ugly duckling buildings

Now regular readers will be aware of my interest in architecture and a passion I have for great buildings.  I’m particularly fond of skyscrapers and bridges, especially ones built in the last century. One of my greatest joys is visiting one from my ‘must see’ list for the first time. The day C and I cycled (yes it’s true) up to the Golden Gate bridge from San Francisco and stood at its mid-point taking in the beauty of the engineering and the stunning views was one of the most glorious days of my life. Sad I know. But as well as grand structures I also like beautifully designed smaller buildings especially family homes, offices and public facilities. But the flip side of admiring lovely architecture is that I can’t help but notice and complain about really ugly buildings or incongruous planning allowing buildings to sit uncomfortably in a particular setting and I especially hate to see public buildings fall into disrepair. So having moaned in the past about some particularly horrible examples of these in the Teddington area I thought it was time for an update.

First up Park House, a nasty ugly 60’s office block right in the heart of Teddington which I wrote about in If you recall it had a great big windowless yellow-painted concrete block attached to its side like a malignant growth. Well about a year ago it was acquired by the Travelodge organisation and miraculously turned into a hotel. The cancerous growth was removed and a brand new dinky apartment block clad in attractive cedar put in its place with a restaurant installed at ground level. Alright it’s a Nando’s but it’s been busy since it opened and it’s a welcome addition to the social landscape of the town. Travelodge aren’t going to win too many Stirling prizes for the beauty of their hotels’ architecture but they’ve done a great job sorting this monstrosity out as you can see from the picture below. Bravo TL!


Next up you might remember an impassioned rant from me about the state of the walkway bridge across the tracks  at our local train station. See

You might remember I was particularly angry that Railtrack nor our local MP Vince Cable appeared to be doing anything  about getting all the broken windows replaced and the structure re-painted, despite many promises to the contrary. Well one year on and take a look now:



Now isn’t that better than looking like something straight out of Helmand province? Well I think so. It’s a handsome bridge and it’s now looking as good as new and walking up to it makes me feel pleased now rather than depressed at its run-down condition. That’s what architecture can do for you; at its best it’s uplifting.



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