People

Blanket coat and a pastie
Great blanket coat and a pastie
Orange juice and a cigarette, putting the world to rights
Orange juice and a cigarette, putting the world to rights
Seen through a window, the scarf, the hand, the face in shadow, I wonder who he is.
Seen through a window, the scarf, the hand, the face in shadow, I wonder who he is.
The reddest hair and the blackest clothes
Vibrant orange hair and the blackest clothes
An engineer, deep in thought
An engineer, deep in thought

Downward gaze

Dazzling inside a mirrored lift
Dazzling inside a mirrored lift
The last supper
The last supper
The serving hatch
The serving hatch
The Bauhaus follower
The Bauhaus follower
Comtemplation
Comtemplation
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Serious and reflective with impeccable taste
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On the way home from the market – thinking about lunch
The Beret
The Beret
Really - I'm not sure I agree
Really – I’m not sure I agree
Where's my pint
Where’s my pint
Good-day to you sir!
Good-day to you sir!

Weimar and Erfurt

Weimar is an elegant historic town, one of the most visited in Germany with its long cultural history and its political importance. The city has been home to the composers Lizt, and Bach, the writers, Goethe and Schiller and  the artists and architects, Kandinsky, Klee, Feininger and Gropius at the Bauhaus, the most important German design school of the interwar period.
Standing high on a nearby hill is the memorial tower of Buchenwald concentration camp, it can be seen easily from almost every part of town serving as a reminder of its dark history.

Strolling around the town soon after dusk we came upon the start of an extraordinary evening, a musical event involving the whole town, it began in Theaterplatz,  with people stood still, looking forward and holding various music players. There were to be concerts, community bell-ringing, everyone in the town contributing to the musical night. Alan Bern – Sound Installation

Sound Installation
Sound Installation – comemmorating the 75th anniversary of the anti-Jewish pogrom throughout Germany on November 9/10, 1938 (“Kristallnacht”).

Unfortunately not speaking German, we had no idea of the events in store and instead of being part of it, we spent the evening elsewhere.

Long shadows on the wall in Kollegiengasse
Long shadows on the wall in Kollegiengasse
Platz Der Democratie
Smoke around the moon in Platz Der Democratie
Duchess Anna Amalia Library
Duchess Anna Amalia Library
Hotel Elephant Cocktail Bar
Hotel Elephant Cocktail Bar
Pink windows
Pink windows
Hinges
Unusual Hinges
Gothe's Door Handle
Gothe’s Door Handle

Some visual notes from a short visit to Erfurt

Erfurt, Domplatz
Domplatz, Erfurt
Golden Unicorn
Golden Unicorn 1905
Caught unawares
Caught unawares
Perfect geometry
Perfect geometry
Restoring a window
Restoring a window
Good brickwork at Bildungstatte
Good brickwork at Bildungstatte

 

Cars seen through steel gate
Cars seen through steel gate, minimalist construction, tiny rivets, water-jet cut steel.

Berlin – Architecture, Streets and People

Thomas - Expert Guide
Thomas – Expert Guide, joining the coach in Potsdamer Platz

One day in Berlin is not enough – of course! I was there to visit the Bauhaus Archives, the most comprehensive representation of information about the mid 20th C design school. I also enjoyed a 3 hour coach tour with a certain Thomas who was the most informed and amusing guide I have ever met. He skilfully took us around or past every historic point, every breath-taking piece of modern architecture with an encyclopaedic knowledge of everything Berlin has to offer the coach-bound traveller. Due to lack of time we could only leave the coach twice and for just a few moments, so many of  the photos are compromised by having been taken through the coach window as the coach was moving.

Jewish Museum - Daniel Libeskind
Jewish Museum – Daniel Libeskind’s radical, zigzag design

Just one photograph hardly does justice to this complex building, light and shadows dance across the angled facades and jagged chasms and take your breath away.  Daniel Libeskind

Berlin Hauptbahnhof - Meinhard von Gerkan

Berlin Hauptbahnhof – Meinhard von Gerkan

Meinhard von Gerkan The station looks particularly marvellous at night, streaks of light gliding through and out of the enormous glazed tube of a roof.

Topographie Des Terrors - Ursula Wilms (Heinle, Wischer and Partner) and the landscape architect Professor Heinz W. Hallmann
Topographie Des Terrors – Ursula Wilms (Heinle, Wischer and Partner) and the landscape architect Professor Heinz W. Hallmann

The external structure of steel rods or shafts catch the light and cast shadows giving the whole structure a nebulous appearance, quite the antithesis of the stern buildings that preceded it under the Third Reich. Ursula Wilm

The New Art Gallery - Mies Van de Rohe
The New Art Gallery – Mies Van de Rohe
Deutsches Technikmuseum - Helge Pitz and Hoh
Deutsches Technikmuseum – Helge Pitz and Hoh
IBA Housing - Zaha Hadid
IBA Housing – Zaha Hadid
Berlin Shell Haus – 1932 – designed by German architect Emil Fahrenkamp. Noted for its striking wave-like façade, and for being one of the first steel-framed high-rise buildings in Berlin.

Lots more building projects underway.
Judging by the number of cranes on the skyline, there are many more building projects underway.
bicycle and shed
Bicycle, tarpaulin and timber shed
Fluorescent jacket
Fluorescent Jacket

At first sight this appears to be a man with no head! Actually he is bending his scarf-covered head forward sharply in order to better read his phone.

Daimler Chrysler  - Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
Steps at Daimler Chrysler – Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

I was too close to be able to capture much of the facade but I love the steps. Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

Brandenburg Gate
Brandenburg Gate

CyclistCyclist

Christmas Lights
Christmas Lights – including the expert installer
Berliners 2
Two smart Berliners going about their business
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Berlin woman
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Hemispherical concrete bollards – what a lovely curve
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Replica of Checkpoint Charlie, complete with actor/soldiers – watched over by Albert Einstein
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An ingenious and space-saving bicycle rack, German bikes seem to be characterised by a curved crossbar making them look very decorative in pairs.
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The Colour Pillar in the garden of  the Bauhaus Archive – Walter Gropius

Bauhaus Archive

Perched

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On the day Prince George was born crowds of people waited outside Buckingham Palace for news. These two young men seemed a little out of place but they looked so good perched on the narrow ledge of the Victoria Memorial like a couple of large pigeons with immaculate white shoes.

London People

Wandering around with a friend from out of town, I found these people and faces, so many stories in London, right on my doorstep. silhouetteboy
On the south bank of the Thames, these tourists were thrown into sharp silhouette by the brightly sunlit ship beyond.

white toecap At first I thought this man’s shoe was being highlighted by the sun but no, he is actually wearing canvas shoes with white rubber toecaps, his friend’s shadow just happens to be falling in line with the white rubber tip. The strange gesture of pointing his finger straight down, is in fact merely the gentleman getting a good grip on his walking stick, only visible by his right foot.

handstandboy-1

I sat for some time watching the passers-by in the courtyard garden of the Victoria and Albert Museum, this young boy seemed dedicated to improving his handstand technique in the water, he did it at least 10 times, the first was good, the last ones were excellent.The little girl to the right is desperate to try but I think too scared.

pink dress

I so admire this woman’s dress style, a great lover of Mondrian and a perfectly thought through outfit, even down to the flower earrings and the pink socks.IMG_2529

I looked up and this guy was towering over me, making everyone around look so small!

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Its not often hat you see a plait this long and what a beautiful colour too.

The South Bank

The promenade along the south bank of the Thames is a vast meeting and socialising place especially in good weather. Yesterday, although cold, was sunny and the place was packed. There was a food festival as well as the usual free entertainment of street performers.

Annie Mae’s Mac and Cheese stall sells the best Mac and Cheese I have ever tasted, try some if you get the chance.

The silver-haired gentleman who used to blow bubbles for children seems to have been replaced by a young guy with amazing multi-bubble techniques. The older man would blow bubbles for free all summer and then fly to Spain for the winter living on the donations made to him by grateful and entertained parents and children.

Bubbles

The London Eye seen against the Houses of Parliament.
London EyeAnd again, the London Eye but this time glimpsed through a smeary plate glass window, a beautiful scale model.
London Eye model

Living Architecture  has built a boat on the rooftops, it can be hired by the day (at no small expense) but what a marvellous position from which to study the comings and goings on the Thames and to watch the sun go down over the Art Deco buildings on the north bank. A time-lapse video of the construction.
A Room for London - the Boat

South Bank Sunset