The National Museum of Liverpool…

The brand new Museum of Liverpool has just opened. Designed by 3XN Architects, this is the largest museum to open in britain for 100 years.

There is also an interesting description about the use of staircases as central hubs and also social interaction spaces, including views of internal areas. This is exactly the approach taken by the Guggenheim Museum in New York, where the central staircase forms the actual main galleries, with a large central space.

The Guggenheim New York central atrium


Buro Happold Lighting took care of the illuminations and with great effect.

Link to their website:


Tom & Jerry inspires home ed…!

The boys have been watching the Tom & Jerry DVD which their Granddad got them. It has 12 original cartoons on a double sided disc (first one i’ve come across) and it seems like a perfect type of comedy for them right now, with plenty of slapstick action.

What I didn’t think would happen was for the cartoons to inspire a morning of home ed ideas!

The first thing was smashing bottles against ships to Christian them, which appeared in one of the episodes. This was obviously a bit of a strange concept for them, so this led to a lot of talking about why people do this and ways to do it. I found a number of videos on You Tube which showed this, but there were no really good ones of big champagne bottles being smashed against big ships, but I did find one of Michelle Obama Christening one with a bottle!

I did find a number of videos of ships being launched, which really piqued their interest! Some amazing images and the scale of the ships was impressive.

The other idea came from an episode where Jerry goes on a journey to New York, via Grand Central Station. We were talking about all the landmark buildings and places where he went and I got quite excited when he turned up at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, by the Rockefeller Centre! I saw that in 2000 and was so impressed with it. That, the Guggenheim and the Flat Iron building are the most striking building in the city.

The cartoon also showed the statue of the Greek god Atlas, holding up the globe, which is opposite the cathedral. We talked about the cathedral and what it looked like and why Atlas was holding the globe. I actually checked this on Wikipedia and the story is not exactly easy to tell, with many confusions and misinterpretations over the years.

Anyway, a good example of turning something not obviously educational into something home ed!


Nobis House – Munich…

Following my last post about the use of wood in architecture, another incredible example of this approach, this time from Munich…

The Nobis House is an interesting minimalist structure which has flexible spaces and a very open view and perspective. The use of light is very effective as is the use of wood.

Another more fun design element is the use of fabrics and colour and just lots of fun…

The Willy Wonka House, New York.


Film: ‘No Impact Man’…

Last night we also watched ‘No Impact Man’, by Laura Gabbert and Justin Schein.

What an inspiring documentary! A consumer-driven New York couple and their young daughter went on a year long mission to reduce their impact and produce no NET environmental impact.

You have to see this film. There were some hard decisions to be made but they dealt with them all really well and at the end, they were stronger, more resilient and their impact on the planet was far less. They were also stronger as a family and had to rely on each other and their community more, rather than letting technology do the work for them. Their health improved, as they were walking, cycling etc more and they learnt loads about how things work and what you have to do to solve problems presented by day to day issues.

This has led to us thinking more about what else we can do to change our own lifestyle.

We’ve already done things like installing solar panels on the roof and insulating render to the outside walls, insulated the inside walls & floors, taken out the gas central heating and just use gas for water heating, bought only the most efficient appliances, use a wood-burner for space heating the main living space, got rid of the car & walk to work, become vegetarian, don’t use planes and buy absolute minimum air freight goods + have started an allotment to grow more of our own fruit and veg.

What we could do…

– Get rid of our old B-rated electric oven. At the moment, the grid is fairly carbon-heavy, due to all the coal, oil and gas power stations, so getting off the grid is good. Our solar panels are the best option but they only work when the sun is out, so cooking an evening meal in the oven uses the grid, not the panels.

– Switching off more lights in the evening and using candles. Not a massive one but could make a difference.

There’s probably loads more stuff we could do and the film was really inspiring.