Friday, 20 November 2009

A little late but here are a few exceedingly amateur photographs of my final vessel on exhibition. There was a lot of sweet and toil but I think it was worth it. One photo, of an overgrown gutter on the Perth road just outside Duncan of Jordanstone, sparked my entire design for this piece. My "gutter" is hinged at either end, has a slot which holds a sheet of perspex at the front and the "Kerplunk" style brass pins actually work. The majority of the piece is made from silver-plated copper but it has brass highlights. In a few weeks time we are learning how to photograph are work properly so I hope to post some decent shots {without my reflection in them!) then.

This evening I watched 'Landward' on BBC2 at 7pm (just incase you want to watch it, I really enjoy it!). The main presenter, Dougie Vipond, visited the Dutch village of Drachten which has no road signs and asked whether Scotland should take a similar approach. The Dutch transport planner, Monderman's idea was simple: if you treat people like idiots, they'll behave like them. So instead of signing everything in the environment, he thinks we should force people to work it out for themselves. No signs, no speed limits, but instead full mixed road use for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. In Drachten, Monderman has designed a junction without road markings, traffic lights or signs, which he says makes the road more dangerous in order to make them safer. There are no pavements and children's play areas are part of the road, forcing people to take their time and far more care.
Watching the footage of the idilic Drachten, with children playing in the streets and cyclists gliding by I found myself thinking what a great idea it was and how wonderful it would be if it really did happen in Scotland. Thinking of Scotland, however, it struck me: What's the biggest problem on our roads which does't seem to feature on the quaint roads of Drachten? NEDS and boy racers! Can you imagine the chaos which would ensue?!
This led me to think about the debate over alcohol age limits. Various countries on the continent have lower age limits than Britain and don't have the problems which we have. Surely making something forbidden is just making it more attractive and a bit of a challenge to a curious youngster? Many foreign countries have a totally different attitude to alcohol and I believe it's deeply set into their culture. Countries such as France, enjoy alcohol together as families and communities making it a normal part of life. There's no mystery or fascination, they're introduced to it at an early age and in a safe environment.
Could Britain really adapt it's culture?

Monday, 9 November 2009

The Great Subway Obsession

Following our previous Design Studies task, for which I researched (and became obsessed with) subways, we were asked to compile a bibliography of books and journals from which we could draw further information on our chosen subjects. I have to admit, this task didn't fill me with excitement but it did bring me and an amazing book together. "Metro, the story of the underground railway" is fabulous. I would say go and have a look at in the library but I'm pretty sure I'll be monopolising the only copy! Here are the rest of the books and journals I've found and, of course, a bit more about "Metro":

Bennet, D, (2004), Metro the story of the underground railway, London, Octopus Publishing

Explores the architecture of the most dramatic and inspiring stations ever built. Innovations that have made it safer and more pleasant. Looks into subway culture, including popular art, tickets, graffiti art, decorated trains, escalators and maps.

Bennet, D, (2004), The architecture of the jubilee line extension, London, Thomas Telford Publishing

This book talks about the architects that have redefined the use of underground space. The way they have produced stations that respond to passenger movement, that meet long-term spatial planning needs and are a visual delight. This book explores these points to give a fuller understanding of each station's design and what makes for good architecture in civil engineering.

Hackelsberger, C, (1997), Subway Architecture in Munich, New York, Prestel

The changing architectural style of the Munich subway system is carefully documented in this book and is supported by numerous photographs. These developments range from the functional design, to the modern and innovative architecture of the present.

Heller, V, (2004), The City beneath us: building the New York subways, New York, W,N Norton

Describes in wonderful photographs, from the New York Transit Museum, the incredible construction techniques and details involved in creating the underground transport system we know of today. These photos are accompanied by a history of the subway system.

Lepori, R, and Franck, K, (2007), Architecture from the Inside Out, Great Britain, Wiley-Academy

This book emphasises feeling, moving and the experimental. Encourage the pursuit of design as a process evolving from the inside - from movement, sensation, surroundings and a dialogue between architect and client.

Preston, J, (2004), Interior Atmosphere, London, Artmedia Press

Combines contemporary projects and interviews alongside analytical essays. Explores the distinctions between visible and invisible realms within architectural design. The boundaries of design, art and architecture are discussed in order to gain a fuller understanding of atmosphere.

Top 5 websites for my discipline:

Top 5 websites of wider interests: