the brutal gardener

That time I blagged my way onto the roof of Cotton Gardens…

Got myself a new MacBook on Friday, so I’ve pretty much spent the entire weekend between the Dark Room at Ffotogallery and Lightroom with the comfort of tea. 

The three twenty three storey Towers were designed by the architect George Finch in 1968 and constructed by Wates using a pre-fabricated system.  The towers are named Ebenezer, Fairford and Hurley.  In the film ‘Utopia London’, George Finch reflected on his creation.  He pointed out that the use of engineered, pre-fabricated building systems tied the hands of architects.  The system involved the use of relatively standardized blocks so, as he put it, “.. you think to yourself, OK, let’s see what one can do with it.  I did with these blocks.  I pushed it as far as I could.”


The National Library in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan by Abdul Akhmedov in 1964. The three-storey concrete project is a magnificent example of Soviet modernism with brutalist tendencies. It utilizes highly Islamic, namely Iranian, forms as the basis of its plan. This is notably seen the central courtyard which functions for utilitarian and aesthetic purposes. It is shown as a focal point due to the nature of the social patterns in eastern societies which are centered around courtyards and atria, places where scholarly discussion and the sharing of ideas takes place have taken place for millennia. Islamic influences are also seen in the modernized screens and the Persian water gardens which have both been hardened and masculinized, contrasting their traditional femininity and etherealness. This library both established Turkmenistan as a distinct nation from Moscow while still embracing the modernist movement that came with the industrialization of the Soviet Republics. 


All Reach
Alison and Peter Smithson’s Robin Hood Gardens, currently being both controversially demolished and controversially preserved by the V&A Museum, London