Category Archives: Swindon

The Art-Architecture Complex

Swindon gets two mentions in Hal Foster’s new book The Art-Architecture Complex:

Team 4’s Reliance Controls Factory – “a breakthrough structure in Swindon (in southwest England), which the architectural writer Kenneth Powell describes as ‘neither a factory nor an office building nor a research station but a combination of all three.’  The first of many ‘flexible sheds’ that Rogers has designed over the years, the Reliance Controls Factory owed much to the elegant simplicity of the Case Study Houses in Southern California, especially the famous Eames House of 1949.  Yet Rogers was also open to the new Pop and high-tech ideas of the 1960s.” (20-21)

Norman Foster’s Renault Center – “That ‘Foster’ is able to design efficient structures that are also media-friendly is proven: Renault uses its center in Swindon (1980-1982) in the southwest, with its yellow exoskeleton of piers, cables, and canopies, as the backdrop for its UK advertisements (36) […] In such ‘Foster’ designs, both history and nature appear abstracted, even sublimated, and the same might be said of industry.  In the background of these projects one often senses the early jewel of industrial structures, the Crystal Palace by Joseph Paxton for the Great Exhibition in London in 1851.”(47)

The History of Swindon in Maps

1880

1920

1960

1980

sites 1-5

Midterm – Vincent Calabro

Midterm – Lane Rick

Midterm – JT Bachman

Midterm – Danielle Duryea

 

Midterm – Stephen Gage

Midterm – Christos Bolos

Local fact and fiction

Seven Wonders of Swindon

Swindon Web

Site 02: “I hate the wall.”

In our nostalgic haste to preserve any remnant of a bygone, “glorious” era, have we forgotten the stories behind the artifacts? On site 02, across from the old rail yards, we confronted this question with a man who built his own environment.

The Welsh worker from the Great Western rail yards below currently resides in the residential rows across from the old rail yard, where he has lived for decades. He worked in the rail yard until it closed.

He was stand-offish at first…

but not for long…

We told him we admired the wall across from his house…

“I hate that wall.”
“I built that wall with my hands, and now I have to stare at it everyday.”
“It was hard, the pieces of that wall were stacked by Welsh people, this whole neighborhood. They (the railroad) brought in the people and the stone.”