Category Archives: Architecture

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.

Former Barneys Mill Road Cambridge April 2018.png

Advertisements

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.

0.jpg

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.

0A.JPG

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.

1.JPG

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.

2.JPG

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.

3.JPG

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.

5.JPG

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.

6.JPG

IMG_5491.JPG

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.

7.JPG

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.

5295closeupIMG_5290IMG_5298IMG_5315IMG_5306

Odeon Arcade Building Leicester

There have been number of cinemas in Leicester called Odeon, indeed there is still one. However the one I spotted has not played a movie in a very long while, and it has certainly seen better days. There have been various plans for this old cinema, which have not yet come to fruition. Here was one such plan from Studio Four Architects https://studiofourarchitects.com/odeon-arcade-leicester/

It was very hard to get an angle to include the frontage. There is something I like about this old building. I don’t much like the plans Studio Four had for it. Maybe the rendering on their website is just a low-res model, but if losing the windows and surface textures of the building is what Studio Four really had in mind, then no. They do say “whilst preserving a traditional façade on one side of the development” so hard to tell really. I think the detail on that façade is all the building has left now. The interior at ground level is long gone. What is upstairs I could not get access to. Perhaps there are former glories still inside up there, perhaps not – I could not tell. An estate agent (realtor) website says “The property comprises a retail arcade with former Odeon cinema above set over basement and 5 floors.” On another site here http://www.auction.co.uk/residential/data/full_text/may2017/pos231.pdf 
there are clues that there perhaps is still a cinema upstairs.

This NOT the famous Leicester Athena, former 1930’s modernist Odeon building.

A cinema history website at https://www.foxestalk.co.uk/topic/104842-leicesters-40-lost-cinemas-do-you-remember-any-of-these/ says: “Odeon Cinema, Marketplace –  This started off life in 1924 as the City Cinema, with The Covered Wagon the first film to be screen there. It had 2,200 seats in stalls and circle, an Apollo organ and also a cafe. But it was closed in April 1964 and the auditorium was demolished. Six months later a new cinema was built behind the original facade. The ground floor was the shopping arcade that you can still visit today, and the cinema was the on the first floor. It was notable for its 70mm presentations on the curved screen which measured 45ft wide by 26ft high. It became a ‘roadshow’ cinema, a term used by the film industry for cinemas where films opened in a limited number of cities for a limited time before they went on national release. And the The Sound of Music had a two year run at the cinema. But on May 31, 1975, the cinema closed. It then briefly became an independent movie house called the Liberty Cinema which screened Bollywood films. Since then, it has been used as a bingo club, amusement arcade and a music venue.”

I like this old 1920’s building.

IMG_4934IMG_4931

Woodwork

Here is some pretty and large woodwork. This section is about 10 meters across and sits about 10 meters high. It is just one of many sections that will support a huge roof. A 100 tonne crane does the lifting.

No-one will ever have the chance to see the sky through this woodwork again once the roof goes on, and most people are highly unlikely to get access onto this site currently under construction. So my photo here is just about unique. Enjoy.

IMG_0262

Entourage

Entourage – it’s what they call those funny cut-out people in architectural renderings of things they might build.

Some of the cut-outs available really make you wonder though…

For instance you might ask where your energy drink came from, and what makes your kids hyperactive, and just what you neighbor is into. Wonder no more, the Entourage people reveal all. Now you just wish you hadn’t asked. These architectural cut-outs are REAL and available and are all from the SAME set.

Screen Shot 2017-08-25 at 10.04.05 PM

Scotland trip 2017

The world may be your oyster, but Scotland is a pearl.

Inveraray, Oban, The Trossachs, Speyside, Loch Fyne, Loch Awe, Lock Tay, The Spey, The Tay, Loch Long, Dunbar…

Scotland is awesome.

All pictures in this blog article are Copyright 2017 by me, except two, which are Copyright 2017 by my Wife, which said exceptional photographs I use here with her permission. None of the images in this article/webpage/blog post may be used without our respective permissions. All Rights Reserved.

One picture is from Yorkshire, England (The 1930’s “No Parking” sign).

 

Arrow of Time

Space is multi-dimensional, unlike the two-dimensional trees in the brand new district of Cambridge, UK known as Eddington.

Space is expanding because the universe is expanding.

It is expanding away from every point in itself equally like every point on the surface of an inflating balloon. It started at zero size and now it is about 30 billion light years across.

You are such a point. You are on that surface of the space balloon. It is where you are and moving makes no difference as wherever you go it is the same for you. You cannot be on a different place relative to the whole universe because you are in the universe.

Everything is getting further away from you in space.

Now what about time?

It is just another dimension. It is expanding. It started at no seconds and now it is about 15 billion years in duration.

Just as you are at the expanding edge of the universe on space (the point on the balloon that you cannot get off) so you are at the expanding edge of time. Look anywhere and you look back in time. The further away that star is, the longer it took for its light to reach you.

You can only look backwards in space and time. You must travel forwards as the edge of space time expands with you stuck on it. You cannot see the forwards (future) space time as it has not yet been created, you are stuck in the here and now, only able to look back and see and remember the past.

That is the arrow of time. Simple. Easy. A child of five with a toy balloon could get it. Nothing to see here, move along. Little joke there of course. God bless.

What if reality is really a giant pinball game?

Never mind the matrix, if you can get security clearance (you will need a genuine reason like attending some sort of event there) take a walk through the Genome Campus at Hinxton, Cambridge, England.

There are numerous chromed spheres, each slightly tweaked to represent various stages of life. The one with a hole represents the stage at which it becomes apparent that we are coelenterates, a biological taxonomical classification meaning we have a gut that opens at the mouth and exits the other end.

The effect of this tableau of embryonic development is to make the long slopes, interspersed by post-modernist buildings, appear as a giant pinball machine, giving a slightly science-fiction sense of unease that things might just roll down and bowl one over or a huge flipper whack out of the sides.

Oldies like me will remember the blob thing in “The Prisoner” TV series. Well here in Hinxton Big brother definitely is watching and don’t even think what escaped chimera might just be lurking up the next level. Best enjoyed at dusk when it becomes eerily empty.

Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 9.20.57 AM

Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 9.22.07 AM

Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 9.22.36 AM

Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 9.21.38 AM

Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 9.23.49 AM

Eltham Palace, London, England

Eltham Palace was a Royal Palace that fell out of use and into ruin. The very wealthy (and nice – I know as I happen to have met one of them) Courtauld family completely renovated it in the 1930’s. So here is what you could achieve if you were incredibly wealthy and had impeccable taste in the 1930’s. If you love 30’s style and are ever in London, England this house is a must see. You may feel that entrance charges to attractions are a bit expensive, and often I would agree. However in this case the interior is so wonderful I really think it is worth it. A visit here is an education for anyone who seriously loves architectural interiors. Take heed however it is NOT open on Saturdays. Link here http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/eltham-palace-and-gardens/

IMG_3765.JPGIMG_3711.JPGIMG_3728.JPGIMG_3769.JPGIMG_3806.JPGIMG_3823.JPGIMG_3856.JPGIMG_3838.JPGIMG_3746.JPGIMG_3680.JPGIMG_3675.JPGIMG_3682 copy edited.jpgIMG_3733.JPGIMG_3684.JPGIMG_3709.JPGIMG_3687.JPGIMG_3748.JPGIMG_3691.JPGIMG_3686.JPGIMG_3678 copy.jpgIMG_3740.JPG