Author Archives: Doc

Nairn’s Towns

Nairn’s Towns is a collection of writing by Ian Nairn at his acerbic best. As one of the few critics of architecture to eschew purely aesthetic modes of analysis, Nairn instead focused on the character and feeling of buildings and towns. … Continue reading

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Gateshead’s Unbuilt Airport

It’s hard to imagine the North East’s international airport being anywhere other than Newcastle. It is, after all, the largest city in the region and has strong business, transport and financial links. But the location of the airport was not … Continue reading

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Global Undergrounds: Exploring Cities Within

In his introduction to Global Undergrounds Geoff Manaugh tries to get to grips with the allure of subterranean spaces. He recognises that ‘the underground lends itself well to mythology’ and posits that even ‘if our cities didn’t have undergrounds, we … Continue reading

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Newcastle’s Big Clean-up

One of Newcastle’s defining qualities is the unique townscape created by its Georgian and Neoclassical sandstone architecture. Geordies take great pride in this architectural heritage and it’s no surprise that Grey Street—one of the paragons of sandstone—was voted Britain’s ‘Best … Continue reading

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Planning for Destruction After the Death of Coal in County Durham

The English village brings to mind images of luscious rolling fields, beautiful stone built cottages with thatched roofs and winding country roads.  These are the places words like ‘genteel’, ‘quaint’ and ‘idyllic’ were made for. Travel companies lure weary city-dwellers … Continue reading

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A Burglar’s Guide to the City

In A Burglar’s Guide to the City Geoff Manaugh takes a look at architecture through the eyes of a burglar, positing that those looking to surreptitiously enter buildings see and make use of the built environment in a fundamentally different way to … Continue reading

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The Infrastructure Art of Renzo Picasso

Renzo Picasso (1880-1975) was an Italian architect, planner and artist whose work often concentrated on the utopian potential of vertical planning through skyscrapers—or cloudscratchers as he often referred to them. Although little known outside of Italy, Picasso spent time in … Continue reading

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The Circus in Newcastle

In his 1833 Register of Remarkable Events John Sykes has a short entry for the opening of a circus in Newcastle on October 29th 1789. The Circus or Amphitheater, at the Forth, Newcastle, was first opening under the direction of … Continue reading

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Newcastle’s Skywalks

When T. Dan Smith took over the reigns as head of Newcastle City Council in 1959 he became one of the first local leaders in the United Kingdom to recognise the importance of urban planning in coping with the bundle … Continue reading

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Newcastle’s Secret Park and the Hidden History of City Fun

Most Newcastle residents are familiar with Leazes Park, Exhibition Park, Gosforth Park and Jesmond Dene. But few are aware that there’s a park hidden away in central Newcastle. You can be forgiven for not knowing it’s there, after all two … Continue reading

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