Wow – 14 weeks of the #WorldoftheFuture already – it feels like it has flown by! This week we introduce another new face of #TeamGLM for her first #GLMInstagramTakeover. Meet Helen Beresford – as a passionate and gifted Technologist, Helen brings to GLM a wealth of experience at the sharp end of design having helped deliver projects across the UK. With a particular interest in heritage buildings and focussing on initial surveys and intricate and sensitive detailing, Helen fits right in with the team. Alongside working with us at GLM, Helen is studying a Masters in Architectural Conservation with her thesis examining Conservation of Theatres in Edinburgh.
Over to you Helen for your World of the Future!
- (Image : Above, Centre) I’ve spent the last year studying Architectural Conservation. One theme that continues is the overwhelming dominance of nature over humanity. Parisian architect and painter Charles-Louis Clérisseau painted scenes of Roman architecture in ruins, depicting how even the Roman Empire was fleeting and nature will reclaim the remains.
Modern architects are encouraged to design with the whole building lifecycle in mind. This often means deconstruction at the end of its life, but what if we designed for ruination. Can we design to allow nature to have its way with our structures?
Image Reference : Charles-Louis Clérisseau, Colosseum, Rome (1760s) gouache, Hermitage, Saint Petersburg
- (Image : Above, Right) All matter is in a state of evolving or devolving. The Japanese aesthetic of wabi sabi embodies this, celebrating the beauty of the imperfect, impermanent and incomplete.
This beautiful picture is of a tiny piece of Leith Theatre, a building with an interesting past and an exciting future ahead. I’m looking forward to seeing how they evolve over the next few years. I hope they keep these imperfections.
- (Image : Below, Left)As architectural conservators, we learn how to work with nature. We can pray for sunny weather but that won’t stop the rain. Natural materials like lime, stone, timber, and slate respond to the environment around them and survive for hundreds of years with the proper care. They also weather, changing through the years and seasons.
If you take a stroll through Edinburgh, you’ll come across a lot of sandstone buildings. Although the streets might look very uniform, if you look a little closer, you’ll see that the stone has weathered in different ways. Different patterns emerge, revealing the beautiful inconsistency of natural materials. These buildings on Heriot Row were completed in 1805.
Credit: Alamy via Countrylife
- (Image : Above, Centre) In the last year I have experienced nature in a new way. I’ve noticed the seasons change whilst on my solitary, government approved walk more than I ever did when working in an offices or universities. I walked down Union Canal in the snow, saw the leaves begin to grow, and a few weeks ago I saw the two swans (who made a strategic appearance on the 14th February) with six wee goslings. It’s humbling to watch nature carry on, while the rest of the world stops.
Image – “One year on: the four seasons of lockdown on Kelvin Way with no traffic.” by @KelmanKevin https://twitter.com/kelmankevin/status/1378255343504003072
- (Image : Above, Right) More than ever, we are aware of how much we need outdoor, natural space. Our cities tend to be over developed, prioritising shopping, working, and entertaining over green spaces. But when the shops shut, what is left? Where can we go?
Nottingham’s Broadmarsh centre redevelopment has been an ongoing conversation for decades. It’s located centrally in Nottingham, at the gateway from the train station and with clear views of the castle. When works towards a new shopping and entertainment centre came to a sudden stop, the Wildlife Trust proposed an ambitious vision to retain the space as a 100% natural greenspace. The return on an investment like that extends way beyond money. What a fantastic welcome to the city that would be.
Image by Influence https://www.influence.co.uk/news/wildlife-trust-launches-ambitious-vision-for-a-post-covid-wildscape-to-replace-bleak-broadmarsh-shopping-centre/
- (Image : Below, Left)Many of our vibrant cities are still overpowered by traffic, which we know is making the air quality worryingly poor. Redirecting traffic and improving public transport make the city centre a more hospitable place. Can we reorder the street hierarchy, placing nature and people above vehicles?
Here’s an image of Redcliffe Way in Bristol, produced by LDA Design. It shows the dual carriageway removed and replaced with a shared surface and increased greenery. Although there are currently no plans to realise the design, similar plans have been successful throughout the world.
Image by LDA Design https://www.lda-design.co.uk/kindling/news/a-bristol-street-reimagined/
- (Image : Above, Centre)Humans evolve just as nature does. When we move onto the next great revolution relics are left behind. Part of our job is to manage and care for the future of these assets.
Castlefield viaduct has stood unused and unchanged since 1969, but now plans to turn them into a sky park are underway. How many of our abandoned spaces could be turned into free-to-access places to celebrate nature in the city?
Image by Twelve Architects & Masterplanners twelvearchitects.com/project/castlefield-viaduct
- (Image : Above, Right) I once read a definition for sublime as ‘nature’s dominance over humanity’. I think this refers to architecture too.
I believe the future of successful architecture comes from submission to and cooperation with nature. This includes loving the stains of time we see on structures, leaving space for nature to take hold, and allowing the building to adapt to the changing seasons.
This is one of my favourite posters. It was made by architect Bernard Tschumi as part of a series Advertisements for Architecture (1976-7). It’s a reminder that all buildings decay, the question is how we manage it.
Head over to our Instagram – @weareglm – and follow along as David Gibbon takes over Week 15!