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Expo in The Manchester Modernist: Video review

February 12, 2015 4 comments

Writing the last post on Expo ’58 has reminded me that I didn’t post my regular outburst of shameless self publicity by informing you that those lovely people at the ever excellent Manchester Modernist have once again been good enough to include one of my offerings in the current issue of their redesigned and relaunched magazine…

A relaunch that was possibly thanks to the unqualified success of its recent crowd funding campaign. So a huge thanks to everyone who contributed in whatever form…

But don’t just take my word for how good the magazine is… Why not watch this very complementary video review by Stack

 

And just in case you missed it.. mine was the piece towards the front all about Basil Spence’s stylish British Pavilion at one of the most successful of all such Twentieth Century events, Montreal’s Expo 67. This piece was a reworked and greatly expanded version of an original post here… (which also had lots of photos)

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Copies of the magazine are available to buy either singly or via annual subscription here

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A Name Check in ArchDaily: Manchester Modernist Magazine…

October 8, 2014 Leave a comment

543433dbc07a8049f5000127_review-the-modernist-12-departed_modernist_12_departed_cover_lge-1-530x748ArchDaily have just published an article praising the ever excellent Manchester Modernist, a quarterly architecture and design magazine that has been good enough to publish a number of my submissions over the last couple of years.

I won’t go on about it too much, blowing my own trumpet so to speak, but to say I’m well chuffed would be something of an understatement, especially as I get a name check and they describe my piece on Post War Crematoria as “uplifting”…

The full article can be found here and you can get to the Manchester Modernist pages to buy a copy of the magazine here

Better still, why not subscribe and get several copies and a stylish metal badge? Use this link for full details via the crowd funding page at IndieGoGo.

(and yes I know I originally said it was in Dezeen, but I got all excited and didn’t read the banner properly…)

Manchester Modernist Magazine – MKII

March 5, 2014 Leave a comment

MM No. 10I’m very, very late with this post, in fact it was only writing the previous one that reminded me…

The Manchester Modernist which has been good enough to publish a number of my submissions has done so again in their latest issue, which actually came out at the end of last year.

After an impressive eight issues over the last two years or so, the Editors have understandably decided to update the layout and appearance of their magazine, to help keep it fresh through the next couple…

This first offering in their new livery (Issue 9/ Dinky) takes an obvious cue (to my eyes anyway) from Ben Kelly and Peter Saville’s work at that most infamous of Manchester’s cultural institutions The Hacienda, which is a pretty cool move for a magazine devoted to post war arts and culture, especially when so much of contemporary culture is about re appropriation and reinterpretation. And anyway, it’s probably only the 40 somethings like myself that would associate hazard stripes with Manchester…

My “dinky” piece is all about the graphic artist and designer David Gentleman and his work with Tony Benn in the early 1960’s to modernise that most ubiquitous and overlooked of mini masterpieces, the humble postage stamp…

Why not treat yourself and buy the issue here. It’s only a couple of quid, or subscribe and get the next four issues. It’s a fascinating read and deserves all the support it can get…

Argentinian Brutalism: Clorinda Testa in Buenos Aries – Manchester Modernist

April 8, 2013 Leave a comment

capital-cover-sm_1Those wonderful people at Manchester Modernist have again chosen to publish one of my submissions.

In the latest issue Capital, I’ve written about the  little known Argentinian architect Clorinda Testa, a man whose love of massive, brutalist concrete structures, seemingly knew no bounds…

It was whilst we were on our World Tour, that me & A came across two remarkable buildings tucked away in the tree lined streets of the capital, Buenos Aires: The Bank of London and South America (1959 -1966) and the National Library of Argentina (1962-1992).

The interesting story of how these two buildings came about involves numerous Military Coups, huge delays, collapsing economies and sheer determination on the part of the architect, well worth a read (even if I do say so myself).

I’ll leave you with some of the photos that I took when we were there to give you some idea of the scale and vision of Clorinda Testa, a name that should certainly be more well know that it is… (the bank is first, down to Testa’s original concept drawing and then the library)

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Patrick Gwynne in The Manchester Modernist Magazine…

January 9, 2013 4 comments

MM6-Cuppa_cover 001 With all the excitement of Christmas, I completely forgot to post about a short architectural piece I wrote being published at the end of last year in the Modernist Magazine…

Started a couple of years ago and based up in Manchester, the Modernist Magazine is now up to issue no. 6. which is no mean feat for a self published hard copy magazine. The editors, Jack, Maureen and Emily can be very proud of this achievement

Each edition has an over arching theme, with “Cuppa” chosen for this one, a teasingly simple title that encourages subjects as varied as Billy Butlin’s cafe in the Telecom Tower, Melamine, Lewis’s Department Store in Liverpool, David Mellor’s cutlery and the Czech Pavilion from Expo 58. Anything really as long as it fits within a Twentieth Century modern architecture & design umbrella.

My piece was about one this countries most overlooked architects Patrick Gwynne, and his timeless extension to the Theatre Royal in York from 1968.

Each issue of the magazine has a limited print run, so if you’re interested in getting a copy (for the very reasonable price of £4.50) you can visit the Manchester Modernist website here…

Alternatively you can browse back issues which have already sold out here…

And finally, a big thanks to Stephen Cole for allowing me to use his photo of the Theatre.

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The Modernist Magazine. Issue 10 – Dictator… (or me and Mr. Meades)

April 2, 2014 Leave a comment

Modernist-10-Dictator-Cover-with_borderThis rather fine redacted front cover is the latest edition of The Modernist, the quarterly design based magazine based up in Manchester that is gaining both plaudits and acclaim for its style and content..

MMDictator_Contents_trimThe theme for this issue was Dictator, and the editors were once again kind enough to include a piece I submitted, about the almost comical Benito Mussolini, who virtually alone amongst dictators, was either unable or unwilling to choose a definitive architectural style to define his misguided idealism, a situation which resulted in a wide range of styles and building types being constructed throughout the inter war years.

And in something of a personal triumph in this edition, I have the very great and unexpected honour of seeing my name on the same page as one of my literary and televisual idols, Mr. Jonathan Meades who when recently asked by the editors to become Patron of the Society, is reported to have said that he was “honored… and given some of the things I’ve said about Manchester’s recent architecture, bemused.”

Meades is a man whose contribution to the ongoing cultural debate is immeasurable. He makes idiosyncratic documentaries that are in equal measures odd, entertaining, annoying, amusing and informative. And even if I have to admit that, due to his penchant for listing and connecting seemingly disparate names and ideas, I often find myself losing the thread of his arguments (which I suspect is a deliberate ploy), I could easily listen to him talk about architecture all day…

 

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Towards the back of the magazine, you’ll also find my review of William Mitchells’ excellent new autobiography “The Eyes Within”, a hugely enjoyable read from a man well into 80’s whose ability to make and draw things has taken him all over the world…

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Exhibition of Mid Century Latin America Architecture…

March 6, 2015 2 comments

Arch Daily have just informed me of an exhibition which starts at the end of March. Unfortunately for me it’s at the MOMA in New York …

Entitled Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1955-1980, it sounds like something right up my street, full of idealistic 1960’s and 70’s designs, when imagination was only limited by the ability to which it could be drawn

These two images in particular caught my attention.

The first is from 1969 and is a magnificent proposal for a hotel at Machu Picchu, Peru by Miguel Rodrigo Mazuré. Having been lucky enough to visit Machu Picchu a few years ago, I can imagine where this was probably going to be located, on the slopes above Aquas Calientes, where the buses on the switchback road slowly take you up to the citadel and a sight that I will never, ever forget

As such my heart tells me that I’m quite pleased it wasn’t built. But my head absolutely loves it.. all those cantilevers and cable cars and funicular railways and dynamic concrete planes.. ohhh, yes please…

Machu Pichu Hotel
This second image is slightly more conceptual in that it appears to have a record cutting lathe acting as a central civic hub of some form, with routes in and out being represented by oil refinery pipework.

It still looks bloody marvellous though…. I can’t find anything about this image from the exhibition blurb, but it looks a little bit like it’s sitting in the beautiful Peruvian valley of Cusco, so again, probably a good thing it never made it off the drawing board…

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So all in all, it looks like it could be a good exhibition, although unless it crosses the ocean, one I won’t get to see. I’ll have to find out if there’s a shiny and informative, fully illustrated book to accompany the exhibition (and let’s face it, there usually is..) and be satisfied with that…

My own small contribution to spreading the word of South American post war architecture was a piece I wrote a couple of years ago for the Modernist Magazine, about the Argentinian Brutalist architect Clorinda Testa, whose work in Buenos Aires, I found particularity memorable and deserving of far greater recognition worldwide…

Meet Me at the Monorail…

August 5, 2013 Leave a comment

P1070760Following on from my recent post illustrating the wonder of monorails,  those lovely people at the Manchester Modernist have recently published their “Carried Away” edition, which includes my thoughts as to why they are not more popular as a mode of transport than they should be…

As always I would highly recommend buying a copy of this excellent magazine, and I include the images below primarily for my own records…

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