landscape of ambiguity 2


so we have our site!

i’ve marked down a likely location for the wine bar area, and a couple of other things beside. the surrounding buildings cast a lot of shade.  of course we’ve know way of knowing what time of day/year the image was taken, but can count on the bottom (south) end of the site at least getting less light.

cant make out whats in the alcove created by the buildings at the bottom of the site, it could be a lower rooftop or something at ground level. it looks structural

the right hand side of the site (which i’ve marked down as the formal entrance) could presently be used for parking. an annoyance depending on whether or not we decide to acknowledge it.

also note how the building at the top of the site reflects a lot of light back into the site, creating patterns upon the ground. useful?

6 thoughts on “landscape of ambiguity 2

  1. Christine

    Great! Yes shadow patterns and movements(and reflectance)are fantastic to design with. Temperature in the shade will be different than temperature in the sun. Reflectance is going to be particularly important for the pool [Element 4] to reflect the moon on its surface at night! So we also need to understand the lunar movements for the site!!

    Here is some climate data for London that may assist us to assess the potential of the site more closely.[] I am not sure of the closest weather station to Blackfriars Road for more specific data. Perhaps Tom knows? To determine the classification of the site according to the US Plant Hardiness Zone we need to know the lowest winter temperature for the site. Do you use the Koppen Climate Classification system?

    Yes it would be good to know more about the buildings adjoining the site. I am sure that the surrounding buildings will cast shadows on the site too. We need to have an idea of these patterns for a 24hr seasonal cycle. I think designers should have access to satelite CCTV so they can view their site![Proposed/future developments will impact on this aspect of the site’s microclimate…so although we may be able to gain a relatively comprehensive picture…we can also expect that it will be dynamic as the city skyline changes around the site!]

    If the site is currently used for carparking (and I think it is) there are a few possibilities; 1) do BT exec’s wish to go green with their own transport? [how realistic is this option for them?] 2) can we create a new parking area a) by parking under the site (basement), b) by recessing the parking (partial basement) or c) by creating a podium level for the public space? Some other way? [ie. a car stacking garage etc]Maybe Tom will want to call this one!

    I have started an analysis of the surrounding area….

  2. Tom Turner

    It does seem a shady place and I like the proposals for (1) using green technology to warm it up (2) conceiving the space as a Moonlight Garden in the Indian tradition. See Villiers-Stuart’s chapter on Moonlight gardens:
    The best hope of getting BT in the project is to conceive it as a Demonstration Project in Wifi for the sector of the workforce known as Road Warriors or Bedouins. The Guardian identified them as ‘Coffee Shop Bedouins’ but Wine Bar Bedouins could be more appealing and would have the advantage of extending this type of use into the evening. Virtual Workers is another term They have all the advantages of working at home but need ‘face-to-face’ time for networking etc.
    BT could develop its own brand of BWB (Bedouin Wine Bars), expecting to profit as much from selling booze and food as from promoting BT Wifi. The Fon network ( ) is an enlightened service and BT have everything to gain from its spread.
    Perhaps I should not mention it, or even think about it, but there is another possible selling point: people are allowed to smoke when out of doors! It is worth recalling that the great libertarian barrister, John Mortimer, took up smoking as a protest against the anti-smoking lobby. The Times reported: ‘Despite this nigh-biblical visitation of serried physical misfortunes, Mortimer staunchly maintains his one-man stand against our culture’s increasing health-consciousness. By way of illustration he calls his young assistant to bring him a pack of cigars and a fresh ashtray. “Nonsmoking? I absolutely hate that,” he says wheezily. “I’m not particularly keen on smoking. I’m not particularly good at it. I used to smoke and then I gave it up, partly because I don’t like dirty ashtrays. But I forced myself to take it up again when the Government said it would ban smoking in public places.”

  3. stefan

    doh! and after looking again at Tom photograph i’ve realised that the darker patch at the bottom of the image, running along up the left, is a low rooftop and the chainlink fence currently runs along the entrance to the right.

    in both the photograph and the satellite photo there is no sign of parked cars, so perhaps we’re lucky?

  4. Christine

    As long as neither the photograph or satellite image were taken on a weekend or public holiday or during a period of transient occupancy by BT (renovations etc etc)I guess we are lucky!?

    I’m all for BT involvement and the Wifi concept. Is Tom also proposing a revival of the smoking jacket?

  5. Christine

    5. And while we are on the subject of reviving customs…in ‘A Topological Dictionary of London and its Surroundings’ by James Elms there is mention of an Bear Garden (circa 1582);

    “wherein….were kept bears, bulls and other beasts to be bayted, as also mastiffs in several kennels, nourished to bayt them. These bears and other beasts are there kept in plots of ground, scaffolded about for the beholders to stand safe.”

    Bear-Garden steps were said to be opposite the Bear Garden and to lead down to the Thames. Does anyone know of the precise location of this early garden listed as Bankside Southwark?

  6. Christine



    Hourly updates for Southwark are at:


    The 6 day weather forecase is at:



    1. This gives webcam at Trafalgar Square gives us a birds-eye view of Central London.
    []So we can get into the rythmn of things….
    2. This webcam is the closest one to our site on Baylis Road/Westminister Bridge Road.[]


    Council minutes suggest there has been recent issues with water supply and pressure in Southwark, with up to 5 days of interrupted supply.

    Severe flooding occurred in 2004. The sewerage system was inadequate for this event. It was
    a 1:100 year flood. Perhaps this level of rainfall will become more frequent?



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