It’s great to explore an exhibition with an enthusiastic group of Walk and Talkers who point out something new to look at and think about each time.

Yesterday I particularly enjoyed the insight given by Nigel Green’s contemporary photographs of the buildings, commissioned specially for the exhibition. His glimpse through a half open door into a splendid room at The Reform Club reminded us all of the uneasy relationship between public and private, with the tantalising view of  a place accessible only to a private membership. The notion of public and private came up again as we talked about Nigel’s image of light flooding through the windows onto the landing and staircase at Clouds House. One of the group recalled childhood visits to a relatives home where, behind one of the closed doors on the landing (through which one would never dream of going), there was an aged aunt who had long since taken to her bed and was never seen – a strange experience which I can recall from my childhood too.

As we left the exhibition, the final discussion was about the photographs of Tony Fretton’s British Embassy in Warsaw. The beautiful reflections of sky, trees and surrounding green areas belie the bomb-proof glass in the front skin of the building,  the strangely “trapped” green inner courtyards, the office furniture arranged in precise military rows, the hostile spiked metal railings shutting off the outdoor passageways all acting as reminders of the times we live in.

Thinking Aloud comments from the group:

a favourite building – The Lowry, Manchester (pictured right)
most disliked building – County Hall, Lewes
why they love architecture – the “wow” factor and
“Architecture is frozen music” (quote: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

Posted by Ryan Coleman on Sunday 1 November 2009