Posts Tagged ‘Architecture’

Architecture Is… A Long Journey

Rob has started writing for a new student architecture magazine, Architecture Is, based in Edinburgh. 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.


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.

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

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 featuring university projects, sample work and contact information. Please have a look and email me for further information.

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.

Milan’s Other Cathedrals

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Milan is renowned for its fashion, commerce and culture. Architecturally, the city is home to the Gothic Duomo and Teatro della Scala. However, there are other ‘cathedrals’ that bear testament to this one-time capital of Italy.

Galleria from Piazza del Duomo

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is an early example of the covered shopping arcade. Designed in 1861 by Giuseppe Mengoni, the Galleria is linked to the emergence of Italy as a unified country. Cruciform in plan, the arcade connects Piazza del Duomo and Piazza della Scala. Iron and glass, imported from England, was used to create four large barrel vaults, with an octagonal void where they intersect. The longer arm of the cross is 196 metres, with a maximum height of 47 metres. Decoration in the galleria is in a rich neo-Renaissance Revival style. Triumphal arches mark the main entrances. Famous Italians, such as Michelangelo, Galileo and Da Vinci, are featured in the 24 statues that line the arcade. In the centre, a mosaic depicts the Savoy coat of arms.

Today, the galleria is a symbol of Italian fashion and luxury shopping, selling clothing, books, paintings, and jewellery. Prada and Luis Vutton are among the designer brands. Ricordi, a fantastic record store, occupies space beneath the concourse. Locally, the galleria is known as Milan’s drawing room (il salotto di Milano), since its cafes make popular meeting places.

Milano Centrale Trainshed

With the advent of industrial manufacture, materials such as cast iron and steel began large scale production. Steel was crucial for the growing railways. The first line opened from Stockton to Darlington in England (1825). Continental Europe began construction in the 1830s. The fast journeys afforded by train travel resulted in countrywide unification and stronger nationalism. Also important, was finding a new expression for industrial materials.

Station Entrance

Milano Centrale is the second largest station in Italy. Located in Piazza Duca d’Aosta, the station handles 320000 passengers per day, roughly 120 million per year. Two competitions were held, with Ulisse Stacchini providing the winning design. Under Italian Fascism, the grander elements of the intended decoration were removed, creating a style closer to Art Deco. The approved design (1924) was completed in 1931. The trainshed, by engineer Alberto Favo encloses 341 metres of track in a structure of cast iron and glass, with a 72 metre free span. Milano Centrale handles around 600 trains per day, giving visitors a striking and memorable entrance to the city.

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele and Milano Centrale are pioneering buildings that work to celebrate Italian Unification.

Dance Centre, Barcelona

Firstly, here’s a little self promotion! My final project in second year involved designing a comunity dance centre within a city square, located in the Barcelona contemporary arts district. The project references surrounding sites, splitting the square into an active side, used for outdoor performance, and a resting square facing a retirement home.

Composed from a simple language of studio volumes, roof canopy and frame, the design places emphasis on permitting/restricting movement through building facades. Interior and exterior social space interpenetrate, forming a boundary condition that protects and shades observers. In the studios, relation to the external environment is through the roof, creating a volume for dancing. High quality material finish ensures these are uplifting spaces.

An Introduction of Sorts

Canal bridge in Venice

Canal bridge in Venice

Welcome to my blog. As an Architecture student, based at the University of Edinburgh, I am passionate about Architecture, its history, and the world of design in general. My mission is to inform and entertain, ranging from the web-surfing public to those in the profession. Thought provoking posts will offer a window on the ‘delight’ to be found in our built environment. Architectural design has a strong impact on our everyday lives, providing the setting for work, rest and play. Like the backing score for a successful film, we can often choose to ignore architecture completely, or only recognise when good design is absent. With this blog, I am asking you to spend more time exploring our built world, discovering its merits and history. The journey will include plenty of interest, facts, and some things to make you smile.