right here I like the views through the Foster glass boxes. Some of the fit-outs lose that, which is a shame, but this bar will deliver the transparent design intention with views from the street through to the public space. Michele Civiera is putting it together and it should open in the summer.
Glassy new bars seem right for modern eating and drinking habits; old pubs less so. Wandering about Reading on a sleepy Tuesday night I came across the Nag’s Head. Everywhere I’d wandered past had that dull, empty feel you’d expect of old man’s pubs on a Tuesday night in Reading. This place was thriving: darts and real ales the focus. I had two pints of Titanic Plum Porter, no darts. Off to Pangbourne the next day.
From the terrace of the House of Lords, our man Mike De’Ath launched the Housing Forum’s report into how to better provide low cost housing.As he talked about it I was thinking ‘what’s more important than this?’. A society that has some making huge capital gains on rising house prices whilst others can’t afford to either rent or buy is a divided society heading for disruption.
The night before I stayed locally and bumped into some folk from the Berkeley Group in a bar on the Thames, beneath some unashamedly unaffordable housing. I knew Berkeley were ahead on customer service, but nice of them to go to the length of filling the pub in their development with their own friendly staff. The characters of the people matched their brand differentiation too.The train home from Brighton after the CIH conference after talking about institutional private rent, a part of the answer.This my view of London as I arrive. It’s the capital of the world now, or so I’m told. About 80% of the new jobs created in the UK in the last few years were in the south east, but I’m sure a good proportion of the other 20% is people servicing the London economy from the rest of the UK, like we do. If a twin track housing market with the majority priced out is divisive, a twin track economy is equally so.
I was on the long list for the AJ sketching competition so went along to Saint Gobain’s innovation centre to see the work of the winners and talk about sketching. Felicity Steers won.Watching football in the pub after.Earlier in the week the kids dressed up to get into Deep Sea World for free and we visited the hospital (coincidentally).My long listed sketch was this one.
Citizen M in Southwark: contemporary modular hotel. Nice lobby, nice people. Stay there next time.
A long, relaxed walk around London with Ali Stephen, Campbell Reid, Duncan McKinnon and Kevin Allsop. 25 years since we all went to college together. It was just like I remember it: a day spent looking at architecture, getting a few drinks, arguing about politics and ending up looking out of place and unpopular in a disco.
Whilst I’m not sure the sketchbook helped my disco credentials, the benefit of the twenty five years is that I no longer have to care. Looking forward to doing it again in another 25 years.
I liked how Philip combined a passion for making things and the understanding the qualities of materials with an interest in what brands were all about. For brands, read clients, and we’d like to be the same. I think I stayed locally which is why I ate in Camino but so busy just now that I can’t even remember.