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!

 

Architectural cat

Juxtaposition, symmetry, curvilinear, articulation, truncated, composition… what world do architects live in? Come to think of it, pick a profession, any profession, and you will not have to look far before you get bogged down in the jargon of self-importance.

As a cat who observes local architecture with a critical eye, I feel Cardiff has an ability to identify modern architectural styles that cut through the unfathomable nonsense of obscure language. In many cases, the only true nonsense is the architectural style itself… but you make your own judgement on that observation.

Sharp and groovy…

sharp-grrovy-3

Pointy…

john-lewis-to-the-point

Curvy not groovy…

curvy-not-groovy

Wavy…

car-park-2

Spiky…

spiky-joint

Mind-boggling (c/o the BBC)…

bbc-wales-entrance Just plain baffling…

old-and-new

where-is-that-spider

 

 

Until we speak again, Bella reminds us that the devil is in the detail… if you can be bothered looking for it!

Arse-end surveillance

I know… I said in my introduction to this blog that I wouldn’t lick my bits while addressing you all, but eventually every cat has to do what a cat has to do!

Lick your own

Feel free to lick your own by the way, it can be a great source of inspiration… why, just the other day, while I was abluting I couldn’t help but reflect on the limitations of modern day architecture. “What on earth are you on about?” you ask. Well, it suddenly came to me that all the inspirational creative design goes into the front end of buildings, and the arse-end rarely presents the most attractive of views. A bit like me really!

You talking to me?The Blade My A

So I thought I would put my hypothesis to the test to see what we can learn from the local area in Cardiff. Talk about ‘learning’… where better to check out this observation than the neighbouring University of South Wales? From a distance it looks like a jumble of boxes have just fallen out of an overflowing cupboard…

USW front [2]

Yet get up close and personal and it looks like someone put some creative thinking into producing a striking visual facade, rather than the more usual blandly boring box-like structures…

USW front [3]

Gently strolling towards the side of the building and you see the dramatic change in design principles, as we view the areas less well observed by the masses of the architecturally unconcerned…

USW front [1]

USW side view

>>>>

Then, the coup de grace of my thesis, as we all recline in our pedestrian supremacy… and those pesky car drivers get their just desserts. The arse-end of the building offers nothing much of any visual delight. A car park is usually home to those who are more consumed in their own self-importance, and expressers of righteous indignation if they can’t travel their door-to-door journeys uninterrupted in their personal motorised cages. So why should they be regaled with visionary architecture?

USW rear [2]

Until we speak again feel free to undertake your own arse-end surveillance, in whatever guise sparks your creative juices. I will continue to be Inspired Juno on my meanderings around my local city.

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…