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Amanda J Threadbone Building Casts a Shadow


The Threadbone Corporation / thrupiece|organisation complex at Great Heaving has become synonymous over the last decade or so with signature buildings which challenge the accepted architectural styles of the day and make signature statements of a kind so outrageous and dysfunctional that they are more or less guaranteed to win European Design Awards from those not likely ever to have to work inside them. With a no expenses spared and an anything goes philosophy, it is home to some of Europe's most admired, respected and structurally advanced buildings: several of them being so unfit fit for their originally intended purpose that they have been re-assigned to areas of the corporation/organisation's activities where style alone matters (eg Threadbone Medical Research). A happy exception is, of course, the Thrupiece Philharmonic Hall, which has quickly established itself not only as a perfect example of the internationalist post-post-modernist CAD school of prefabricated, pre-pubescent design but also a "fairly tolerable" acoustical space .

Now it is to be joined by a companion piece which takes the concept of the "vernacular" and raises it to an altogether higher level of post-idealist, hieratic anti-iconoclasm. The Amanda J Threadbone Building, into which all the higher financial operations at Great Heaving will be moved, pays homage simultaneously to the humble WIndolene cleaner spray (an ironic reference to its thousands of glass pains the cleaning of which will be a year round task) and the limitless mouldability of modern construction materials.

Its architect - Mylene Glass-Paine - describes it as "playful, joyous, arresting, outrageous and above all wholly impractical" adding that "we designed it this way not because we needed to or because it "worked" according to the tired tropes of middle class utilitarian convention, but because we wanted to and we could and nobody stopped us".

So does a building of this kind pose particular challenges to the designer? "Not really", Mylene reflects with a smile, adding, "we took an ordinary spray bottle, drew its outline and printed it onto a piece of paper which we then enlarged. We then handed it to the engineers who did the rest". "So no problems at all?", we asked. "There were a few challenges with the furniture and fittings", she admitted. "Getting chairs the shape of a Dab-it-off dispensers and cushions shaped like an Astonish Heavy-Duty Bathroom tub wasn't easy, but we had a moment of inspiration and visited the IKEA in Dewlish - and there they were. Job done." Ms Glass-Payne trained at the Chaldon Herring Design Centre and is a member of DRIBA.

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Artists impression of the new Amanda J Threadbone Building at Great Heaving.

Artists impression of the new Amanda J Threadbone Building at Great Heaving. Designed by DRIBA member Mylene Glass-Paine it is a triumph of ingenuity over practicality and odd-son favourite to win both a European Design Award and a Windolene Product-Placement Certificate.


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