Assignment Three – Buildings in use
Over the Christmas period I had a couple of weeks off work. I decided that this would be a good time to complete assignment three. However I knew that it would take two full weeks just to take the images so I set aside a further week for research so that I could select a number of different buildings for the assignment.
I am lucky in that I live close to London , so after picking my locations, I could visit them over a period of a few days and narrow my selections down to the five buildings I wanted to use. Most of them were public buildings but I still thought it better to get permission before I took the images. Again another stroke of luck was that one of the buildings , the new Supreme Court for the United Kingdom was having an open day where I was given permission to take my shots.
I was asked to choose a number of buildings and take images showing the building space in action and how it was used. For some I chose to include people and in others I have not. I have chosen old buildings, new buildings and building that have been altered. I also wanted a couple of building that had a dual purpose, to show how even in the limited space available in central London, that with a creative mind an architect can add maybe an open space to an already busy city.
Well here are the results of my efforts, I used up every day of the three weeks to do the research, visit each location, try to capture the images in reasonable weather, edit the chosen images and write my report.
I will start with a modern building that was built in Victoria Street, SW1. Even in this tightly packed area of London outside space was added in a remarkable way.
Cardinal Place a 200 million pound development designed in the words of the owners , Landmark Securities to transform Victoria from a place that people pass through into a destination that drawers shoppers, businesses and tourists alike.
Image taken to show the shops, the roof and in the back-ground the red and white building is Westminster Cathedral , the home of the Head of the Catholic Church in the UK (A Cardinal by the way)
The centre is made up of a number off buildings linked together under the amazing glass and steel roof. The roof was added to an existing building as you can see below.
Image shows how the old and new sections of the development were joined together.
People did walk in this area every day from Victoria Station to their offices but now there are places to shop and eat. But to me the most interesting part of the project was the addition of the new outside / inside space on the roof.
The above shows the link from the shopping area to the new outside roof area, which is packed in the summer with people eating and drinking.
The roof, covered in grass with built-in seating forms a curve around an area where there are often show. TV screen showing major sporting and cultural events are also placed in front of the seats
What a great creation and it has proved to be very popular as can be seen by this image (Not taken by Me)
I chose Building two as it is a very old building completed in 1913. It is grade two listed and was used up until the late 1980’s as a central London Crown Court.
It was decided in 2005 that a UK Supreme Court was to be established and a building was chosen to house it. A massive project was undertaken to refurbish the Middlesex Guild Hall Crown Court building and turn it into the New Supreme Court.
The building needed to be grand, secure, practical and in a first for the UK open to the public (for a court at this level)
A view of the outside of the building showing scenes showing King John handing the Magna Carta to the barons at Runnymede.
Inside the use of large lights shows the detail in the building and gives a light warm feeling to the areas where the public and court staff wait before going into court.
This area used to be where the cells held prisoners and defendants. Changed now to a display area showing the history of the Court and the building. The image again captures the feeling of space and light even though we were underground.
Old and new, and old external wall, now inside the building and covered in a glass roof. Formed to create an area where a shop and cafe were added.
This images shows the modern colours and type of furniture used in the restaurant. In sharp contrast to the older pieces of furniture in other parts of the building.
This is a remarkable building, the renovations are really impressive. The way that they managed to create a new modern building within an existing old building was for me an example of how we can regenerate the city centres of our towns.
I don’t know what the designers were told but for me the whole building worked. It felt secure, grand and inviting.
The next building I visited was the Natural History Museum. Opened in 1818 with a remit to hold a collection of items both for public view and were research could take place.
Typical of a building of this time. The building was grand and over decorated. In a similar way that we see water pumping stations and sewer systems of the same era. It seemed that no expense was spared.
The building was built to show others how great the empire was and how the explorers of the time were travelling the world obtaining exhibits.
How can you not be impressed by this building. Looking down on the exhibits and the visitors is Charles Darwin. Look at the detail in the arches, monkeys climbing on trees! I included a couple of visitors in order to give an impression of scale.
We see above how the building has changed with large glass windows added to section off the large building into smaller sections.
But things have to move with the times and although kids will always look at dinosaurs new exhibits were added in new exhibition halls.
Each bit of space is used so that as many items as possible can be seen.
Again old and new mix together, look at the old steps in the background, but the displays shows man through the ages. This is an evolving building, the outside may look the same as it did over 100 years ago but the inside certainly is not.
I certainly saw this building in use, as you can see it was very crowded.
For building four I went back to a building I had used before, Waterloo Station.
The reason I went back is because of a change that was made in order to ease congestion on the concourse and make more space for retail shopping areas. But how do you do this in a station that was built over a 100 years ago? Again in a space limited area where the building can’t be moved as it has to be , by its nature at the end of the rails you really have two options up or down. But when down means moving tube lines then you can only go up. However you can’t close the station so you have a lot of problems heading your way if you are the person responsible for this 25 million pound project!!
Well as you can see here is the solution. Build a new section above the concourse. The project was on time and on budget and the station remained open.
In this shot I wanted to show how busy the station is and how the new section was added. You can see the original station roof and how the new bit has been added.
What a great space and it’s not all open yet. You can eat drink and still see the departure boards.
I wanted this image to show how the designers have managed to keep the departure boards in view of the diners. I think this would make the dining experience more pleasurable as people can still keep an eye on their train. No rushing so you don’t miss the last one.
I did have a bit of trouble with the sun coming through the roof , as you can see.
I just liked this shot, I thought that one of the restaurants or the station could use it in an advertisement. It, for me, sums the new area up. Probably what the designers had in mind. New retail areas reduce clutter on the concourse, which will improve customer satisfaction and up rents from the shops/restaurants.
My last building is again an old building, built to show the nations paintings. Over the years new sections have been added but the nature of the building is the same. Space, light and calmness are whats required.
From the outside it clearly looks a very grand building, people in shot again to show scale. Old building new banners!
I liked this shot as the pillars look good against the tiled black and white floor. The people looking out also adds to the image. As in the images of the Natural History Museum this building is designed to make a statement. Probably built in a time when design and the finished product were more important than cost.
A simple image showing the new part of the gallery, here you can see paintings on display and two girls both on their phones.
A similar images, but I liked the guys on the stairs and the girl below.
The images show clean open areas, simple designs to form a calm atmosphere where the paintings can be viewed.
This final image shows a guy just sitting on a bench reading. Looking through the glass you can see others using the building in the shop and in the reflections you can see a nice London phone box. A new extension on an old building showing an old item in the reflection.
I chose five buildings:-
- Cardinal Place – a new set of buildings with an open space (with grass and seats) in the centre of a major city where people can shop, eat and relax. What ever the planners wanted this space works for me. I wanted to capture the construction type, people using the shopping area and the grass area empty so that people could see it in all its glory. For another type of project I would capture lots of people in the same area, eating and drinking.
- The Supreme Court – an old building that has gone through many changes throughout the years. Now an inviting, warm and interesting place to see the top Judges in the land at work. For me the basement area, which once held the cells has undergone the biggest change. Look at bright its looks now compared to what it probably looked like.
- Natural History Museum – A very grand building designed to show off the best of British at the time, but as times have changed so has it. With new exhibition halls added and modern building materials sitting next to 100-year-old bricks. A great place for people to visit.
- Waterloo Station – another great building in use. A great design modern but in-keeping with the steel frame of the old station. Still functional after over 100 years even though the demands made of it have increased 10 fold. Again old and new standing together.
- National gallery – visited by thousands every day. It has to be inviting to draw people into the gallery that may have never wanted to go in before. The front of the building may frighten them away, but I think the modern extensions to the building draws them back. I would see it as possibly more welcoming.
I wanted, in this assignment, to show how the buildings I selected are used by the very people that the owners and designers wanted them to be used by. The important features that make the buildings more inviting, like the area of grass at Cardinal Place, the seats overlooking the departure boards at Waterloo Station and the great staircase at the Natural History Museum where you can just stand and look up at the building and down on the exhibits.
There were a number of choices to be made, how to capture the shots and people in or out? Two many people could hide the very space that I wanted to show the viewers.
I really enjoyed this assignment.