Bronze cladding, spring sunshine and cherry blossom on Tankerville, Real Time Post


Having already broken my strict chronological rule for this blog in my last post, it’s been such an exciting time on Tankerville this week that I just couldn’t resist sharing another real time post with you all.

The first ten days in May, as everyone will remember, have always been synonymous with Year 11 Leavers Day.  At Church High, this involved a ritual: everyone dressing to a theme, Miss Chapman’s Award’s Presentation, a memory tree and group photograph under the cherry tree in the Junior School grounds all being ‘de-rigour’.

Year 11 Leavers of 2013 all pose under the cherry tree.
Year 11 Leavers of 2013 pose together under the cherry tree.

Well, she may be still surrounded by tree protection fencing but that little old cherry tree is still going strong you will be pleased to hear.  Perhaps it’s been the late spring or the fact she is now growing in the shadow of the large new-build, but she has just started to blossom.

The smallest Junior School cherry tree just coming into blossom.
The two old Junior School cherry trees are both now just starting to come into blossom.

It was a really joyous sight to see both trees in blossom once again.  The fact they have both survived the building work is hopefully an indicator that some of the old traditions might still continue.  But the main reason I was keen to get on site this week was to see whether any of that bronze cladding had been put in place yet.  And it had.

The first pieces of cladding in place.
The first pieces of bronze cladding in place.
The south face of the new-build now shining bright in the sunshine.
The south face of the new-build shines bright in the sunshine.

The metal cladding does look very impressive indeed, it has to be said.  And I’m sure it will look truly fantastic when it is finished.  However, I’m really a nature girl at heart and, for me, the loveliest thing on site that day was the reflection of Tankerville’s oldest tree against the bright blue sky in the plate glass of the new extension.

The glass-front of the new extension is now complete.
The extension’s glass front is now complete.
The blue of the sky and the dark green of the forest.
The blue of the sky & dark green of the forest.

The reflection is impressive now, but it can only surely get better once that beautiful old tree is finally in leaf.  This site always has been about the blue of the sky and the dark green of the forest.

Remember you saw it here first: real time post, 1st May 2016

Your blogger as she appears on site these days.
Your blogger as she appears on site nowadays.

Today is the 1st of May and rather than celebrating the first day of summer by well-dressing, Morris or Maypole dancing, I have been bogged down doing Head of Year pastoral report comments for NHSG’s Year 9.  Hey, ho! Life cannot all be blogging and site visiting, I’m afraid, which will explain why the posts have dried up a bit lately.

There is an allusion towards the end of A Midsummer Night’s Dream about the lovers rising early to ‘observe the Rite of May’.  In May Day celebrations, washing your face in the early morning dew is said to have magical consequences.  A woman who followed this tradition would be granted a view of the face of her future husband.  Musing on the tantalising nature of such a revelation, I thought I would break a self-imposed rule for you all today and post one or two ‘real time’ site photographs taken this week.  Firstly for their exciting content, secondly because they hint at the ‘future face’ of the new build and thirdly because I want you to be the first to see it.  So remember, thanks to Wates’ Peter Wilson, you saw it here first!

An artist's impression of the new build with copper cladding in place.
Artist’s impression of new build with bronze cladding in place.

You may remember that the architect’s design for the new building intersperses tinted glass with columns of weathered metal cladding to complement all the trees on the site?  Well, after weeks waiting for it, the first pieces of bronze cladding arrived on site this week.  I was rushed this Wednesday because, in addition to my reports,  I was travelling down to Trust Office in London the following day.  My regular question recently of “Is any cladding up yet?” was met again by a “No, not yet” only this time Peter added, “But it’s here”.  And, sure enough, when he took me around to the side of the new build beside the Sports Hall, there it was, as shiny as a brand new penny.

The first pieces of copper cladding have arrived on site.
The first pieces of bronze cladding have now arrived on site.
In their spanking new state, they are as shiny as a brand new penny.
In their virgin state, they are as shiny as a brand new penny.
The colour changes marvellously when you stand in front of them and they reflect your image back again.
The colour changes marvellously when you stand in front of them and they reflect and refract your outline back again.

The nature of this particular metal is that in time the colour will  deepen to a shade of dark bronze as natural as the tree trunks.  It’s possible to see this for yourself first hand on the building materials sample board on the wall in the Wates Site Office Meeting Room.  But, it has to be said, for a while it’s going to look very, very bright!

Nick White, Project Manager, shows me the samples of new and weathered copper cladding on the building materials board.
Nick White, Project Manager, shows me samples of new and weathered bronze cladding on the building materials board.

Also looking very bright at the moment are the latest blog analytics  which I thought you might be interested to hear about.  Our little digital community has grown an awful lot in the last three months.  As of April 27th, the up-to-date news of the renovations on the Tankerville site has now been read by 423 different people living in 110 different cities in 20 different countries across 5 continents.

Blog Analytics from Jan 27th to April 27th 2016.
Analytics for site usage from Jan 27th to April 27th 2016.
Since January 27th, the blog has been viewed in 20 countries.
Since Jan 27th, the blog has been read in 20 countries.

blog world map first 3 months

Thank you to everyone now following this blog for your interest and please keep passing on the word to others who love the Tankerville site and may be curious to know what is going on behind those hoardings.  There’s now an awful lot of people who ‘saw it first here!’