Category Archives: Architecture

Disappearing Cambridge – Toys R Us

October 2018, Beehive Retail Park, near Coldhams Lane, Cambridge, UK.

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Disappearing Cambridge

Here is another “episode” of Disappearing Cambridge, again in Mill Road – place of my birth. In a private courtyard at the end of the road near the centre of town, just about opposite the swimming pool, there were two mosaics. Sadly one is almost completely worn away and the other is in a very poor state. Given the condition of this art I think it will not be there much longer. They were commissioned from a world-renowned specialist mosaic artist in 2004. I can find no photograph of them in original condition online. Here they are as of now, sadly. Based on the one still visible, I think they had real class.

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Bury St.Edmunds – before it’s gone

The N2S building at the junction of Newmarket Road and Western Way in Bury St.Edmunds is an occupied building, and one must assume very well-protected security-wise. It looks like it’s 1960’s construction and probably has all the 60’s problems that one would expect, including being riddled with Asbestos – unless it has been removed. It’s the sort of place that may well not be listed and that one can easily envisage suddenly disappearing, so I’ve snapped some pictures now, just in case it’s gone suddenly one day when I next pass there.

I seem to recall that the red venetian blinds have always been part of the building, that I have passed by numerous times over the last 50 or so years, and that they have faded over the decades. As they were almost certainly bespoke and costly to replace, I imagine my memory of this may well be correct. The visual effect, unintentionally, has always been to make the place look like a fire station with big red doors for the engines.

I wonder when exactly it was built, what was it’s original purpose, and of course who were the architects. I really like this building. I think it has bags of character and looks like a very “Gerry Anderson” kind of film-set. If anyone knows more about this building please do contact me via the comments facility.

Disappearing Ely, UK – Paradise Pools

IMG_9796.JPGI was baptised in this municipal swimming pool less than 5 a years ago, along with some other people that day, who I will always think of as my Baptismal brothers and sisters, so it has a special association for me.  No, I don’t put my face online, you won’t need it.  Just a little bit sad seeing the pool go.Screenshot_2013-09-22-19-18-34.pngIMG_9758.JPGIMG_9763.JPGIMG_9785.JPG IMG_9800.JPG

Amazing Building

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Isleham Baptist (High Street Church) new Church building “The Ark” is approaching second fix stage – interior ironmongery, lights, switches, although there is still some panelling/ dry-lining/ partitioning to do.

Started around 2009 on donated land, built in English vernacular wooden-frame style (Tudor!) wholly hand-made from New Forest hand-picked individually felled 150-200 year old Oak trees, without officially any architect, all designed by volunteer master carpenters. Everything is hand made bespoke. Basically only some sanitary-ware and second fixings are proprietary.

It is  about three to four stories high with double and treble hammer-beam almost gothic roofing. It is HUGE. The car park is gigantic. There are many large classrooms (enough that it could be school), 2 huge refrectories (eating rooms) and a full size commercial kitchen. There is of course a baptismal pool. There is room after stunning room, balconies, a courtyard, cloisters and minstrel galleries. All wired CAT6 for ITC. Check out the herringbone brickwork. This is Hampton Court (Royal Palace) level work, just a half-century later!

The price is so low due to donations and volunteer work that my Quantity Surveyor friends cannot believe it is so far only £3m. This is about as incredible as the mosque I am working on and about the same size, but around order of magnitude less cost. Wow!

Enjoy a few pictures. Remember all is hand-made bespoke.

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All photography in this article is my own Copyright©2018 kevintangodance not to be used without my prior permission.

Disappearing Market Street, Cambridge UK

“Trollbeads” the very idiosyncratic jewellery (faux) Art Nouveau-fronted shop is no longer there. Perhaps the lovely shop front will be retained if the unit can be let, although the number of empty shops even in prosperous Cambridge centre is now quite scary – feels like 5%. It is true that Main Street / The High Street shopping is dying as clicks overtake bricks – sad and horrible, because “going shopping” is something fun to do even if one is only “window shopping.” Therein of course lies the problem.

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Gormley @ Kettles Yard (Cambridge UK)

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http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk/events/antony-gormley-subject/

Do this one if you can. This gallery is so aesthetically and architecturally well-curated it is almost too much off a good thing. As engineering, Gormley’ installations, as his sculptures of necessity are, impress. Floating man, warp speed space cube thing, laser-like representations of the three dimensions. This is a very nice couple of hours in a very well-manicured corner of Cambridge. Gormley never fails to entertain. Sure he does all the arty philosophical deep semiotic sociological psychobabble stuff, but he cannot do other than entertain. A welder-showman building big dippers for folks’ heads to ride. As a tanguero might put it, “This is serious fun.”

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The floating baby on the gallery’s toilet sign seems strangely prescient today…

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All pictures in this blog article are photographs Copyright 2018 by me kevintangodance,  of works created by the artist Antony Gormley and displayed at Kettles Yard Gallery. None of the images in this article/webpage/blog post may be used without my permission. All Rights Reserved.

Ghosts of Mill Road, Cambridge UK

I was born in Mill Road, Cambridge UK. I remember Mum taking me to buy clothes at Barneys shop when I was a boy about 50 years ago. It closed down some years ago, but recently they stripped it back to the concrete, and there is the outline of the old sign still there over the entrance. The Penguin “American” Laundry still there, has been running as long as I can remember.

If you are an old Cantabrigian like me, enjoy.

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FIU Miami Bridge Collapse questions

I was interested to look at pictures of the recent tragic bridge collapse. Here are what it seems to me may be of significance and some questions to be answered. First lets look at what is where before it happened.

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This photo is before the collapse taken from the side on which the central reservation chevrons face away from the camera on both sides of the bridge, which at this stage is still being moved into position. Note that in the central highway lane on the side of the highway that has lighting poles along the outer margin, there is no crane where I have arrowed down. Along the top of the bridge there are various areas where apparently bolts go through the roof to the upper side. I have circled a couple of these areas. These bolts presumably hold the supporting diagonal braces in position. It appears as if the tension and compression forces in the supporting diagonal braces are either compression or tension and may be directed as per the arrows I have drawn on them, I say appears, I am not an engineer.

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You can check out in the view above  that there is no crane of the side of the bridge on the side to which the central reservation chevrons point. There is some sort of yellow/orange crane boom arm just visible on the opposite side in the top left corner of the photo, but no crane on the right. The bridge is being rolled into position above the main reinforced concrete legs.

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Now look at the still approaching from the side to which the chevrons point, immediately before the collapse. On the left of the still you see the white boom arm of a crane. It was not there when the earlier pictures were taken during the positioning of the bridge onto its legs, and the white boom arm is different to the small area of yellow/orange arm pictured earlier standing on the opposite side to the crane that is shown on the immediately preceeding collapse image above.

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Here above we see the white boom arm crane closer, immediately before the collapse. See it is doing something on the roof of the bridge, near those important bolts.

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Now above we are maybe less than one second away from the collapse. Is that a guy up there  at the hook end of the crane on the roof doing something? It looks like there is something large and so possibly heavy on the end of the lifting cable.

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Now above the moment of collapse. Whatever the crane was holding swings violently as the bridge beneath it collapses. Below, is that a man falling?

Below, a frame later, what/whoever is falling has fallen down further in relation to the boom arm. The person or object is definitely lower and so is falling.

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Above you can see finally dangling, whatever is left of something large on the end of that crane hook. It is as wide as the supporting diagonal inside the bridge. Maybe quite heavy then. See the chevrons by the way?

So, below now we are after the collapse. There is no sign anywhere of the crane with the white boom arm. There is a green mobile elevating work platform which was not there during the collapse.

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Here are my questions:

What was the white boom arm crane doing?

Did someone fall with the roof from on top where the crane was working during the collapse?

Why has the white boom arm crane been removed, surely this is vital evidence and needs to be left in place for forensic investigation?

Did the directions of forces transmitted in the strangely asymmetrically braced bridge design have any bearing on the collapse?

And of course there is that phone call voicemail about cracks from the engineer that wasn’t collected until the day after the collapse. But please don’t let that be the main question, because as I show above, there are other questions also.

 

Rochford reflectors (?)

 

These appear to be four old runway (reflector?) signs. They are along the road at the point where Rochford Road becomes Southend Road (the A1169) beside the railway bridge at Southend Airport (in the county of Essex, UK) – Latitude 51.5668, Longitude 0.7041 – over which I think the southern end of the old cross-runway (no longer used) was approached by aircraft.

I don’t know but guess they either date from 1935 when the airfield become a civilian airport, or after World War II which would mean after 1945. I favour the former as they look very old. They could be any time from 1914 when the airfield was first established by the military shortly after the beginning of World War I. In 1919 the airfield was sold off to the Navarro Aviation Company who ran pleasure flights with two old Avro biplanes – apparently not for long however as the airfield was disused from 1920 to 1935, having reverted to farmland.

Perhaps they would not have had such obvious signs during World War II as airfields were camouflaged and signs removed, which would favour them being post-WWII, but they might be older – 1935? – and have been removed during WWII then replaced.

Of course the airfield was used as a fighter base during WWII but after that, in 1946, Southend Corporation took it on as an airport which they opened in 1947. There was major re-building including a control tower and runways in 1955. Perhaps the posts date from 1955, but to my eyes they look too old for that. Although maybe the pairs of red beacon lights went on in 1955.

Some paired red lights were stuck on to of them at some stage, these are also now defunct. They were also apparently used to mount streetlights. I don’t know if these lights still function, possibly not.

Wikipedia has a great page about the airport, including its history here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Southend_Airport

Another good source was at
http://www.essexlifemag.co.uk/out-about/places/london-southend-airport-80-years-on-1-3779112

My best guess is these posts originate around 1935. They could have been actually erected between 1933 when the airport site was purchased by Southend Council and when it opened in 1935.

Whilst I do not find Essex and Southend the nicest places in the UK, I will put in a good word for Rochford. What a lovely village (although it is really now a suburb of Southend) – olde-world shops, buildings, pubs. Good parking. Southend Airport also looked nice, which is pretty weird for an airport. Apparently it has in recent years been voted best Airport in the UK three times and it has a dedicated railway station. I think I would like Southend as an airport and Rochford is worth a visit if you are in that neck of the woods.

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