Local Heart, Global Soul

May 29, 2018

Finding The Beehive…

Filed under: NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,WELLINGTON — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

One of the buildings in Wellington New Zealand is not only iconic and famous, but also etched into my childhood memories.

That building is of course the “Beehive”, the name of New Zealand’s Parliament building.

It stands next to the old parliament building, of typical English colonial style, square, grey, columns, graceful and formal.

The Beehive in contrast looks exactly like it’s name, taking the form of a medieval beehive, an upturned basket, small, compact, and … round!

Interestingly New Zealand’s national co-ordination centre for Civil Defence is (or at least still is, as far as I know) in the depths of the building, ready to co-ordinate all sorts of agencies, rallying in times of a national or large disaster.

When there are “events” such as the large Christchurch earthquakes, all of the emergency services become quickly overwhelmed.

Help is therefore recruited from local organizations, businesses, clubs and volunteers who have practiced for these situations.

For example: four wheel drive club members turned up to help get Doctors and Nurses to hospitals over broken roads impassable to anything except off-road style vehicles. Businesses go through practiced drills to account for staff members and get them into safe areas.First Aiders will gather at places like schools to help assist with the many minor injuries and triage those who need urgent transportation to hospital. The irony is that the Beehive sits on top of a huge fault line, how they would manage co-ordination should the “big one” hit Wellington, I don’t know, but I assume that they have a range of measures in place. My sister, Mother and I did a holiday tour here in our early teens; I still remember our time in the old parliament building, and eating lunch in the sunshine on the steps outside afterwards. The building is not high compared with its downtown neighbours, and there are so many new high rises that we found the Beehive harder to locate than we thought. It peeks out with us on the wrong side of one-way streets, until finally it pops into view.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 2, 2015

Going “Thurn” The Palais… In The PalaisQuartier …

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In this archive post in documenting our 2013 travels in Germany, Family Kiwidutch are spending some time staying with friends in their home city of Frankfurt.

We’ve been touring the  central city with one of our friends and on this day have come across another beautiful building.

Close to the MyZeil building complex stands a historic building called: Thurn und Taxis Palais.

I found some information about it (link at the bottom of this post).

One of the most unusual building projects in Europe features the 18th century Thurn und Taxis Palais as its centrepiece.

Around this baroque city palace the PalaisQuartier is now unfolding to reveal its many possibilities.

For over 50 years the valuable city-centre site of today’s PalaisQuartier was not accessible to the public.

Today it is pulsating again thanks to the international charisma of the trendsetting new complex with the shopping centre MyZeil, the NEXTOWER office block, Hotel Jumeirah and the Thurn und Taxis Palais.

he PalaisQuartier is a jewel and on a street with one of the highest sales outputs in Germany, combines four buildings with different possible uses and independent architecture to form an urban living space.

The four buildings are connected by the new square Thurn-und-Taxis-Platz. Under all this is the largest basement car park in Frankfurt, the MyZeil/PalaisQuartier Car Park.”

I’m of course not interested in the shopping opportunities here, but rather in the myriad of little details that make this building special. There’s a massive arched doorway is a thoroughfare that cuts completely through the building, and is a short cut our friend assures us to the road we want outside.

The “hallway” inside is also beautiful, as are the architectural details on the doors each side.  The beauty doesn’t stop there however, the entire building is aesthetically pleasing and to top it all off, the exit onto the street beyond is via a gate, the detail on which is the icing on the cake. After all, who doesn’t like putti? (especially ones who look drunk LOL)!

The lion roars his approval !

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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http://www.palaisquartier.com/en/palais-quartier/

February 28, 2015

The Art-Form Is Both Above And Below…

Filed under: ART,FRANKFURT AM MAIN,GERMANY,Mural,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Not every amazing building in Frankfurt city centre is an old one…

Regular readers of  my blog know that it’s not often that a modern building makes it into these pages because I’m a die-hard historic building fan.

I have to confess that there are two parts to this post,  there is a second reason that this building drew my eye, and that’s because it also has an artistic element to it too.

Not only does the building have a flowing natural form, but the mural at the bottom of it does too.

The building is at the back of the MyZeil shopping centre complex and it’s very fluid looking in it’s appearance.

The mural depicts a mother and child,  with the phrase “There is something better than perfection”.

 Both the mother and the child have theatrical masks which have been removed to reveal their faces.

The “what” part of the “something” that is better than perfection is not stated …motherhood? Humanity? children? Who knows, but as a lover of murals I’m very happy to add this contemplative piece to my collection.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 13, 2015

A Building Dressed In Style And Stunningly Accessorised…

Filed under: LIECHTENSTEIN,PHOTOGRAPHY,Vaduz — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In this addition of our archive travels, we have arrived in Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein and are taking a look around the countries largest city. As Capitals go, it’s not very big, but since the population is small, that’s kind of logical.

We park the car in the centre of town and start to have a look around the immediate vicinity.

We chance upon some interesting buildings and one in particular catches my eye. Later, the lady in the philatelic bureau tells is that it’s called the “Government Building” and is the official seat of the Government.

I love the decorative aspects of the building, the main body of the building is basically fairly plain, but the accent details are rich in colour and beautifully worked, so the end result is a building that’s sophisticated, tasteful and stylish.

It was a tiny bit tricky to get photographs because the sun was rather inconveniently placed (mea culpa, we turned up the the wrong time of day) and I had to keep the lens in the shade of the building in order to get any image other than sun flare.

I love the detail of the paintwork…. drool….

Note:  This post was in the WordPress schedule but I came back and amended this post because the photo after the two ladies is supposed to load horizontally (instead of the vertical that the WP software insists on turning it into) just before publication and appear to have pressed the wrong button somewhere, apologies if you logged on early and found a load of gobbledy-gook or missing text and photographs .I think the text is fixed now but sorry the photo is still stuck the wrong way around. ( I thought I better quit whilst I was ahead) 🙂

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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September 4, 2013

Merging Styles With Style Throughout the Ages…

Filed under: ENGLAND,Great Dunmow,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another page from my diary of last summer’s travels.

Our Singaporean friend “Velvetine” is visiting friends in London and since our next destination is south of London, we have arranged to pick her up from a train station south of  London later today.

The village of Great Dunmow has won awards for “Best Kept Village” and between the beautiful thatched houses, the tudor buildings and other neatly kept homes it certainly deserves the title.

I  am fascinated by the tall brick chimneys on some of the buildings and how different building styles spanning as many different centuries sit side by side.

History is all about how societies and cultures evolve, how the new and old merge together over time.

In New Zealand, a young country as far as human occupation is concerned, the history of buildings is very short compared to Europe so I am not used to seeing buildings of the age it’s possible to see in the United Kingdom. Here is my last look around before we hit the road to our new destination…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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This photo isn’t a building of course, but it does have style…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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July 15, 2013

The Details Around Us Deserve To Be Seen…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are almost ready to leave Veere in Zeeland, The Netherlands.

Earlier in the day I took photographs of a beautiful and obviously very old building that stands next to the Stadhuis on Marktstraat (Market Street).

Often in medieval times there would be an important building connected to trade close to the Stadhuis, maybe of the guild of the town’s major industry, maybe a weighing house, or the medieval equivalent of the Chamber of Commerce.

From the size and style of this building I have a  strong suspicion it has more connection to a commercial purpose than a domestic one, but what that commercial purpose may have been isn’t as clear as it often is from stone marker decorations because stone marker in this instance depicts a swan.

I like everything about this building, even the side wall showing the small bricks that were in standard use in medieval times.

There are two window panes present in these windows, on the inner side, an old one of leaded glass, and on the outside a large pane to protect the inner one and provide a rudimentary sort of double glazing. Someone has inserted a wooden panel between the two, painted with the image of a girl in local costume, so that it looks like she’s inside the building looking out.

The closest view of her is from the top of the steps, but the window shutters and lack of handrail make for tricky photography, especially an accident  prone and less mobile  Kiwidutch who’s happy to err well on the side of caution. I hope to find out from our friend who lives in Veere if he knows more about this building and if so, will report back at a later date.

There is also one other very large and  important building in the town, but to be honest it was out of range of my walking ability at the moment so when we return to Veere in the future I will explore that one properly.

I also have to confess that although I took a quick photo of this building the first time we visited, it was so cold in the strong wind that I didn’t linger and never noticed the girl in the window, and even on the fabulously sunny day of the second visit I was amazed at how few people really looked hard at the building or appeared to notice this girl in the window as they walked by.

It’s my personal philosophy that the details around us deserve to be seen,  (which will hardly come as a surprise if you have been reading this blog for any length of time!)  But then again ….maybe I’m a little weird in taking such delight in a heap of bricks.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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March 19, 2013

A Deco-rative Beauty by the Conradkade…

The Laan van Meedervoort is the longest street in the Hague and the buildings on it reflect how and when the city grew outwards. There are many beautiful buildings, especially closer to the centre of town and today’s post is about one of them just a few buildings away from the Conradkade. I took these photos a while ago and at that time the building was for sale, since then it’s not only been bought, but also renovated so the outside it looking great. Annoyingly I haven’t been able to take a recent photo of it yet. Here’s a photographic tour of the outside of the building that can been seen from the street…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 31, 2012

This Building Gets a Restraining Order…

Filed under: LIFE,PHOTOGRAPHY,Schoonhoven,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Sometimes you see things that really make you wonder what’s going on   … just off the canal in the centre of  Schoonhoven is a small alleyway path, with a row of typical Dutch buildings next door.

In the case it’s very old typical  Dutch buildings and also typical in a country with an ever constant battle with the water-table, subsidence is a centuries old issue.

Dutch buildings are of course mostly of the “joined-up” variety so your side walls left and right are also that of your neighbours left and right, so naturally like a house of cards, it’s important that any significant shift in the deck doesn’t result in a domino effect.

Ok, I’m mixing domino and card games metaphor ideas a little much, but you get the idea.

Here, at the end of an entire block of shops and houses, it’s evident that there’s been a significant structural problem… but it’s also clear that drastic steps have been taken to remedy the situation too.

The Dutch have become rather good at restraining Mother Nature,and here is a prime example, if rather a dramatic one.

A  network of massive beams and ironwork bracing have been inserted deep into the fabric of the buildings, counteracting the severe bowing of the building.  This bracing acts like a corset, restraining the excess bulges, like seriously industrial Spanx.

Usually you wouldn’t  see work this intrusive or extensive in a set of “regular” shops or dwellings, so I’m assuming that there is special historical importance in the buildings, or that in fact the “domino effect” is so pronounced that if they didn’t shore up the end of the row then the entire block would have been lost.

It was very hard to photograph due to the narrowness of the alley and the obstacles around me, but if I think I have a hassle closing my 1930’s balcony doors in winter because the house is groaning and sticking with the cold and damp then imagine what hassles these owners must have with cupboards and doors in winter in these houses.

Trying to hang a painting up straight must be a nightmare! This is certainly one set of pins you wouldn’t want to think about pulling out of their holes…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 9, 2012

Zoomed in Close and STILL Missed a Vital Detail…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now, Come on people, this building has been stalking me for several decades now (or is it that the other way around?)

I’m a detail fanatic, so it should come as no surprise that I took a lot of photos of Napier’s Rothman’s Building. (a.k.a. The National Tobacco Company Building)

Of course I couldn’t resist getting up close and personal … the details here are so photogenic.

Annoyingly didn’t realise until I did my research on the building’s history later, that it’s possible to also see inside the building…

…if only I had known  that when I was standing outside!

Since I’m definitely not in the habit of  just opening people’s doors and peeking inside,  I now know that if we ever pass through Napier again, that this building in back on my list for a visit inside.

It’s probably fitting that the building that’s been stuck in my brain for so many years still has a reason to draw me back yet again.

Next time I return, I will be properly mobile,  not reliant on crutches and have more time.  A return visit will be a win – win situation.

I know that the photos abound,  probably overkill, but these are my references to keep me dreaming  about this building for as many years as it will take me to get back…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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April 8, 2012

Kiwidutch, a Magazine Photograph of a Building Painted Blue and that “One Day”…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Years ago I opened up a New Zealand magazine and my eyes rested on a photograph of a blue building.

It was a building that stood alone in it’s glory and not only did it capture my attention at that moment,  it’s beauty made such an impression on me that it embedded itself in my consciousness as a place I really wanted to see for myself in my lifetime.

I’d go as far as to say that  it’s probably the first time I ever said to myself:

I really want to go and see that myself one day“.

Back then, as a young adult in my early twenties I wouldn’t have said that I had any fondness at all for architectural detail.

In fact I probably would have laughed heartily at anyone who proposed the idea, but looking back, the detail fanatic in me was alive and well:  it was there in the fine lines of the etched zinc plates I wound with ink-stained hands through the printing press,  it was there in the wood and lino cuts I was busy carving out and printing, it was there in the pen and pencil drawings that I doodled incessantly in the notebooks I carried around with me everywhere.

I cut the picture of the blue building out of the magazine and stuck it in a little scrapbook of images that inspired me and whilst the scrapbook is long gone after various life upheavals, It’s one of the two building photos I had in it that I never forgot about.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

That blue building is the reason I wanted to come to Napier on our way north, this is the moment when I could actually see my blue building for the first time ever: up close and in person.

In the intervening years since I cut out the magazine picture the building has undergone a facelift, renovation and been lovingly restored to it’s original splendour.

This also entailed bringing it back to it’s original colour scheme so it’s no longer blue in colour but now a creamy beige-peach-pink colour which I suppose changes a bit in depth and hue depending on the light of the day and the season in question.

Finally I’m standing in front of it for real: the building I knew from the photograph as “The Rothman’s Building”.

I discover that this building has had almost as many name changes over the decades as colour changes,  it’s apparently now officially known as the “National Tobacco Company Building” but was also known as the “New Zealand Tobacco Company” building when it was first built.

The New Zealand Historic Places website has a nice history of this building and so I will take the liberty of giving you some edited text from their site (italicised) and of course the link to their site  http://www.historic.org.nz/TheRegister/RegisterSearch/RegisterResults.aspx?RID=1170  should you wish to read their entire text in full.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Rothman’s Building, regarded by many as one of Napier’s most elegant commercial buildings dating to the 1930s  can be regarded as a monument to Gerhard Husheer, one the founding members of the New Zealand tobacco industry, and an important work of the architect Louis Hay.

Johann Gerhard Husheer (1864-1954), a German by birth, immigrated with his family to New Zealand from South Africa in 1911, with the intention of establishing a tobacco industry in the country.

In 1913, following successful experiments in growing tobacco crops at Paki Paki, Hastings, Husheer established the New Zealand Tobacco Company and opened a processing factory at Ahuriri, Napier, in 1915.

In 1925 Husheer commissioned Louis Hay (1881-1948), a Napier based architect, to design a factory at the Ahuriri site.

Although the external walls of the factory were to collapse during the 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake, the internal structure remained largely intact and production continued relatively unhindered following the disaster. The Depression also had little impact on the National Tobacco Company, as demand for the company’s product remained high.

By 1932 the National Tobacco Company was one of the wealthiest industries in Napier and certainly the largest employer.

Husheer commissioned Louis Hay to design a main frontage for his factory to replace the structure that had collapsed in the earthquake.

Hay’s initial sketches were rejected by Husheer for not being extravagant enough. Hay’s second plan, was for a deceptively simple building based on the idea of an ‘arch within a square’, decorated with detailed representations of plants such as roses, raupo, and vine leaves.

The motif of roses also featured on the lamps on the side of the entrance and lead-light windows. Leading up to the doors were steps decorated with tiles, and brass handrails. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Entering through an elaborately carved set of doors, the foyer featured a marble dado, and oak panelling, combined with a domed lead-light skylight to create an overall feeling of elegance and luxury. The entire design, particularly the use of simple geometric forms decorated with applied decoration, reflected Hay’s interest in the Art Nouveau style.

Although built in the middle of the Depression, Husheer suffered no adverse reaction for this obvious display of wealth, as he was also known for his philanthropic gestures, handing out food to those in need in during the hardest years of the economic crisis.

After Husheer’s death in 1954 the company was acquired by Rothmans of Pall Mall. The entranceway was largely disused after the 1960s when a new administration building was built adjacent.

In the mid 1980s interest in the older building increased and work was begun on restoring the building to its former glory. A glazed screen that had been removed at some time was rebuilt based on a photograph of the original.

During the 1990s the paint-work was restored to its original colour and a number of the lead-light windows that had been removed, were remade. In 1999 Rothman’s merged with British American Tobacco Ltd. The company continues to process tobacco at the Ahuriri plant, and the Hay designed entrance building is open to the public during working hours.

The Rothman’s Building (recently renamed the National Tobacco Company Building) is a testimony to the success of the tobacco industry in New Zealand in the early twentieth century, and in particular the role of Gerhard Hussheer, considered to be one of New Zealand’s foremost industrialist.

Architecturally it is regarded as the jewel in Napier’s architectural crown.

The building is perhaps one of Louis Hay’s best preserved public buildings, and it is an excellent example of the craftsmanship of local artists in post earthquake Napier. Today, located on a corner site amongst the industrial buildings of Ahuriri, it is a noted landmark, and is a popular destination for visitors to Napier.

Hmmm,.. not just generic statement of  “a popular destination for visitors”, but also a very special day  for a certain Kiwidutch for whom the “image” of this building, with me for so many years, finally became reality.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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