061206.Westonbirt, Educatin’ Late

December 6, 2006 at 4:59 PM | Posted in Architecture, countryside, doorways, Finland, Gardens & Parks, Gloucestershire, Light and Shadow, Overcast, Trees, Westonbirt | 9 Comments


This is the educational conference centre at Westonbirt National Arboretum.


I really like it. I’m not sure if it is a bit hokey or what (down to its lit tree stump surroundings) but to me, it feels appropriate for the site and works well in terms of its program and environment. The timber theme stretches to the gift shop (less well executed), tent-roofed picnic areas, and a green roof over the fancy cafe/restaurant. I’ve been meaning to post these images for sometime and Mimmu’s Joensuu, Finland Daily Photo post of architect Marjatta Hara-Pietilä’s 2004 Joensuu Arena inspired me to get my act together.



It was built within the last few years out of Oak, that had been downed at the property over the years from storms, etc. (Just to point out that one of the plaques along the nature trail claimed the centre was constructed from Douglas Firs, but it looked like Oak and the educator on duty claimed it was Oak, so here it remains Oakidy Oak-Oak Oak.) It’s centerpiece table is made of elm, which is now somewhat of a prized wood after most elms in Europe died off during an epidemic in the late ’70s and early ’80s. I don’t know the structure of the building. There is no metal visible, and the beams are well jointed and pegged to suggest there is no need, but I am suspicious considering the glass encasing.The structure is well-heated, despite the glass walls and continual “O.K.” gloomy environment, and this has aggrandized the natural process of timber shrinkage, but everything is still sound inside.



And finally, yet another anniversary/birthday graces this site….and it is:

Happy 89th, FINLAND, ol’ boy!

If you’re uncomfortable with your age, be prepared to be celebrating this marker for a long time to come. Check the festivities out here:

Back in the day when I was there, we had to walk 50 miles in the snow just to wash our undertrunks – and you know what? When we took them out, they just froze in the air! Talk about an uncomfortable 50 mile walk back! (Photos taken in Jyväskylä.)

Pictured wearing the undergarment as a two-prong top hat is Max, who jumped into the frozen lake in his trunks, only to have them freeze when he got out. You see, this wasn’t a simple starch treatment. These cotton boxers froze solid and the rest of the walk back was filled with stealing the underwear and beating fellow pedestrians senseless with it.


What happens in Finland, stays in Finland.
(Unless it makes its way onto the Bath Daily Photo blog.)


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  1. If you didn’t say anything about the one who wears a undertrunk, no one would know he is MAX!!

  2. Hi Ja, I looked at the foresty webpage and learned that Father Christmas, Christmas lights and mulled wine are all at the conservatory now. What a pretty place – thanks for introducing me.

  3. That looks like a church sanctuary with a tree planting sermonette, but no minister. Multi-media church, but no one to watch but the photographer.

    We lost elms to Dutch elm disease in the States too. In our wood-burner we burn the dead elms lying around our property. The wood is very hard and long-burning. I wonder if elms will ever come back.

    I believe you about the oak.

  4. Oh, YOU!!! I am laughing now, I can`t say anything else about the building, that it looks
    well done and suitable to the environment, where it is located.

    But next time in Finland you should dress up “kalsarit”( long hems )you will get much better looking pictures 😀

  5. In the snow, behind Max and his frozen boxers-


  6. Denmark’s International Study (for my JYA.)

  7. this photo (I mean the main/first one) has a very warm mood. Like an inviting shelter in the cold, rainy environment

  8. oh ha! i just realised that they are frozen boxers. i looked yesterday whilst a bit sleepy and didnt really see properly. woops. podbrain! i like the building. it is sympathetic to the environment isnt it j ames, hmm?

  9. Those pants remind me of my winters in Minnesota, where it did get quite cold. I walked out with wet hair one day when it was about 10F – I also nearly lost my earlobes wearing earnings with no hats… That’s where I learned that -40 degrees is roughly the same in C and F.

    I love the reflections on the water (?) in tree stump.

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