Category Archives: architecture

The MECD (still) rises

Thursday 26th September 2019, 9.30am (day 2,954)

MECD, 26-9-19

A break in the moratorium on pictures of building sites in Manchester, but I was sat in my office all day and there isn’t otherwise a great deal to see in this city, a state of affairs which, as locals will know, has lasted years now. The Manchester Engineering Campus Development (MECD), vast in scale (this is just a small wing of it), grows up like an incipient volcano on Upper Brook Street: apparently it’s due to be finished at some point this century.

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Entrance to the tea rooms

Wednesday 18th September 2019, 11.15am (day 2,946)

Richmond tea rooms, 18/9/19

It’s nice that after nearly a decade and a half working in Manchester that I can still discover some new places. This was one: I just fancied a cup of tea at this point, and surely an establishment named like this can deliver? It certainly could. Inside had to be seen to be believed as well, but I couldn’t just snap away at the customers; the profusion of flowers in the porch does give something of the right impression, however.

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St. Pancras New Church

Monday 16th September 2019, 8.35am (day 2,944)

St. Pancras New Church, 16/9/19

“New” is relative; this building was being built 200 years ago today, and was eventually consecrated in May 1822 to serve the residents of the new London suburb of Bloomsbury on what was, at that point, the edge of the city. The caryatid columns seen here now look out over Euston Road and all its carbon monoxide fumes. But they’ve lasted longer than the rest of us, and will continue to endure unless the HS2 rail link takes them out (I wouldn’t put it past the present administration).

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The fear of the Lord…

Friday 6th September 2019, 1.05pm (day 2,934)

Chester building, 6/9/19

The city of Chester makes its third appearance on the blog with this rather odd piece of architecture. I like the black-and-white, but that’s a strange inscription don’t you think? And yes, the burglar alarm at the bottom does annoy me. Otherwise I think I’ve mostly got the symmetry right.

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Renaissance Hotel, Manchester

Thursday 29th August 2019, 9.00am (day 2,926)

Rennaissance Manchester, 29/8/19

There have been very few morning shots recently. 15 consecutive afternoon ones up to and including yesterday, and only six of the last fifty have been taken before noon. I just wanted to get a morning shot today, and ideally one from Manchester so I can still prove I go to work there, now and again.

None of which really justifies this shot in particular, but what the hell; the little flickers of sunlight, bouncing off the higher windows, were about all we saw today, so maybe that’s enough explanation.

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Finished building project

Wednesday 21st August 2019, 12.10pm (day 2,918)

Royce building, 21/8/19

I have tried to cut out pictures of building sites in Manchester to avoid sheer overload, but hey, here’s a rarity — a recently finished building project. Until about 18 months ago the new Henry Royce Building was just a grassy patch, but now it is there in all its bland majesty. Although I don’t think it’s yet finished inside.

Two shots in a row from Manchester… a sign it will start to creep back into my life on a more regular basis as the new year approaches. I’m not really going anywhere for three months now.

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The Abbaye de Villers

Tuesday 6th August 2019, 12.40pm (day 2,903)

Villers Abbey, 6/8/19

This abbey was built by the Cistercians in the 12th century and finally abandoned after being sacked by French revolutionaries at the end of the 18th. Much of it is still basically standing, and makes a truly magnificent ruin. Second picture in a row stood somewhere in Belgium and basically pointing the camera upwards; this roof has a kind of space alien look to it, like we are looking up into the mothership at the end of Close Encounters or Independence Day.

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The Atomium

Monday 5th August 2019, 2.00pm (day 2,902)

Atomium, 5/8/19

The Atomium is a 100m tall representation of an iron crystal, built for the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels. It was supposed to only stand for six months, but was such a good idea that it’s still there, and gives you a pleasingly retro (though slightly overpriced) tourist experience as you go up into the various spheres and tubes. Probably somewhere in these reflections I appear, and thus this is a self-portrait, but let’s not worry about that too much.

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Pyongyang (or, Milton Keynes)

Wednesday 24th July 2019, 4.40pm (day 2,890)

Pyongyang MK, 24/7/19

This blog (and my general sanity) depends on a steady drip-feed of new places to explore and photograph. This place is one of the weirder ones: Milton Keynes, the new city built from the 1960s on, and now a very strange mix of comfortable suburbia and stark brutalist architecture that looks to me like I expect Pyongyang, North Korea to look. This is particularly true around the railway station, which is to my right as I took this shot (but architecturally is much the same).

I may be coming back more times in the future if a work collaboration comes to fruition, but if I do, I will need to find ways to get my head around Milton Keynes…. at the moment it just confuses me.

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Durham cathedral, from the train

Wednesday 17th July 2019, 3.15pm (day 2,883)

Durham cathedral, 17/7/19

Scenes from the East Coast Main Line… there is plenty to see (like the Forth Bridge which also nearly made it today), but this view of Durham, its cathedral and castle, from the station rivals that of any other railway view in the world. But you have to know when to click the shutter. One of these days I will get out at Durham station and look around, as I don’t think I’ve been to the city since at least 2004.

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