A new bridge! 3D printed! In Amsterdam:
I get emails from Google about 3D printing, and one of the prejudices I am acquiring about it is that it is at its best when finding better and cheaper ways to make rather small and very complicated components in small numbers, and when making other small and very complicated components possible which had previously not been possible. 3D printing’s most impressive achievements so far have been largely invisible to the naked eye.
However, architects and designers being architects and designers, 3D printing is also being used to make big objects, all in one go, like houses and … bridges, very visibly indeed.
This is being justified not on cost grounds, because there are as yet no cost benefits, but rather on the grounds of increased aesthetic possibilities.
Trouble is, I think this particular bridge is very ugly. There’s something disproportionate about it. It’s a huge palaver, just to have a footbridge. It’s like getting Frank Gehry to design your front door, or a dustbin, or a mowing machine. Like getting your outside toilet redone in Scottish Baronial. It’s just a little footbridge! It shouldn’t be drawing attention to itself in this absurdly grandiose fashion.
But, if I saw it in the flesh, so speak, maybe I’d get to like it.
Posted by a friend on Facebook today:
Swans being so very elegant, I am only one of many who likes to photo them, and there’s nothing special about my swan photos, unless the swans are the wrong colour, that being a posting here that keeps on being visited from time to time. But these knitted swans are definitely swans with a difference.
The BBC has more.
Yes, around five years ago, or so, I had a phase of photoing vans, white vans in particular. I seem to recall some Labour woman politician having a go at them, and I think that pissed me off and I had in mind to stick up lots of white van photos to glorify them and to unglorify her.
That lot is just the photos I photoed in the one month of July 2016. Which means there are a great many more such in the archives of around that time.
But then, I kind of lost interest in these things. Somewhere in my somewhere-on-that-spectrum mind of mine is the notion that these collections only work if the basic shape of the things in question is the same every time, with only the decor being different. That is certainly the rule I follow with taxis. Taxis come in several different shapes, but I only photo one shape. The others don’t appeal.
One of the above white vans (photo 20) isn’t even white. I include this van because I like it, what with it being parked under one of the stands at the Oval, and it’s nearly white. I recently heard Surrey cricket commentator Mark Church describe this colour as “duck egg blue”. He was talking about the Surrey shirts for T20 games, but they looked like they were the exact same colour.
I am in no state to be doing to demos just now, but I have friends who have no such problems. And one friend dropped by for a visit last Saturday, bringing photos of the demo he had just attended, just as I asked him to do.
Most of the photos I photo are horizontal ones, and putting both horizontal and vertical photos in galleries doesn’t work very well, so I am in the habit of neglecting all the vertical ones, for blogging purposes.
Whatever. These are the vertical ones that my friend supplied me with:
Displayed here with the enthusiastic permission of my friend, to whom profuse thanks.
Thou shalt display photos though thou photo none. Anyone know what quotation that is a butchery of? It’s one of my favourites.
The horizontal ones will follow, Real Soon Now.
Yesterday I visited Croydon, and one of the more entertaining things I saw and photoed was this, of the frosted glass windows of the exit that rises slowly up from East Croydon station platform towards the main entrance:
Which is London’s most remarkable Big Thing? The Shard? The Gherkin? The Wheel? The BT Tower? The Walkie Talkie? The new and biggest one one still known only as 22 Bishopsgate? I hereby nominate: The Helter Skelter.
The two remarkable things about the Helter Skelter, a representation of which is to be seen in the above photo on the right, is, first, that it was never built, but, second, that the way it would have looked if it had been built still lingers. It certainly lingers here.
The expression “can’t wait” is overused, by people who can wait easily enough but who would rather they weren’t having to. But, those designers whose job it was at that particular moment in London’s history to plug London, by reproducing selections of its Big Things, actually could not wait until the Helter Skelter was finished before they started incorporating its presumed likeness into their designs.
They are both about the same size, and both, in my photos, pointing in the same direction. Otherwise they could hardly be more different.
On the left, a footbridge which forms part of the walk from the downstream footbridge beside Hungerford Bridge, which enables you to carry on walking a bit above ground until you get to Charing Cross Station. This is one of my favourite walks in all of London, perhaps partly because it is so very short.
And on the right, the footbridge across Floral Street that connects the Royal Ballet School to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. This is not one of my favourite walks in London, despite being very short, because I can think of no way that I’d ever be allowed to walk this walk. I used to work in a bookshop that started out in Floral Street and then moved but only around the corner, so I used to see this little bridge often. I wondered how one might contrive actually walking across it and I still do. Getting to know some ballerinas would be a start, but only, I suspect, a start. Maybe they permit occasional tours at prearranged times, but I doubt it.
Both these photos were photoed early in 2004, with my Canon A70. This was around the time when I was just beginning to get the hang of how to photo London in a way that I liked.
I’m pretty sure I have shown these photos, or photos a lot like them, before, on one of my various blogs. No matter. These bridges are nice enough for me to be able to repeat myself about how nice they are.
There’s another street furniture competition going on, in London so I got an email about it. Follow that link, and you will find photos of the shortlisted ones. Here are six of those photos:
You know, if you are any sort of regular here, what I am now going to say about these.
Architects only get to do big buildings when they are about sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety. Until then, they get fobbed off, and that’s if they’re lucky, with jobs like designing street furniture. This is because the people who decide who does big buildings are themselves so very, very old.
Now, look at these photos again, and imagine all the children in the photos thirty years older, and doing big noticeable buildings.
It will be a different world.
And as I have recently already said and will now say again, lots of people will hate the new style and suddenly become nostalgic for the dreary rubbish we all have to put up with now.
Architects are soon going to get over their obsession with black, white, brown and grey, and generally pale and lifeless shades of boring … and start doing proper colour on the outside of their now boring buildings, big time. This is a stylistic pulse that I do happen to have my finger on, … and I know whereof I speak. And it can’t come too soon, I say.
Well, when I wrote that I was feeling impatient. My message today is: it’ll happen, but I’ll have to wait a while. The kids doing this are still only kids. As in: around thirty. But give it another thirty years …
Just over a year ago, in May 2020, I went walkabout, across the River, after Lockdown had really started to kick in. At the time, I wrote here about how I crossed Lambeth Bridge, and then …:
… wandered in the general direction of Waterloo, and made a strange discovery, which I’ll tell you all about some other time, maybe, I promise nothing.
Just as well I said that, because nothing further materialised here about that strange discovery, until now:
I love that these galleries are now so much easier to contrive, and so much easier to click through for those on the receiving end of them, than they used to be with the Old Blog.
As for the photos in this gallery, I remember at the time thinking that maybe if I wrote here at the time about this discovery and how I wandered about in it, I might get myself into trouble, for, I don’t know, trespassing or something. The place was totally deserted, and I remember getting the distinct impression at the time that the front gate at the top of those stairs was only unlocked because whoever should have locked it forgot to lock it. So, I hesitated to show photos like these, and then the photos sank into the ocean that is my photo-archives, and I forgot about them.
I suspect that my then undiagnosed lung cancer was already making me a much more timid soul, less inclined to just barge into whatever places I felt like barging into (provided only that nobody physically stopped me), and more inclined to fear being filmed and then arrested. Silly, but as you get older, the answers you get when you ask yourself the question “What’s the worst that could happen?” start getting a lot worse. At that stage, I was still willing to do dodgy things, but was already reluctant to brag about having done them here. What if some legit inhabitant of this strange place were to google its name and encounter all my photos? What if I then got blamed, however unfairly, for some disaster that happened there, at around the time I visited?
Until I stumbled upon it, and stumbled up the stairs into it, I had no idea at all that this place even existed. I imagine these “creative” little districts eking out their existence where the owners are still making up their minds what they will really be doing with their property, and in the meantime could use a trickle of rent from the kind of people who are trying to get started in this or that line of “creative” business, but who don’t have a lot of heavy and complicated kit that they’ll have to shift if they make any sort of success of what they’re doing and then need to move somewhere smarter. I plan to return there to observe any changes I can, although I promise nothing.
In among all the creatives, there seemed to be some railway inspectors of some sort. Like I say, a very strange place indeed.
In several of the murals, there are strange creatures, as well as people. Hence this posting appearing on a Friday.
Big and brand new bridges are pretty rare these days, after a burst of them (or such is my recollection) around two decades ago. So, here is a photo of an Oldie But Goldie, which I encountered on Twitter recently:
This posting is partly because I love that photo, but partly also because I am lunching tomorrow with GodDaughter1’s Dad, who is a renowned bridge engineer, and I need to remind myself to ask him about any good new bridges. If there have been any, he’ll know.