An All Seeing Eye

20191005_071548 (3)Skylight, Edinburgh Waverley Station

The restored ceiling and glass work of the ticket hall at Edinburgh’s principal rail hub is a wonder, that escapes due attention as travellers scurry for their trains, or the exits.

If they do glance up, it is only as far as the electronic schedule boards announcing arrivals, departures and British Rail’s inevitable delays.

My own hurried phone photograph was an exposure fail, but it serves to emphasise the ceiling’s stunning design.

In silhouette, the dome appears as a great eye.

All seeing.

Omniscient.

I wonder how many sojourners have passed under the skylight’s gaze?

How much motion silently observed from above?

I didn’t have time to look up again, but am glad I did in that moment, before moving for the exit, eyes ahead.

 

‘Braemar’: Survivor

20200311_21070120200311_211116

‘Braemar’

Apparently ‘Braemar’ is the sole late-Victorian period house in Auckland’s central city area still in use as a residence.

Despite its blackened exterior, this is one of my favourite local buildings, with its gothic exterior architrave; the name proud above the arch; wrought iron fence; lace curtains; and the glow of a welcoming light within.

Believe me, there’s been an awful lot of crappy, inconsequential stuff erected around this baby since it was built.

It is a tenacious, grimy survivor and that is something I always admire – in people, and in anything that outlasts the others of its ilk.

 

 

 

God In Segments

20191010_113226 (3).jpg

The view up to a stunning vaulted ceiling in England’s York Minster.

Justifiably lauded for its architecture, it was the complex symmetry of it all that left me dazzled.

Like this segmented design ,radiating out from the centre of the ceiling like a star, or a flower, then falling down smoothly to enfold the equally beautiful arched windows.

I am a bit of a sucker for symmetry, as some pictures elsewhere on this blog will attest.

As a religious house it is well nigh perfect.

But, there was the nagging thought in my mind that it was a grand, and failed, attempt – it was made by imperfect humans after all ! – to capture a universal spirituality that is at times:

unpredictable,

jagged,

asymmetrical,

not compartmentalised,

indefinable…

 

 

 

Gaudi Curves

20191018_054704.jpg

I have posted elsewhere on this blog on my attraction to curving, non-linear forms.

They are truly like life,which as we all can attest, does not run in straight lines.

Antoni Gaudi’s architecture in Barcelona has taken that principle to extremes.

Observing that straight lines are only rarely found in nature, and from his belief that true art must stem from nature, he created many stunning and idiosyncratic designs in this town.

Pictured is the facade of the famous  Casa Batllo in the central city.

Jawdropping really!

The appeal to me,and the hordes of visitors to Gaudi’s creations, is that of nature’s truth.

What at first appears as fantasist madness is actually something that speaks to us deeply.

As an aside, Barcelona, apart from the old Rambla area in the centre  has a grid street network and I have managed to lose direction several times in its maze of straight line roads!

 

Terror Facade (When Buildings Scream)

20190903_195221.jpg

Downright disturbing turn of the twentieth century building façade espied on an Auckland walkabout this week.

What was the architect thinking?

Or thinking of, to be more precise?

Sheer bloody terror frozen in stone and plaster.

Oddly, the 1905 building was originally a gymnasium.

Which might explain my take on it: few things are more frightening to me that being trapped in a crowded gym amongst heaving, sweating, exercising, bodies.

Give me a walk in the fresh air, anytime. I think I need some…

 

Turret House

20190818_193001Cool house turret in Ponsonby, inner Auckland City.

Turrets are alluring to me.

Why?

Gothic charm, for sure.

Any shape, as long as it fits the bill – round, square, hexagonal, octagonal even; flat- topped or pointy like a witch’s hat.

Something left over from ancient times; a throwback.

A detached but special view over the world below.

Exclusive – most of them are not built for a crowd. Party for one, or two, maybe?

They reek of twisted fairy tales. A friend recognised a house from a photo I took of another turreted specimen nearby to this one, and told me it was known to him as the ‘The Tin Man House’.

Lastly,the very fact that they are not essential to the structure of whatever building they are tacked onto, but utterly transform the place when added. A paradox of design!

For The Want Of A Nail

“Everything seems to fail

  And it was all for the want of a nail”

     – Todd Rundgren, “For The Want Of A Nail” (1989)

Genius musician is proved slightly wrong in the form of this stunning traditional wooden Malay house on stilts . Okay, that is a massive lyric/subject non- sequitur,but  I just love both the song and the house, and there really aren’t that many songs about nails…

Or houses without nails  – not a single one was used in its construction, according to the owners. Mainly interlocked timbers, like a gigantic wood jigsaw puzzle. Amazing.

Right near  top of the list of coolest houses I have ever visited.

Hasn’t failed or fallen down yet apparently…

DSC00190 (2).JPG
Rumah Kampung, Langkawi, Malaysia  2010