Monday, 30 December 2013

I don't know about you . . .

but I'm thinking of putting on the wet weather gear, saddling up the bike, and visiting my local shops. They have after all staffed up and opened all over this chill December.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

A building that needs tender loving care

Beautiful modernist W1 building on the corner of New Cavendish Street and Hanson Street. I wonder who designed it. Ground floor metal shutters make it look a bit neglected: it would be wonderful if more shopkeepers and small business owners could fit metal shutters inside their windows - they work just as well, and don't have to be weatherproof, just secure.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Seeing the Light in Oxford Street

Oxford Street was doing fabulous business on Friday night. It was a pleasure to see it. It is after all London’s major commercial artery, with end-to-end shops and some beautiful buildings. 

What made me take particular notice was not only how beautiful it looked with the holiday lights on, but because, on a busy Friday night, it 'flowed'. There was no traffic-related problem in sight.

What happened? Let me do a quick back-of-the-envelope analysis.

There was clarity. Buses, taxis, bikes and pedestrians (very important shoppers) were all happily paying attention to one another, all engaged in an altruistic street ballet of 'you go first, I’m happy to give way'. Everyone and everything was moving.

There was a distinct absence of private cars (they were all on the north/south streets) until we got to the Marble Arch end. It seemed to make a huge difference.

PS: And if you want to really see how traffic is flowing, sit up front on the upper deck of a bus.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Essence of Tree

I walked past these leaves
on Tuesday, struck by the intensity
of the scent of this dying bough
blown down from a London Plane,
below, on the edge of Green Park.

Monday, 12 August 2013

The Park on Sunday. I am photographing my 'beacon', the BT Tower in the distance, when small child leading small dog runs into shot.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Repurposing the Space at Somerset House

I find this rather charming - and Tom's Deli the purveyor of much deliciousness and great espresso - not sure if Lord Nelson would have approved.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

The Park Treescape

The trees of Regent's Park, each leaf the equivalent of one of our lung cells.

Monday, 5 August 2013

A Cargo Bike on Pause

This is how a park landscape scheme matures: years after it was laid out, the landscape designer’s vision comes to fruition in Regent’s Park.

For more on cycling in London, visit

Thursday, 25 July 2013

An Unusual Angle on Waterloo Bridge

One of the massive abutments supporting Waterloo Bridge from the north with the staircase through it and the approach road (Lancaster Place) above.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Somerset House: The beautiful terrace rooms that face the river are showing Hawksmoor Churches - Nicholas Hawksmoor: Methodical Imaginings.
Curation Mohsen Mostafavi
Architectural photographs Hélène Binet
Interior of Terrace Room © Sally Crawford 2013

A review of the Summer Showcase exhibition Collecting Gauguin: Samuel Courtauld in the 1920s will appear in The Crawford Arts Review.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Monday, 8 July 2013

New Bus For London in St Martin's Place

Very nice looking bus - and the AirCon was working yesterday when I tried it. My route was not quite so cool and scenic as in the above picture of the tree-lined section of road opposite the National Portrait Gallery. No, it was Victoria Street, an irritable amalgam of rushed people going nowhere very fast until we got north of Trafalgar Square. My experience of the bus was that the stairs are extremely solid and pleasurable to negotiate and the upper deck feels - how can I put it - it has the all potential to transport that a train or plane has since you are above it all for a moment. On the lower deck, I sat next to a Chinese lawyer on her way to the Supreme Court and visibly but very politely appalled by the lack of speed on Victoria Street. On the upper deck, I sat next to a visitor from New Zealand who mentioned Wuppertal a lot (apparently they have a transport system where the rapid transit cars are suspended on a monorail - a Sky Tram - 8 m (26.25 ft) above the streets and whizz around unencumbered by other traffic getting in their way. (Must be cheaper to install than tramways I imagine but just as efficient perhaps.) I noted the stopped vehicles at each set of traffic lights and the average count included: 4-5 buses, old and new; 10-11 vans of various sizes; 8-9 taxis, often empty; 5-6 private cars; 2 or 3 brave cyclists. The people making the best speed were the walkers. Time: 2.30 pm, Tuesday 09 July.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Last night on my way to New Globe Walk, St Paul's: quiet, lots of people walking, lots of people shopping, birdsong, misty rain and roses.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

A New View of Reality After Seeing the Vermeer and Music: The Art of Love and Leisure Exhibition At the National Gallery Sainsbury Wing

The Sainsbury Wing where a new exhibition combines the art of Johannes Vermeer and his Dutch contemporaries with musical instruments of the time, songbooks and music from the Academy of Ancient Music. The Crawford Arts Review will carry an appraisal at a later date.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Just 'Space' But So Well Defined . . .

This is the courtyard of the White Cube Gallery in Bermondsey I showed earlier. Everything in the architect's toolbox has been used to define the space well: the setts, the vertical steel fencing, the white-blocking of the building opposite. Even straggly elements like the cable snaking its way horizontally across the side elevation of the white building seem to integrate themselves into the scheme. Hats off I say to Casper Mueller Kneer

Monday, 17 June 2013

Crafty Art in Bermondsey Street

. . . on the way to the White Cube Gallery, someone has fashioned a statement piece for a junk shop window display.

Friday, 14 June 2013

An Early English Building That Prefigures Catalan Modernism

© English Heritage
Was it built by a Spanish monk? Waverley Abbey was the foundation abbey of the Cistercian Order in England in 1148. They are a Roman Catholic Order of enclosed monks and nuns (Trappists). Austere as their order is, they must have delighted in the sinuous naturalistic beauty their builders gave them. The Abbey lies 2 miles SE of Farnham in Surrey.