BEAUTÉ BRUT: The Brunswick Centre, London

Brunswick Centre Bloomsbury

The Brunswick Centre – an early experiment in planned mixed-use development of housing with retail and commercial uses – occupies a city block between the Russell and Brunswick Square Gardens, with Coram’s Fields lying to the east. The centre is well served by the nearby Russell Square underground station. (academyofurbanism)

 

Brunswick Centre

The Brunswick Centre ile ilgili görsel sonucu

The site was originally occupied by Georgian townhouses on the estate of the Foundling Hospital. During the mid 1950s this was bought by a private developer whose plan from the outset was to clear the site to make way for two 25-storey tower blocks containing luxury flats and retail. These proposals were resisted by the borough of Camden and the developer was recommended to the consult the renowned post-war architect Leslie Martin. He championed low rise development and maintained that an equal density of development could be achieved on the site with two parallel blocks. At this stage he handed the project to Patrick Hodgkinson to take forward. (academyofurbanism)

Development commenced in 1967 and was finally completed in 1972. However, the original developer went bankrupt during construction and the project was sold to Sir Robert McAlpine construction. The housing element was bound into contractual obligations and completed as per the original design. After the 1964 general election, furnished tenants were given security of tenure, and Camden Council agreed to rehouse in social housing all existing tenants. (academyofurbanism)

 

Brunswick Centre

File:Inside the residential area of the estate.jpg

The compound appeared in various popular media pieces such as in the movie The Passenger (1975) as Jack Nicholson visiting the centre and even the Finnish group Lodgers wrote a song for the Brunswick Centre. It has been more than a half of a century, it is still alive and kicking!

(Image Credits: e-architect, Guardian, londonist, academyofurbanism, timeoutlondon,

The Battle of Chalkboards, Glasgow Pubs

Pub chalkboards: funny, authentic, vulgar, cynical, attention-seeking, and more 😀

However they are, they are always of my interest, and the great city of Glasgow is a goldmine for them 🙂

I started to take their photos as every day I pass by a pub that writes quite funny ones.

Here is a collection of pub chalkboards from Glasgow. Let the battle of chalkboards begin and enjoy! (My favourite is the number 6)

I will update the list time to time 🙂

 

 

 

dsc_2045.jpg
Glassford Street
ingram-st-04022018.jpg
Ingram Street
hutshinson-st-15122017.jpg
Hutchinson Street
hutshinson-st-22122017.jpg
A brutally honest one, Hutchinson Street
Waterloo Street
Renfrew Street-022018
Renfrew Street
dsc_1944.jpg
Ingram Street
dsc_1958.jpg
Miller Street
dsc_1959.jpg
Miller Street
DSC_2044
Glassford Street
Miller Street
Miller Street

 

 

STORIES BEHIND: A Duke with a Cone?

Some statues mark their presence with a twist, and this is one of them: the statue of Duke of Wellington in Glasgow.

The statue is a part of the cityscape and famous with its cone on top of it.

 

IMG

 

The statue was erected in 1844. So, the story goes back some time. Not a definite one. It is not certain when the cone was first placed. But, one day, people of Glasgow woke up with a scene that an equestrian statue of a mighty Duke appeared to have a traffic cone on its head.

The statue was listed one of the top ten most bizarre monuments on Earth by Lonely Planet (inews). The statue is loved by the public and the tourists that it has many appearances such as the one below: a replica of the statue erected in the opening ceremony of Glasgow’s 2014 Commonwealth Games. Lovely, isn’t it?

Despite the statue’s popularity, the cone was removed and put back several times. The council even enacted some plans to end this tradition of putting the cone back. The plans were backfired, for obvious reasons. Who does not like a Duke with a cone? Why would it be another boring man with a horse?

The council had said that raising the height would end a practice which projected a “depressing image” of Glasgow and would save the £10,000 cost of removing the cone 100 times a year. The scheme would have seen a new granite-clad concrete base of 86cm (34in) added to the memorial to raise its overall height.

However, the council has reconsidered its decision after an online petition called “Save Wellington’s Cone”, which gathered thousands of signatories in just a few hours, and a Facebook campaign which had planned a rally in support of the cone.

A council spokesman said: “The wording of the report was appalling and the leader of the council (Gordon Matheson) has instructed officers to withdraw the planning application.” (BBC)

Also, as the campaigners state “The cone on Wellington’s head is an iconic part of Glasgow’s heritage, and means far more to the people of Glasgow and to visitors than Wellington himself ever has.” (BBC). Also, in the campaign, there are a couple of good points which may affect the council’s decision such as  “does anyone really think that a raised plinth will deter drunk Glaswegians?”. Well, I agree with that!

There is one point we are not quite sure: What would Duke Wellington think about this?

Luckily we have historians! According to inews, Dudley-Edwards argues that “Wellington himself would have been amused by the practice and embodied the ‘keep it coney’ ethos” as “He liked to keep it real”.

At the end of the day, the duke with a cone is a Rabelaisian act against mightiness of equestrian figures. While equestrian figures are usually associated with power and glorification of a person, the cone turns the statue into a human being again. It leaves you with a smile (and with a selfie apparently if you are visiting the city).

Even better, the statue is located right in front of the Gallery of Modern Art as the second twist in this story.

Yes, that is right. There is a classical equestrian statue right in front of a modern art gallery and it has a cone on the top of its head!

Bonus: A rare shot of the statue without a cone, but with a seagull!

img3-e1569586789770.jpg

 

(Image Credit: inews / eveningtimes.co.uk)

Walk, Cycle, Run: Glasgow in Motion

The Urban Big Data Centre works on the cycling, walking and running activities of people living in Glasgow in the project of Glasgow in Motion:

By 2030, over 90% of the UK population will live in urban areas. It’s more important than ever to understand how we live, work, and travel in our cities. Imagine you could know the most popular cycling route to work, the quality of air on your journey, or how pedestrians respond to weather. Through Glasgow in Motion, you can view and interact with data through time, to better understand movement and other factors that affect Glasgow residents every day.

It is a great project which returns the collected data to the use of citizens after anonymizing it. The interactive map shows busy and popular routes for walking, running and cycling. The range of data presented goes back to 2013 and the mst recent data is from 2016.

Check here for the details and exploring the interative maps.

Measuring Magic: It is all about love dear!

As folks of great Earth, Wind and Fire told us, it is All About Love, and Fred Kent from the Projects for Public Spaces cannot agree more!

Places exude a kind of magnetism, a draw that brings people closer together—lovers and strangers, alike. Whether sharing a kiss, or simply sharing a bench, there are endless examples of closeness and affection all brought about by great public spaces.

This affection isn’t just icing on the cake; it’s a basic human need. “It’s a big idea, affection,” observes PPS founder Fred Kent, “because it’s everywhere. Every community, every culture, every human being has a need for affection, for engaging with people, for connecting with people.” As our recent Healthy Places report reveals, social support and interaction provides important benefits to mental wellbeing and feelings of safety. Meanwhile, social isolation contributes to depression, stress, and can also undermine a community’s resilience in the face of disaster.

But affection relies on a deep sense of comfort. People must feel physically and mentally at ease before they open up to show signs of love and friendship. (Project of Public Space)

Check this great article on what makes public spaces places for people!

Or you can just listen to the folks below.

The trees and the birds
And if there ain’t no beauty
You gotta make some beauty
Have mercy
Listen to me, y’all

 

Stories Behind: The Statue of Tombili and the Cats of Istanbul

Tombili was one of the many street cats in Istanbul. A statue was erected to honour her and this is the story behind it.

Cities in Turkey are famous with cats roaming free. Although the cats live o streets, it is hard to call them strays or feral cats. They co-habit with people for centuries. They are part of urban culture in Turkey. Recently an award-winning documentary on the lives of cats in Istanbul was in cinemas, as you may have seen it already.

Individuals, and sometimes municipalities, take care of the needs of these beloved neighbours by feeding them and taking care of their health issues. For winter times, some individuals, NGOs and municipalities locate cat houses on streets to help them to survive in colder days.

Tombili was a beloved cat citizen of Istanbul and roamed on her street for almost 10 years. She became an internet celebrity when his famous pose is posted on the net. Tombili means chubby in Turkish and she is called as Tombili by her fellow humans for obvious reasons. A statue was erected on her favourite spot for her memory after her death.

People loved her so much. She became a mascot for the street with her laid back lifestyle. After her death, people started a petition to honour her and collected more than 17000 signature, which let them erect the statue in October 2016. I am not quite sure if it is the only street cat statue in the world, but it took attention from the media all over the world.

 

 

Unfortunately, not everyone values the friendship between Tombili and fellow humans. The statue was stolen in November in the same year, almost within a month after its opening. It sparked an outrage. Social media outlets were flooded with anger from people condemning the culprits.

Kadikoy municipality, the council which erected the statue, twitted “It is stolen” with a crying cat emoji:

The thieves could not be indifferent to this massive outcry, and returned the statue to its place within a week. The statue is now on Ziverbey Street, Kadikoy, where it belongs. Tombili is still in her neighbours’ lives with this statue.

The Tombili statue on Ziverbey Street (Image Credit: Tombili Facebook Page)

And this is the story of Tombili and her legacy.

Tombili (Image Credit: Anadolu Kedisi / Huffington Post)

1 city, 26 maps, a whole lot of Barcelona!

Barcelona is an amazing city in many ways!

It has an interesting history of urban development as well. Museu D’Historia De Barcelona released an interactive map combining 26 maps of the city throughout its history. It overlaps loads of information about urban development starting from 150 AD to 2010.

In 1859, the medieval-era walls that had surrounded Barcelona since the 13th and 14th centuries had already started to come down. In this year, the city approved an expansion plan proposed by Spanish urban planner Ildefons Cerdà, which was hailed as “one of the most revered international examples of modern planning and urban design” by Judith Urbano, an architecture professor at Universitat Internacional de Catalunya. It laid the foundations of modern Barcelona. (CityLab)

Check the website here!

A Home in A London Museum: Robin Hood Gardens’ Legacy

It is not news that Robin Hood Gardens in London is being demolished and redeveloped. The discussion behind has many sides such as redevelopment in favour of capital accumulation, loss of affordable units in London, loss of an iconic housing project, redevelopment vs refurbishment and the issues of blaming the social housing projects for the problems coused by factoring problems rather than spatial design issues.

Victoria and Albert Museum decided to exhibit a part of Robin Hood Garden. The move is interesting and eeri at the same time.

… a 26-foot-high chunk of the building, comprising one duplex apartment, will now enjoy a strange second life. It’s going to be scraped off the building’s carcass and preserved in the Victoria and Albert Museum, Britain’s national art and design collection, where it will go on display in the public galleries (possibly in an East London branch that’s due to open in 2021). A remnant of Britain’s great 20th century social housing experiment will end up not as somewhere to live, but as a museum exhibit. (CityLab)

The Museum will exhibit the part at the Venice Architecture Biennale by reessembling it for a Biennale exhibition. The curator of the exhibition also points out the strange way of exhibiting an architectural piece:

Olivia Horsfall Turner, co-curator of the exhibit, said she expected it to stop people in their tracks. “It is obviously something that is very strange – it will look quite bizarre to see this fragment in Venice less than 50 years after it was constructed.” But she hoped it would prompt people to look again at the architects’ original ideals and how “they can inform and inspire current thinking”. (Guardian)

The Robin Hood Gardens, 2010 (Image Credit: David Levene / Guardian)

As O’Sullivan put clearly, this is far from being a conservation attempt:

At least the V&A’s façade plan will preserve some partial memory of what the place looked like—and maybe spark some debate—even as it serves to embody the evisceration of London’s public housing. But conserving a building’s skin while destroying its heart isn’t historic preservation. It’s taxidermy. (CityLab)

 

 

(Image Credit: Architectural Journal)