Posts Tagged ‘building’

Splish, Splash, I Was Taking a Bath

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Through a series of fortunate events, I discovered at exactly the right time that last weekend was the annual heritage open days where lovely old buildings are open to the general public. On Sunday morning I found out that Manchester’s Victoria Baths were open for free, a building I had been wanting to explore since I moved here. What luck! So that afternoon I stepped out into the remarkably warm Manchester weather (no rain and some sunshine! AMAZING.) and headed south.

First opened in 1906, the Victoria Baths were where you would come either to be seen or to have your weekly wash. It was divided into three rooms, each with its own pool – Women, Second Grade Men and First Grade Men. The quality of the rooms, size of the pool and cleanliness of the water depended on which of these categories you fit into, with women coming in last.

As a lowly female, this sign brings me a bit of joy.

As a lowly female, this sign brings me a bit of joy.

The building is now used for arts and community events and is currently the location for a Romeo and Juliet production. I was told on multiple occasions by various members of staff that I could have my wedding here. That’s nice.

The First Class Men's pool has been transformed into Juliet's death scene.

The First Class Men’s pool has been transformed into Juliet’s death scene.

The baths received funding through a television show to undertake its upgrades and still requires an additional £26million to complete all of the work. They hope to have the baths and the turkish sauna rooms back up and running – it would be fantastic to see the building returned to its original glory.

Changing rooms.

Changing rooms.

Fancy tiles.

Fancy tiles.

Imperial War Museum North

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

I have wanted to go to the Imperial War Museum since I first visited Manchester in 2007 and I finally had the opportunity to go on the Monday bank holiday. The building sits proudly on the edge of Salford Quays competing in an “impressive building battle” across the Manchester Ship Canal with the Lowry theatre. While I do love the Lowry, Daniel Libeskind’s angular structure just excites me a little bit more. Libeskind also designed the Jewish Museum in Berlin, a building that brought me to tears when I visited it in 2007. The design of the Jewish Museum space with high ceilings, sharp cornered rooms and fantastic use of natural light so cleverly emphasises the horrible story of the holocaust and it made a huge impact on me. This emotional reaction instantly returned as I walked into the Imperial War Museum and saw similar design elements repeated in the building. It’s incredible the affect good architecture and design can have.

Imperial War Museum North

Imperial War Museum North

As you walk around looking at the displays, every 15 minutes or so presentations exploring war-based subjects are projected on every wall within the large exhibition space. The room goes dark and the space becomes a multi-screened movie theatre. The quality of the projects was brilliant – none of the images were out of alignment (a personal hate of mine) and you felt like you were part of the show. It was very clever and very well executed.

Exhibition space

Exhibition space

There is a viewing platform at the top of the building that delivers views over Salford Quays. The lift up to the top sounded like it was in need of repair but the space at the top was great – somewhat open to the elements, those with a fear of heights may not appreciate the view through the slits in the floor down to the ground.

A great view from a cage

A great view from a cage

I will definitely be returning to spend some time in one of the best spaces in Manchester. And so should you. Go there. Now.

She Heard About My Jigsaw

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Through an amazing series of events and what I can only presume is pure FATE, Queen Elizabeth and young Philip are going to visit me at work next week. Her main point of business is officially opening the Co-Op’s new building but I have a sneaky feeling that she just wants to see the jigsaw puzzle that I did of her. I will bring it, just in case.

Jigsaw puzzles – bringing together royalty and IT Service Desk analysts since 2013.

Jigsaw puzzles – bringing together royalty and IT Service Desk analysts since 2013.

She is apparently taking a tour of the building however I suspect she will be kept far away from the IT department. Only an IT Crowd style mess up could possibly result in her shaking my hand. I shall do my best.

Going Inside the Giant White Bubble

Friday, October 28th, 2011

For a few months I have wanted to go to an exhibition being held at the Institut du Monde Arabe. The glass fronted building of the institute is impressive in itself, however there has been a large white bubble-building in the front courtyard that has intrigued me. I finally got around to visiting the exhibition this week as it closes at the end of the month.

Institut du Monde Arabe

The wall of the Institut du Monde Arabe

The exhibition focuses on the work of Iraqi architect, Zaha Hadid, and is located inside a moveable building designed by Hadid herself. The building is organic in shape – like a freeform bubble – and has been designed to be moved and relocated as the exhibition moves between cities. The exhibition had already been shown in New York and Tokyo and yet the quality of the materials and the solidity of the building made it difficult to believe that it was transportable.

Zaha Hadid building

Amazing.

The exhibition itself was a bit disappointing. Its key focus was the way in which Hadid’s architectural firm is redesigning the concept of a skyscraper – turning it from being an individual entity that is designed to impress and stand out, to amalgamating towers into the surrounding landscapes to produce a more useable space. The exhibition had examples of the company’s work and highlighted some of the techniques used, however, like most ‘conceptual’ exhibitions, the audio guide merely prattled on about modernity concepts of space and how towers were symbols of power blah blah blah. While that is all very interesting and so forth, I didn’t come away feeling like I really knew what Hadid’s motivations were and how she managed to get from being a female in Iraq to running a multi-million dollar architectural firm in London. Plus the examples of her work were all current works that were either recently or near completion. I couldn’t gauge a sense of progress, development or future aspirations. Pity.

Luckily the building the exhibition was showcased in was so wonderful. It allowed for a very easy flow within the space and the exhibition was clearly designed to fit within the area. What was also interesting was that it was France-specific, with information about buildings that Hadid is designing in Marseille and Montpellier. Clearly as the exhibition moved between cities, the exhibits would change somewhat to highlight what was more relevant to that country.