Monday, February 25, 2008

Home Counties/Low Countries



Brick, for me, always stands in for things of which I disapprove, in much the same way as ‘concrete’ does for (many, many) others. It irritates me immensely when a material so plastic, so tactile, so varied as concrete is dismissed simply because it gets a bit soggy in the rain. Brick, though, as the de facto material of most (at least residential) building always seems unbelievably prosaic, leaden, a material to use when you aren’t really interested in ‘materials’. Actually, it’s even worse when the builder decides to do something a bit fancy with it, hence those Cotswoldy worn and scuffed yellow bricks used often, for some reason, for Halls of Residence. Brick, like crap Beer, seems the material of all that is drably lumpen and underambitious in Britain.



Obviously, this is complete nonsense. Anyway, in Amsterdam a couple of months ago I spent lots of time (usually while getting lost attempting to find a Chinese) admiring the intricacy and geometric beauty of mundane brickwork, and the different kinds of bricks – intense reds, browns, all in precise little slots rather than stocky lumps. This is probably a legacy of the Amsterdam school, the Socialist-Expressionist architects who remodelled the city in the 1910s and 20s, and buildings designed in what were no doubt second-rate imitations of their style are all over the place. Theirs was used by Reyner Banham as one of those alternative Modernisms that didn’t quite come off – where ornament wasn’t crime, where new forms weren’t allied with technocracy. They’re lovely, inspiring buildings, and even the lesser knock-offs are charming – such as the former Pathological Anatomical Laboratory, where I spoke (my reason for being there is reviewed here), a little engineering school whose bricks inspired this particular morphing of a Tecton kiosk.



There’s a book worth writing on the permeation of this kind of low-key, low-countries Modern into Britain as the less scary version of continental Kulturbolshewismus, as pithead baths, cricket pavilions, the odd public loo. Dudok’s remaking of stylistic antipodes De Stijl and the Amsterdam School into an aesthetic acceptable in Hendon was always more favoured than Sachlichkeit’s severity. There's more attempts to Anglicise Dutch Modernism than there are for the purer equivalents, and sometimes this leads to a deceptive familiarity. For the last 5 years I’ve lived in the vicinity of the 1938 Greenwich Town Hall, a beautiful example of this lost style – naturally, I signed on there for a couple of months. It’s an asymmetrical, reddish-brick thing, in a corner of the borough’s nice bit, ignoring the Georgiana without making a fuss, rising to a tower that would once have been the tallest thing in the area by some measure. At the top of the tower is a razor-cut window, presumably with a public observation post inside, although I doubt anyone observes from there anymore. Like any good civic monument it now houses all manner of wrongness, from a dance school to MBA courses to Alpha god-botherers; but the clock-tower is one of the least-sung, but most important kinds of building – something you see day in day out without really thinking too much about it, then gradually realise is an extraordinary little work of art.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Steve said...

The tower at Greenwich is indeed a lovely little work of art.

The observation post is certainly off limits, The Greenwich Phantom blog has been looking into this lately and hit a dead-end, which a real shame as I bet the view is amazing.

Oh, and while dance schools do bring horror to my face, the one based there is pretty good and inclusive - plus they have awesome 40s style tea dances there, which are completely non-ironic and have the pensioners of South-East London strutting their stuff. So...it is not all legwarmers and interpretative dance there.

2:58 pm  
Blogger owen hatherley said...

Wow! There's nowhere i'd rather go to a teadance. I shall look that up, cheers.

3:13 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,按摩棒,跳蛋,充氣娃娃,情境坊歡愉用品,情趣用品,情人節禮物,情惑用品性易購,A片

免費A片,AV女優,美女視訊,情色交友,免費AV,色情網站,辣妹視訊,美女交友,色情影片,成人影片,成人網站,A片,H漫,18成人,成人圖片,成人漫畫,情色網,日本A片,免費A片下載,性愛

A片,色情,成人,做愛,情色文學,A片下載,色情遊戲,色情影片,色情聊天室,情色電影,免費視訊,免費視訊聊天,免費視訊聊天室,一葉情貼圖片區,情色,情色視訊,免費成人影片,視訊交友,視訊聊天,視訊聊天室,言情小說,愛情小說,AIO,AV片,A漫,av dvd,聊天室,自拍,情色論壇,視訊美女,AV成人網,色情A片,SEX

情趣用品,A片,免費A片,AV女優,美女視訊,情色交友,色情網站,免費AV,辣妹視訊,美女交友,色情影片,成人網站,H漫,18成人,成人圖片,成人漫畫,成人影片,情色網


情趣用品,A片,免費A片,日本A片,A片下載,線上A片,成人電影,嘟嘟成人網,成人,成人貼圖,成人交友,成人圖片,18成人,成人小說,成人圖片區,微風成人區,成人文章,成人影城,情色,情色貼圖,色情聊天室,情色視訊,情色文學,色情小說,情色小說,臺灣情色網,色情,情色電影,色情遊戲,嘟嘟情人色網,麗的色遊戲,情色論壇,色情網站,一葉情貼圖片區,做愛,性愛,美女視訊,辣妹視訊,視訊聊天室,視訊交友網,免費視訊聊天,美女交友,做愛影片

av,情趣用品,a片,成人電影,微風成人,嘟嘟成人網,成人,成人貼圖,成人交友,成人圖片,18成人,成人小說,成人圖片區,成人文章,成人影城,愛情公寓,情色,情色貼圖,色情聊天室,情色視訊,情色文學,色情小說,情色小說,色情,寄情築園小遊戲,情色電影,aio,av女優,AV,免費A片,日本a片,美女視訊,辣妹視訊,聊天室,美女交友,成人光碟

情趣用品.A片,情色,情色貼圖,色情聊天室,情色視訊,情色文學,色情小說,情色小說,色情,寄情築園小遊戲,情色電影,色情遊戲,色情網站,聊天室,ut聊天室,豆豆聊天室,美女視訊,辣妹視訊,視訊聊天室,視訊交友網,免費視訊聊天,免費A片,日本a片,a片下載,線上a片,av女優,av,成人電影,成人,成人貼圖,成人交友,成人圖片,18成人,成人小說,成人圖片區,成人文章,成人影城,成人網站,自拍,尋夢園聊天室

5:26 am  
Blogger dinoibo said...

Sesli sohbet Sesli chat
Seslisohbet Seslichat
Sesli sohbet siteleri Sesli chat siteleri
Sesli Chat
Sohbet Sesli siteler
Sohbet siteleri Chat siteleri
Sohbet merkezi chat merkezi
Sesli merkezi sesli Sohbet merkezi
Sesli chat merkezi Sohbetmerkezi
Sesli Sohbet Sesli Chat
SesliSohbet Sesli chat siteleri
Sesli sohbet siteleri SesliChat
Sesli Sesli siteler
Seslimuhabbet sesli muhabbet
sesli sohbet sesli chat siteleri
sesli sohbet siteleri sesli chat
seslisohbet seslichat
seslikent sesli kent
sesli sohbet sesli sohbet siteleri
sesli chat sesli chat siteleri
seslisohbet seslichat

5:45 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here what i found -> vision correction

12:19 pm  
Blogger ekle paylas said...

nice blog Thanks for sharing. voicesohbet was really very nice.
sesli chat siteleri sesli sohbet
sesli sohbet siteleri sesli chat
seslichat seslisohbet
sesli siteleri chat siteleri
sohbet siteleri sesli siteler
voice sohbet sesli sohbet siteleri
sesli sohbet seslisohbet
sohbet siteleri sesli chat siteleri
seslichat sesli chat
herkesburda herkes burda
sohbetmerkezi sohbetmerkezi

7:51 pm  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home