Thursday, March 05, 2015

Defacing buildings the modern way

click photo to enlarge
The terrace of houses known as Wood View, in Bourne, Lincolnshire, can never have been wonderful architecture. Though it is not without interest, and its scale certainly catches the eye, it was probably built down to a cost by a speculative builder. The main elevation is flat and uses stock bricks, with the only decorative embellishment being bands of orange brick that contrast with the buff of the walls, lintels and sills. What does stand out, however, is the chimneys. They are stepped, use similar bricks to the walls, and are very big.The dormers also catch the eye. Were they always there or are they added? I imagine the former. The whole terrace has been refurbished with new roof tiles, windows, doors, gutters and drainpipes. Any presence the buildings had and has comes from the long, straight row of almost identical dwellings surmounted by the rank of dominant chimneys.

But today the terrace has been defaced in the usual modern way, firstly by chimney-sited aerials and then by wall-mounted satellite dishes. The only blessing is that the roofs don't lend themselves to solar PV panels. Stick a few of those on and the row's disfigurement would be complete. As I travel about the country these three excrescences frequently scream out at me. The appearance of buildings good bad and indifferent is dragged down by aerials, dishes and panels (especially the latter), and the building in turn drags down its area. It's not impossible to have loft mounted aerials (ours is), and better locations (or solutions) for dishes are available. Moreover, we can't be far off the time when PV cells are built into roof tiles and panels can be phased out. Of course, the great danger with such devices festooning buildings is that eventually we stop seeing them. At that point we forget what we've lost.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Nikon D5300
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 85mm (127mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/400 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On