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Architecture Is… A Long Journey

Rob has started writing for a new student architecture magazine, Architecture Is, based in Edinburgh. http://www.architectureis.org/ Here’s an introduction to his regular feature, with the broad title of  ‘A Long Journey’. The first article, Basel: City on the Rhine, has been re-posted above.

The saying ‘the journey is the destination’ seems to be particularly relevant when applied to Architecture. However, choosing architectural studies is a fantastic opportunity (and excuse) to travel, take detours and find out about all sorts of unusual things a normal career would never let you do. Last semester, my design studio turned me into an expert on prawn-fishing! Now I’m working for a local firm in Basel, Switzerland. This kind of experience allows you to find out lots about the urban environment, local culture and surrounding country.

‘Der Weg ist das Ziel’ is a similar German proverb. When I first heard it, the saying sounded like it translated as ‘the way is the style’. I thought it meant that it was a lifestyle you could adopt or mentality – an enjoyment of travelling and seeing where you end up. (It actually means ‘the way is the goal’.) Students in our year have travelled all around the world for their placement. It will be great to hear everyone’s tales when they return next year.

So, to celebrate going on a journey, every two weeks my post will be about something that has interested me as a foreigner living abroad.

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Architecture Is… Magazine

Students at the University of Edinburgh have started producing a magazine, Architecture Is. Aiming to ‘bring a bright and diverse view of Architecture and related arts’, the first blog posts cover the High Line, Invisible Cities, Kirkaldy Maggie Centre and employment at Dezeen. http://www.architectureis.org/

Blinde Kuh, Basel

In her second post, placement reporter Zena Moore features my experience at Baubüro In Situ. She describes Blinde Kuh, a restaurant where you eat in total darkness. Blinde Kuh is a large employer for blind and partially sighted individuals. ‘The architectural idea cleverly turns disability on its head, so that it is you who requires the assistance whilst inside the restaurant’.

Sicht-Bar, Blinde Kuh

An Update…From Switzerland

Mittlere Brucke

Mittlere Brücke, Basel

Two months ago, I left the UK to start a placement in Basel, at Baüburo In Situ AG. The company is recognised for their renovation projects in the city and surrounding area. Switzerland has been fantastic so far. Both the family I’m living with and the office are really friendly.

Basel is a beautiful place to live and work. Positioned at the Drei Ländereck, the meeting point of France, Germany and Switzerland, a range of cultures can be sampled. So far, I’ve visited many local attractions, including the Munster, Vitra Design Factory, and Tinguely Museum, with weekends away to Bern and Lucern. Expect posts on Switzerland’s best architecture shortly (yodeling and fondue not included).

Rob Switzerland

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New Website

Edinburgh New Town
Edinburgh New Town

As part of my efforts to find a job placement during 2012, I have travelled around Manchester and Liverpool. This is an active way to contact architectural practices, and allows me to explore more of Britain’s largest cities. Stay tuned for articles on Salford Quays and Liverpool Museum.

Earlier this week, my new website launched at www.robhebblethwaite.co.uk/index.html featuring university projects, sample work and contact information. Please have a look and email me for further information.

Arnside Viaduct and Seafood Kitchen

Arnside Viaduct, 1856 (restored 2011)

Happy New Year; all the best for 2012. It seems like quite a while since I’ve written anything online. Hopefully the New Year will provide more time for me to write architectural insights.

My course in MA (Hons) Architectural Design includes the opportunity for a placement period. As such, I am currently looking for work experience at an architecture firm or similar in a period from January-December 2012. Anyone interested can read my CV and view portfolio material at http://issuu.com/rob_hebblethwaite. Stay posted for a new website, on its way very shortly.

Arnside Viaduct, built in 1856, has recently undergone a £11.1 million deck refurbishment. The crossing is part of the Cumbria West Coast Line, linking Carnforth, Barrow and Carlisle. Over time, the structure had become so weak that trains were limited to 30 mph when crossing. In the final four months, this was reduced to 20 mph. In addition, the structure had become too weak to accommodate the lifting cranes required for dismantling. May Gurney, building contractors, were required to replace 102 deck units (two for each of the 51 spans) in a 16 week time period. By installing two new maintenance walkways, independent from the existing bridge deck, they could use a gantry frame to replace the panels. This technique, first trialled at the nearby Leven Viaduct in 2006, purportedly cut construction time by a half. Hopefully, Network Rail will now increase the viaduct speed limit to 60 mph. Certainly, the renewal works have ensured the future of this 150 year old structure.

Over the Christmas break, I compiled a portfolio of third year work. The ‘Explorations’ project seeked to design a sustainable prawn fishing community on the island of Kerrera, Scotland. Analysing the creel fishing process and undertaking a site visit established themes of wave turbulence, micro-climate and weather. The Seafood Kitchen provides fine dining, culinary education and guest accommodation to gastro-tourists wanting to learn more about the prawn fishing industry. My final design is a restaurant that incorporates thermal strategies based on the heat processes involved in seafood preparation.

A Place of My Own

September 26, 2011 Leave a comment


‘A Place of My Own’ is the result of two years’ academic study at the University of Edinburgh. The short book displays work produced in architectural design, technology and history, with examples of projects and concise essays. I found it rewarding to review work from the start of my course and notice the improvement in standard.

My design projects include a renga platform, artisan dwelling, museum of product design, and a dance centre. Essays cover fascist architecture, the Ancien Regime and the Papacy. Finally, technology examines sustainability and building tectonics, with case studies on Waterloo International Terminal and 14a Garway Road, Bayswater.

Back with more… Dockwray Footbridge

Former Romney Bridge, Kendal

After a brief break, ‘A View from Rob Hebb’ continues with some posts from the South Lakes and Lancashire. So far, there have been over 100 views each month. Thanks for the support. I’m glad its been worthwhile and readers have enjoyed it.

This suspension bridge was formerly sited on Romney Road (constructed 1907), in my home town of Kendal. The bridge was dismantled and re-erected on land near Dockwray Hall industrial estate, with support from Kendal Civic Society (1993). It now links the industrial estate with Mintsfeet and Queen Katherine School on the opposite bank of the River Kent.