Pomo re-constructed

I’ve been fascinated by the constructed image for a long time. It started with stitcher panoramas and pop up book style collages. There is something that stirs my creativity, it somehow feels more artistic, more additive. And it won’t go away. And I don’t know what to do with it!

I’ve been doing some architectural work recently. A recent trip to London gave me an excuse to find a mini project, so I wanted to focus on PoMo architecture and the constructed image.

There is something curious about PoMo architecture. A lot of architects seem to hate it. It’s so flibberty gibbet with no real sense or pattern behind it, and it obscures the structure of a building with whimsy and fashion. I quite like it. It certainly suits London very well. With its mix of styles and cultures, the city is perfect for some dashes of the fantastical.

Nowhere is more whimsical that 1 Poultry. Dream like. Meringue. It screams fuck you money, its layered and swirling design a direct rejection of all that has gone before, particularly surrounded as it is by old bank buildings. And inside it is dark and colourful, the opposite of the outer pale skin. It looks like how I felt living in London.

The Circle seems to gather more respect, it’s apparent visual simplicity combined of a well thought out colour palette, and shapes that constantly lead my eye to the blue sky. The blue tiles like a polarised bright summer day, contrasting with the earthy browns of the streets and balconies leading in. As I walk round the circle I am constantly moving from light to shade and back again. Even Jacob the drayhorse in the centre was flown in. Being in the Circle is a bit like ascending in to your own heaven.

Even the government wasn’t immune from the allure of PoMo, with the SIS building and Richmond House wandering through whimsy in a Sombre way. Richmond House brought something different, and gave me a new insight to PoMo. It was a different sort of dream, but a dream none the less. The classic slitted fenestration and almost classical design ground floor quickly give way to a machine like exterior, and perhaps a machine like interior as some aspect of government goes about its business. Gun like turrets, armoured doors, it’s a tank like machine. 

Something that unites a lot of the design is change. Whilst the colour palette is often two tone, there can be variations in this, such as the endlessly swirling stone of 1 Poultry. And the linear spacing of structural and design elements on Richmond House is constantly changing –  the space between turrets, the height of turrets, positioning of balconies, window and grille widths – nothing seems equal or equidistant. It’s very dynamic and in some ways quite pleasing in its organised chaos, but probably kept the architect awake for many long nights ensuring everything is unique. No lazy “every column will be 2 feet in diameter, 10 feet apart and 50feet high”!

So in response to this I have constructed my own images that combine elements of PoMo with other elements from the crazy mix of London. There are also a couple of constructed views from Edinburgh where I explored perspective and how it can be changed. Like much of the work I am making at the moment, there is more pleasure for me in the making than in the viewing. This is very different from the classic landscapes that I used to make, but I’m enjoying seeing and making and who knows where the journey will lead.

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