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Brutalism Architecture Study 1: Trellick Tower

Brutalist architecture is an addictive beast that has a bewitching spell on those who delight in its elephantine aggression. Coined from the french phrase "beton brut" - raw concrete - by the British architectural critic Reyner Banham, Brutalism described the style of simple, blocky concrete constructions which flourished in the 1950s & 60s (its origins begin earlier in the 20th century). It was, of course, a pun on the french word to reflect the overall general disgust in which the style was received in the country. Yet I have come to learn that whilst it often evokes much distain amongst critics and the general public alike, there are many, like me, who have an insatiable appetite for the utilitarian concrete ogres whose mundane functions, like a gaping wound, are left very much exposed.

I have been traveling the world to take photographs of buildings for the past 15 years, even before I knew I was doing it. Now I actively seek them out mostly for that purpose, as wel…
Recent posts

Ticket to nowhere

Flickering past the regimented tall blocks of the city, the train ploughs forward at speed, passing the rows of the building traffic on the roads adjacent. Like sterile dolls houses, the office towers are lit up in the horizon, ready for the drudge of the corporate facade that awaits. 
I feel like I am watching the world from the outside, only not from above. I am very much deep within the dregs of the dark. Hidden amongst the faceless. 
All these people whizzing by - in cars, on bikes, in buses, on trains. All with a place to go. A purpose. All have their story to tell; their tale, no matter how exciting or indeed, mundane. Everyone on their own trajectory heading towards their goals, their dreams, or just an aimless whim. 
I am an aimless whim. 
It is early morning and I am being taken to the airport. The ultimate hub of all things potential. All these journeys about to start, the possibilities budding and spreading across like a spilt liquid of happenings. 
Only it doesn’t feel like a p…

Hitler's Hospital

Tentatively stepping past the strange woods where trees marry metal fences, the overgrown grass submerges the concrete pathway underneath my feet. Suddenly autumn has been switched onto 11, the leaves are golden and raining delicately around me, yet the sun is shouting down creating gorgeous colour pallets.


Every now and then, you hear movement, but it never shows. The brambles shake, a voice worms through the air. It's that sensation you are being monitored. A small glacial ripple slithers across my skin.

As I continue forwards, the branches part reluctantly like unveiling the curtain to the red and yellow bricked beauty that lies beneath.

There it stands. Just. The red roofs and towers still tall, the distinctive 19th century architecture crumbling but still standing. Just. It is hard to imagine Heino Schmieden, the famous German architect, seeing his creation now. Watching his magnificent construction, once proud and grand, now decaying and withering away.

The corridors are pee…
Auschwitz

The gate of iron, the outrageous lies;
That work sets free, yet in truth? All dies.
Endless horizon, eyes become sore;
Claws of barbed wire, for ever more.

Red brick, red brick; a sickening trick.
Row after row, all the same;
Horrifically normal; even mundane.
Reality hits, slapped out of slumber.
Terror, fear; it’s more than a number.

Mountainous items- bags, clothes, a bowl;
Each different shoe, belonged to a soul;
A life that sang, laughed and cried;
A life so taken, cruelly, and died.

Wrong indeed, and without cover-
To believe one life, more value than another.
Cannot un-see; it won’t be rid;
Tattooed right into, your closed eyelid.

But atrocities we, cannot spurn;
Even though it seems, we never learn.



I recently visited Auschwitz and here are the photos I took:


I am still processing the experience. It was unlike any other. Something in the pit of my stomach was gnawing the whole time; I think the place surprised me in ways I was not expecting. The sheer scale of Birken…

Cardiff and Buildings Past

Architecture is one of my main loves. For someone who adores trees and countryside as much as I do, I find the aesthetic of buildings and structures as beautiful and intriguing as pieces of art.

Cardiff has never interested me architecturally like other cities and places do/have done. Growing up in the 80s and 90s, Cardiff was ugly and unremarkable even to a child.

Wandering through the city centre in 2018, which I do pretty much daily, I am always struck by the changes this small but sturdy Welsh capital where I was born and raised has undertaken. Rumblings began in the 1990s; a shape-shift exercise. The rugby world cup final in Cardiff in 1999 saw one of the main new developments - a brand new 74,500 seated stadium slap bang in the heart of the city. A spikey ship masted-like structure (with a retractable roof which sometimes reminds me of a giant bread bin); it seemed so space-age and giant. A burst of new bars and hotels subsequently opened - and as an sixth form student at the ti…

New Year, New Blog

As I have just stated, I don't really believe in new years resolutions, but as I am a hot, steaming pile of hypocrite, my new year's resolution is going to be to write more. So I have decided to start a diary/blog on this shiny new sister blog to my other ramblings here.

I was reading some of the wonderful Alan Bennett's diaries over Christmas, and rather like the idea of writing a diary again (something I haven't done since I left high school, mostly ramblings about how miserable and misunderstood I was - so no change from now really). Rather than write every day, Alan Bennett will write when he chooses on topics he finds instigates a curiosity from within - and that is what I am going to attempt. Therein ends the only comparison I would ever dream to make with the legendary national treasure of uber treasures that is His Royal Highness Sir Alan of Bennett (he really should have those titles). 

And then reader, we began.

Meh

I'm not sure why I am writing this, neither am I entirely sure who will read it (and indeed, if I even care). But I have to be honest.

It is the last day of 2016, and I am tired. New year always brings self reflection. And this year is the same. However, every year always has ups and downs, good and bad, and we are misguided if we ever think any different.
But the tiredness I feel is an indescribable cacophony. Its the type of tiredness that no amount of sleep will ever cure, even if you could sleep for multitudinous decades. I am drenched with fatigue. And its the exhaustion of being me.

This 'me' doesn't even feel like me anymore. Someone has stolen my being and sold it off cheap on eBay like a broken piece of brick-a-brac. I don't even know who me is. Making the mistake of looking back on that digital BEST FRIEND! Facebook, I was dumbfounded. Was I that? Was I this? Social media lies and masquerades; a deadly online menace. Even I start to get fooled. The pixela…