Monday, 24 May 2010

Surfacing briefly

I feel i should post on the blog, just to say i'm here! My time and energy has been directed elsewhere in the last 8 months as you know. It has taken a long time to reach a stage where i get some 'me' time, but Poppy has started napping on her own, so i get an hour or two every day when i'm not holding a baby now. I think it will be a while before i'm really involved in my/our work again! But i have the occasional thought/idea. Its great to see what you're doing and your ideas develop for the work for Brunel's art and architecture exhibition.

Sunday, 2 May 2010


Hi Rachel,

While in Bradford over Easter we went out looking at a couple of significant buildings from the early 70's which are now empty, which coincidentally were both designed by Matt's Dad's firm John Brunton and Partners.

The Bradford and Bingley Building Society headquarters in Bingley. It has a very sympathetic relationship with the hills, and the zig zag flow of the 5 rise locks. Since the financial crisis and government bail out the savings part of the business was sold to Santander. It is now up for sale/let.

Also the Yorkshire building society headquarters in Bradford.

And we took a look at the big hole in the middle of Bradford at the moment. There were plans to 'regenerate' the centre. The existing buildings were demolished, then the financial crisis of 2008 happened and it has been left derelict. There are posters around the site saying bitterly, 'Bradford's regeneration, The Sky's the limit'

Modern ruins in general is quite a key theme of our work, starting with the Thamesmead project, and something I've been thinking about a lot since going to the derelict Iraqi embassy last summer. I was interested to read this piece in Frieze January issue it has some interesting references for other artists who have worked are working with this theme such as: Martha Rosler’s 1993 video How Do We Know What Home Looks Like?,where she explores Le Cobusier’s Unité d’Habitation at Firminy-Vert.

I wonder about the danger of sentimentality towards Modernism, a nostalgia for an era of greater certainty, "The variously thoroughgoing or superficial archaeology of architectural and artistic Modernism that has exercised so many artists in the last decade is patently, on one level, a discourse on ruins in a Romantic mode."

I've put all the pics on