Fast Track
Crossrail Place, Canary Wharf: Foster + Partners

Portuguese National Pavilion, Lisbon, Portugal, 1998 - Cecil Balmond, Alvaro Siza, Eduardo Souto de Moura and Arup AGU

Sunroom and swimming pool at Brinsop House
Brinsop, Herefordshire, West Midlands, England, UK; 1970’s (demolished)

Peter Cripwell & Associates, architects
Ove Arup & Partners, engineers
(photographs by John Whybrow)

«A commission to design a ‘folly’ for extravagant entertainment in England’s diminishing countryside, and in times of economic recession, is no frequent occurrence. Such a scheme is more reminiscent of a first year school of architecture project. Would our proposals for a structure consisting entirely of reinforced concrete amidst Herefordshire’s unblemished countryside come as jolt to the client, and as an outrageous suggestion to the planning authority? This was not so, which was reassuring.
The strength in the natural shape of this parabola allows for extreme economy of material in the slender segments of the dome. Such natural efficiency in a structure seems to lend a certain beauty. It is the kind of efficiency that one takes for granted in the curved objects of nature. Attempts to create structures that are easy on the eye sometimes fail because, unlike natural shapes, they are basically clumsy in form and structurally inefficient.
Does the drawing board inhibit the use of curves in the third dimension, or is it all a question of cost? The curved reinforced concrete components of this folly arrived on site having been factory cast in a sand mould, and were erected by means of a central tower scaffold. There is a bridge across the swimming pool to the sunroom. Service include mains water, electric power, solar heating, illuminations suitable for late night rendezvous, and piped Herefordshire cider.»

via “Concrete Quarterly, 120” (Spring, 1979)