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.
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.
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.
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’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.
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.
But the fact that almost all the internetted photos of this building look like that is misleading.
Here is a corrective, in the form of the exact sort of photo of this building that the pros earn their money by doing the exact opposite of:
Yet one more illustration of a belief I have long held about us amateur photoers, which is that we amateur photoers often tell you more about how a building actually looks, if you actually go there, than many of the photos carefully contrived by the professionals.
I only started deciding what to put here today quite late on. What should I say here today? Then, to rescue me, incoming from Patrick Crozier, telling me that our latest recorded conversation is now up, at Croziervision. Once again, we are to be heard worrying about what caused World War 1 to start.