Workmanship is something I can appreciate, dont we all really?! Workmanship in building, drawing, CAD, design, crafts, art, plumbing, furniture, fashion, chairs, cornices, cars, gadgets, tables and TEAPOTS even!! Whatever your fancy I think we all like good, quality, attention to detail. Whether we are willing to pay for that or not is another story but the point is stil valid! My blog here being about design and architecture, I’m going to show some nice examples of workmanship here (and also some awful pictures of stuff I wouldnt build for a blind parrot) This post is the beginning but I will cover various areas involving workmanship in different forms as I go along and separate them into individual posts…It will take on a life of its own I hope!
Structures, Brickwork and Heritage Buildings:
So, with workmanship in mind what do we mean by it really? What comes to mind when you think of a fine heritage building and brickwork for example? Quality and intricacy of design usually! Am I right? Why is that? Is it that bricklayers of old were better than today? Was it better knowledge and training of how to do it right? Was it the pay?? better? Or worse? Was it the time allocated to build the structure?? Maybe all of the above or just one! Personally I think pride, and length of time for completion, were the main factors. But we still think of ‘quality of design’, which was plentiful, but of course as always there are many poorly built structures that were also evident of the time as in any other generation. Here are a few pics I recently snapped of some good and some poor buildings from a workmanship point of view…Note: I will be covering brickwork, windows, tiles, you name it, below and in future posts….Have a look and see what you think.
Reidys Wine Vault bar...classic!
Refurbished House that has been carefully restored...nice timber window and look at the roof eaves brickwork some nice detailing there.
Side entrance to UCC Arch, Cork. Fine restoration and cleaning of this ancient archway....Fine blockwork and also coat of arms at the head
The honan chapel UCC, fabulous stonework and details in this compact chapel on the University Grounds
honan chapel fine detail evident. Note the conical shape and roof with louvred slits in the side of the stonework
honan chapel, was this a lookout tower in old times that was subsequently blocked in?? Interesting detail.
Devere Hall UCC, recently built with obvious references to the horan chapel grounds opposite, as evident from the conical roof, responding to the cone shaped piers of the chapel in the shot here
An inscription on the facade of this refurbished heritage building...how cool would that look to friends...'I live in the house with the giant date stamp on the front of it'!
Love this brickwork detail around the windows and the tiling on a residential house alongside university grounds
Former Eye Ear and Throat hospital Cork city, A fine building but lying idle as of recently by the Health Service and doesnt look like any proposals on table for what to do with it...Sorry state of affairs really....
Furniture shop in Cork City, An old mill warehouse converted into a furniture warehouse. Fab Facade and brick detailing, not to mention the protruding anchors
Some awesome window surround details in the furniture shop. Windows could do with replacing of course.
Another window in the shop...love the brickwork and coursing details but if you look close there is plenty of cracking running vertically between the windows and chipping of the bricks. The anchors looking rusty etc....could do with refurb job, it would look magnificent if done right, heres hoping!
I was getting hungry, nothing to do with buildings! check out the prices tho....what a rip off!!....
The anvil building, not in New York...this one is in Cork city lol! Love it tho....nice detailing along the parapets and check those windows out! is that a stairs spiralling down the windows at mid height? fab! Undergoing refurb at the moment....looking quiet a lot tho I hope it hasnt stalled....
Shop front column, looks great. I wonder what the band at mid height is tho?? Have seen a similar detail question raised somewhere else too...must research that one....
See the heads along the parapet...lovely detail work! Could do with some renovating tho...crumbling in areas.
Old retail building. An example of some tasteless detailing. potentially good brickwork ruined by the change of materials on the outside corner as its done here....all over the place really. not enhanced either by some unsympathetic shop frontages and colours on bottom floor. In my opinion they completely missed an opportunity for the columns to be continued down to the ground and really making it a feature of the building with great strength in form, the first floor and upward columns just about evident in the remaining facade before being cut at first floor by a horizontal beam. Pathwork brickwork to cover new beam is still evident in the lighter colour just over the shop front in green.
Nice stone details on this church...intricate details.
A random cork city centre building at a top floor exterior detail. Beautiful stone work again.
Ornate finishings on this old building recently refurbished in Cork City centre. Not so much brickwork on display but its just a great looking building I had to put it in here!
St Finbarr's Cathedral Cork City, Gorgeous stonework and detailing in this old cathedral. Oozes character! As you would expect many large buildings receiving planning permission must be sensitive to this and also not hinder the many views of it in nearby areas...
Ok this one is just plain ugly. 60's prefabricated elements, sometimes they look ok, often they don't!!! like here!!! See the formwork and various concrete layered lines...uneven too which doesn't help. And the windows don't add anything...comparing this to St Finbarrs Cathedral you can see the gulf in difference....and speed of build I suppose!
How NOT to build something. only shelters! Just horrible...Prefab 60's Office building. With even WORSE Windows....and uPVC of course....upgraded from wait....the earlier popular style of thin grey metal frame windows popular in the 80's....Just horrible. Even the insitu 'Vents' in the middle of the glazing....never nice.
Which brings us onto Windows! What about windows then?? We usually think of the old timber ones with multiple, single glazed panes. Often with delicate timber fenestrations and ornate patterns and so on. Accompanying these thoughts though, are usually those regarding poor heat retention alongside the more pleasant aesthetic quality to the timber windows…..
Window styles Old and New:
From ‘Traditional‘ window types to ‘Modern‘ ones….If we think for a minute of what are considered ‘modern’ windows by many of the public….uPVC usually comes to mind…those horrid things….ok, thats a bit harsh, but many people currently ONLY think of uPVC when they look to put in, upgrade or replace old windows to ‘Modern‘ ones, thinking all they need to do is put them in and then heating and leaking problem solved!!..without looking around at the many other window types on the market including timber ones that are also modern, sound, well insulated and usually much nicer looking in their aesthetics!! There are people (I have heard from many of them, including my own relatives!) that don’t think there are fabulous timber windows being made these days, up to new standards and beyond….they only remember the leaky cold old timber ones they used to have and want nothing to do with that again! Well, its a valid concern, but I would rather more people did research before jumping at the chance to stick in plastic ones. Its not just timber tho, there are many materials available these days and I would just love to see a greater variety than this ‘Plasticland‘ culture that has been around for so long. Im not knocking the quality of uPVC altogether, I’m just looking for the best quality along with the best aesthetic….while they all serve great purposes I would like a bit more appreciation of context when possible. To honour old windows I’m including pics here, nice windows, ugly windows, windows of all kinds!
Ok this is a fantastic little cottage that I was also going to mention in the cottages section I will be doing next but check those windows out....plenty of old character and charm.
I love the window frames on this one....and look at the timber work over the doorways....really nice. A traditional look in this area. You can see a similar looking uPVC window installation next door but notice the lack of depth with them? I think it highlights my point really!
Some fantastic window details near University in Cork. Nice Glazing and timber details. Love the boxy trims to the very top windows!
Church window detail with very nice stonework around. Not a very common material finish or detail for windows to churches in Cork but this one looks good.
70's or 80's balcony detail. Just Horrible. All around. The Plastic windows, concrete form, This should never be copied!!!! Ever!!!!
I just like the overall look and feel of this one....the roof tiles to the centre window with an inscription, not sure about the roundness of it but its an unusual sight along this road, The windows have been replaced but some attention was at leat paid to the feel of it by including thick soffit trims around the bay window, maintaining the depth and solidness of it predeccessor.
Ok I have to say I hate the look of this. The pic is slightly flattering here, including the lightness of the metal windows. Love the interior and the other exterior facade for the most part but this angled exterior looks terrible from any distance particularly when you just pass by some beautiful old buildings in the area and see this above some rooftops before rounding the corner....its just over 45° from the main road which runs parallel with the adjacent facade. It is wider looking from that side. From a distance the windows look too big in those metal grey frames, too much terracotta tiling between the windows with too little an emphasis on their squarish shape or other clean lines, which has the effect of making the facade look 'flat'. The white stone surrounds don't fit right either, maybe due again to the non emphasis of square or horizontal lines that might be there if the tiles were more evident perhaps, the 'Framing' is just out of sorts with the windows here....needs more horizontal and/or vertical strength, just looks 'flat'. Looking at the adjacent sides tho it would appear that maybe they were supposed to carry thru a grey metal band or exposed beam horizontally like the other sides and run it alongjust under the windows where you can see thick bands in that part only. Looking at the pic below would also support this where the horizontal grey band is emphasised under the windows. So, these windows don't 'pass' for me in their current form
Jury is out on these windows! Some nice detailing with the glazing here but slightly concerned at the fact there is little in way of sill design and drainage of rain water....in the south of this country there is much higher rain fall level annually than the east or north so this may cause problems with staining in the near future. See how the buildings had to be cut back severely to maintain views of St Finbarr's cathedral just visible in background!
Nice window and timber trims with stained glass elements!!
University College Cork, Civil Eng Dept. Nice wood windows and trims...some nice rainwater collectors in copper with date stamps on them!
An interesting building on the river lee in cork city, Built few years ago as new build. Wine bar on ground, residential apartments overhead. On the right side it overlooks a weir, on the left it overlooks a city road...medieval design influence of the arching, almost leaning over street building with nice touches in the materials, zinc roof, wood, and interesting window shape. I think they work overall, given the contemporary take on a medieval look rather than an actual refurbishment.
Tiles and Mosaics:
Tiles are another thing, Do you think of fine Italian ceramic or stone tiles?? Or the traditional diamond black and white tile of so many floors in century old residences? Intricate tiling of a public frontage or surface? Greek style Mosaic or mural types? Most are again associated with style and attention to detail. Pics from readers are welcome of course, feel free to send me yours and I’ll put them up here too…heres one or two that caught my eye…
unique mosaic tiling on shopfront!! Its a plant shop we will say...you can guess what the pictures represent
Wormanship in all forms are the topic so I hope you saw some good examples of it above, Will add updates to this post as I go along. What do you think, Any favourites?