Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Bricks Bricks Bricks

One of the first projects I was given at architecture college was to design a brick wall. A 50 meter long wall in the middle of nowhere. A requirement of the brief was to draw every single brick. I'm not sure how many bricks that comes out as, but suffice to say, it's a lot. 

Midnight on the eve before the hand-in saw me hunched over my drawing board, Rotring pen in hand, drawing line after line after tiny line. This was in the days before everybody used computers and there was no brick hatching button to press. My back was aching and it felt as though my spine was going to explode from between my shoulder blades. 

3 a.m. saw me weeping softly, trying to stop the tears falling on my drawing. 

4 a.m. saw me writing the titles of my drawings with a stencil. Letraset typefaces were expensive and we'd been encouraged to develop our stencilling skills. If you have used one of those stencils, you will know that they are uncooperative and inevitably there are ink smears. And more tears. 

5 a.m. saw me finish off by writing my name. 



This is not my name. I had been brain washed by bricks. Ear muffing bricks!

The other day I was thinking about the tortuous brick wall escapade and realised that I have quite a brick photo collection. I've made a small compilation. 

Bricks can look amazing, especially if you don't have to draw them! Here is a detail of the facade of a primary school in the 18th arrondissement, Paris.

Here is a very intricate brick detail on the facade of a post office on Rue Marcadet, Paris 18th. Tricks with bricks.

Keble College in Oxford, built in 1870, colour play with bricks.

Saint Pancras in London, was built around the same time, in 1868.


The exposed gable walls of many Parisian buildings are built from brick. I love the way you can trace where the chimneys are.

Bricks can be used as cladding. And giraffes.

Bricks can also be painted (Oxford Cowley Road, a few years ago). I think this artwork has since been painted over, but I thought it was apt given the recent elections.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Magical Monday - Silly Switch

Every Monday, Magical Monday, I post a photo that is hopefully puzzling, fantastical, unexpected or just plain daft. Unless otherwise mentioned, no Photoshop involved.

More photos from the Magical Mondays series can be found here.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Magical Monday - A Night Cycle

Our 9 year old son helped me with this one.

Every Monday, Magical Monday, I post a photo that is hopefully puzzling, fantastical, unexpected or just plain daft. I played a little with the contrast for this photo, otherwise all done with props.

More photos from the Magical Mondays series can be found here.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Montmartre Looking Sublime

What with one thing and another, I haven't been for a morning stroll up to the Sacré Cœur for a while. The other day after dropping the 9 Year Old off at school I decided to head up the hill. It had been raining most of the previous few days but now the sun had come out. It was still hazy, but there were no clouds and the sky was turning blue. Montmartre was looking sublime! I walked up Rue Saint-Vincent, to the north of the Basilica. The leaves on the trees are still not fully out and are a bright vivid green.

The shadows were crisp.

When I arrived at the top of the hill, the access into the Convent just behind the Sacré Cœur, the Carmel de Montmartre, was open. I slipped through the gates and took a photo of the Church from an angle that one doesn't usually get to see.

As I headed round to the front of the church I saw this man starting his day's work. Rather him that me!

I looked down on the roof of the Marché Saint Pierre, now a museum for naïve art and a gymnasium for the local schools. I love the roof of this building.

Flowers in the gardens in front of the Sacré Coeur were still covered in dew.

I love the clear simple architectural lines on this facade, enhanced by the low morning sun.

Some Paris patchwork (lots more here).

And a loooong view.

Time for a coffee.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Magical Monday - A Leaping Shadow

Every Monday, Magical Monday, I post a photo that is hopefully puzzling, fantastical, unexpected or just plain daft.

More photos from the Magical Mondays series can be found here.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

The Queen's Hamlet

Last week during our Easter 'stay-cation' in Paris we went to Versailles. Not feeling brave enough to join the enormous queue leading up to the Chateau, we decided to go to the Petit Trianon instead. The Petit Trianon is a much smaller chateau located on the grounds on the Palais de Versailles. It was Marie Antoinette's favourite place to retreat from the formality of court life. We were particularly aiming to seen the Queen's Hamlet, a small farm within the grounds of the Petit Trianon from which, back in the day, food was supplied to the main palace. 

We went straight to the gardens of the Petit Trianon, heading for the Queen's Hamlet. 

We only walked a few minutes before seeing the house where the Queen liked to stay.

Other buildings in the Hamlet include a farm, a dovecote, a mill, a guards room, another smaller house for the Queen known as The Boudoir and the Malborough Tower where it is said that communication, via signals, took place between the Palace of Versailles and the Hamlet.

The Petit Trianon chateau was restored in 2008 and several buildings in the Queen's Hamlet are now being restored. They look beautiful in their crumbling state but will not last much longer if some serious repair jobs don't happen quickly.

This wisteria, however, does not seem to be suffering!

Further information about The Palais de Versailles and the other sights to see on the Palace grounds can be found here.