Tuesday, 19 April 2016

St John's

My previous post features the private chapel of St John The Baptist in Matlock Bath. The chapel is now cared for by the charity Friends of Friendless Churches. Read more about the chapel on their website: http://www.friendsoffriendlesschurches.org.uk/CMSMS/index.php?page=matlock-bath

The 3D Sketchup model has now been completed. Here are some scenes from the model:

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

The chapel of St John The Baptist, Matlock Bath

Tucked away behind "Artist's Corner" in Matlock Bath is the delightful little chapel of St. John The Baptist.

The architect was Sir Edward Guy Dawber who lived in the vicinity. This was his only ecclesiastical work. He is well known for working in the Arts and Crafts style although most of his designs were for large residential projects.
Dawber was also a watercolour artist as well as being the first President of The Council For The Preservation Of Rural England and for a time in the mid 1920s, President of RIBA.

The chapel was built in 1897 for Mrs Louisa Sophia Harris whose home was "The Rocks", a large Victorian villa just a short walk away.
Being a private Anglo Catholic chapel, many of it's features were to Mrs Harris's specifications including a memorial "In most loving memory of Vida, L. S. H. Till the last and brightest Easter day be born"; Vida being her pet dog.
Mrs Harris was a wealthy woman who employed only the best of craftsmen in equipping and decorating the chapel.

Mrs Harris died in 1908 leaving £10,000 for the upkeep of the building. Eventually falling into disuse and being declared redundant, the chapel was taken over in 2002 by the charity Friends of Friendless Churches. Over the years there had been some deterioration and neglect but it has now been carefully restored. The charity was founded in 1957 and now cares for over 40 redundant churches around the country. The building is only occasionally open to the public.

As I have no accurate dimensions or drawings, I have relied upon photographs for the information needed to build a Sketchup model. I shall add updates as the model progresses.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Shanghai's Yuyuan Bazaar

Shanghai's Yu Gardens were laid out in the 16th Century. Outside of their high walls is the Yuyuan bazaar, a confusing array of narrow alleys and streets packed with tourist shops selling jewellery, souvenirs, clothing, snacks and fast food. In the centre is a large pool in which sits the Huxinting Teahouse, an 18th C building linked to the banks by zig zag bridges which protect it from evil spirits. The pool is populated by overfed but ever hungry carp and turtles and watched over by ornamental ducks.

 You might also come across the City God Temple. Built in the Ming Dynasty era, this was once a vast complex dedicated to Shanghai's patron god. The restored temple is quite small. The bazaar is packed with visitors, from all parts of China and looks convincingly traditional. If approached from Fangbang Lu, the bazaar may be reached through a Chinese arch,shops are adorned with lanterns; fretwork balconies overhand the streets and eaves sweep upwards. Look closely and you will soon realise that it is all brand new for this shopping complex largely dates from the 1990's.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Temple of the City God

Standing on a hilltop overlooking the Chinese city of Hangzhou is the Chenhuang Pavillion. This seven storey tower is over 40 metres high and is one of the city's great landmarks and is dedicated to the City God. The architectural style is that of the Yuan and Ming dynasties.

On the ground floor is an impressive 30 metre long diorama depicting life in Hangzhou in the days of the Southern Song Dynasty. The model includes over 1000 buildings and the hundreds of figures are arranged in sometimes amusing scenes.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Thimble Hall - smallest detached house in the World

In the Derbyshire village of Alstonefield, near Bakewell is the tiny Thimble Hall.

Des. Res. 2 rooms, no kitchen, no bathroom, no running water, suitable for large family or conversion to retail premises. Viewing highly recommended. When Thimble Hall was auctioned in 1999 with a guide price of £5000, bids came in from across the World and the price rose to an amazing £39,500.

This tiny 18th century house is acknowledged by the Guiness Book of records as the smallest detached house in the World. The two rooms each measure just 8ft by 7ft. The upper floor is reached by a fixed ladder and the house has a stone hearth and exposed beams. At one time this was home to a family of eight. The last residents in the early 1930's were brother and sister Charlie and Jinnie Frisky. Since then it has served as a butchers, antique shop and cobblers.

Thimble Hall is currently owned by the Frederick family, ice cream manufacturers of Chesterfield. who intend using it as a craft gallery. The family are descendants of their Italian business founder who in 1875 walked the 1000 miles from Italy to Derbyshire.


This is Istanbul's skyscraper city. A newly developed district on the north side linked to the city centre by metro. Here dual carriageway roads are lined with the head offices of banking and telecoms businesses. The tallest building stands at 54 storeys.  A shopping centre serves the suburban streets and apartment blocks. Nearby are leafy avenues of large villas, many protected by security guards and fierce dogs.
This work by Turkish sculptor Ilhan Koman is titled "Akdeniz" (White Sea or Mediterranean) and stands in front of the Yapi Credi Insurance Company building.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Building Houses.

I have often been required to build housing models. Occasionally these take the form of a one-off  architecct designed house although more commonly a model of a development is required. Here are a few examples.

An arts and crafts styled house to be built in the Fylde area of Lancashire. The development included a "Coach House" to the rear which comprised two further homes.

Congleton Cattle Market closed as business moved to the larger markets elsewhere.  Seddon's redevelopment of the site provided homes in a number of different styles arranged around a green. The model formed a centrepiece in the show home.

The owner of this house in Cheshire required a model to view a proposed extension. The roof is cut away to reveal the arrangement of the staircase and landings which wrap around a chimney breast.

A housing development on redundant railway land in North Liverpool. This model at 1:500 scale shows a small section of the scheme.

A small housing development in Bollington which attracted some local opposition as the site had for many years been open land.  The model at 1:200 scale was for public consultation and to support the planning application.

A small overgrown site in the centre of a Lancashire village was the location for this development of small homes. Parking was provided to the rear of the houses which were arranged around a new village pond.

A development of retirement homes proposed for a "brownfield" site in Blackpool 

Also in Blackpool, a development of apartments. Parking is provided in an underground garage.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Macclesfield Town Centre

My model at 1:500 scale was one of four competition entries for a proposed town centre redevelopment. The scheme designed by BDP envisaged a new pedestrian shopping thoroughfare, cinema and department store.  A public exhibition presented the alternative schemes and Macclesfield Council approved a proposal which unfortunately was delayed by the recession.  The anchor store subsequently withdrew and plans have now been revised. A much reduced proposal will see development take place on land that is currently used for car parking and will perhaps be leisure rather than retail based.

The model illustrated below, featured existing buildings in grey and new developments in white.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Chief Office

This building on Castle Street in Macclesfield was originally the Town's Head Post Office.  To the rear was the sorting office.  The counter was eventually moved to a new building opposite and the sorting office to a new site away from the town centre. The vacant building then became the chief office of the Cheshire Building Society following an extensive refurbishment. The Cheshire had been based in the town since its formation in  1870 and through a number of mergers, grew to be the 11th largest building society in the country.  By 2008 the society was posting heavy trading losses and its future was uncertain. A merger was agreed with the Nationwide and from 2010 the Macclesfield office was closed.
This substantial building remains vacant. One recent proposal was to incorporate it into the adjacent shopping centre providing new or extended retail units.

The model at 1:200 scale was used for publicity purposes at shows and exhibitions. This was a well detailed model with a glazed roof area which gave a view into the atrium.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Boundary Lane

This model was constructed to aid a planning application for student accommodation in Hulme. An existing building was to be converted and a slender tower of 15 storeys would be built at the rear. A wide context area was modelled to show a comparison with existing tall buildings in the area. The model includes such buildings as the Manchester dental school, University Library and  Trinity High School.

Aerial view of the area modelled.
The new tower ready for installation on the model