Friday, 15 February 2013

Nottingham Architecture and Urban Design

BFTF has long been fascinated by the architecture of Nottingham, and has a (no doubt annoying) tendency to point out any buildings that have date plaques on them to the kids, "Hey look, that building was built in 1902! being a typical refrain.

Given that BFTF has approximately zero knowledge of urban planning, architecture or any related subjects it was wonderful to find a treasure trove of architectural blogs on the Internet (intially via a link on the Nottingham section of Reddit) and really wanted to share them, together with pictures from around the city ...


Jun 2017
Noticed a little alley opposite Nottingham Contemporary and had a look in the Syson Gallery - a nice lady explained that the glazed brickwork was common in the courtyards and narrow lanes of the Lace Market area as a way of maximising the daylight that reached down to the lace workers. Apparently, similar tiles can be found in the New York meat packing district - in that case presumably for their easy-wipe-down charateristics.

Glazed Bricks - Lace Market, Jun 2017
Also noticed this weather station on Queens Drive, near the Retail Park - wonder who it is collecting data for...

Weather Station, Queens Drive, nr Retail Park, June 2017


May 2017
Saw some interesting buildings while cycling today...

Jubilee Campus GSK Centre for Sustainable Chemistry, May 2017

Jubilee Campus GSK Centre for Sustainable Chemistry, May 2017

This did make me chuckle, on the Sustainable Chemistry Bldg

Wonder if the greenery coming through the paving is a feature or a fault?

Jubilee Campus "Ingenuity Building", May 2017


"Imperial Tobacco" - incredible example of brutalist architecture


Having a bit of a morning ride and noticed the Hemlock Stone for the first time. It is located near the Bramcote Leisure Centre and composed of the same Nottingham Castle Sandstone that underlies much of central Nottingham.

The Hemlock Stone

Scientists are not sure whether the surrounding sandstone has been worn away or quarried, however the fact that the top is dark (from Industrial Revolution pollution) while the bottom is sandy coloured (due to having been worn away) suggests that erosion is uneven and that the stone will eventually become unstable and fall.

The fascinating information board describes how, at the time the sandstone was laid down in the Triassic, the UK was

"all the world's continents were joined together into a single huge landmass called Pangea...Britain was landlocked in the interior of Pangea and sweltered under a hot and humid climate. Heavy monsoonal rains fell on an ancient mountain range to the south of Britan and fed a vast seasonal river that flowed northwards across England, despositing a 400 metre thick layer of bedded, pebbly sand. Many tens of millions of years later Pangea split into several continents and the sea advanced and retreated many times across southern Britain, burying the Triassic sands beneath several hundred metres of overlying sediment. Under this enormous sediment the sands were crushed and cemented into rock - the Nottingham Castle Sandstone."

It is only over the past 20 million years that erosion has removed the younger overlying rocks to reveal the sandstone again.


Must have cycled past this dozens of times without noticing it...

A WW2 era pillbox on Trowell Moor.
Would love to learn more about it's history.


Walked around Highfields Park recently - something that BFTF hasn't done for a long time since the kids got bigger and started making their own park arrangements. Some really nice stuff going on there.

Love the beautiful benches at Highfields Park

Look what Highfields Park has done to this tree stump!

It really is very clever and educational!


Makes it feel much safer cycling there in the evening.

New Streetlight, Victoria Embankment, Mar 2017


Dec 2016
New Lighting along Castle Boulevard, Nottingham, Dec 2016

BFTF often takes a walk of an evening and finds the new streetlighting on Castle Boulevard - with separate lamps to direct light towards the pavement - does a great job in making previously dark places much better lit. Very reassuring.

New Night Lighting, Castle Blvd, Dec 2016


Extraordinarily beautiful brickwork on the Hyson Green Community Centre.

Hyson Green Community Centre
(formerly Hyson Green Methodist Free Church, built 1985)

Window Detail


Aug 2016
Love this Mural - Map in Forest Fields 


Aug 2016
Sweet resurfacing on Caulton Street

Impressed with the very smooth and neat resurfacing on Caulton Street, just off Radford Road. Asked the council how they choose between the various available resurfacing options and got a response from the "Infrastructure Asset Manager" commenting that a good reference guide could be found here and explaining that :

"When formulating the forward maintenance programme we typically reference customer enquiries and comments from our team of highway maintenance inspectors. Caulton Street was highlighted by Ward Councillors in the Arboretum ward and was paid for by their Area Based Budget (which is also known as the Area Capital programme)."

See also here for info from Kent CC.
Very nice resurfacing - bravo Nottingham  Council !


May 2016
Been reading up about the Big Belly bins that have been installed in Nottingham for a while now. Turns out that their combination of compaction and "empty on demand" is claimed to reduce the number of waste collections by up to 80% and largely eliminate the problem of overflowing bins, especially by fast food outlets. You can read more here.

A Big Belly bin, yesterday


Nov 2015
Cobbles, Thoresby Street, NG1 (Nov 2015)

Nottingham - a town of many architectures


Oct 2014
The detailing on the houses of Radford Road (built in 1879) caught the eye of BFTF a while back...

Radford Road

Lovely details at the top of the houses

BFTF likes the intricate tiling, and wonders who this bloke is!


Feb 2014
Rather wonderful list of events in Nottinghams history at MumblingNerds Blog
And there is some great material at Nottingham Archives


Dec 13
Worth mentioning that this report on a talk about the Hyson Green Eco House covers some important issues regarding how those most in need of energy efficient housing are often those least able to access eco-grants.

And also that there are some very charming photo-essays on the nooks and hidden corners of Nottingham city centre at Thom's Blog


There is a wonderful post at Internet Curtains on how Nottingham dodged a bullet in the 50s and 60s by being late to redevelop its town centre and clear nearby slums - a delay that allowed it to escape having motorways carving up the heart of the city, as was the case in Birmingham. BFTF would like to talk about this post more but , to be honest the original author has done such a good job, and included so much interesting information, that I beseech you to go directly there right now!

But there is a lot, lot more Nottingham related content at Internet Curtains :
A History of the Trent Lane Depot
A car-free route from Bulwell to Basford
The architecture and desing of Mapperley Top
The Industrial Heritage of Colwick Industrial Estate
The history of the site now occupied by Nottingham Contemporary

A rather arty view of the Ring Road

Meanwhile, at Jones the Planner, there is a great post on Nottingham Contemporary (BFTF is gobsmacked to find that it had not noticed the lace effect exterior panels when visiting) and also a post giving a general overview of Nottinghams urban design.

A rainy day in Radford

And Jonathan Clarkes blog called Landscape Ping! has a post that considers, in some detail, the architecture of the University of Nottingham's Jubilee Campus.

One of Nottingham's rather wonderful trams

And lastly (for now), and also somewhat more tangentially, the Pathetic Motorways site provides a wonderful insight into the thinking behind, and development of, the UK's arterial road network.


Oct 2015
Not related to Nottingham, but loved this wall of coloured glass at Washington Dulles Airport

Lovely colours


Related Content
New York Architecture,
Tour of Notts Central Fire Station
Water Exhibition
Coal Mining in the East Midlands
Coal Mining in Nottingham
Mining meories


Image Sources Images all BFTF's own

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