Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Turrets, Trains, Symbols, and Signs

It is an architecture of anticipation, of promise, of things to be discovered, of journeys to be made.

The Dunedin railway station is like a flamboyant tea cozy,

its almost sober blue stone is trimmed with a creamy lace of Oamaru Limestone. There are balls, baskets, cherubs and flourishes. Little arched openings miraculously lighten tons of stone, transforming cold blocks into decorative railings.

On the roof terracotta red tiles contrast with copper green shingles and domes. Loopy decorative ridge tiles make the ridge like the back bone of a dragon.

On a square tower, a clock like a gentleman's fob watch, keeps careful note of time. Time keeping at a station is a serious business, a traveler must, after all, know what the hour is in order to be able to catch the 10.15 express that is running 34 minutes late.

(sadly, the glory days are gone, most people use the car, the aeroplane, or, occasionally, the bus. 10.15 express worries no longer trouble the impatient traveler, because there is not one to be had. Activity at the station now is centered around a Sports Hall of Fame, the Otago Art Society, and an excursion train run by private enterprise, the Taieri Gorge Railway, with a regular run to the Taieri George, and twice weekly to Palmerston and back.)

We have moved to a turret of different design. Of friendly appearance, no doubt, but it adorns a building with a different purpose. Like the railway station, it is a destination, and a holding point, but here a train to somewhere else was never intended to come, here horizons are narrowed, and views, if any, are glimpsed with difficulty through small panes of thick glass and prison bars.

It is interesting to see both the railway station, and the Dunedin prison, at the same time. Both with turrets and adornments. Both with different messages.

Let us move past. The prison is no longer used as far as I know, but it pays not to linger! A quick look up to the fire escape on a part of the prison that is less secure.

By contrast, the fire escape at the next door Leviathan Hotel, actually looks like something out a maximum security prison. Humm, the reviews of the Leviathan that can be found via a Google search make for interesting reading, but I won't put a link here lest I be sued! It must be noted though that the worst are from several years ago, and some of the more recent ones are better.

Looking back, we see the Leviathan placed centrally, the tower of the railway station to our right, and to left of the photo is the tower of the Otago Daily Times Star Newspaper . You can "read all about it" on line these days.

Situated at the approach to Queens Gardens, the Celtic Cross when seen with the distant railway station speaks of other journeys.

The nearby "No Entry" sign, seems to echo the shape and authority of the Celtic Cross.

Does this "Give Way", seen with the tower and turrets of First Church behind, speak of tolerance and understanding?

I took most of these photos last week whilst in Dunedin at the Potter's Co-op. When in town, I like to take a little walk part way through the day with my camera if I can. It is a time to think, and reflect, and to see every day things in a different way.


Pat - Arkansas said...

Another group of wonderful photos; thanks! I love the ornateness of the (used to be) train station. The different types of stone used made a beautiful building.

First Church is magnificent.

Arkansas Patti said...

Aah, your architecture makes ours look so bland. Just love all the turrets and steeples.
Really great pictures Peter. Isn;t it wonderful how when we take our cameras with us, we see more.
Thanks for letting us take the tour with you.

Linda Starr said...

Such beautiful buildings, even the jail, amazing. Keep walking, I am enjoying your little jaunts.

Peter said...

Thank you Pat, Patti, and Linda. Lovely to hear from you, I will continue my jaunts! I am intending some photos that I have just taken of our bit of sea shore next and hope to post them soon. Computer had some problems starting this morning though, so if I disappear off the radar screen for a few days, it will be because I am wrestling with technology and also with assembling tea pots.., but that is another story! Best Wishes, P.