Rowley Way / London / June 2011

Yesterday (Saturday, if you’re reading this on a Sunday), I went to the Alexandra and Ainsworth Estate in Camden, London with Paula Knee, Simon Kennedy and Aleks Krotoski. The estate, frequently called the Rowley Way estate, is about as good as it gets for me. Loads of concrete, utopian ideals, trees and plants, a community-minded spirit and designed by borough architects (Neave Brown of Camden Council’s Architects Department).

I appreciate I’m viewing this estate, and many others of the same era, with slightly rose-tinted glasses and without the knowledge gained from living there, so whilst photographing estates I always try to chat to some of the residents. Ron had been there for 25yrs and was kind enough to show me his home. Although he had some misgiving about the design and, in particular the way the services worked, he loves living there and praised the community spirit. He was proud of his home and to say he lived on the estate.

It was a lovely day, ended with a nice chat in a nearby cafe with my fellow photographers and a wander along the canal to Kings Cross in the sunshine, before joining a couple of mates for a few drinks back in Camden. Lovely stuff. Click "Read More" for more images…

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Taylor & Green / Norfolk & Suffolk / May 2011

For the upcoming Festival of Architecture, Norwich and Norfolk (FANNXI) I spent a few days in the countryside photographing the post-war and mid-century housing by architects Tayler & Green.

Working almost exclusively in one area of Norfolk and Suffolk, the work of T&G is often criminally overlooked (largely because they didn’t do a great deal of work in London). The housing they built in the 50’s and 60’s is extremely regionally distinctive, in that nothing else in the area looks like it, and it bucked the popular European Modernism trend at the time. It was a pleasure to photograph the work and the short talk that architect Matt Wood gave for residents of one of the estates at Davy Place.

As well as forming part of my ongoing personal project, documenting this era of housing all over the country (including work on Span Developments and Rowley Way), these images will be used throughout the festival and by Professor Alan Powers for a lecture he will be giving on the architects.

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Southbank Bandstand / London / May 2011

Early on in the summer, which seems like a while ago now, I photographed a small project initiated by RIBA London where a group of Part 1 and 2 architecture students were commissioned to design (and build) a temporary bandstand in front of Royal Festival Hall on the Southbank, London.

It’s fairly rare in architecture for students in their early twenties to get the chance to see a design process all the way from inception to production information, construction and completion, so this was a great opportunity for those involved to get this experience. When completed, the bandstand proved incredibly popular with the public, with events hosted on and around it for the whole summer. These images, and the accompanying video (after clicking "Read More"), were commissioned by the students involved.

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Small Batch Coffee / Brighton / March 2011

I’ve always wanted to get into drinking coffee, if not just to give me something I can rely on in the morning to give me a kick start. Unfortunately I just don’t like it, as much as I try. I don’t really even drink tea so my mornings take a while to get going because all I have is Shreddies, cold showers and orange juice to get me started. Anyways, those of my friends who do enjoy coffee tell me that Brighton based, Small Batch Coffee are great. They recently opened their new Coffee Shop on Wilbury Avenue in Hove and they got Chalk Architecture in to design the new space in a former flooring showroom (if memory serves me correctly?).

A lot of the building work was done by friends of Small Batch and a large proportion of the materials are seconds from other larger projects Chalk have worked on. You see this quite a lot on small projects like this with mixed results and it’s a great credit to Chalk and Small Batch that it looks so good here. The finishing and detailing is great, helped by some good design choices and some very high quality materials (the wood paneling is beautiful). The golden gnome stools are a cracking touch to.

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The Shard / London / March 2011

Yesterday I spent the day on a shoot in foggy London. Generally the fog burns off by the afternoon, but not yesterday, when it remained the frustrate me for the whole day. Afterward, I met up with good mate Mr. Thomas Howlett for a drink in Borough Market and when we left the pub we were chatting about the Shard, which becomes more and more unavoidable with every day. Anyways, lit up and in the fog, it’s started to look very much like a set piece from Blade Runner.

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