Tuesday, 1 December 2009

...and with the Master away in York

Each year the Company's Charitable Trust supports the TeamBuild competition run by the Institution of Civil Engineers with the support of both the Chartered Architects' and Constructors' Companies. This weekend event which started in the early 1990's continues to evolve but sticks to the original intent of encouraging teamwork within multi-disciplinary groups of building professionals. The Company gives a prize for the team offering the Best Construction Procurement Strategy.

The Company was represented this year by Ronnie Murning an Assistant on the Court and an experienced project manager. Ronnie's take on the event was:

'It was a memorable weekend. Team Build is an incredibly well rounded concept that has matured into an event that is in my opinion is very very special. It really does deserve the Company's unswerving support for the future.

I also ..... discussed broadening the naming of the WCofCA prize to procurement and construction. The organizers were supportive of the suggestion and will hopefully raise the matter for discussion at the next committee meeting.

The logic is that it would be then consistent in that the WCofConstructors gave the design prize and we gave the procurement and construction prize covering the whole spectrum of a project from inception to completion.

With the inclusion of the construction element, which is a discrete activity within the weekend's overall programme, it is complementary and in balance with the design prize. It also reinforces the teamwork connection as the Constructors give the design prize and the Architects give the procurement and construction prize.'

A visit to York

It has become something of a custom for the Master to dust off his passport for the annual pilgrimage to attend the Annual Dinner of the York Guild of Building. This year he was accompanied by the Upper and Junior Wardens and a selection of Past Masters and other Chartered Architects. The dinner was held in the splendid Merchant Adventurers' Hall on Thursday 19 November.  

As may be seen from the photograph above, the Master and Upper Warden were in good and colourful company.

Many members of the travelling party made a weekend of it by staying of for a bit of sightseeing and the Guild's Annual Service at All Saints Church to which the Master and Upper  Warden processed from the Guiild's base in Bedern Hall

In keeping with local tradition, festivities were concluded with a sherry, fruitcake and cheese reception back at the Hall

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Night falls on Temple Bar 17 September 2009

*** thanks to Michael Wilkey ***

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

The Master's reception at the church of St. Stephen Walbrook

The reception was held on Tuesday 10 November in the Lord Mayor’s parish church of St. Stephen Walbrook : the finest Wren neo-classical church in the City of London, it is considered by some to be his finest and a forerunner for the design of St. Paul's.

Those attending were welcomed by the Master and given a very interesting talk on the church and the theological reasons for its original and current existence by the venerable Peter Delaney MBE – the priest in charge.

The church was constructed from 1672 to 1680, built of stone and rubble, at a cost of £9,412 12 shillings and 8 pence. Wren received the sum of 20 guineas for his design (at something less than 0.25% he was probably lucky that the RIBA had not yet been formed and that he had other sources of income). The circular plaster dome sits on 12 columns (with Corinthian capitals) that are set in a square. The transition from square to dome has been cleverly done.

The Henry Moore Travertine Altar donated by Lord Palumbo, weighing 8 tons was delivered into the church in 1978 through a window during a refurbishment of the interior. Though it proved to be very controversial, its existence survived appeals to several ecclesiastical courts and continues to be both used and a subject of strong opinions to this day. The candlesticks are by Hans Coper and the altar kneelers by Patrick Heron. The Victorian pews were removed in 1888. The church has a seventeenth century triple-decker pulpit.

Chad Varah (1911-2007), then Rector of St. Stephen Walbrook formed the Samaritans from this church in 1953 and the telephone that was used for the “999 service for suicides” is displayed in the church today. Tel.No.MAN(sion House) 9000.

Among those who are buried in the church are Sir John Vanburgh, Robert De Courcey Laffan who with Baron Pierre de Courbetin formed the modern Olympic movement, and John Durham, a musician of the 15th century. The members of the Company and their guests enjoyed a glass of wine and canapés after the talk and Peter Delaney joined in the discussions about the style, furniture, art and architecture of the church.

St. Stephen Walbrook is the London Internet Church .
thanks to Michael Wilkey for this post


Friday, 6 November 2009

A visit to the Palace of Westminster - 'Mother of Parliaments'

Autumn leaves were already falling around Westminster Abbey when Company members gathered to meet their host, Lord Naseby, and their guide, Adam Watrobski, for a special visit to the Palace of Westminster, commonly called the Houses of Parliament.

When built it was the largest public building in the world, and was at the cutting edge of technological development. To demonstrate this, our guide took us into several places off the tourist track. Firstly we saw inside the roof space, where we could see the cast iron roof tiles and supports. The tiles are in dire need of attention - they all have to be taken away for sandblasting and treatment before replacement. Following the fire that destroyed the original palace, the Victorians were meticulous about avoiding the use of combustible materials in the structure.

Then we were taken some hundred steps up to the great lantern that originally served as the principal ventilating element in the complex. Stone on the outside and brick on the inside, it has within its base a restraining chain, rather like that in the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral. Gaunt and grimy on the inside it belies its elegant exterior. It sits on top of the grand central lobby that can often be seen on television.

Issues surrounding the conservation of worn out floor tiles, inaccessible statuary and decaying stonework were the subject of thorough coverage by our guide; only occasionally did we cross the paths of groups during the generalist tour of the premises.

The two hour visit had generated a need for sustenance (photo above of Master and Upper warden and Lady in clear need of such), and this was amply satisfied by a buffet supper at the National Liberal Club built in 1885-87 to the designs of Alfred Waterhouse in conjunction with the architects responsible for the adjoining gothic confection, Whitehall Court. Moving towards the ‘Lady Violet’ (Bonham-Carter) Room we passed by the portraits of the fin de siècle grandees of Liberal England set in the context of Waterhouse’s magnificent building.

Lord and Lady Naseby had seemingly little difficulty in overcoming any problem of party affiliation in these surroundings joining with us all in a jovial end to the day. Many thanks to him and to Adam Watrobski for opening our eyes to the architectural problems associated with keeping the fabric and architectural character of this marvel of Victorian architecture in good repair.

Monday, 2 November 2009

New plaque in New Street Square

The Lord Mayor of London - The Rt Hon Alderman Ian Luder was on parade in New Street Square on Tuesday 27 October to unveil the plaque which records the success of the development in winning the Company's New City Architecture Award for 2008.

The Master - Roger France - welcomed the Lord Mayor and other guests at the ceremony and the Lord Mayor thanked all those who had been involved in the development for bringing such a vast improvement to this particular corner of the ward he represents as an Alderman. He particularly welcomed a development which had delivered not just a considerable architectural statement but also a very successful public open space served by retail outlets and catering establishments. He had been pleased to learn that those using the square during the summer months had been able to enjoy the pleasure of seeing England reagin the Ashes on the giant television screen kindly put in place by the landlords. In his comments on the desirability of good public open spaces he noted that, among the entries for the Awards had been a number of open space schemes. One of these - the south Garden at St Paul's Cathedral, had been a strong contender for the award and that this had also been pushed by a strong set of entries from the Corporation's Street Scene team.

He welcomed the involvement of developers Land securities in the scheme and drew attention to their New Change development which, he was confident, would be a contender for the award in the near future.

Seen left are the Master, Architect Rab Bennetts, the Lord Mayor, Land securites Director Jonathan Evans and the Clerk.

Pictured below are Past Masters Deputy Michael Welbank and Ian Head and Rosemary Curry in conversation with the Lord Mayor and Swordbearer and Senior Programme Officer at the Mansion House,
Lt Col Richard Martin.

Happily, the weather remained fine for the occasion and all present were grateful to Land securities for their hospitality in the splendid Marketing Suite which overlooks the new square.

Applications are currently sought for entires for the 2009 New City Architecture Award. These will be welcomed from schemes completed free of town planning conditions in the year ending 30 September 2009. Judging will take place early in the new year.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

The Fate of London Bridge

The Master, Roger France, was grateful to the Rector of the Church of St Mary-at-Hill in the City for hosting not just an exhibition of all the entries submitted for the New Inhabited Bridge for London Ideas Competition but also for allowing us to stage a lecture - attended by over 100 people from the City and elsewhere given by Mark Latham pictured here with the Master - a doctoral student at the Centre of Urban Studies at the University of Leicester.

His sudies uncovered a tale of corruption, mismanagement, financial crisis and a property crash that resulted in the downfall of the Old London Bridge- the capital’s last ‘living bridge’ and provides a stark warning from history as London Mayor Boris Johnson ponders plans for a new ‘inhabited’ London Bridge – between Waterloo and Blackfriars – with luxury flats, shops and restaurants.

Mark discovered the houses built on the Old London Bridge to attract the gentry didn’t have the pulling power as expected. This combined with an economic slump and other factors to ensure that the grand vision of an inhabited bridge across the Thames was not sustainable.

“Old London Bridge is familiar to many of us in the form of the nursery rhyme “London Bridge is fallen down”, said Mr Latham, “but what is not generally known is why commerce and housing on the bridge did collapse.

“It was previously assumed by historians that the removal of the structures from the Bridge was part of a more general movement within the Corporation of London to “improve” the City via a series of infrastructure projects. However it is clear from my research that a far more complex and intriguing set of factors were at play.”

The removal of the houses and shops from Old London Bridge occurred in 1756. Mr Latham’s study has examined why.

He said: “I am fascinated by the question of why the houses were removed from the Bridge as in medieval times they were viewed as one of London’s great attractions, and the rental income from the houses on the Bridge, alongside others within the City of London, financed the maintenance of the structure.

“What I discovered was that the organisation that managed the bridge at that time was plagued with incompetent management and corruption. Both workmen and their managers charged inflated prices for materials and labour, the management left rents uncollected, and on several occasions the workmen were found to have deliberately and almost fatally damaged the Bridge in order to charge for its repair.

“Furthermore, managers often paid for improvements to their own houses out of the coffers of the Trust running the Bridge.”

Problems were compounded by a “highly risky, costly and poorly timed project” undertaken in the teeth of a credit crisis to construct a series of gentrified houses on the Bridge in the belief that such houses would prove attractive to middle class Londoners and increase the organisation’s rental income. However, the authorities had grossly miscalculated the demand for such properties and the houses attracted only a handful of tenants.

A London wide property crash ensued and soon the Trust was haemorrhaging income, the maintenance budget for the Bridge itself was being squeezed and so the vacant houses on the Bridge began to rapidly fall into a state of dangerous disrepair. London Bridge was indeed close to being “fallen down”, said Mr Latham.

“At this point reality dawned on the members of the Trust, and they faced up to the fact that it was no longer financially viable to maintain structures on the Bridge, and by the early 1755 they had begun to petition Parliament in a desperate plea for the money to fund their demolition.”

One further interesting insight from the study is that the removal of the houses and businesses from the Bridge marks a break from London’s medieval past.

Said Mr Latham: “The renovation of the Bridge in the mid eighteenth century was such an important event in the history of London as in many ways the demolition of these characterful medieval houses and the subsequent transformation of the Bridge into the type of bland utilitarian functional structure - very similar to the London Bridge we see today - represents a rupture with London’s medieval past and can be taken as symbolic of London’s emergent modernity.”

Newsletter Issue 18 - Sept 2009

September 09 Newsletter

Monday, 14 September 2009

...le roi est mort; Vive le roi....*

At today's Installation Court, the WCCA retiring Master, Ian Head, welcomed his successor, Master Roger France, who was installed with all due pomp.

The new madame la présidente of the RIBA, Ruth Reed, gave the keynote address at the luncheon that followed at Watermen's Hall, just south of Eastcheap at 16 St. Mary-at-Hill within the City of London.

p.s in reality, the retiring Master remains in good health.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Master’s Weekend Visit to Winchester.

A report from Junior Warden, Michael Wilkey:
The JW joined the weekend on the Saturday with a visit to the Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Noble Poverty.
Founded in 1132 by Henry de Blois to care for “thirteen men, feeble and so reduced in strength that they can scarcely support themselves....”, remember this was in the time of the civil war, “... and one hundred other poor persons, as deserving as can be found shall be received at the hour of dinner”. The “Brothers” wear black (de Blois foundation) and red (Beaufort Foundation) gowns.
This has become the oldest charitable institution in Britain. The part Norman Church is all that remains of the original Hospital, built of stone from France and Dorset and flint from the local pits.
On arrival we were given the traditional Wayfarer’s Dole, bread and ale.
A very interesting tour was given by architect Michael Cardon who used to be the Trust’s appointed architect for the premises. Many interesting features were noted during the tour and he outlined many of his investigations over the years on the condition of the buildings and the defects which had to be overcome, such as beetle, underground rivers and sewage channels, damp etc.
Herewith a selection of photos:

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Anyone for Tennis?

Thanks to the past connection of the founding father of his practice - Stanley Peach & Partners - the Master was able to organize an excellent visit to All England Lawn Tennis Club which was greatly enjoyed by all present.

The visit took the form of a visit to the admirable Wimbledon Museum followed by visits to Court 1 (whose design philosophy and technical detailing was explained by Richard Saxon whose practice - BDP - had been responsible for the arena); the Centre Court whose new roof was performing a lively minuet for our benefit; and the new show Court 3 which has been cunningly sunk into the ground to preserve the views of the local residents over the campus generally and, perversely, that of the members of the Club over the local residents!

The party then returned to the museum for wine and a buffet and a chance to talk to Honor Godfrey
(pictured below left) from the Museum's curatorial staff who had hosted the visit.

Pictured above right -
a selection of potential tennis groupies adding their presence to one of the exhibits


pictured left the Master of the Carpenters' Company - architect John Sennitt - in company with the Clerk, David Penning and Fred Perry.

Shortlisted Entries

Winning and Selected Schemes.2

London Bridge Competition - further entries

While the three winning entries for the Competition for the design of an Inhabited London Bridge have been posted previously, shown below are a further set of photiographs of other short listed schemes.

There is to be an exhibition of all the entries at St Mary-at-Hill Church, Loval Lane (off Eastcheap), London EC3 from Wednesday 16 September until Tuesday 22 September 2009.

The exhibition will be launched with a lecture to be given by Mark Latham of the University of Leicester Centre for Urban History at 6.30pm on Wednesday 16 September.

Tickets are available from the Clerk of the Company - David Cole-Adams for £10.00 or £5.00 for students. Bookings may be made by email to

Please note that tickets will only be sent on receipt of payment.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

A life in the day of a Master

Saturday 11 July - The day of of the London Bridge 800th Anniversary Fair organized in support of the Lord Mayor's Charity Appeal. Rain forecast and delivered.

The Company took a pitch on the bridge to display a selection of the entries (those listed in the previous post) in the New Inhabited Bridge Ideas Competition and the Master - suitably arrayed in gown, chain and hat - took part in both the presentation on the Prizes and in the more or less obligatory sheep drive.

pictured left: Fair organizer Paul Herbage, The Master and Pikeman Bodyguard and Right: The Lord Mayor, The Master with others in suitable medieval dress at the rear.

No one had advised the Master that he would be invited up onto the stage with the Lord Mayor or, worse still, to say a few words about the competition before handing the winners' cheques to the Lord Mayor. He handled the challenge with his customary aplomb.

Prior to this the Lord Mayor had walked the length of the Bridge looking at all the exhibits. Having looked at the displayed entries in the WCCA tent he expressed the view that it was a pity that the winning entry could not be put in place. It is not clear that the City Planning Officers would have agreed with the sentiment.

The prizes were presented to Laurie Chetwood and his team (on the left), Lawrence Friesen of The Ditch Workshop (to the right of the Master) and Ryszard Rychlicki (on the right). The winners are pictured below with the Master.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Grand Designs for London Bridge


An Ideas Competition run by the Company in conjunction with the RIBA Competitions Office - the report of the assessors is as follows:

In May this year a competition was launched to mark the 800th anniversary of the opening of the first London Bridge in 1209AD. Old London Bridge was an inhabited bridge and the competition set the challenge of asking today’s designers to imagine a new version of the inhabited bridge. The competition was organised by the RIBA Competitions Office on behalf of the Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects (WCCA) – A Livery Company of the City of London.

The competition received an exceptional response with a total of 73 entries received from architects and students of architecture from all over the world. Submissions came from the UK, Europe and as far afield as the USA, Argentina, China, Hong Kong and South Africa. Designs would be based on the present structure, which for the purpose of the competition is deemed to be strong enough to carry buildings on its deck. The Jury Panel met on Monday 6th July to assess the entries and make their selection. The submissions were anonymous, with entry allocated with a code by the RIBA.

The Jury Panel was as follows :
Richard Saxon CBE, Past Master, WCCA - competition chair Peter Murray, Architectural Journalist Colette O’Shea, Head of development management, Land Securities, Ian Head, Master, WCCA

Observers : Linda Roberts, RIBA Competitions Office, and David Cole-Adams, Clerk, WCCA

The judging panel studied each submission, in turn against the following criteria which had been identified in the competition brief :

- architectural quality
- inspiration and creativity
- functionality

- response to and understanding of brief

The judges looked at the submissions, as a group, in a number of rounds. As the judges became more familiar with the submissions they were able to compare and contrast between the entries and the different approaches competitors had taken.
The judges agreed that the standard of entries was high, they were pleased also to see such variety amongst the schemes. Clear presentation was greatly appreciated and helped them gain a quick understanding of the ideas proposed.

The competition had called for ‘ideas only’ and this therefore provided entrants with a real opportunity to think creatively. However the designs did need to be ground with realism, therefore a challenge to the judges was to select those schemes which seemed to strike the right balance between inspirational design and pragmatism.

Following careful deliberation the judges ultimately agreed upon three prize winning schemes, for the following reasons :

1st Prize, scheme 28 - Laurie Chetwood, Chetwoods London

A beautifully presented scheme, wildly imaginative yet very thoroughly considered, both in terms of its construction but also how it could sit within the wider context. The design refers to the surrounding buildings, using them as reference points and inspiration behind the form. It is also full of interesting ecological ideas and on all levels seems to work well. This was a unanimous first choice amongst the panel.

2nd Prize, scheme 6 - Lawrence Friesen (The Ditch Workshop), London

A well worked out scheme, the main idea being that of a second bridge built above, leaving the original bridge below for transport use. The scheme includes attractive floating gardens in the river. The judges thought this to be an interesting proposal that was very clearly presented.

3rd Prize, scheme 19 - Ryszard Rychlicki, 4th year student of Architecture & Town Planning at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan Poland

The basic concept is that of building an infrastructure into which modules can be inserted. The scheme makes good reference to the history of London Bridge by providing a cluster of buildings, and presenting a variety of facades.

The judges also identified the following schemes as interesting responses to the brief and worthy of being included in the London Bridge Festival exhibition.

Scheme 26 Jonathan Schwinge, Corinna Simon, Schwinge and Simon, London
An interesting scheme, the judges liked the idea of the raised transit.

Scheme 36 Peter Sebes, Marta Fritsch, Sheffield - This scheme was very strong in terms of its proposed uses.

Scheme 37
Abdel Saade/Keith Harbinson, WDR & RT Taggart, Belfast - Whilst the judges noted that the travellator might restrict vehicle access, this scheme had lots of merit and especially the judges liked the way it addressed the view corridor.

Scheme 42
Ruben Eduardo Gomes, Marcal Lica, Lisbon - A beautifully presented and well thought through scheme.

Scheme 51
Chris van Niekerk, The Fold Architecture, Cape Town - Whilst initially a difficult scheme to understand, the judges thought this was a really interesting scheme.

Scheme 67
Alessandro Columbano, London - The judges described this scheme as ‘extraordinary’.

Scheme 70
Rocker-Lange Architects, Hong Kong - A strong scheme which communicates very well.

The judges asked the RIBA to pass on their thanks and appreciation to all competitors and their contribution to what was an extremely interesting and enlightening assessment.

California Travels - the final chapter

Us Travel Diary FINAL CUT

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

The Livery Halls of the City - Vintner's Hall

On 7 July 2009, the company had a dinner in an unfamiliar hall, that of the Vintner's company. The hall was rebuilt in the 1670s after the 1666 Fire of London and more or less escaped damage in the Blitzkreig of the 1940s. The rooms still are those of the Restoration; of Charles II and Queen Anne. Oak carved and swagged panelling and fine ancient objects are on display everywhere.

A florid roccoco gilt candle sconce with candles fitted,
(although the room is illumnated by electric fittings).

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

WCCA Website - Blog interconnectivity

We have recently (23rd June 2009) updated the WCCA static web-site so that inter-connectivity between the two web presences of the Architects Livery Company is made easier.
Now a single click takes one from one location to the other in either direction.

On the blog site, in the right hand column:
click on directconnections  / the WCCA static web-site

On the web site, at the foot of the left hand of each page:
click on WCCA BLOG

For more details of how to participate in the blog, make comments, get notified about new posts etc.:
click on direct connections / how to use this blog
or on direct connections/ how to be notified of a new post

please try making a comment on any of the posts, even this one!

Friday, 19 June 2009

Rather a lot of Richard Neutra

26 April - A full day spent in the company of the excellent and knowledgeable architectural historian Barbara Lamprecht looking at the works of Richard 'how many square feet does it take to lead the good life' Neutra and his disciples and students. First up the two Kun Houses. No 1 was undergoing extensive restoration and No 2 (1949) had recently been through the process. A few liberties had been taken but the house was stunning. Jaki Howes was probably fortunate that the Clerk has managed to mislay the photo of her lying on the back doorstep trying to photograph the kitchen through the cat flap. At least that what we think she was doing!

The 1961 Taylor Residence was neat and tidy and we did our best to keep it that way by removing our shoes for the visit. Very much a collectors piece thoughtfully arranged with separate visitors' quarters.

At the 1955 Taylor House (below left) we finally encountered a house in which children were numbered among the residents.

A U shaped plan with one leg at a higher level than the others. The neighouring houses in most directions seemed to have been designed by Neutra who may well have been the joint developer.

(above right) the 1933 VDL Research House (named in honour of his patron - the Dutch philanthropist CH Van Der Leeuw who gave Neutra an intrest free loan to fund the project). Tis was considered a radical glass house with rooftop and balcony gardens. It was heavily remodelled in 1963 by Neutra Pere et Fils following a disasterous fire. Now in the care of an academic establishment it is interesting rather than uplifting needing, as it does, quite a lot of money spending on it. Might well be difficult to live in these days.

We were walked past the 1953 Perkins Residence which looked decided stylish and a house by RN disciples Harwell Hamilton Harris (1053) before finishing the day at the Wirick Residence by Buff Straub and Hensman for its current owners. The practice was responsible for two of the Case Study Houses (Nos 20 and 28) and this was a typical example of their post and beam construction technique. The gracious hostess kindly arranged refreshments for the group and had the original drawings on display for our inspection. A delightful and comfortable house and a pleasure to visit.

Monday, 15 June 2009

A Day in Pasadena

25 April

Our day should have started with a visit to Frank Lloyd Wright's 1923 Millard Residence - La Miniatura. Sadly the owner could not be there to let us in so the pleasures of the garden were explored and windows peered into. Blockwork not wearing well on a heavily wooded and damp site.
(Illustrated below left)

On then to the much lauded Gamble House - Greene and Greene's masterpiece. (above right) The visit was preceded by a walk round viewing several - possibly dozens - of their houses. If you like Swiss chalets,these are for you. Beautifully set in leafly suburb; clever use of clinker brick in garden and garage walls.

The Gamble House was, frankly, a bit much. Very precious - touching, photographing and possibly even breathing not permitted inside. The visible joinery was very clever and, in the best arts and crafts tradition, inventive to a fault. By the end of the tour one felt that the balance between art and craft had gone wrong. I am grateful to Mervyn Miller for putting things in perspective with a quote from Reyner Banham's 'Los Angeles':

'But tangled through this play of wide domestic spaces, uniting and differentiating them, is Greene's obsession with wooden construction and with visible craftsmanship. This obsession neatly footnotes Gebhard's observation of the way that European art movements (here, Arts and Crafts) lose their moral content and become forms of styling when they arrive on American soil. If the Gamble House is one of the ultimate gems of the Craftsman Movement in California it is also - in part - a paste jewel. Look into the roof spaces and you will find that the construction of what isn't seen , far from being carefully and loveingly wrought, tends to be the usual old US carpenter's crudwork, trued up with odds and ends of lumber and spiked together with cock-eyed six inch nails'

Says it all really. Not a house to live in.
Another Greene and Greene house is shown below right.

The afternoon visit to the Rose Bowl (above left) was a pleasure. Seating nearly 100,000 in an elegant bowl all of whom enjoy great views - pity anyone sitting other than in the covered boxes during a daytime game (if such happen) as there's no shade anywhere.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Another Day in LA

Friday 24 April was meant to the the day off but shopping opportunities, visits to the beach etc were turned down in favour of a walking tour led by a local guide round the downtown district. The Biltmore Hotel, the charming art deco Oviatt Building - all art glass and Lalique (below left), George Wyman's 1893 Bradbury building (below right) and the Fine Arts Building were among the stars.

On then to the Los Angeles County Museum distinguished by an installation comprising several hundred lamp posts and a new building by Renzo Piano (shown right) with another in the pipeline and an excellent Japanese Pavilion and collection.

The final stop of the day was at the seminal Rudolph Schindler House of 1921 -22. Viewed outside the context in which it was designed - for sharing between his own and another family- it was of interest but did not excite - slightly sad to have illusions shattered! It seems that the occupants were very short as was cash!