Friday, October 01, 2010

Adnams Store, Southwold

 click photo to enlarge
I'm always pleased to see new and "different" architecture appearing in our towns. It's not unusual to come across it in cities, but towns (and villages) tend to be more conservative, and you find fewer buildings built in a determinedly modern style: too often they are a pastiche of an old or local vernacular style. Sometimes it can be absolutely right to make a new building fit in with its venerable neighbours. But all too frequently these "old modern" structures are safe, staid and completely forgettable.

Consequently I was glad to come across this gleaming shed-cum-Nissen hut in Southwold on my recent visit to the town. It houses a store selling wines and beers as well as items for the kitchen. Adnams are local brewers with something of a reputation for modern, green buildings as well as old public houses (pubs), so it comes as no surprise to see that they have built something that is quite different to anything else in this sedate seaside town.

On the whole I like it. It is simple, bright, stylish and seems to do its job well. I like the absence of gutters and drainpipes, and the way the roof becomes the walls with little overlap or intervening fixtures. When I looked at that I thought I'd like to see it in heavy rain! In fact, I'd like to see the building on an overcast day with featureless stratus above: it must look quite different from how it appears under a flawless blue sky. The bit I'm not so keen on is the area around it. Those randomly placed pieces of wood set into the gritted tarmac are clearly meant to be quirky counterpoints to the ordered pieces on the facade and side windows (I think). I'd have preferred a something little more rectilinear, without the timber.

When it came to photographing the building the semi-abstraction of the side appealed to me most, though if I go back I'll try a shot from very low down with verticals that converge more than they do in the smaller image.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

(Main photo)
Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 15mm (30mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/500
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On