Showing posts with label TV. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TV. Show all posts

Saturday, 12 September 2009

On the Telly

Image: Union Street, Aberdeen from ajs43705 on flickr

Two Three new series by architecture critics have recently started on BBC Two, BBC Four & Channel 4 with Tom Dychoff using examples across the UK to explore various issues of conservation and heritage in Saving Briatin's Past - so far he has visited the city of Bath, the Park Hill estate in Sheffield (mentioned here in reference to another TV programme earlier in the year) and country houses. In the next episode he goes to Covent Garden market.

Saving Britain's Past is available on iPlayer until mid-October - watch it here

Jonathan Meades, meanwhile, is a writer and broadcaster who doesn't seem to mind that he'll have most of his audience reaching for the dictionary at least once every two minutes. His new series Off-Kilter, a three-part tour around Scotland, starts off with Meades praising Aberdeen's "brand new" 300-year old granite buildings. The camerawork and music are an elegant complement to his laconic style.

Jonathan Meades: Off-Kilter will be available on iPlayer until 30th Sept - watch it here

And Kevin McCloud's Grand Tour continues on Channel 4, visiting Paris, Florence, Rome to trace the influence on UK architecture.

Available on 4oD

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

'Public Places' - Best Product stores by SITE

Image via ounodesign

Public Places is a film from the early 1980s about the stores designed for now-defunct American retailers Best Products Co. by SITE (Sculpture in the Environment). The old footage is great, and some of the responses from the public show the often polarising effect of modern architectural ideas. Andrew Lewis, president of Best at the time, discusses this effect:
"If someone takes the time to write me a letter telling me that he doesn't like our building then that someone has done something very unusual in the course of his day - I mean, he's thought about architecture, he's thought about form and function and what our expectations are about commercial buildings, and I take that as our contribution to the community. If it were an easy sales gimmick a whole bunch of people would be doing it - you know, there's a lot of risk in it and there are a lot of less risky ways of promoting sales." - Andrew Lewis, President, Best Products Co.

Part one below:

Parts two, three and four.

Magellan's Log: Bye-bye Best Products - An architecture Fairy Tale
Metropolis Mag: Best Thing Going
ounodesign: Still-unsurpassed box store architecture - SITE
Website: SITE Architecture and Design

Monday, 18 May 2009

"Constructive Conservation"

Park Hill Estate, Sheffield - image source

English Heritage is an excellent 4-part BBC series following the work of English Heritage in preserving four major heritage sites in England: the Jacobean mansion Apethorpe Hall; the Park Hill Estate housing scheme, Sheffield, dating from 1961; the 16th Century garden at Kenilworth Castle; and King's Cross railway station in London.

The show captures fairly well the pressures faced on all sides: English Heritage have to balance improvement of the sites in their charge with the retention of the original features and character, architects and conservation engineers have to work within fairly strict conservation boundaries while allowing their own creativity and conceptions of each project to flourish, and of course all the projects now face the daunting challenge of the global recession.

And of course, any plans to modernise existing buildings will run into controversy - writing in the Guardian, Owen Hatherly is not sure English Heritage have gotten it right with their work on Park Hill:

"This astonishing structure is a battered remnant of a very different country, one that briefly turned housing for working people into futuristic monuments rather than shamefaced hutches. The ideologies of regeneration and heritage, when applied to the very different ethics of new brutalism, can only destroy the thing they claim to love."

The four episodes of English Heritage are available on the BBC's iPlayer until Friday 22nd May. Well worth a look: click here.

There is also a profile of each project on the English Heritage site: click here.)

BBC iPlayer: English Heritage (4 episodes)
English Heritage: English Heritage at Work
English Heritage: Park Hill - Constructive Conservation in Practice
The Guardian: Park Hill "in danger of losing what makes it special" (Owen Hatherly, 2nd May 2009)

Monday, 11 May 2009

Channel 4's Big Art in Belfast

Waterworks, Belfast (image source)

Channel 4's Big Art project aims to get the public involved in commissioning, creation and decision-making in public art. The series started on Sunday last (May 10th), and continues on the next three Sundays through May.

One of the sites chosen for a major new artwork was the Waterworks park in North Belfast. The site was nominated by Katrina Newell of New Lodge Arts, who has been working on the project with local community worker Claire Kelly.

"North Belfast has seen the worst effects of sectarian attacks and violence. You can either sit back and let that happen or you can try to take a step towards getting children to work together." - Katrina Newell

Channel 4: Big Art Project
Channel 4: Big Art Project - Latest news for the North Belfast site
Belfast Telegraph: Waterworks art gets C4 showing

Friday, 10 April 2009

Hit the North

Still from The North South Divide, BBC Four, April 2009

In a society where the service sector makes up the vast majority of employment and GDP, what does it mean to be from a post-industrial city? What can regeneration offer a place without taking away what is unique?

These questions are at the core of John Harris's The North-South Divide, which aired on BBC Four last night. The documentary looks at the ever-present gap - from house prices to education standards to life expectancy - between England's North and South. Harris visits towns like Hull, ravaged by the decline of their traditional industries and seeking new roads to prosperity, and towns like Cambourne, established purely to house commuting service sector and "knowledge economy" workers.

The travelogue provides telling glimpses of some typical English landscapes; from quaint villages to empty ports and collapsing warehouses, to the ubiquitous retail parks on the edges of towns.

The North-South Divide is available on the BBC iPlayer until Thursday 16th April.