Tag Archives: Andrew James Murray

NOMA: what are those round-y, tilted buildings?

Photo seen on my Manc* buddy Andy’s blog
(oh, yes, he’s a published poet, check out his books here – perfect for gift-giving, IMHO)

Manchester Cundall Light4“Whoa, what are those odd round-y tilted buildings?” I asked him in the comment section.

To which he responded with a link to something called NOMA Earth Tubes.

NOMA? What the heck is that?

He further elaborated,
“The atrium is fundamental to the building’s ventilation strategy. Each of its three corners houses one of the building’s vertical service cores. Some 50m3/s of fresh air is sucked into the building from its landscaped forecourt through three giant earth tubes buried beneath the building; this helps temper the air, cooling it in summer and warming it in winter. Air is heated or cooled in a huge basement plant room before giant fans push it up the service cores to the floor plates.”

Huh?

Sufficiently curious, I clicked on his link reference thus beginning a fun google research journey for this lady on a pleasantly cozy, rainy Saturday afternoon.

At first the photos in and of themselves were delightfully mind-bending

NOMA Earth Tubes at night

NOMA Earth Tubes at night

with accompanying explanatory text,
“Cundall Light4 was appointed by The Co-operative and Hermes to provide the lighting design for the three earth tubes adjacent to the new Co-operative Group office at 1 Angel Square in Manchester.”

Ah, so that’s what Andy’s response was referring to…those Earth Tubes are fully functional building maintenance machine-structures.

As I continued reading, the melding of science, industrial needs and a city’s desire to offer an artistic skyline got my granola-tree-hugging-hippie-soul to singing.

Reading further, integrated into the Earth Tubes are lighting elements which are programmed with a series of vibrant animations, images of poppies for remembrance day, and programmed to create a shadow of the people dancing in front of the earth tubes.

Oh let me do my Dance of Joy! – buildings joining with me in my happy celebrations.

This is not a stagnant installation. Manchester plans on offering future programming to students and artists.These Earth Tubes are life-giving in physical purpose as well as for the whole of a human being.

And now, what about NOMA? Maybe NOMA has something to do with MAnchester. A quick google research turns up over 6 different acronym references; none of which refer to anything related to the Earth tubes or Manchester.

Reading between the lines, I realized NOMA stands for NOrthern MAnchester.

And yes, I left the best discovery for last.  Here’s a short YouTube of the NOMA Earth Tubes – Cundall Light4. Please enjoy and picture this lady twirling round and round and round and round in her modest but freeing Dance of Joy.

*Manc is a local term for native Mancunians

Giving Voice: It Was Children – and – It Was Intentional

Andrew James MurrayMy blogger-poet-friend, Andy, is a native Mancunian. These are excerpts taken from his account of and reactions to this attack of the innocents.

Quote symbolAround the time I went to bed the bomb went off.

I was totally unaware of what had happened until around 3.00am, when my wife woke me. Friends from around the country, indeed the world, had messaged us. Then, bleary eyed, we tried to process just what had happened.

There was footage of the panic; people searching for lost children; a distressed woman rang our local radio station with a horrific account of what she had witnessed; friends of ours announced that they were safe.

The friend of my little girl was at the concert with her family. There were other people attending that we know. My daughter herself was at a concert in that same venue just a couple of weeks ago. The arena can be accessed through the train station which I have been commuting from. Not so long ago I attended the Young Voices competition as a staff member with my children’s school choir. 8,000 children were present that day. Suddenly the horror that regularly unfolds throughout the world was on our doorstep…

…Manchester is no stranger to such atrocities. There was the IRA bomb of 1996 which utterly devastated the town centre. The Manchester we know today rose from the ashes of that day. But back then everybody had been evacuated, miraculously nobody was killed. Last night it was people targeted.

It was children. Continue reading

Poetry Shoutout: “Heading North” by Andrew James Murray

Heading North book coverAndrew James Murray“I am a northern guy. I have lived the whole of my life in the north west of England. I feel northern. It is in my accent. It is in my attitude. It is in my preferences: my favorite season is winter…”

Thus begins Andrew James Murray in the Forward of his new collection of poems, Heading North.

 

This idea of ‘northern-ness’ in a non-American context intrigued me.

A mere 35 miles west of Manchester where Andrew resides lies the infamous town of Liverpool. I never thought of The Beatles as being ‘northern’.

And yet, thinking on this further, it begins to fall into place – this marriage of blue-collar work ethic to the arts and education; a gritty, earthy element evident in both (he)artists’ life-work.

Damp, dark mists surround day-to-day living in the North, where cold light slants in mysterious angles. This is where Andrew draws inspiration. Continue reading