Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Newcastle Civic Centre

I walked down to the station today to pick up some rail tickets. It is a bright autumn day with not a cloud in the sky, hazy and calm; full of 'mellow fruitfulness'. I decided to see if a friend was in on the way back and taking that route decided to cut through Newcastle Civic Centre. My earliest memory of this building and its grounds dates back to childhood when I was struck by the way the quadrangle made me feel. I still get the same feeling when I pass that way now. (Or so it seems at least.) The quadrangle is a modernist rectilinear design with a reflecting pool, grass lawn and  a sculpture of swans in flight. The enclosed yet open space is filled with calm yet holds the promise of something exciting; it is some how pregnant with the future. I now have sufficient visual literacy to see that this space is a reasonably successful example of the modern architectural movement of the 1960's and that the form has been designed to elicit this calm yet exciting feeling. To me it is a spiritually informed  space and it is possible to trace a line back to the aesthetic of Japanese temples and gardens. Or as people casually say; zen.  As a child I just liked it. The route from the quadrangle passes across a glazed link corridor; in one door across the link and out the other side. The feel in this link corridor with its limestone and glass is one of soft gravitas, again the place holds a spiritual ambiance. All this not in a church but a civic building for the administration of such matters as the rates and taxes. How joyous to have such architecture. I was tempted to try to capture all this photographically, but I knew that I'd  not quite get it. It probably takes a skilled photographer and the right lens to do that.

Considering matters of the aesthetic I have just changed the look of this blog. It was not my plan, I just followed the option which came up when I signed in. Before I knew it I could not work out how to get back the old look! Ah well, no attachment there and it's probably worth refreshing the look and maybe my interest in posting. There is a quite a range of templates and colours to choose from. I was quite excited by some of the looks but somehow they didn't feel right. Colour Blue, straight forward, no undue extraneous elements but a bit of a background image to lift it, yer, that's about right. Interesting to see how the different styles affect the way each post might be perceived and thus written.