"and you may ask yourself...well...how did I get here?"  David Byrne
These could be snaps of any building, in any place but they are not. They represent the particular and not the generic.  And this particular, particular, is my attempt to express a bundle of emotions about an environment I have long been acquainted with; I'm tempted to say something heroic like "these are hard won images" (which to an extent, they are), but I'd also like to think they contain trace elements of sentiment, nostalgia and some humour.
I don't have any particular political axe to grind, but I do find institutional architecture an interesting thing; an interface between our cultural ideals and the mundane incidence of grinding reality.
In this case a building which says something about the ephemeral nature of post war, post industrial and post pretty much everything town planning (this is Basildon, not Battersea or Bankside). Through a syntax of well phrased leisure spaces and an articulate lobby or two, the totality is a rather anonymous structure of economic stricture and some technical note.
But oddly, it adequately expresses something about my involvement with Basildon, over a period of 45 years (man and boy).  In 1958 my parents migrated from the satanic pot banks of Staffordshire, in order that my father should pursue his teaching career. The white collar south and Vange, to be precise.  I understood the meaning of the word / phrase "New-town", at an early age with all its implied ideals and aspirations.
Forty five years on, that idealism of my father's generation is dust and my familial relationship with Basildon has found its acme, in a building of optimistic intention that is not uncared for, but is unloved.
My interest has been held by the articulation of the building in its unpopulated underskirts. The landscape created is that of J.G. Ballard, almost alien in its urbanity and an oddly quiet environment, with little noise either aural or visual. In the wide green spaces of the hinterlands, a zen-like calm prevails and the vast lawns disappear towards the horizon, like an apocalyptic polo field.
In these surroundings, the signs of life gradually reveal themselves, struggling to gain a foothold or make a mark. There seems to emerge, a sort of base heraldry of communication, an imprint of shared experience into the "bios" of the culture and the fabric of the building.
These images are not intended to be unkind but attempt to acknowledge the building; to find a language and read the writing both on and off the wall.
From an informal exhibition and architectural document “Off the Wall”
May 2004