Monday, 16 February 2015

Saville Gardens.

Saturday morning and the sun shone long enough for us to decide to go out.....and then it went back to being cold and wet. Winter is just never going to end.

We meant to go for a long walk around Windsor Great Park but as we got near to the Saville Gardens we went in to the entrance building. I hadn't meant to as it was a place my parents went to a lot and it has memories for me.

But it is amazing architecture.


I remember it being built - it seemed to take forever. There are gardens that are quite expensive to see. You would really want to be a plant person to get something out of them - but the entrance building is free, there's a car park and you can get a coffee or look at the shop.

The building is ecological - on one side the earth is piled up against the walls for insulation and it is made entirely out of wood. While it is very modern it's also very traditional - they used 'Green Oak'; oak before it is seasoned so that there is inbuilt shrinkage.

The techniques were developed on medieval oak barns and continue to this day.

Except this is something that could only have been built in the age of computer aided design; take a look at the inside of the roof;

There a massive structural steel framework but the roof is self supporting and is just a network of interlocking oak beams. Built in the green, as the oak dried out it shrank, giving the structure it's strength. It's all about inner tensions.
It's also very beautiful.
And then we discovered that as it's still winter and no self respecting plant would be putting it's nose from out of it's warm comfy duvet; the gardens were free for the day.
So we took a look!
That's for tomorrow.
Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)

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