Sublime Beauty

_DS79370_crop‘Sublime Beauty’ may not be the words you would normally use to describe this facade, but they are the words used by Architect Sam Jacob when he nominated this multi-storey car park in Welbeck Street, just north of Oxford Street in Central London, for the Design Museum’s Lesser Known Architecture Show in 2013. He wrote:  ‘here infrastructure is handled with such delicacy that all its rawness is elevated to sublime beauty’. He also described it as: ‘simultaneously practical and symbolic’.

The building is a product of the Brutalist era of Architecture, of which the Barbican Centre in London is a prime example. It was designed by Michael Blampied and Partners, and built in 1971.

The sad news is that this building may soon be demolished. While researching for information on this building I came across an article dated Feb 2016 (click here to view it) that reported that the car park was in the process of being sold and was likely to be demolished and the site then re-developed.

This building no longer has that newly built pristine look, but the rain-stained concrete has acquired mood and atmosphere over the years that suggests something slightly sinister. To me it has tremendous appeal as a work of symmetry and design, and definitely it has a raw and sublime beauty.


About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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18 Responses to Sublime Beauty

  1. Len says:

    Another terrific shot that you have spotted. Your ability to find beauty where others do not is a gift.

    • LensScaper says:

      That’s very kind of you, Len. Thank you. I have walked past this quite often (although not in recent months) as the Royal Society of Medicine is just a stone’s throw from this site. It would be very sad to see this turned into yet another building site in the heart of London. I’ve only photographed it once – on a dull day. Sunlight would, I think have been an intrusion. But perhaps I should re-visit with the aim of capturing a few more images before the wrecking balls arrive.

  2. I agree Andy, the detail and symmetry is beautiful. You have such a wonderful eye for this.

  3. Sue says:

    Another one bites the dust….hope you manage to get some more images of this,,..

  4. shoreacres says:

    The design is wonderful. My first thought upon seeing the image was of the pen nibs from my grade school days — amazing that I grew up in a time of ink bottles and pens that were dipped – and ink blotters. That was the day when merchants handed out advertising cards that functioned as blotters. Only the big kids got the fancy blotters that came with desk sets.

    It’s sad that this building is going to go the way of pen and ink. Sic transit gloria mundi, I suppose.

    • LensScaper says:

      Sad to think that a modern building that has recognised ‘status’ as something special can be demolished when it is only forty-five years old. Another example of the throw-away society in which we now live.
      My desk at school had an ink well (and we had to use fountain pens, refillable ones) but the inkwell was just a hole through which we fed marbles that ran round the interior of the desk on a carefully constructed slope made from the text books etc to a hole drilled in a corner of the floor of the desk! Ink blotters I recall from my father’s desk too.

  5. Fantastic shot – it’s almost hypnotic 🙂

  6. Lignum Draco says:

    The B/W processing brings out the beauty of the patterns, perhaps less obvious if the yellowed concrete and probable rust stains are seen. A shame it will be demolished; it has character.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thank you. There was not much colour in the original, and the colour that was present was irrelevant. One of the joys of B&W, as you will know so well, is the way it simplifies images so that they are all about tonal range and contrast.

  7. This is a beauty. Any thought to trying a version with the camera twisted?

  8. Pingback: On the Diagonal | LensScaper

  9. Chillbrook says:

    Captured brilliantly Andy!

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