Saturday, December 31, 2005

Archi-Maps Update

Well I have been working hard over the Christmas period on my Google Earth archi-map of Manchester and added a dozen or so mouth watering buildings of differing styles and time periods. To add more interest, I have also placed the buildings into timelines so that you can see what buildings were produced in a particular century. You can even do a chronological fly through of the buildings of Manchester if that takes your fancy.

Some of the buildings I have added include the Albert Memorial in Albert Square, The Mathematics Building on Oxford Road, and Aquatics Centre, Oxford Road.

Coming soon is a medieval archi-map of timber framed buildings of the famous wool town of Lavenham Suffolk UK.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Below the bridge at Cheesden

No, there wasn't a troll but there is a spirit of kinds - the spirit of mans endeavours and of civilisation lost. Not a soul in site - look into the distance and you can see 2k's worth of camera equipment left out in the open - just how isolated this location is.

Remember 'Planet of the Apes' - at the very end (or was it at the beginning?) when the man turns up at the beach and sees the Statue of Liberty derelict on the floor? Just what I felt like during the soggy hour I spent yesterday, beneath the crumbling C19th pack horse bridge.

See the carved and patterned coping? Testament to what our forbears thought of their utilitarian and industrial environment. Kudos to them eh?

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Cheesden again

Hiked it over to the Cheesden Valley today amidst the icy blasts and snow. The valley is time frozen, in a state of serene industrial archaeology ranging from the remains of an C18th waterpowered mill (with wheel shaft still intact) to the latest state of the art C19th mill further down the valley. All in all we have the full gamut of industrial development of the cotton industry represented in this 2 mile valley. Here we still have the tangled stone, slate and iron remains of over 14 mills. Here we have the remains of a Dickensian industrial landscape with lodges, tailraces, and weirs.

I spent a pleasurable hour photographing sculpted and patterned stone parapets, now half submerged beneath the pack horse bridge in the stream. Further down the valley near the remains of the Deeply Vale Mill there lies a classical stone pediment, once proudly situated over the door of 'the old house' .

The valley has survived because it is so difficult to get to. It is being allowed to decay over time and there is no central interest at present looking after it.

My aim is to record as much of the remaining features as possible before they disappear. I am going to put them onto a Google Earth map just like my Manchester one.

I particularly wanted to photograph one mill today called Washwheel Mill situated half way down the valley and built around the mid C19th. The chimney remains as well as the scouring becks and corroded pipe (photo above) linking the lodge with the mill.

I took a landscape photo of part of the valley today and I have put it onto my photoblog site. You can view it here.


Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Behind the photo....

I visited the Albert Cuyp Market on my first day in Amsterdam. I always research my photo shoots of larger cities and I find that the best way to get into a city is to visit a local market and pick up the hustle and bustle of the locality. The Albert Cuyp Market is one of the best known day markets in Amsterdam and when I visited in 2005, it was celebrating its centenery.

Another reason to plan markets into you itinery (especially when your time is limited) is just in case the light isnt perfect - with a market you can always get interesting shots no matter what the light is like. This was the case when I visited the Cuyp - light was not good. On some shots I ended up post processing the images and leaving some colour in the celebratory awnings for better effect.

You can see all of my shots of the Cuyp market here

You can learn more about the Cuyp market here

Friday, December 23, 2005

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas to everybody - signing off for a few days...

Thursday, December 22, 2005

ARC Hull

One of my ongoing projects is photographing the architecture and environments of cities and towns along the M62 corridor. One of my favourite places is Hull, Humberside UK. Extremely underrated, Hull has a remarkable stock of historic buildings and brand spanking new contemporary structures. It is a city with a vision for the future, in much the same vein as Manchester was 10 years ago.

This is primarily the reason why I have just joined
ARC (part of the national network of architecture centres) and I think I'll leave it up to them to explain what they are all about (I wish all places had a philosophy so enlightening)

"arc welcome

inspire inform support learn engage empower

The role of good architecture and design in regeneration, and the creation of sustainable communities throughout the Humber Region.

arc - a new project for Hull and the Humber advocating design and architecture, raising aspirations, and increasing a sense of ownership of buildings and public spaces.Design is everything from regional planning, urban design, through architecture to interiors. It is not just about buildings, but also high quality places to live, learn, work and play.

The big picture and the detail. We achieve this through environmentally sensitive advocacy and guidance, work in schools, community learning, and public engagement. We are part of the national network of architecture centres, and a first for Hull. Your street is as relevant to arc as large public places like Queen's Gardens, the A63 corridor, or Humber Estuary.While being a young organisation arc has already worked with several schools and community groups, helped organisations to select architects, and reviewed regionally important design projects. We are not prescriptive about design; through dialogue and debate rather than instruction we promote the importance of design, and its contribution to successful economic and cultural development, in Hull and Humber region."

You can view all of my images of Hull here

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Thanks to SPAB for saving my local

Got my shiny spanking new Cornerstone - magazine from the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and low and behold I find a pic of my local 'The Old Boars Head' in Middleton.

The photo is in the SPAB archive which dates back to 1877 and is still used to this day to help save our heritage. Apparently The Old Boars Head was threatened with demolition in 1914 with plans for a town hall. Uum well I bet that was a difficult decision;). On a more serious note - it does seem blindingly obvious today that the C16th timber framed Old Boars Head public house should be saved from demolition - but it does happen, and SPAB is at the forefront of such activity often working in the background to help save our cherished (and sometimes not so cherished) architectural heritage.

I'll have an extra pint for SPAB tonight.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Stanley Dock Warehouse Liverpool

Sold this pic recently for an educational book. Its a picture of Stanley Dock Warehouse, Liverpool UK. Built in 1852-4 this is one of the first dock warehouses to be designed for rail transport and the use of hydraulic power.

You can see all of my dock photos here

Monday, December 19, 2005

ARCHIPEDIA - D is for.....

DENTIL - Used primarily in classical architecture. Rectangular 'tooth like' blocks used in repetition on the cornice of Ionic, Corinthian and Composite Orders.

Photo is of Heaton Hall near Manchester built in 1772 by James Wyatt

Friday, December 16, 2005

Archi-Maps an introduction

For the past couple of months I have been working on providing an architectural map of Manchester via Google Earth. It is a time consuming (but enjoyable) exercise. Today I have completed the first phase of the map and put it on my website.

I will be adding more buildings as time goes on and there is an update feature available on my website. I will also be adding more city maps in the new year including Liverpool and Hull in the UK and Venice Italy.

The map utilizes the remarkable features of the Google Earth Satellite mapping system and highlights some of the key buildings of Manchester with a photograph, date, architect, and description. There are also links to other images of the building and directions for further information. What is remarkable is that all this information is available by clicking on placemark situated over the satellite image of the building itself.

Once you have downloaded the map, there are a number of things that you can do:-

  • You can view all buildings on the map
  • You can view selected buildings on the map
  • You can plan routes to and from the buildings
  • You can view buildings built within a certain century (I have provided themed time line folders)
  • You can at any time have a guided movie style tour of the buildings by clicking the play button in the places folder
You can get to my Archi- Map of Manchester here

If you like what you see, or have any suggestions then please leave a comment via this blog.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Behind the photo....

The Pantheon (Latin Quarter) in Paris is perhaps one of the most easily recognisable buildings in Paris other than the Arc de Triomphe and the ubiquitous Eiffel. It's a place that I just have to keep going back to because it has so much historical and spacial character. The spaces and buildings around tip their cap to the large domed behemoth, with a spacial hierarchy that channels views upwards and towards the structure whilst surrounding buildings respectfully keep their distance. To the east (I think) Rue Cardinal Lemoine hooks up via a beautiful but lightly formed square (I have the picture on my wall) with the Rue Mouffetard; which is a hub of activity, with the hustle and bustle of the market stretching for over a mile down the gentle gradient.
The Pantheon from the Jardin du Luxembourg
Back to the Place du Pantheon there is also a wonderful church in the north east corner. It is called St. Etienne du Mont and it has a curious welding of Gothic nave with a classical Baroque west front.
Saint Etienne du Mont
Now to the picture. Just opposite Saint Etienne du Mont there is a little English Pub called the Bombadier. On a beautiful day early in the Spring a couple of years ago my Dad and I had a costly couple of pints whilst watching the Rugby, and afterwards whilst standing on the grand steps of the Pantheon under the enormous Portico all that feng shui, architectural gusto and spacial heirarchy (and a couple of lagers) enthused my Dad to proclaim that 'This is the best day of my life'. Considering that Dad only says such things several times a year, it was a relatively rare event, and one that will make sure that I will be back amongst the curtilage of Pantheon, Le Mont, Lemoine, Mouffetard and Bombadier once again.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

My Dad met Abraham Lincoln!

I was told an unlikely story by my Dad last night about when he came face to face with President Abe Lincoln himself. Before you ask, he's not old enough to remember the American Civil War, but he is old enough to have uncovered a controversial statue of the very man himself in Rusholme near Manchester several years ago. Working for the Corporation then, he came across poor old Abe lying prostrate on the floor covered in sheeting. Dad took a peek and saw that renowned wily gaze. The statue must have been placed there after being located in Platt Fields. Later it was moved to what is now known as Lincoln Square in Manchester.

This particular statue is pretty controversial. It was intended to be placed in
Parliament Square London, but apparently the Presidents son Barnard thought it simply awful. It was known as the stomach ache statue because of the positioning of the hands. Eventually the statue by Saint Gaudens was used in London and subsequently my dad got the pleasure to meet Mr George Gray Barnard's creation, stomache ache and all.

Monday, December 12, 2005

ARCHIPEDIA - C is for.....

CLOSE STUDDING - Term used in Timber framed buildings for the close positioning of upright timbers (or studs) within the structural frame of the house. Completely unnecessary in functional terms, close studding was a sign of prosperity and wealth. Possibly originated in East Anglia.

View more images of close studding

Sunday, December 11, 2005

URBS Update

Well my little old Blog is in last place at the moment - but I'm not disheartened this little upstart is up against some of the biggest architecture blogs in architectureblogdom; and I have had some wonderful responses from people who are new to my blog via the URBS. This Blog, this work of mine, this outlet, this linear projection of my thoughts --- sorry, too much rhetoric --- is about (but not limited to)

  • Architecture throughout the ages (with a UK and European feel)
  • Architectural History
  • Architectural Details
  • Architectural Materials
  • Historic Building Conservation
  • Architectural Photography
  • Mapping Manchester

So if you fit within that strange niche of architecture and you feel that Chico shouldn't have gone last week - then spare a thought for fotofacade blog and vote for us at the URBS portal here.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Maine Road

There's no such thing as a typical Saturday, but one theme throughout is the myriad of ways I have invented to try and listen to or watch my local football team in spite of being at a wedding or a prize-giving or an art gallery or in Chinatown for lunch. Micro sized radio's help, what they don't do is remind you that your'e sitting in the reference section of a library when you whoop with joy as your team scores the winning goal in the 90th minute - something every man's got to do by 30. Talking about doing things by your 30 - I almost started a chant too, when my team was playing Lincoln and Lincoln had been given a dodgy free kick I shouted "The referee's from Luton" over and over again until somebody tapped me on my shoulder and reminded me that we were playing Lincoln (or was it the other way around?). I definitely did start a Mexican wave at my football teams former stadium Maine Road which was demolished recently.

A couple of years ago I took a short trip around the ground with camera in hand. I even got gripped by a local security guard for daring to try and photograph the remains of my hallowed ground. What is it about stadia that pulls the heart strings?

Anyway heres a lightbox of images of Man City's former football ground Maine Road

Ive also put a marker on my Mapping Manchester wayfaring map - if you click the satellite button you will actually see that Maine Road is still there..... old photo? or ( like the proverbial Elvis sitings), might it still be there.....?

And we're losing 1-0......

Friday, December 09, 2005

Mapping Manchester Update

Two more buildings added to my architectural map of manchester at

Central Library Manchester, UK

Central Library Manchester is a wonderfully assured piece of early C20th classicism. Influenced by the Pantheon it was built by Vincent Harris (1876-1971) between 1930 -34. As a part of his research for the project Harris visited the USA to see the latest library designs. The image above is taken from the inside of the grand five bay portico of Corinthian Columns. It is a visual anchor point to one of the main southern entrances into Manchester and also provides a classical antithesis to the Gothic Town Hall behind. Interestingly, Harris also designed the original furniture inside. I wonder if this extends to the beautiful Adolf Loosesque squeaky arch armed chairs in the reference library?

I have just added Centre Library to my Mapping Manchester Wayfarer Map

More images by Andy Marshall of Central Library Manchester

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Hopper Heads

Georgian Lead Hopper dated 1735 initials hg on St Saviourgate York

Continuing the theme from my post about Door Knobs, whereby the 'Devil' can often be found in the detail, and in many cases (such as hopper heads, water outlets etc), in architectural detail which is regarded as 'mundane'. There are thousands of Hopper Heads with marks, decorations, patterns, initials, dates and shapes.I've seen them in every country I have visited. They are often missed because they are placed high on a building or they survive because they are situated at the back of a building which is subject to more infrequent change than the front. My favourite's, I have to admit, are the Georgian classical style made out of lead. They are wonderful examples of craftmanship. In those days it was a matter of civic pride to adorn every feature of a building with the craftsmans touch. Building's were regarded as purveyors of messages such as 'this is an important place', or 'this is a place of worship', or 'this is my factory and I, the owner am a benevolant person'. Look at the details as a whole and see what the building is trying to say. They talk to me all the time - but don't tell anybody;)

Lead Hopper detail at Former Bank by Edgar Wood at Middleton Greater Manchester UK

Unique C18th lead Hopper beautifully shaped into the classical form of a column with fluting Beverley East Riding Yorkshire

View all Andy Marshall's Hopper Head images

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Not the best of photo's, but it was whilst I was up on the Manchester Wheel that I made a promise to myself to try and produce some kind of map of urban Manchester's (UK) key architectural buildings. I had no idea at the time how this would formulate - but recently a wonderful website called has been established. This has enabled me to start producing the kind of map that I originally envisaged which gives access to images of each building and also the option to view the google satellite map. I have only just started but here it is:

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Monday, December 05, 2005

ARCHIPEDIA - B is for....

Baluster: a column, often in classical style, supporting the hand rail to stairs or, in the case of the photograph above, to the eaves of Andreas Palladios Basilica in the Piazza Vicenza Italy. A series of such columns is known as a Balustrade

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Chimney Parade 2

Bold terracotta chimney pot with Dennis Ruabon imprinted
Chimney pots in Blackburn Lancashire UK
Chimney Pots in Conwy, Wales, Great Britain
Chimney detail from a Georgian building on St Marys Street Stamford
Detail from a Victorian Building adjacent to York Railway Station
Derelict mill in the picturesque surroundings of Cheesden Valley Rochdale Lancashire UK

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Fire Marks

Above is a picture I took of a plaque more commonly known as a fire mark in Shrewsbury, Shropshire UK. Fire marks were used for insurance purposes predominantly throughout the C18th and C19th. After the fire of London, it was thought that there was a need for compensation after a fire. Insurance companies introduced a scheme whereby participating members added a fire mark to a prominant place on their building. Over a period of three hundred years hundreds of thousands of marks were issued and surprisingly many survive today, especially in historic towns. When next visiting a town in the UK take a look at the facade or gable and you might just see a surviving fire mark.

Fire mark found in Beverley Yorkshire UK

Fire mark found in Hull Humberside UK

Fire marks are another example of the myriad of ways that we adorn our buildings and provide a rich tapestry of information about our predecessors.

Roy Addis has a remarkable website full of images of fire marks and a brief introduction to the history of the fire mark

You can view all of my images of fire marks here

Friday, December 02, 2005

Material Values - Terracotta

The use of Terracotta (meaning 'fired earth') in buildings of the late C19th was commonplace (especially in the UK). The ubiquitous sill trim or commemoration plaque now faded and cracked still forms the background to many urban streetscapes. As a material in the late C19th it was used and marvelled at in much the same way as the glass curtain wall is today (and the glass curtain wall will have its day also). Terracotta does have an undeserved reputation for poor longevity - but (oh) when it is used in the right way it takes on an artistic quality verging on the sublime.

One of my favourite 2nd hand bookstore finds is a book entitled Terra Cotta of the Italian Renaissance (1928 The Terra Cotta Association). It is toe top full of beautiful black and white plates of C16th terracotta details in Galatrona, Bologna, Pavia, Monza, Milano and Venezia. In its intro it says ' There is much to be gained from a study of this inspirational early Italian work a more sympathetic appreciation of the true spirit of the clay medium. It is in this frank, sincere handling of material that we may recognise much of their compelling interest and dignity.'

Ubiquity? Listen to this list of artists who worked in the medium - Donatello, Bruneleschi, Alberti, Bramante, Michael Angelo and Luca della Robbia!

Longevity? Most of the C15th buildings survive to this day.

The top image is of a frieze taken from a C19th former technical school in a small town in the north of England and it has qualities which are just as profound as the work of Donatello. It is of its period and holds the cultural messages and observances of its period - it tells us so much of its originators and is articulated all the better in the terracotta medium. The building is shortly to be demolished but the frieze is to be saved (if possible) and used to commemmorate the towns past and help maintain some of its former identity. You can view the full frieze at my photo blog site here.

For a remarkable resource on Terracotta (with a US slant) try Friends of Terra Cotta

View all of my images with a terracotta theme

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Tadao Ando

You either love him or hate him for his abstract structures or his use of concrete but Tadao Ando has a large international following and a significant list of architectural commissions. My interest developed when he designed the a Japanese style Pavilion and Screen for Manchester UK's Piccadilly Gardens. It is designed to screen the Gardens from the tramway and as a structure I'm not sure it works. It seems to be in the words of Frank Lloyd Wright (correct me if I'm wrong) on the place rather than of the place. In other words it looks out of place.

Now, don't get me wrong this doesn't mean that I don't like the screen. In fact, through trying to photograph the screen I have learnt a lot about the man behind it and his love of light, shadow and mass including the interplay of such a solid object with its surroundings especially the contrast with softer more permeable elements such as trees and foliage as I hope the photos I took below show.

You can view all of my photo's of Tadao Ando's Screen here

This is the book that I first read about Ando

More about Tadao Ando (a brief biography)

Tadao Ando at Great Buildings Online

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


This is one of my favourite photos taken at Victoria Bridge Manchester UK. Once again it has a pictorial feel. Taken with a 300mm zoom lens it and cropped tightly to emphasise the woman (I kept her just off thirds) and a sense of encroachment of the urban environment.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Cheesden Where?

Industry, cotton manufacture, steam engines, chimneys and tail races are all terms which tend to make the toes curl of the average architecture junkie. I have been brought up in an environment surrounded by such elements and it has been one of my principle concerns since childhood to make sense of my grim industrial and urban locale.

Most of my life I have been pained by the reality of my surroundings, but through trying to understand the history of industrialisation of my area I have at least found some acceptance and in other ways realised that the Bill Brandtesque streetscapes are a part of my identity. Through accepting some of the uglier aspects of my urban surroundings I have gained a sense of peace which has enabled me to see value in the accrington brick, the proud foundation plaques and the cast iron gutters dotted throughout my existence.

Strangely, the photography of my locale has evolved from factual to the pictorial (a little out of fashion today). The image above is taken in Heywood Lancashire.

Industrial canal Manchester UK
As a direct result of this journey I have found in my own backyard an industrial site which is (in my opinion) worthy of World Heritage Status. The Cheesden Valley, Heywood, Lancashire. What is remarkable about this valley is that along its three mile length from top to bottom we have the remains of several mills which represent the full chronology of the industrial revolution from waterpower to steam and finally electricity.
I have set up a mini site and am updating it as I manage to get around and take more photo's. (I am currently engaged in transferring these pages over to my new fotofacade web site).

Cheesden Lumb Lower Mill - late C18th water powered

I have spent the last few years travelling throughout Europe photographing the urban streetscapes both historic and contemporary trying to quell my anxious zeitgeist and all along the answers were in my own back yard.

All images are copyright Andy Marshall

You can view around 200 of my 'industrial' images at Alamy

URBS - Urban Blogging Awards

Thanks to Gridskipper for including my blog in the 2005 Urban blogging awards nomination for world's best urban architecture blog. I'm humbled at being associated with some of the best architecture blogs in the business including A Daily Dose of Architecture and BLDBLG.

You can vote for me by sending an email to asking for fotofacade blog to be nominated

Monday, November 28, 2005

Lime's Fine

The above image shows a photo I took of Lime plaster at Kilpeck Herefordshire.

Around about September 2001 I was taking my post graduate diploma in Building Conservation at the
College of Estate Management in Reading, UK. One of the most memorable occasions was the Lime Day at Sherborne Estate (National Trust) Gloucestershire. It was hosted by Rory Young an expert in the use of lime renders and decorative plaster. One of his projects was the new Millenium Ceiling at Wilbury Park in Wiltshire commissioned by Miranda, Countess of Iveagh.

Here are a few pictures of the day spent getting our hands dirty

It was at this event that I learn't about the remarkable qualities of
Lime mortar. In most applications it is far superior to modern cement mortar (but admittedly is a little more complex to mix and apply). With regards to historic building refurbishment and renovation it is almost always that Lime Mortar is recommended for use where required. There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, older buildings are often built without wall cavities, and for centuries have relied upon the porous qualities of stone, brick and lime render to help aid evaporation of dampness. Concrete mortars added later to historic buildings have had the effect of forming a waterproof shield which traps moisture within the walls and causes rising damp and mould growth. Lime mortar therefore, has a wicking effect. It also is softer than modern cement mortars and is able to move with time. Lime mortars used in the construction of Durham Cathedral enabled the slow evolutionary settlement of the massive piers over a period of 20 years until the structure found its own level. Lime mortar is also self leaching. Over time with the effects of rainwater travelling down its surface it is self - healing. Over time Lime mortars take on a beautiful natural ochre colour.

Now Lime Mortars are even being discussed for use in Newbuild.
Ian Pritchett takes up the argument in this article

Further Links:

Interesting Research by the University of Bristol

A Conservation Engineers View on the use of Lime Mortar

ARCHIPEDIA - A is for....

Detail used largely in classical architecture (especially Greek Classical) to provide a termination or end cap to a ridge. Normally decorated with an Anthemion or Palmette relief

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Art Nouveau

I must admit I have a love hate relationship with Art Nouveau architecture and design. I am a great fan of its antecedent the Arts and Crafts movement and I think that the stylistic exuberance might be a little too much for me at times. Nevertheless, I made a pilgramage to Rue La Fontaine, Paris, France this year to see some of the more restrained structures. The image above is a window detail by Hector Guimard. Hector Who? Guimard was also the person behind the famous art nouveau Metro stations dotted around Paris.....

Art Nouveau flourished between 1890 and 1910 and originated in Belgium. One key architect in Belgium was Victor Horta who designed the Hotel Van Eetvelde (1895) in Brussels.

It was heavily influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement in England and also by the development of wrought iron technology which was influenced by Eugene Viollet-le-Duc

More images of Art Nouveau by Andy Marshall


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