Visited the Mercantile Marine Memorial this weekend. Designed by Edwin Lutyens, I was taken aback by the simplicity of the geometry, its sudden position near Tower Bridge junction and its clear architectural gestures to his Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme. Up close the bronze plates and sunken garden behind create a sense of space that is rare in a pre-occupied context. From afar, the simple arch geometry is a bold and simultaneously humane in scale, framing the city beyond. Reading up on the work afterwards, it seems the memorial was contentious, however the motifs, proportion and openings breathe an unexpected reflective space in the extreme hustle and bustle of contemporary life.
Also watched Testament of Youth, a film charting the memoirs of Vera Brittain during WW1 as she witnessed love, loss and recovery. The narration of the film through poetry and the nature of interior life particularly resonated. The compressed and traumatic interior of the mind charged through the representation of the interior itself – home, train carriage, hut, hospital, exam hall, forest; interconnected and simultaneous. Where objects, materials, surfaces and actions respire.