There’s something about airports

Airport architecture makes them enjoyable places to be. I rarely travel by air, but I do know that it’s possible to waste hours at a time in them. It seems that ever since the Pan Am terminal at JFK airport in New York appeared, airport terminal design took a turn for the transcendent. I can’t say that Stansted Airport is up there with the best, but it’s beautiful by night.


An evening with Libeskind

I was delighted recently to be able to attend an address given by none other than Daniel Libeskind in Belfast’s Waterfront Hall. The event was a University of Ulster bash, however the night belonged to the guest speaker.

Coming across as slightly more unassuming (and shorter) that one might expect, Libeskind emitted passion and enthusiasm for his craft like all great practitioners. In a relatively short time (certainly less than an hour), he walked us through perhaps a dozen of his projects, and for each offered brief, but no less comprehensive insights into their purpose, the design rationale and the ground-breaking nature of each. Links below go to a few of the projects covered.

Ground Zero, New York
Jewish Museum, Berlin
Imperial War Museum, Manchester
Orestad Downtown Master Plan

Listening to someone with so much experience, but still with so much fire in their belly reminds me what a privilege it is to be a designer, albeit the scale of works vary widely.

It also reminded us how envious I am of architectural works. These are projects that will last for generations; even when the buildings themselves come down, they will be remembered. Like great music, great architecture can be very much of its time, and yet remain relevant long after trends have moved on.

Beautiful boxes

Architecture is something that will crop up again and again in this blog, and more specifically simple, beautiful architecture.

While you can read as much as you want online about the “rock stars” of the architecture world – Libeskind, Rogers, Gehry etc – you have to work a little harder to find the more modest stuff; little unassuming pieces of beauty that still manage to take your breath away. Take this, for example – the Slat House:



This – a stunning extension to an unassuming semi-d in a London suburb – is a great example of what we mean. Clearly a candidate for Grand Designs, this is a superb piece of work and demonstrates a way of approaching the “ordinary” that illustrates what good design (as problem solving) is all about. It also carries with it a kind of timeless simplicity that also tends to delineate good design. More images available here