Boat Buildings

When I was a lot younger I remember watching the 1935 version of Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield – apart from W.C. Fields and the dotty, but loveable, Mr. Dick (played by Lennox Pawle) the one thing that stuck in my mind above all was Peggotty’s house on the seashore, which was constructed from an up-turned boat.  It felt so warm and snug against the stormy weather outside – I really wanted one (and I probably still do!).

The only picture I can find of this boat-house is on another wordpress blog called Paradise Leased, about the architecture and people of old Hollywood.  Apparently the boat-house ‘prop’ was moved and became the home of Mr. R.H. Stiles (pictured below), who intended to turn it into a seafood restaurant – whether he did or not, I really don’t know.Peggotty's House RelocatedThere are similar up-turned boats used as sheds and dotted around The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, just off the northeast coast of England (see below).Boatshed near Lindisfarne

But the main reason for this posting is to highlight how this quirky and quite Victorian-looking interpretation of recycling has been updated and turned into a very trendy winery in Mexico.

It is featured on the ever-bountiful designboom website.  The architecture uses discarded boats from a nearby port to form the ceiling and walls and is a wonderfully practical way to reclaim wood.  Not only do we get to see the curvacious lines which are usually submerged under water but, by the very nature of it’s original purpose, the underside of a boat is just as effective as the upside of a building.  The fact that there has been very little re-processing involved in changing one use to another is also a huge positive in environmental stakes.  Although the architect is not mentioned (which is a real shame!) hopefully this ingenious and elegant re-interpretation will inspire other architects to think a little differently about the materials they use.

Vena Cava Winery in La Villa del Valle 1

Vena Cava Winery in La Villa del Valle 2

Vena Cava Winery in La Villa del Valle 3

Vena Cava Winery in La Villa del Valle 4

Building Sculpture

Using derelict buildings seems to be becoming a trend in the art world – or has it always been so and I’ve just missed it!

In 2007 Richard Wilson created a piece called ‘Turning the Place Over for Liverpool’s Capital of Culture Year.  It was a huge, rotating, circular section in the side of an old multi-storey building.  At one moment in its rotation it looks quite normal, but then it becomes completely disorienting as it slowly spins round and out of its correct position.  Here’s a video – it’s definitely worth a look!Turning The Place Over

Another building sculpture I’ve noticed recently is ‘From The Knees Of My Nose To The Belly Of My Toes‘ by Alex Chinneck (the link goes to an article on designboom) where the whole front of a terrace house in Margate appears to have slid off the building as if it was made of rubber.   Follow the link and you’ll find an interesting little video on the construction of the artwork and to quote the little girl in the video – “the house is very, very cool and very, very artific.” – although, some clever dick in the comments noticed that the satellite dish was facing the wrong way.  There’s always one!

From The Knees Of My Nose To The Belly Of My Toes by Alex Chinneck

From The Knees Of My Nose To The Belly Of My Toes by Alex Chinneck 2