Monday, 27 July 2009

Brittany stuff

I'd hoped to present you with some nice architectural photos from Finistère but something went wrong with iPhoto when I downloaded them and they're lost. Gateposts of larger farmhouses had struck me as interesting -- granite, carved, square section with interesting top sections. I was going to say how they seem to have symbolic force, as if they have a meaning... Never mind -- next year, perhaps.

Also the villages, or settlements since they're often not bounded but spread across a stretch of landscape like crofts in the west of Ireland. Nearly all the villages and towns are satisfying to look at and I think the reason is standardisation. The colour of practically all the buildings is either that of their material, grey granite, or white. All the woodwork (doors, window frames and shutters) is a strong colour that's the same across the village or district -- usually a greyish blue or dark green. Not white, as in too many English houses. The roofs are all of slate, never of tile.

My neighbour assured me that there was no regulation enforcing paint colour; it was a matter of custom. Whether the same is true for wall and roof materials I don't know.

A final factor is that all the buildings are oriented the same way, even when the road they're on curves. So you get a pleasing rhythm and regularity over the irregular, contingent landscape of small fields cleared in the general bracken, thorn, gorse, broom, honeysuckle and, where there's shelter, ash.

I'll keep trying to get some decent photos that show the architecture.

Meanwhile, the best I can offer you is some sea and estuary: St Malo, Pointe du Raz, Audierne.

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