Ho-Ho-Ho! Munday + Cramer’s Architectural Christmas Almanac!


This year, more than any other, has seen many of us looking forward desperately to the Christmas holidays; a brief respite from the continual flak fired at us throughout the year, in the form of a deadly virus. Here at Munday + Cramer, we’re no different, and in this blog post, we wanted to get holly, jolly and ready for the Christmas season with some festive architectural discussion. Trust us on this one…

The Architecture Of The Christmas Tree

For most people, when they see a Christmas tree they see a symbol of festive spirit and anticipation. For architects, however, being the strange breed of creatures we are, we see shapes. More specifically, we see overlapping triangles, endless sketch possibilities and a blank canvas, an empty shell on which to impose a certain style.

How about a bare fir, devoid of decoration? Minimalism. An over-the-top, gaudy specimen? Baroque. A tall spindly Christmas tree complete with a menacing air? Gothic. The dead tree from last year you never got around to disposing of? Sustainable. Use this year as an excuse to go wild and wacky with your tree under the guise of ‘architectural experiment’ – that ought to win the family around…

“Topping Out”

It surely can’t get more festive than placing a tree atop your newly finished building? The tradition of topping out, thought to have originated in ancient Scandinavian religious rituals, is a builders’ rite usually signifying the end of construction, or the finishing of a building.

Usually, when the roof is being placed and the final steel beam (or similar such building element) is hoisted into position, an evergreen tree is attached as is done so. Sometimes, even a festival was conducted at the same time! Though less common now than it was (particularly at the turn of the 20th century) it’s still sometimes carried out as a tribute to the construction industry’s past. It begs the question, though, how do they get them down?…

Igloos – How?!

They’re amongst the ‘coolest’ (see what we did there…) and most ingenious constructions known to man, constructed at nature’s very extremes, and whilst igloos certainly aren’t explicitly festive (especially for those Inuit and Eskimo peoples who still build and use them) they’ve found themselves increasingly adopted by Christmas popular culture.

Igloos are built in what’s known as a ‘catenary curve‘. This means a structure whose weight is exclusively supported by its ends. Such structures provide great compressive strength to the igloo and enable it to stand in the distinct shape which it does. Historically, the largest igloos were able to house up to 20 people, in which were held feasts and dances!

Is Santa Sustainable?

Now, we’re never the ones to put a dampener on anybody’s fun, here at Munday + Cramer, but given our work within environmental design, we can’t help but question Mr. Claus’ carbon footprint. This year, children the world over will be awaiting Santa’s arrival more eagerly than ever before, but is it time we started enquiring into Santa’s travel habits? After all, the amount of air miles that this harbinger of festive spirit covers in a single night is pretty staggering. If you take the calculations by some students from North Carolina State University back in 2012 as your basis, then Santa needs to cover over 120 million miles on Christmas Eve. When you factor in reindeer emissions, well, let’s not even go there…

Christmas Gift Ideas For Architects And Designers

3D Printer

Admittedly, this gift idea is on the more expensive end of the spectrum, with even the most budget-level options coming in around the £100 mark. You might only want one to make a homemade back-scratcher, phone case or candle holder, you might not even know how it works, but they’re seriously cool bits of kit if nothing else…

Lego

Last but not least, we’ve got the ultimate Christmas gift for any architect, engineer, designer or just an adult that gladly lets out their inner child, every 25th December. Whether you’re religiously following a kit, or delving free-style into the architectural recesses of your imagination, the feeling of progressively building something, piece by knobbly piece, is hard to beat. Just make sure that you clean up the pieces afterward; stepping barefoot on a Lego brick? Officially the most painful experience known to humankind.

Wishing You A Very, Merry Christmas

“Finally, from all of us here at Munday + Cramer, we’d like to wish you a very merry Christmas. We hope that, in what’s been a year like no other, you manage to have a great festive period. One filled with joy, laughter and good cheer!”

Contact Munday + Cramer

So, if you’d like to find out more about our services (festive or otherwise!) then get in touch! Contact Munday + Cramer today on 01245 326 200 or by emailing us at info@mcessex.co.uk.