The RIBA Stirling prize for architecture was announced recently, a welcome time to review designs and understand forthcoming trends. For me it’s the swimming pool but then I just like pools!
It’s cool to look at well-designed buildings and feel they elevate the mundane circumstances, especially at work. Here’s a host of trendy offices but have a look again. They are not actually offices or actual workspaces, they’re the communal areas or break-out rooms. You have a feeling that the reality is that all the staff are still in Dilbert-style cubicles and to book space in these trendy areas takes a degree of seniority or months of H&S form completions. Still it keeps buildings on agenda and makes them important, especially important when so many are under-rated.
And what is an oculus? It’s never a good sign when you need to look words up to understand them in an journalism article. Our good friend Wiki provides the following: “An oculus, plural oculi, from Latin oculus: eye, denotes a circular opening in the centre of a dome or in a wall. Originating in antiquity, it is a feature of Byzantine and Neoclassical architecture. It is also known as an oeil de boeuf from the French, or simply a “bull’s-eye”.”
So really a trendy nomenclature then for a round opening. Sometimes you get the feeling architects are just well-paid painters & decorators, painting over the cracks and making things look OK. It’s amusing to imagine the discussion around the London Eye. The architect describes it as a metropolitan urban oculus portal. No mate it’s in London and its gives you an almost birds-eye view of the city, let’s call it the London Eye.