Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Reading Moderne Bauformen (1906) - for Edgar Wood (architect) research

House For An Art Lover, Glasgow

More on Rennie Mackintosh here.....

The House for an Art Lover was built in the 1990's based upon a 1901 competition entry by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The subsequent design was showcased in several European magazines and heavily influenced the European avante-garde movement initiating buildings such as Palais Stoclet in Belgium

Friday, November 28, 2008

Manchester Town Hall Miniplanet

Coming in to land...

More Gothic Stuff here.....


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Beverley Minster Sextych

Beverley Minster Sextych, originally uploaded by fotofacade.

More here.....

Friday, November 14, 2008

Paris Exposition: Salle des Fetes, Paris, France, 1900

Every now and again as a photographer I come across a set of images which raise the hairs on the back of my neck. One such set has been made available via the flickr Commons project, which is a growing hub for the world’s public photo collections.

Click here for my article on this remarkable archive of images

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Gallery Door

The Gallery Door, originally uploaded by fotofacade.

Read the full article here

I'm surprised there is no shake on this pic - too many pigeons in the access tower to the Gallery at the very photogenic Masonic Monolith of Saint Edmunds. Check out the Saint Edmund's set for more or read the recently completed article :-)

Saint Edmund: Tower Staircase

Saint Edmund: Tower Staircase, originally uploaded by fotofacade.



Monday, November 10, 2008

Pro Patria

Pro Patria, originally uploaded by fotofacade.

See more of this remarkable memorial here...

Compare and Contrast

Compare and Contrast, originally uploaded by fotofacade.


Friday, November 07, 2008

Pattern and Decoration in Beverley Minster

Now showing at the NEW BLOG

Thursday, October 30, 2008

New Blog

New Blog, originally uploaded by fotofacade.

I'm very proud (and a little embarassed in that English sort of way) to announce my new blog - which is humbly dedicated to all things architectural and photographical. Hope you like it! :-)
Check it out here

Monday, October 27, 2008

Masonic Intrigue (Part 2)

Saint Edmund's Falinge, originally uploaded by fotofacade.

Masonic Intrigue (Part 2) has now been posted on the new fotofacade blog

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I have now moved my blog to my fotofacade site. The new site, I believe, gives more access to the posts and topics which are of interest to the architectural and photographical community.

Here is the link - let me know what you think :-)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Masonic Intrigue (Part 1)

Built upon the proportions of Solomon's Temple?

Falinge is a small district of Rochdale, Lancashire which lies just outside the town centre. It has recently acquired the dubious mantle of ‘Benefits Capital of the UK’, which brought swiftly upon the concrete laden streets, the vagaries of national press attention. Just 50 metres away from this hotbed of scrutiny was a photographer with an entirely different subject framed within his lens.

The exterior geometry only hints at the symbolic wonders within

Andy Marshall explains: “ I am a photographer with a background in historic architecture and its conservation, and every now and again I get a call to help record a building which is under threat. On this occasion the building was the church of Saint Edmund in Falinge.”

Unconventional tracery at the Royd's Chapel

Andy is getting particularly used to photographing churches which are under threat, but this church overwhelmed him with the sheer quality, individuality and distinctiveness of its interior.

More symbols in the form of vine scroll, acorn and oak leaf motif's

“I remember first meeting the key holder there and discussing the history of the building as we entered the vestry. When we walked into the chancel I soon realised that Saint Edmund wasn’t the average Victorian church. I remember having to hold my excitement until I had the pleasure of being all alone in this remarkable space”.

To be continued.....

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Glory of English Gothic Architecture

Saint Mary, Studley Royal by William Burges was built between 1871 and 1878. It is a masterpiece of High Victorian Gothic with an interior which is a visual delight.

The chancel and sanctuary are richly decorated with angelic hosts and golden lions.

This wonderful example of Anglo-Catholic architecture is often overshadowed by its neighbour Fountains Abbey but is well worth the 20 minute walk to see its interior delights

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Villa La Roche by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret

Built for a Swiss banker in 1925 to house his art collection, Villa La Roche, Paris provided Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret to extend the concept of 'total art'. Like the Arts and Crafts movement and the Secessionists of Vienna, Le Corbusier believed in the sythensis of the arts - the fusion of architecture with painting, interior design, sculpture and even film.

The Villa is an inconic example of Le Corbusier's revolutionary vision which made him the C2oth most important and influential architect. His style is without precedent in terms of historical references and looks remarkably fresh and contemporary to this day.

The villa was built as part of a scheme (only one other was built - Villa Jeanneret) on an overlooked site with tight boundaries.

The exterior imparts clean simple lines in geometric forms which adds to a plain simplicity which gives the building a grandeur rooted in classical architecture. Cleverly positioned expanses of glass show views into the building which elucidate the elasticity of the interior plan.

The interior is dynamic - it moves when you move. Light is just as important a part of the artistic synthesis as structure - the intangible combined with the tangible. Whilst walking along the ramp and observing the works of art on the wall, you are aware that the wall's that form a backdrop to the art are a work of art in themselves.

The villa is open to to the public and is administered by the Fondation Le Corbuiser

All photograph's copyright Andy Marshall.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Re-discovering Edgar Wood

Long Street Methodist Church, Middleton by 1899-1901 by Edgar Wood

I love architecture for more than just the visual delights it entails. I also love it for the journey that it takes me upon. One such journey is with the architecture of Edgar Wood (1860-1935). I have a strong relationship with his Long Street Methodist Church of 1899-1901. I am a 'Friend' and recently had an exhibition  put on permenant display within the school rooms which form the southern wing of a courtyard linking the spiritual with the secular.

Redcroft and Fencegate, Middleton 1895 by Edgar Wood

The journey I have had with this particular architect has been enlightening to say the least. Wood was born in Middleton where I was brought up from the age of 3. As a child I was aware of his buildings and went to the infant school at Durnford Street which he built in association with James Henry Sellers. Our local news agents was also built by Wood and stands opposite a house he built for himself at Redcroft. I sort of knew, but didn't know (if you know what I mean) that these buildings looked different than the others around the town.

Walking into Middleton as a teenager I would peer through the gates of the Methodist Church at the Nirvana within.  The gates reveal a courtyard which has a real magical sense of enclosure; a haven and oasis in the middle of urbanity.

Detail from gates to the courtyard at Long Street Methodist Church

Later, as an adult I became involved with Long Street Methodist church as a 'Friend' and as a part of the group helped develop strategies to try and raise the profile of a building which is under threat because of a dwindling congregation and increasing costs.

Cornerstone Magazine for the Friends of Long Street Methodist Church

I have to admit that it was always the exterior which fascinated me. It was some way expressive of an individual spirit - real cutting edge architecture.  

Long Street Methodist Church exterior detail

During September I had my passions re-ignited for all things Wood related and met some wonderful people during the Heritage Open Day who fuelled my interest in expanding my knowledge about the wider context of Wood's work. 

I am always fascinated by associations and sources of inspiration and in researching these for Wood I came across a list as long as my arm:


Mackmurdo, Mackintosh, Voysey, Olbrich, Wagner, Lutyens, Sellers, Parker and Unwin, Wilson, Whall, Townsend, Crane,  Wallis, Gilbert, FW Jackson, Madox Brown, Loos, Klimt, Muthesius, Roller, Bohm, Hoffman......

Detail from Saint Martin's Marple design by Henry Wilson (1895)


Palais Stoclet, Rochdale Town Hall, Saint Leonard's Middleton, Kartner Bar Vienna, Saint Martin's Marple, Sanatorium Perkersdorf......

Rochdale Town Hall


Ver Sacrum, Das Englische Haus, Academy Architecture, Moderne Bauformen, The Builders Journal, The Studio, The Hobby Horse .......

Detail from 'The Studio' 1898 showing some of Wood's furniture design

Movements and Organisations

The Secessionists, The Century Guild, Northern Art Workers Guild, Manchester Society of Architects, Birmingham Architectural Association......

Pattern detail by Kolo Moser co-founder of the Secessionists


Century Guild Liverpool 1887, Manchester Royal Jubilee Exhibition 1887, Northern Art Workers Guild Exhibitions, Arts and Crafts Exhibition

Poster for the Northern Artworkers Guild Exhibition

There are so many and the relationships are so complex I have started a mindmap combined with a timeline

Edgar Wood Mindmap - showing relationships and influences

A small part of my Edgar Wood Timeline

With my brain buzzing with movements, people, ideologies and events I felt the urge to go back and photograph the interior of the school buildings attached to the Church. I felt that these buildings (more than the church itself) were in some way more expressive of Wood's development towards his exemplary contribution towards the modern movement.

I am sure that this is well known amongst the archi academics - but I had to somehow learn this for myself.

What has resulted is a series of images which have in turn taught me something about the architecture of Edgar Wood. I chose to display the images in black and white (not my usual choice) because of the advantage of black and white imagery to enhance form and line and reduce the visual impact of contemporary clutter. I wanted to connect with the freshness of the form and space as it would have been seen in 1901.

What I now see in the school buildings at Long Street is the transition between the "decorative sweetness of the C19th and the dry objectivity of the C20th". Here we have a strong influence of Mackintosh (via the European filter of the secessionists?) pared down into an English sensibility. 

Wood is almost unhampered in allowing the plan to dictate the form. It is the roof structure which is holding back the complete transition into unrestrained modernism.

It is wonderful when you witness the moment of an individual's discovery; and I suppose that it is appropriate that within the walls of Wood's unique contribution to architecture that I have had the same revelation.


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