ruminations about architecture and design

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

kelvin flats in sheffield

I had planned on posting a picture of and commenting on Frank Gehry's new concert hall in Miami, but decided that that would be too upbeat. So, onto Sheffield, England and a picture of the lovely Kelvin Flats. This photo was taken by a fellow named Peter Jones, who published an online book about his experience there.
Rather than pollute my blog with facts or research I will merely speak my mind. This is modernism gone mad--a twisted model of urban living run amok on some drafting board and then rendered in concrete and glass and asbestos. And yet, there is a Sheffield still there, a discrete, British town with typical streetfront shops and houses with tiny rooms.
This is still considered a good idea. Some of the detailing has changed, but the philosophy of the homogenized, large scale approach informs both aesthetic and economic arguments in contemporary development.

1 comment:

  1. who else is hearing the Monty Python "Architect" sketch in their mind looking at that photo?
    Architect: "and then the residents will be transported along the ramp, past the rotating knives--"
    Client: "I'm sorry, did you say knives?"
    A: "Rotating knives, yes, and then the blood--"
    C: "I'm sorry, are you planning on murdering our clients?"
    A: "Was that not your intention? You see, I normally design slaughterhouses."
    C: "And this one is a beauty. But you see, we did want a block of flats and not an abbatoir."
    A: "Ah, I had not correctly divined your attitude toward your clients. Mind you, you won't go wrong with this. None of your shoddy workmanship, blood flying everywhere jobs."
    C: "Good morning!"

    Or something like that.

    Looks John Cleese packed up his designs and took them to the good folks at Sheffield, who had a different attitude toward their clients.