Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Genius Loci - Jubilee Gardens

Some personal thoughts on the Genius Loci of Jubilee Gardens after pondering the history, current development and future developments proposed for the site. 

'Through the centuries, as time passes, the one constant...the one constant spirit is the spirit of the River Thames on the site. That spirit will transcend all of man's impact and development - the spirit may alter, but its essence and core will stay true to the River. If all else changes, the spirit that still remains; is the spirit of the River Thames.' 

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Jubilee Gardens - Place & Culture

Since our presentation on Monday I've taken a good few moments to meditate on the constructive criticism received. I can't disagree with any of the points raised. Throughout the process of reflection I think I went into the site in more depth and uncovered the answers of what the site is all about. It was waiting right there, ready to be revealed. I knew it too, but it somehow didn't come out. What resulted was simple but I got caught in the complexity of the site. I now have some clarity which gives me the freedom to move ahead. I went to work in my sketchbook too and this is what came out.

I took some different colour post-its and just overlapped them-where they all intersected I cut a hole and named it 'Jubilee Gardens' as its where they all meet and intersect. Colours used to represent the area being 'full of contrasts'; and used post-its layers to represent 'the many over lapping cultures of the site'.

The result:
Jubilee Gardens is a site combining: one of London's leading business districts; a world class cultural quarter; a major transport hub; deprived residential areas; all set on the south bank of the River Thames. That is Jubilee Gardens.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Just 14 words

I came across this while reading. There is so much power in this statement! I will attempt to make this will be one of my cornerstones.
"We need to avoid making everywhere like everywhere else, rather than more like itself.''
Lee Sparks, CABE Commissioner

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

'There is Unrest in the Forest'

'The Trees' - I've been listening to this song for years, not when it was made as I was too young, but many years later. It's called 'The Trees' from one of my favourite bands - Canadian 3 person rock band RUSH. It is from their 1978 album, Hemispheres. The acoustic introduction to the song makes it one of my favourites, along with the poignant lyrics. It is great from a metaphorical and social point of view, with regard to the human race, and also if one were to take the literal  lyrics on trees. I saw them live at their 30th year anniversary in 2004 and they played this track...I was on a musical high! Check the youtube link below to the song as well as the lyrics. Rock on!

"The Trees"

There is unrest in the forest
There is trouble with the trees
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas

The trouble with the maples
(And they're quite convinced they're right)
They say the oaks are just too lofty
And they grab up all the light
But the oaks can't help their feelings
If they like the way they're made
And they wonder why the maples
Can't be happy in their shade

There is trouble in the forest
And the creatures all have fled
As the maples scream 'Oppression!'
And the oaks just shake their heads

So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights
'The oaks are just too greedy
We will make them give us light'
Now there's no more oak oppression
For they passed a noble law
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe and saw 

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The End of the Streetlight?

This is really interesting; an enlightening discovery (pun intended). For landscape architects this can offer so much to the design palette with substantial benefits to the environment. Great news for urban planning and councils too where costs could be saved on streetlight installations, maintenance, etc Might even be the end of Christmas lights as we know it too. Have a read of the following link.


A post-doctor researcher from Taiwan, Dr. Yen-Hsun Su has made an amazing discovery about the potential of using plants, especially roadside trees as streetlights! Yen-Hsun Su, which is a researcher at Research Center for Applied Science, Academia Sinica, Taiwan was experimenting with gold nano particles and discovered the amazing bioluminescence efficiency for greener means of lighting technologies.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Geometric Graffiti?

I noticed this piece of 'graffiti' (is it really graffiti?) artwork on a wall that I passed by recently and just had to take a photo. I passed by this wall many times before as it is on a pathway near to where I live in Barnet and there are the usual types of graffiti - name tags, bright colours, jagged and organic shapes...but this one stood out. What took me aback was it's detail in sticking to the concrete brick outline in stretcher bond...it's geometric form and rectangular shape...it's minimalism...it's texture from the brick...it's simplicity...and it's grey colour. Amidst its context it stood out. I guess it's subjective but I found that it gripped me. I walked past it while glancing at it, and then thought...no, no, no...this has to be documented. So there seems to be an enlightened mind amongst the graffiti crew out there-a different type. If you're reading this I like your style.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Does campus get you down? Have a walk around!

I know campus could be a bit of a drag sometimes compared to Greenwich but every year I tend to make the effort to walk around the Avery Hill Park during the autumn-especially when the weather is good (not raining). The autumn colour of the oak, lime and maple trees are simply fascinating along with great evergreen structure coming from the conifers. Sometimes I'd get out a bus stop early or even go during our lunch break (which seems to vanish in half the time). What is interesting too is that the topography seems very similar to that of Jubilee Gardens at our Waterloo site-low lying land, gentle undulations. Get beyond those four walls of a lecture room and explore the aesthetics of the landscape...our habitat! Here are some pics to entice you-and yes, it is our very own campus at Avery Hill! 

The Symbolism of Habitat

The last couple of weeks I've been reading Jay Appleton's The Symbolism of Habitat, a few pages here-a few pages there. There were some enlightening observation by the geography professor in his book, some that you don't really take note of. I'll include a bit of synopsis from the book and maybe you can have a read some day. There are also some great illustrations in it. For those of you who don't like reading much-this is your kind of book, loads of illustrations and pictures. Have a read of the images below. A last good point is that it's a small book, just 23 x 15 cms so it can be carried around easily.