Saturday, January 28, 2006

Winter light and shadows

click photo to enlarge
Unpainted, smoothly finished timber seems to be one of the "signatures" of modern buildings in the first years of twenty-first century Britain. On flats, offices, and "retail outlets" this material is increasingly seen. It is on the way to becoming as common as the blue metal entrance portico was in the 1990s!

This example of the "untreated wood look" is on a cafe at St Annes in Lancashire. The perky little structure is one of a pair of buildings - the other is a large lifeboat station - that face each other across a small boating lake on the sea front. Built in 2003 by Poynton, Bradbury, Winter, Cole (Architects), the cafe is a small reflection of the principal building, sharing similar roof lines, windows, railings, etc. Both the cafe and lifeboat house are good additions to the location.

I photographed the smaller building on a winter afternoon when the sun was low, and sharp, deep shadows were being thrown. The contrast of these with the lustre of the wood and the gleaming brightness of the metal and wire railings is what drew my attention. The cafe was closing, and the stacked chairs and the lonely tub of water for passing dogs added to the out of season feel. I chose this viewpoint to capture these elements and because the dominant lines seemed to lead to both the sharp, jutting point of the roof, and the blue sky with its shadowed clouds.
photograph & text (c) T. Boughen