Home In The City

Film, Observatory

Now that more than half of the world’s population lives in a city, I think we should continue looking at our urban surroundings, and I’ve been following the Gaudi comments with interest.

One thing that must be taken into account is the fact that cities in Spain represent a unique case in Europe. After decades of an oppressive regime during which time no architecture changed, the modernist movement was able to take hold quickly and virtually full-formed. With wide streets and high-ceilinged buildings, the sense of space and openness seems to allow for grander, braver designs.

Take a look at the way in which this new market has provided a radical new look which is utterly harmonious and user-friendly. I snapped this on my phone, but it looks eerily like an architectural drawing. As always, click to enlarge.

The one below, (also phone-snapped, I’m afraid) shows what you can do with a guaranteed blue-sky backdrop. Modern Spanish architecture is able to make use of the fact that an outdoor recreational culture exists. In England we have to be prepared to close everything up at a moment’s notice, and internalise much of our style into detailing.

Also, the greed of most London property developers is such that every new building offering an alternative to the ubiquitous glass office block must fight its way through years of legislation before appearing in an often fatally compromised form.

One comment on “Home In The City”

  1. Gretta says:

    There as been a little talk here about how a rebuilt Christchurch would/should look post-earthquake (not too much talk, granted, as it’s still far too soon after the event), and some of the ideas people have had, especially native Christchurchians, have been pretty interesting. No doubt bureaucratic red tape will play a BIG part in what eventually happens. When the 1931 quake flattened Napier, bureaucratic red tape wasn’t much of an issue, and the local bods took what I think was the pretty brave step of rebuilding in the style of the day, Art Deco.

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