The Boston Pendulum
Two themes have converged of late in these pages – bikes and the flat Lincolnshire coast of England’s eastern seaboard.
Back in September I blogged about the Nonument – a bike shed in the seaside resort of Schrevenige, in Holland (this is the spelling on the architects’ website but a Dutch friend tells me it is wrong as it should be spelt Schreveningen) that also acts as a piece of public art. (The shed is in fact a warden guarded bike park which is part monument, part eccentric fortification and part folly, referencing seaside architecture, fortifications, lighthouses and earthworks. On top is a small house that periodically catches fire.)
October’s beach huts were part of a public art project in Lincolnshire.
Now comes news of a pair of observation towers, the Boston Pendulum and the Lincoln Stump, in the grand tradition of follies, built again in Lincolnshire, this time to mark each end of a riverside cycling route. The towers have been built in Boston and Lincoln for Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity, as part of the National Cycle Network.
Both buildings, constructed from steel faced in timber, are by Belgian architect Paul Robbrecht of Robbrecht and Daem but they look quite different at first sight.
The Boston Pendulum consists of two flights of stairs, off set against each other by a turn in the stairs, with the second flight cantilevered into space. From the top the viewer can see for miles across the flat Lincolnshire fens.
The Lincoln Stump is also two off set structures with a second storey shunted out into space to project beyond the first. The Stump faces Lincoln’s hilltop cathedral and unlike the Pendulum it is boarded up at the sides with painted cladding, to reflect the colours of local birds. Only upon reaching the top is the view available.
Paul Robbrecht who works with “a special respect for a site’s landscape and history” has placed some of the drawings he created for the project on line, you can find them at http://www.hi-views.org.uk/architect/index.html. You can find out more about Robbrecht and Daem and their other work at their website http:// www.robbrechtendaem.com
Note on Boston, Lincolnshire: Historically Boston was an important port for trade around northern Europe and in the 13th century became the leading port in England.
In 1545 it was granted a charter and became a borough. By the 17th century it became infamous as a centre of religious non-conformity.Boston later developed from being a trading centre to a production centre for crops. The fenlands surrounding Boston were drained and sea banks were built to enable crops to be cultivated.
Modern day Boston is a busy college town which also has markets on a Wednesday and Saturday. It also takes pride in its Party in the Park Festival, which takes place in July, and the Mayfair event which is the original street fair chartered from King Henry VIII days.
The most visible piece of architecture in Boston is St Botolph’s Church, the largest parish church in England. Better known as ‘Boston Stump’ the tower can be seen up to 20 miles away.