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.
The job of billionaires is to live a better life, and while doing that pay for it to go from being an expensive luxury to a cheap and universal commonplace.
People moan about “trickle down” economics, often claiming that it doesn’t even happen. I only have to look at my flat screen TV, upon which I am now happily watching cricket, to know that this is wrong.
All eyes are on Wembley just now. I am even now watching The Final, England being one up after half an hour, having been one up after two minutes of course. Italy are getting back into it though, and as if to prove the beginning of this sentence spot on, just when I typed in the previous comma but one, they nearly managed an equaliser. The England goalie was well beaten. But now England have just missed a goal, so as of now I have no idea how it will end.
Having nothing useful to contribute in the way of football analysis, I went looking for Wembley photos in the archives, and encountered this trove of photos, all named and numbered and resized and ready to go but which have yet to be displayed here, of what I still think of as the “new” Wembley, when they were busy constructing it, way back in 2005:
September 20th 2005 to be exact, again with the Canon S1 IS, which was as I’ve said earlier in the week, very hit or miss. But quite a hit that day, I think. I have seen a game inside this new stadium and it is a stadium much like any other. But that arch was a stroke of genius. If we still want to think about football in a few days time, I may gather together some more of my Wembley photos, this time of how it looks in the bigger London picture.
It’s now half time, and the BBC commetators are all explaining why England are winning. But Mancini will have plenty to say to his team, and Italy will surely be better than they were at the start of this.
E-scooters can go at 60mph, but these ones are fixed so they can only do 15mph. You can ride them on the road but not on the pavement. This way, the e-scooting community will be in danger themselves, but will subject pedestrians to fewer dangers. All will depend on how this is policed.
My current personal opinion is that making e-scooters work will require a major upheaval of the transport system, and this will not happen in a city like London any time very soon. Much more likely is that some place, somewhere on earth, where the masses really want e-scooters and are very willing to take the risks of driving them at a worthwhile speed, will subject itself to this upheaval, and may even make it work semi-safely. At which point, the rest of the world will look, and copy, maybe. But, I think all of that is quite a way off. For now, they’ll only be toys for boy racers. During Lockdown, the roads were rather empty and they worked well and were winked at the by law, even though supposedly illegal. I suspect that will all end now.
But, those are only my guesses. We shall see.
My photos don’t show the details of what was on those cards legibly. Sorry about that. In can tell you that the middle card of the three in the last photo was “Rules of the Road”, but the rules were unreadable. The bloke in my photo presumably did better in that regard. Maybe I should have used my mobile.
Here. In America “top secret” only seems to mean that the details of exactly what it consists of are kept out of sight. If this airplane really was top secret, we’d not even have been told of its existence.
Another metallic/feathered posting. This time the former sort of bird is being likened to the latter sort.
New bridges, even footbridges, of any distinction are somewhat rare these days. So this new bridge, in Hull, is welcome:
I found that photo here. Read more about it, and see more photos of it, here.
Says Jonathan McDowell, director of Matter Architecture:
It’s wonderful to see people beginning to make use of the new routes and viewpoints, and we are proud to see the dramatic form of the bridge already becoming a landmark within the city’s identity.
“Becoming a landmark” is what this is all about. Making a real bridge, for trains or heavy lorries, look “iconic” is very expensive. But do this to a footbridge and if you do it okay, it’s not a lot of money, very well spent. That being why architects got involved in this at all.
Even then, with my antiquated Canon S1 IS, I was already photoing goodish photos, or at any rate photos I thought were goodish (and still do). It was just that the success rate then was a bit lower, and the light had to be perfect. That day, it was.
I reckon about a third of those views would look exactly the same now. However, anything with a camera or a map in it is now history. Cameras and maps are now the same things, apart from that tube map on those pants. Mobile phones can’t yet double up as underwear.
Plus, the City of London Big Thing cluster is now … a cluster, rather than just isolated oddities. Who knew then how quickly the Gherkin would be smothered by other Bigger Things? Well, probably a lot of people knew, but I was not one of them.
I have a particular soft spot for photo 6, the one with what looks to me like a thing made of cocktail sticks. It looks to me like a thing made with cocktail stick because I used to make things like that with cocktail sticks. Although, that one in the above photo is extremely primitive compared to some of the things I made, shapes I have never seen since. Memo to self: I must dig out the photos of those, such as the photos were. My stick objects, sadly, predated digital photography.
I watched this video, and resolved to repost it here, only then to realise that I had encountered it because my favourite Twitterer, Steve Stewart-Williams was the reason I was seeing it in the first place:
I’ve already featured a photo of No. 1 Croydon here. And here is another photo here of a small poster featuring this favourite-building-of-mine, which shows that I am not the only one with a special place in my heart for this building.
But neither photo was photoed during a deliberate expedition to Croydon. The first was photoed only when I was doing a change at a Croydon Station, on my way back home from Epsom Race Course. And the second, of a little poster, is not anywhere near Croydon. I spotted it in the company of Michael Jennings, a walk away from where he lives, out east.
Follow the first link above to see the way that No.1 Croydon is usually photoed, in splendid isolation. What I did was photo it in context, in the spirit of the second of these two photos, the one by Michael Jennings of that Gehry Museum in Bilbao.
Photo 6 is like my earlier photo, just not as flattering. And photo 7 may be a reflection (photo 8 is definitely a reflection) of No.1 Croydon, in some windows. Not sure, but I think it is. I only really included those two to make up the numbers. Seven photos would have to be in a line. Nine photos make a nice square, which I prefer.
Photo 5 includes lots of wires in the foreground, another favourite phenomenon of mine. These are wires for Croydon’s trams, as you can just about make out.