Kościół Opatrzności Bożej w Kaliszu

Kalisz 2-36

The Church of Divine Providence in Kalisz, Poland.
Just around the corner from the Church of Divine Mercy is this concrete monster. Not quite as bonkers as its neighbour, but just as striking. All exposed concrete, and in many places, the reinforcing steel is showing through too.
As with its mate though, the money seems to have been spent on the interior…

As I’ve said before, I’m not religious, I just find this car-crash architecture fascinating. There’s nothing subtle about either of these buildings, but they are photogenic.

Hove Town Hall

Hove Town HallAnother brutalist treat from my trip south this week. After the unrelenting strangeness of Richard Seifert’s hotel on the Brighton seafront, just a mile away I found Hove’s town hall, after seeing a timely tweet about it (thanks Gemma, Iain and TBH).

The 20th Century Society describe it like this: ‘It is a bold-looking building, with a massive overhanging roof canopy and ribbed natural aggregate panels, somewhat lightened by stepped glass curtain walling. The varied proportions of the glazing panels and their thin transoms and mullions appear to reduce the bulk of the building’ and ‘the bold design, with a massive overhanging roof canopy and ribbed natural aggregate panels, is modulated by the vertical framed glass panels that make up the majority of the facade. Sited well back from the pavement line to create a piazza, this startling and unusual building is tucked away on a leafy residential street in the centre of the town’.

Plans are afoot to replace that giant canopy and the glass of the front elevation and to clad the current, period interior, but not if the Society can prevent it. While we can be consoled that it isn’t being demolished like so many of its contemporaries, it seems a short sighted thing to do to tinker with a design that is so much ‘of its time’. The building is unique and something that the authority and locals should be proud of, especially when compared to many civic buildings. Mr Meads gave an hour’s worth of reasons why such building should be treasured, which, providing you’re not from the BBC or otherwise interested in copyright infringement, you can still see here.

Hove Town Hall 5The building also houses the Hove police headquarters, although they don’t seem too concerned about law-breaking on their doorstep.

Hove Town Hall 4The town hall has a concrete car park directly opposite with matching, ribbed or striated cladding.

Hove Town Hall 3

Hove Town Hall 2

Hove Town Hall 1Not everyone seemed as interested in the building as me…

Brutalist Brighton – the Holiday Inn

Opened on 16 September 1967 on the site of the old Bedford Hotel, this was the first major new hotel development in Brighton for over half a century. Designed by one of the stars of British brutalism, Richard Seifert, the 17-storey block includes a 127-room hotel and the private flats of Bedford Towers. At 168 feet tall, it can’t be missed amongst the 19th century hotels along the sea-front.

Holiday Inn 3

Holiday Inn 2

Seifert gets his own chapter in John Grindrod’s book Concretopia, that begins:

Arguably the biggest impact on the British skyline in the whole postwar period was made by a controversial, art-loving, Swiss-born architect who hid behind his round-framed spectacles – a tirelessly mercurial figure who even changed his name and nationality along the way […] a curious figure, born Reubin Seifert, who fearlessly took our skyline and inserted into it some of our most notable, ambitious and controversial buildings.

Holiday Inn 1

This last picture is a 75 second exposure, shot from a promenade shelter through the torrential rain.

The building looks in decent condition and was receiving further maintenance with new windows being fitted into the already patched-up balconies. Because of its position on the prom (and between the town centre and the sea) it remains a bold statement of the mid-century optimism as Britain was re-building, and while it isn’t quite as striking as Seifert’s NLA Tower in Croydon, it’s easy to see the lineage.

Modernism in Oxford

I had the good fortune to visit Oxford yesterday. The trip was to visit the various exhibitions of the Oxford Photography Festival which in the event was a little hot and cold (mention should be made of the wonderful Pentti Sammallahti work which was magnificently printed (although smaller than expected), some of Richard Davies’s Russian churches and Clarita Lulic’s hilarious cruise ship portraits). As we jogged between venues, we stumbled across several of Oxford’s modernist structures that are dotted amongst the dreaming spires. Continue reading

Wrocław Brutalism – Plac Grunwaldski

The previous couple of posts have featured brutalist buildings from Berlin and photos that I took on our way to Poland last month. Once we arrived, I’m pleased to say that the concrete didn’t let up and I spent some time visiting some lovely Soviet era creations including the 6 towers and associated commercial blocks that make up the Plac Grunwaldski in Wrocław. The estate was build between 1970 and ’73 and designed by Jadwiga Grabowska-Hawrylak. They are in a terrible state now, but still make for a real landmark on the Wroclaw skyline.

Once again I used my medium-format Bronica SQ-A camera and a selection of Fujifilm Velvia 100 and Kodak 400Tx (that I processed and scanned at home).

Plac Grunwaldski, Wroclaw, Poland Bronica SQ-A, Kodak 400Tx

Plac Grunwaldski, Wroclaw, Poland
Bronica SQ-A, Kodak 400Tx

Plac Grunwaldski, Wroclaw, Poland Bronica SQ-A, Kodak 400Tx

Plac Grunwaldski, Wroclaw, Poland
Bronica SQ-A, Kodak 400Tx

Plac Grunwaldski, Wroclaw, Poland Bronica SQ-A, Kodak 400Tx

Plac Grunwaldski, Wroclaw, Poland
Bronica SQ-A, Kodak 400Tx

Plac Grunwaldski, Wroclaw, Poland Bronica SQ-A, Kodak 400Tx

Plac Grunwaldski, Wroclaw, Poland
Bronica SQ-A, Kodak 400Tx

Plac Grunwaldski, Wroclaw, Poland Bronica SQ-A, Fujifilm Velvia 100

Plac Grunwaldski, Wroclaw, Poland
Bronica SQ-A, Fujifilm Velvia 100

Plac Grunwaldski, Wroclaw, Poland Bronica SQ-A, Fujifilm Velvia 100

Plac Grunwaldski, Wroclaw, Poland
Bronica SQ-A, Fujifilm Velvia 100

Plac Grunwaldski, Wroclaw, Poland Bronica SQ-A, Fujifilm Velvia 100

Plac Grunwaldski, Wroclaw, Poland
Bronica SQ-A, Fujifilm Velvia 100

 

 

More Berlin Brutalism – Institut für Hygiene und Umweltmedizin

If the Institut für Hygiene und Umweltmedizin was anywhere else in the world but opposite the Forschungseinrichtungen für experimentelle Medizin on Krahmerstraße in Steglitz, Berlin, it would dominate its surroundings.

As it is, after looking at the Forschungseinrichtungen, the towering board-formed concrete angles, the raw concrete ramp to the front door and the narrow supporting stilts are the brutalist equivalent of putting cucumber slices on your eyes.

I haven’t had chance to learn more about the construction of this and its neighbour, but expect that as with most things in Berlin, there is an interesting story to it. When I do, I’ll update tjhe post, but for now, feast your eyes…

Institut für Hygiene und Umweltmedizin Bronica, Kodak TX400

Institut für Hygiene und Umweltmedizin Bronica, Kodak TX400

Institut für Hygiene und Umweltmedizin Bronica, Fujifilm Velvia 100

Institut für Hygiene und Umweltmedizin Bronica, Fujifilm Velvia 100

Institut für Hygiene und Umweltmedizin Bronica, Fujifilm Velvia 100

Institut für Hygiene und Umweltmedizin Bronica, Fujifilm Velvia 100

Institut für Hygiene und Umweltmedizin Bronica, Fujifilm Velvia 100

Institut für Hygiene und Umweltmedizin Bronica, Fujifilm Velvia 100

Institut für Hygiene und Umweltmedizin Bronica, Fujifilm Velvia 100

Institut für Hygiene und Umweltmedizin Bronica, Fujifilm Velvia 100

Institut für Hygiene und Umweltmedizin Bronica, Kodak TX400 (and strange light leak)

Institut für Hygiene und Umweltmedizin Bronica, Kodak TX400 (and strange light leak)

As with the Forschungseinrichtungen, I shot a couple of rolls through the Bronica. I processed the black and white stuff myself and the Velvia went to Peak Imaging to be processed and scanned.