Tag Archives: Art and Architecture

Art and Architecture at Nott: Just a City

Last week I blogged about my visit to see the ArcelorMittal Orbit tower at the Olympic park in London, click here to see it. The point I made in this was that Art and Architecture cannot become one entity in the form of a building.

I maintain that view when it comes to physical buildings, but my perspective was broadened on this last night when I visited the ‘Nott: Just a City‘ exhibition in The Pod, Nottingham. The Nottingham and Derby Society of Architects (NDSA) have run this event for a few years now and they invite local practices and students alike to showcase their work. This creates a great fusion of design thinking and practice achievements.

photo 1(1)Last night Elliott Wood hosted an excellent ‘British’ themed drinks event at the exhibition, with all drinks and food being from local/ British sources. It was great to catch up with some friends in the Nottingham property community, especially as I don’t ‘live’ in the city now in terms of my work base.

In addition to some design inspiration and stimulating conversations (especially with my good friend John McCay on ‘infographics’) I took two key things away with me last night;

– Art and Architecture definitely DOES exist – in the illustrated form. There were some excellent examples of creative design and different presentation techniques, including some physical models which I always like to see.

– Nottingham really IS a ‘Talented’ city (which was the message the city took to MIPIM last month). The engagement between industries and Nottingham’s two superb Universities is so important – and last night was a great showcase of this.

photo 1-2If you get a chance, call into the NDSA Nott: Just a City exhibition before the 19th April. It’s worth a visit, especially to see Elliott Woods parabolic structure…

Thanks to Gary Elliott, Stephen King and the team at Elliott Wood. A really good and different event.

London’s Parks; Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

London has some amazing parks. This morning I took a run along the Regents canal, into Regents park and up to the top of Primrose Hill. The view from there over the city is quite something.

Primrose HillYesterday I was over in Stratford, East London and took a brief walk into the newly opened Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. This is an impressive place. The Aquatics centre stands out; it looks stunning with its free-flowing form – and the removal of the temporary ‘door stop’ shaped seating stands used for the Olympics. The stadium is being reconfigured at present to form it’s long-term 60,000 seater set up for West Ham.

London Aquatics CentreStanding next to the stadium is the ArcelorMittal Orbit tower. An oddity of a structure in my view. I’ve never been a fan of this ‘thing’ which was my friend Boris Johnson’s mark on the games. It was conceived by Anish Kapoor as Art, but required the functionality of a building. Kapoor has created some outstanding Art creations, but even he struggled with this project in relation to the regulatory constraints imposed. However this structure proves to me that Art and Architecture cannot become one. The two can sit together and enhance each other, but putting them together into one simply doesn’t work, especially here!

ArcelorMittal OrbitI was asked if I’d like to go up it for free – normally it costs £15, but someone had a spare ticket. I took the lift to the top and enjoyed the views of London, The Westfield shopping centre, the impressive new park below me – and an awful lot of nothingness around it. This place will evolve in time I’m sure, but for now there’s a way to go in creating a ‘place’ where people live and work; a community.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic ParkI quite like the new QEO Park. Having experienced the ‘Orbit’ I am still very much a critic on that. They’ve certainly spent some money on the new park! It’s right for London to grow/ evolve the story of it’s parks; it’s a defining and characterful part of London.