Fascinated by Buildings…

Ever since I was a young girl I have been fascinated by buildings, mainly thanks to my Dad – a builder born and bred.

Back in the day when Health and Safety was less ‘belts and braces’ I used to get the odd treat of going to see where my Dad was working and was allowed on site to see what had been done and the building plans of what was going to be created.

For work experience I had the opportunity to go with my uncle, who made bespoke plaster mouldings, to an English Heritage site where plaster moulding repairs were to be done.  He needed to do a site inspection to assess the work, which consisted of making drawings and measurements of the damaged sections in preparation to recreating the pattern and sizing to match in new for old exactly.

Once this was done we went back to his yard and I saw an egg and dart cornice section being put in the previously constructed mould and set.

It amazed me how intricate some of the ceilings and walls were and the amount of careful craftsmanship that had gone into creating such works of art architecturally.

My next lot of work experience, whilst at school, was in an architect’s office.  Here I learnt to make a plan drawing to scale using a rule, pencil and ink.  Very interesting but what put me off from becoming an architect was (at that time) they would spend a lot of their time bent over a table drawing.  Obviously now with CAD etc. an architects life is very different.

As an adult I have always opted for properties that were in need of updating, which usually means ripping out the bathroom and kitchen, and reinstall.  But it’s funny, even now I get that same buzz I had as I a child walking into an empty house, with that smell of bare wooden floorboards and old plaster, I don’t think I will ever tire of.

This week I had the opportunity to visit the Prudential Holborn Bars building designed by Alfred Waterhouse, built 1879.  Well what can I say but the architecture was amazing and again I got that warm feeling of excitement and was in awe at the intricacy of some of the buildings features which were constructed over a 100 years ago without the aid of modern technology.

So here’s where I leave you with a final thought….

I ask you to think about the buildings and the space you occupy, don’t take it all for granted.  Amazing things have been done with buildings in the UK over the last couple of centuries and there is no doubt that the house of tomorrow will reflect a new way of living in the cyber generation.  However, the older buildings also have a place and they remind us how great our builders and architects were back in the day and we should celebrate this heritage and not just get rid of it because it is perceived not to be ‘modern’.


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