Jan 2010

I like the way I was able to go back 12months and see what I was writing about then. There was a lot of doom and gloom around the construction industry and this continued for most of 2009. As I write this, the news is that the UK is officially coming out of recession. Things have been tough, but, I feel like things have always been just as difficult. The many articles on how to survive the recession listed ideas which I would have thought anyone running a small business should have been doing already. The one thing that I have maybe learned is that as a small company, i cannot afford to have people working with me who are not contributing as much as they should. I need to learn to interview better and attract staff that want to be part of a team with a common goal. For years it has been difficult to get staff and I was plagued with agencies trying to do business with us for outrageous fees. The problem has often been that that those who previously worked for volume housebuilders cannot expect the same salary and conditions that they enjoyed previously. If I continue to be as busy as the start of the year suggests i will be advertising again but I will be thinking long and hard about the kind of person I need.

One of my New Years resolutions was to get out and take more photo’s, and try and improve my skills. I have started a list of places I want to photograph, some local, some further afield. The cold weather at the start of the year provided some good opportunities and my first trip was to Whitlee Windfarm, the largest onshore windfarm in Europe. I like the turbines, I think they are elegant and fit in well in most circumstances.

whitelee windfarm

It was amazingly quiet while I was there and it was quite eerie with the sound of the blades whirring in the wind. You can see the scale of the turbines against tiny speckle of a few people in the picture above in front of the turbine on the right. the freezing cold misty conditions added to the atmosphere.

whitelee windfarm

A couple of weekends later, I took a trip to the Galashiels to try and get some photos of Gala Fairydean Stadium. The main feature of the stadium being a 500 seat concrete stand designed by Peter Wormsley completed in 1964.

Main Stand

There is very little information available on Peter Wormsley but he is notable for some quite interesting buildings. I have been planning to visit this building for quite some time and was able to sneak through a gate that had been left open to get some pitchside photo’s. It seemed deserted but someone came out to see what I was up to and kindly showed me around and filled me in on some of the history and the adaptions that have been made over the years.

gravity defying roof

The most striking feature is the gravity defying roof. The great mass of concrete seems to be effortlessly suspended over the stand. Advertising boards fill gaps that were once filled with glass which once  emphased the illusion. Concrete like this doesn’t wear well in Scotland and, unsurprisingly, the building is plagued with cold bridging and water ingress. It has now been listed in order to preserve it for future generations and I agree that something like this which is so rare in Scotland is certainly worthy of maintaining. There is very little money in football at this level and maintaining the stand will be a burden for the club unless they can get help elsewhere. I would certainly volunteer to help out if they need an architect on board.

stair detail

stair detail

More photos available here

I have submitted 3 project to the Scottish Design Awards and will hopefully at least get shortlisted for one of them. I have talked about awards before and don’t lose sleep over them but it would be nice to get somewhere sometime.

Some new projects on the board at the moment, Wellwynd Church progressing well on site and will post progress photo’s next month it is just a lot of steelwork at the moment.

Decent Film’s I have seen this month include The Wave, Moon, Mesrine Parts 1&2, 44″Chest, Un Prophete, Romano Criminale and The Badder Meinhoff Complex. Seems to be a bit of a theme developing but really governed by what lovefilm send out.

Not seen much live music recently but got tickets for LCD Soundsystem. Would love to get some tickets for the Manic Street Preachers at the legendary King Tut’s in Glasgow but they are currently going for £300 a pair, a lot more than the £3.50 I think I paid nearly 20 years ago. Yeasayer on in Oran Mor next week and might go and see them.

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1 Response to “Jan 2010”

  1. February 2, 2010 at 12:41 am

    That was a great post; and although I do not own a firm; I, too, must learn to ask more questions of future employers as well as their credentials. It never occurred to me to ask an employer for their credentials.

    I wish we were coming out of a recession.

    And of course, love your photographs!

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