The Cliffs of Moher

“The sun is setting in a burnt orange sky; the cliffs are black silhouettes; the sea, liquid silver.” 
Laura Treacy Bentley
 

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The History of Queen's Cross

One consequence of Glasgow’s extraordinary growth in the late 19th century was a wave of new church building undertaken to meet the needs of an expanding population – Queen’s Cross accommodated a congregation of 820!

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In 1896, the Free Church of St Matthew, Glasgow, commissioned a new church and hall from the experienced Glasgow architectural practice of Honeyman & Keppie, to be located in the developing area of Springbank, near Maryhill. John Honeyman allocated the job to his young, talented, trainee architect, Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The site was a tricky one, being bounded on two sides by busy roads, and butted by tenements and a large warehouse. In keeping with their beliefs, the Free Church required simplicity in design.  The foundation stone was laid on 23 June 1898 and the building opened for worship on 10 September 1899.

The construction of Queen’s Cross was contemporary with the first phase of Mackintosh’s masterpiece, The Glasgow School of Art (1897–9). It reveals a sophisticated handling of form, ornament and symbolic meaning, even at this relatively early date. Dr Thomas Howarth, Mackintosh’s first biographer, wrote of the church, ‘the building possesses a warmth and charm conspicuously absent from many churches of the period due largely to the traditional simplicity of Mackintosh’s architectural forms and to the mysticism and spirituality of his decorative motives.’

In 1929 the Free Church was reunited with the Church of Scotland which assumed ownership of Queen’s Cross. In 1976, following a decline in numbers, the congregation merged with that of nearby Ruchill Church and vacated the building. The following year, the newly-formed Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society took on the building as its headquarters and has cared for it ever since.  In 1999 a generous gift from Dr Howarth enabled the Society to purchase the church. A key mission of the Society is to continue to care for and share this wonderful building with as wide a public as possible.

From CRM Society

Ballyvaughan, County Clare, Ireland

Saint John the Baptist Church, Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare, Ireland

Freestanding double-height Gothic Revival Roman Catholic church, built 1858-66, with eight-bay side elevations, gable-fronted three-bay chancel, two-bay single-storey sacristy and two-stage entrance tower and spire. Pitched concrete tile roof with gable copings, finials and cast-iron downpipes. Cut-limestone spire with lucarnes. Snecked limestone walls with stepped buttresses, string course, eaves dentils and some hood mouldings. Pointed arch openings with cut-limestone dressings and cast-iron quarry clear and coloured glazing. Retaining interior features. Graveyard to site with various cut-stone grave markers. Cut-stone piers to front with cast-iron gates and railings.   

Freestanding double-height Gothic Revival Roman Catholic church, built 1858-66, with eight-bay side elevations, gable-fronted three-bay chancel, two-bay single-storey sacristy and two-stage entrance tower and spire. Pitched concrete tile roof with gable copings, finials and cast-iron downpipes. Cut-limestone spire with lucarnes. Snecked limestone walls with stepped buttresses, string course, eaves dentils and some hood mouldings. Pointed arch openings with cut-limestone dressings and cast-iron quarry clear and coloured glazing. Retaining interior features. Graveyard to site with various cut-stone grave markers. Cut-stone piers to front with cast-iron gates and railings.

 

Construction & Creation

"The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists."
Charles Dickens
 

Alston Ridge Middle School

Alston Ridge Middle School

The Glasgow School of Art

Charles Rennie Mackintosch's masterpiece, "...the only art school in the world where the building is worthy of the subject...this is a work of art in which to make works of art." Sir Christopher Frayling, Educator and Writer.

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Alternative Spaces for Learning

Student learning styles vary. As architects, we must provide a variety of spacial experiences that allow and foster different learning modalities. We look for opportunities to create environments that nurture diversity. In a school, we may provide space for linguistic and logical learning as part of the prescribed program, but spaces for visual, aural, physical, social, and solitary learning are also critical to students’ comprehensive education. Sometimes, these spaces can be incorporated in underutilized design areas, such as a gathering space next to a corridor, an exterior courtyard, or a seating area adjacent to a stair. Not only is it our job to meet an Owner’s expectations, but we must also provide flexible design solutions to meet needs they may not have considered.

Informal learning space

Informal learning space

A stairway can easily become an alternate learning space

A stairway can easily become an alternate learning space

Groundbreaking Celebration for Alston Ridge Middle School

IMG_4536Wake County Commissioners, Wake County School Board Members, Cary Town Council Members and many others braved the wet cold rain to celebrate the construction of WCPSS's latest Middle School Project located in western Cary, NC.  We are proud to be the architect for this exciting project and are looking forward to it's construction over the next year and a half.  The school features flexible collaborative areas, large windows for great views and daylighting, flexible courtyards for outdoor learning, and multiple colors of local brick.Courtyard-01_FotoSketcher

Baptismal Font at Duke Chapel

bwf_5481 I finally made it over to Duke Chapel to take some new photos of the baptismal font I designed when working at Eason & Farlow Design. The Gothic style font is carved from quarter-sawn white oak and features a hand hammered sterling silver basin with  an overlaid cross pattern.  Duke Chapel had never had a baptismal font until this was commissioned in the early 2000s. Our goal was for it to appear as if it had always been there, fitting in perfectly with  Julian Abele's 1932 masterpiece.

Exterior Restoration at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church has begun!

1231-elevThe brick re-pointing, roof repair and masonry restoration has begun at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in Wilson, NC.  St. Timothy's was constructed in 1906 and is a fine example of Gothic Revival architecture with it's asymmetrical brick tower and Tudor Gothic windows.  We designed a new cast stone cross with symbol for St. Timothy to be located above the main entry.

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Middle School Prototype for Wake County

Built 3 times between 2009 & 2012, this 196,000 SF middle school prototype has been designed with a compact footprint and can be flexibly oriented depending on varying site conditions. It has also been designed with sustainability in mind. All classrooms are located around the building’s perimeter and large windows are placed to take advantage of natural day lighting. 1029PLAN-200 copySouth facing glass is shaded and light shelves direct sun’s rays deep into classroom spaces. Energy efficient electrical and mechanical systems reduce energy costs. The exterior is a combination of local North Carolina brick and light weight steel panels which are made from 27% recycled content. Using the light weight metal panels above roofs and high on the buildings elevations reduces the chance for roof membrane damage during construction and has the added benefit of reducing the quantity of structural steel required to support the building’s skin, reducing use of natural resources and saving tax payer dollars.