Aqua Tower

As my loyal follower will be aware, there are some truly beautiful skyscrapers in Chicago. But, my favourite has to be the Aqua Tower, glimpsed here through the modernist Pritzker Pavilion structure in Millennium Park.

Millenium Park Pritzker Pavilion [4]

In our latest phase of righteous indignation at the inequality experienced by women in a so-called man’s world, it is refreshing to hear that this building is the tallest to-date to be designed by a female-led architecture firm, that of Jeanne Gang based in Chicago. It is credited with contours, vertical landscapes and undulating pools, projecting a striking outward appearance…

Aqua Tower [2]

The Aqua Tower is designed with green elements incorporated, such as roof gardens, and balcony patterns and glass tints to maximise solar shading and exposure.

Aqua Tower [3]

 

Within its finer details, the balconies are projections of the tower’s floors, as a means of creating outdoor terraces as communal spaces for residents.

 

Aqua Tower [1]

So, until we speak again, Juno and Bella would both have agreed… that if you want a thing of environmental beauty instead of a macho willy-waving pissing up the wall competition, the go-to person is quite probably a woman!

 

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How buildings are born

Just look around you and ponder… how did all of these buildings come into being? Well, being a thoughtful kind of cat, I’m always prepared to share my insights on any topic that takes my fancy as I stroll around the city of Cardiff. Please feel free to send your questions on a postcard!

In the case of appreciating our built environment, Kate Bush once implied that it all begins with An Architects Dream

Architects dream

Then there is the gestation period; and for this we can thank the Sage of Gateshead for informing our knowledge of how the pupae develop over the months of construction…

Sage [3]

Then we come to the actual birth; and being delicate structures frequently subjected to architectural critique, a forceps delivery is the more usual method…

Capital Quarter new build [1]

Then it’s a matter of all hands to the pump to pull the newborn into position…

Industrial heritage

Very soon the more mature buildings give way to their younger curvier offspring…

Groovy curvy building

Until they are brave and confident enough to stand tall on their own foundations…

Spiky joint

Sunshine [2]

 

 

Until we speak again this Bella will be contemplating why the sun always shines in Cardiff!!??

And the winner is…

My resident ‘architectural critic‘ interrupted my 23-hours-a-day slumbers with some attempt to contribute thoughts on the current debate about London’s Tower’s Policy, and the perceived reduction in design standards in order to rush through more and more development for the ultimate financial benefit of the developers. As a cat originating in London I was left wondering what experience this self-styled Zaha Hadid or Frank Lloyd Wright had to back-up their bold remonstrations on the built environment of one of the world’s mega-cities. “I lived there for nearly 22 years!” was the reply, offered may I add with deep indignation.

Touche, or 15-love to them… but, being a competitive kind of soul I decided to hit back with my usual languid laid back brand of sarcasm. It seems to me like we live in a world filled with competitions, yet you people of such delicate sensibilities need to have your liberal egos stroked, with everyone experiencing being a winner; or else needing to rush off to see your therapist. Or is that just California? So, in the interests of caustic architectural discourse, I decided to introduce Cardiff’s winners of the Juno Awards for Architectural Re-cycling (the Jar’s), as my meanders around the city suggested I might struggle to find any other category of award that could be liberally sprinkled around so many of the modern buildings.

So, getting down to the serious business of presenting the Jar’s… I had hoped to enlist the services of Cat Stephens but the calls to prayer were too many and too frequent; Atomic Kitten were fortunately too heavily regulated for public use; so I was left dragging myself off to the litter tray for an Eartha Kitt (yes, that is cockney rhyming slang). So once again it is left to me to say:

The Curvy but not Groovy Award goes to… 

Curvy not groovy

While the Use of Excess Leather Cladding Award goes to…

Central Library [1]

The Creative Use of an Over-Sized Spiky Hat Award goes to…

Spiky joint

But the judging panel (i.e. me) had a difficulty with the Use of Excess Bland Concrete Award, so in the interests of equality it was shared by several entries from the other side of the tracks…

Other side of the tracks

The Use of Excess Unintelligible Words in Strange Places Award was an easier category to adjudicate…

Millenium Centre 3

Meanwhile, the Getting to the Point (Retail Category) Award goes to…

John Lewis to the point

And this year there was a special category of ‘Life-Ending Achievement‘, sponsored by Lloyds Bank, entitled the Put It All On The Outside Scary Shit You Must Be Kidding If You Think I Am Going To Use That Lift Award, with the outright winner even adding the delicate touch of replacing internal staircases with external ladders…

Pointy Building

That is it from the red carpet for this year (stained in the blood of my resident ‘ex-Town Planner‘). Out of utter disrespect for the zeitgeisty need of people to feel unemotionally attached to millions of others through technology, all the winners will receive 5000 additional ‘faceache friends‘, and the runners-up get 2000 ‘pecks of the birdie thing‘. For everyone who comments on this post, may you be smothered in ‘likes‘ until you burst with the shear joy of connectivity. Until we speak again, I am Triumphant Juno saying the winner is…