Howdy Gaudi

I’m sure many readers will have been to the beautiful city of Barcelona and if you have, almost certainly you will have visited the incredible Basilica of La Sagrada Familia, designed by the quite brilliant architect Antoni Gaudi. As well as the church his very distinctive design style can be seen all over the city eg at Park Guell, Casas Mila/Battlo and loads of other places.  It’s so easy to label people as a genius these days. Christ I’ve seen the description applied to the  likes of Simon Cowell, Jose Mourinho and even Benny Hill. Smart, confident, funny perhaps but geniuses? Do me a favour. But in Gaudi’s case, it is completely justified.

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All change

Hello dear readers. Big gap in my blogging recently but we’ve been incredibly busy for one thing and without internet access for several weeks too. I doubt you’ll be that concerned but it might make sense for some of the subsequent postings for me to fill in a few details on what we’ve been up to.

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Not so grand designs

Now regular readers will know I’m a bit of a frustrated architect. I love building design especially huge-scale projects like skyscrapers and massive bridges as anyone who’s checked out my tiny book collection will attest. But I also like smaller home and office stuff too because great design examples stand out like elegant fingers. Sadly the reverse is also true and our towns are full of really badly-designed or incongruously-sited buildings. I’ve done more than a few postings on these over the years. But I’ve been studying an office building they’ve been renovating across the road from us here in Twickenham and I have to tell you I’m baffled by its design.

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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.

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ugly buildings

Regular readers may be coming to the conclusion that I’m a frustrated wannabe architect masquerading as a marketing guy. Damn you’re good. Anyway here’s the latest in an occasional series of postings inspired by my irresistible desire to write about buildings that I come across. You may remember in a recent posting I was going on about how I found nearby Twickenhan to be a pleasant few lanes down by the river spoiled by a scruffy High St that would shame Slough and a hideously ugly office block slap bang in the centre of the town. I scoffed, as I tend to do, because the High St here in Teddington is chock full of interesting shops, restaurants and bars and 20 times more attractive in my view.  However, as is also my want, I was talking the truth but not the whole truth. You see Teddington has a slab ugly building sister itself…in fact two.

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twickenham

Nah not rugby HQ, I’ve been thinking about the town itself. Most readers will know that we’ve found a place inTeddington which is our UK base now. And we’re very happy here. The beautiful river Thames and the famous lock is just down the road. Our little town has loads of nice bars and restaurants and more interior design shops than you can shake an Alessi-designed spatula at. We’ve got some great food stores within easy reach and loads of activities for daughter R to get involved with.  Just down the road is lovely Bushy Park and across the river historic Richmond Park.  And down the river is lively Kingston just 5-10 minutes away and nearby Hampton Court whilst upstream is attractive Strawberry Hill, where C works, St Margarets where daughter S and live and just across the river from them Richmond town itself which is about as prettily dramatic as any place in the Greater London area. It has everything really. And in the middle of all this terrific area nestled by the Thames is the blight that is Twickenham, a town with a famous stadium nearby and not a lot else.

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