Posted in Architecture, England

Archtrove Travels To Ironbridge – The First Iron Bridge in the World

Ironbridge is a 30 metre cast iron bridge built across the River Severn in 1779. It sits in the village of Ironbridge in the heart of the gorge, in Shropshire. It is the longest bridge to made of Iron at the time and is therefore known as beginning of the industrial revolution. Now it is open for all to visit, as well as a museum and shop.

What Need to Know About ….. Ironbridge, Telford

  • Known as the Industrial Revolution due to the perfection of the technique of smelting iron with coke, in Coalbrookdale, allowing much cheaper production of iron.
  • The bridge is the first of its kind fabricated from cast iron, and one of the few which have survived to the present day and therefore remains an important representative for the beginning of the industrial revolution
  • Construction began in 1779 and the bridge opened on New Year’s Day 1781
  • In 1986, it became part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Location of Ironbridge

Ironbridge is a village on the River Severn, at the heart of the Ironbridge Gorge, in Shropshire, England. It lies in the civil parish of The Gorge, in the borough of Telford and Wrekin. Shropshire is located in the central of England.

To find out more about Ironbridge, click here


Posted in Architecture, England

Archtrove Travels To Shropshire – the birthplace of the industrial revolution

Shropshire is a county in the West Midlands, England. It borders Powys and Wrexham in Wales, Cheshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire. The county’s population and the economy are centred on the main towns of Shrewsbury and Telford. The county has many market towns, including Whitchurch, Newport and Market Drayton.

The Ironbridge Gorge area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, covering Ironbridge, Coalbrookdale and a part of Madeley. There are other historic industrial sites in the county, such as at Shrewsbury, Broseley, Snailbeach and Highley, as well as the Union Canal.

The Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty covers about a quarter of the county, mainly in the south. Shropshire is one of England’s most rural and sparsely populated counties, with a population density of 350 sq miles. The Wrekin is one of the most famous natural landmarks in the county, though the highest hills are the Clee Hills, Stiperstones and the Long Mynd. Wenlock Edge is another significant geographical and geological landmark. In the low-lying northwest of the county overlapping the border with Wales is the Fenn’s, Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses National Nature Reserve, one of the most important and best-preserved bogs in Britain. The River Severn, Great Britain’s longest river, runs through the county, exiting into Worcestershire via the Severn Valley. Shropshire is landlocked and with an area of 1,346 sq miles is England’s largest inland county. The county flower is the round-leaved sundew.

Key Highlights of Shropshire

In Ironbridge – the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and one of two World Heritage Sites that bless the county – you will find, set within the gorgeous Severn Valley, 10 hands-on museums that will both enlighten and entertain.

Ludlow is not just beautiful it’s delicious! Its gastronomic capital sits within the famous Blue Remembered Hills of the south of the county and is a great place to find your inner foodie.

Much Wenlock, whose local games actually inspired the creation of the modern Olympics, offers an Olympic trail to explain this momentous achievement. Whilst the meres and canals of north Shropshire gives a gentle, more contemplative experience within a truly rural setting.

Gallery of Shropshire

Blog Posts of Shropshire

Posted in Architecture, Birmingham, England

Archtrove Travels To Compton Verney – NT find

What Need to Know About ….. Compton Verney, Warwickshire

Compton Verney is a Grade I listed house built in 1714 by Richard Verney, 11th Baron Willoughby de Broke. It was first extensively extended by George Verney, 12th Baron Willoughby de Broke in the early 18th century and then remodelled and the interiors redesigned by Robert Adam for John Verney, the 14th baron, in the 1760s. It is set in more than 120 acres (0.49 km2) of parkland landscaped by Lancelot “Capability” Brown in 1769.

The house and its 5,079-acre (20.55 km2) estate was sold by Richard Greville Verney, the 19th baron, in 1921 to soap magnate Joseph Watson who was elevated to the peerage as 1st Baron Manton of Compton Verney only two months before his death in March 1922 from a heart attack whilst out hunting with the Warwickshire Foxhounds at nearby Upper Quinton. George Miles Watson, 2nd Baron Manton sold the property to Samuel Lamb. It was requisitioned by the Army during World War II and became vacant when the war ended.

In 1993 it was bought in a run-down state by the Peter Moores Foundation, a charity supporting music and the visual arts established by former Littlewoods chairman Sir Peter Moores. The property was restored to a gallery capable of hosting international exhibitions. Compton Verney Art Gallery is now run by Compton Verney House Trust, a registered charity.

The collections include Neapolitan art from 1600 to 1800; Northern European medieval art from 1450–1650; British portraits including paintings of Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and Edward VI and works by Joshua Reynolds; Chinese bronzes including objects from the Neolithic and Shang periods; British folk art; and the Enid Marx / Margaret Lambert Collection of folk art from around the world which inspired the textile designs of 20th century artist Enid Marx.

Location of The Compton Verney

Compton Verney House is an 18th-century country mansion at Compton Verney near Kineton in Warwickshire, England, which has been converted to house the Compton Verney Art Gallery.

Gallery for Compton Verney

To find out more click here


Posted in Architecture, Birmingham, England, Warwickshire

Archtrove Travels To Coughton Court – NT find

The house has a long crenelated façade directly facing the main road, at the centre of which is the Tudor Gatehouse, dating from 1530; this has hexagonal turrets and oriel windows in the English Renaissance style. The gatehouse is the oldest part of the house and is flanked by later wings, in the Strawberry Hill Gothic style, popularised by Horace Walpole.

What Need to Know About ….. Coughton Court, Warwickshire

  • The Coughton estate has been owned by the Throckmorton family since 1409. The estate was acquired through marriage to the De Spinney family. Coughton was rebuilt by Sir George Throckmorton, the first son of Sir Robert Throckmorton of Coughton Court by Catherine Marrow, daughter of William Marrow of London.
  • The great gatehouse at Coughton was dedicated to King Henry VIII by Throckmorton, a favorite of the King. Throckmorton would become notorious due to his almost fatal involvement in the divorce between King Henry and his first wife Catherine of Aragon.
  • Throckmorton favoured the queen and was against the Reformation. Throckmorton spent most of his life rebuilding Coughton. In 1549, when he was planning the windows in the great hall, he asked his son Nicholas to obtain from the heralds the correct tricking (colour abbreviations) of the arms of his ancestors’ wives and his own cousin and niece by marriage Queen Catherine Parr.
  • The costly recusancy (refusal to attend Anglican Church services) of Robert Throckmorton and his heirs restricted later rebuilding, so that much of the house still stands largely as he left it.
  • The gatehouse at Coughton was built at the earliest in 1536, as it is built of stones which came from Bordesley Abbey and Evesham Abbey after the Dissolution of the Monasteries Act in 1536. Similar to other Tudor houses, it was built around a courtyard, with the gatehouse used for deliveries and coaches to travel through to the courtyard. The courtyard was completely closed in on all four sides by around 1651, when during the English Civil War of 1642-1651, the fourth wing (what would be the east wing if it stood today) was burnt by Parliamentary soldiers, along with many of the Throckmorton’s family papers. After the Roman Catholic Relief Act was passed in 1829, the Throckmorton family were able to afford large-scale building works, so the west front was remodelled after 1829.
  • The house was used as a filming location for Father Brown (2013 TV series) in the episode The Mask of the Demon.

Location of Coughton Court

Coughton Court is an English Tudor country house, situated on the main road between Studley and Alcester in Warwickshire. It is a Grade I listed building.

Gallery for Coughton Court

Blog Posts of Coughton Court

Posted in Architecture, England

Archtrove Travels To Britain – with the National Trust

The National Trust is a charity organisation for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty in Britain found in 1895. The premises is to protect the heritage and open spaces so that it is enjoyable for all. It covers, England, Wales and Northern Irelands, Scotland have there own. The large majority are English country houese but it also protects natural beauty sites such as Lake District, urban properties and nature reserves. Also includes, stately home, historic house, castle, abbey, museum. These properties are easily accesible by the public, for a small charge.

What is part of the National Trust:
  • 775 miles of coastline
  • Over 248,000 hectares of land
  • Over 500 historic houses, castles, ancient monuments gardens and parks and nature reserves.
  • Close to one million objects and works of art

National Trust Properties include:


Charlcote Park

Baddesley Clinton

Coughton Court

Tip: If you live in Britain it is worth getting a membership as this works out cheaper and you are more likely to visit these beautiful sites and discover something that you did not know existed.

Find out more about National Trust here

Posted in Architecture, Birmingham, England

Archtrove Travels To The Mailbox – Brum Goes High End

The Mailbox is an upmarket shopping and office development in the city centre of Birmingham, England. It serves as the base for BBC Birmingham and houses one of six Harvey Nichols department stores.

What Need to Know About ….. The Mailbox, Birmingham

  • The Mailbox is about 300 metres long from front to back including The Cube. Above the front shops, it has an additional 6 floors which include a Malmaison hotel, residential apartments, restaurants and bars.
  •  The structure consisted of a steel frame on a 40-foot (12 m) square grid with lightweight pre-cast concrete floor slabs and reinforced concrete retaining walls and subfloors. The exterior was clad with cast glass troughs and exposed aggregate panels.
  •  The exterior consisted mainly of the glass slabs and projecting air handling units with recessed windows.
  • On 30 May 2013, Milligan Retail announced that the Mailbox would undergo a major renovation, designed by Sterling Prize winners Stanton Williams, which would see a roof installed over the shopping complex’s atrium.
  • The anchor store, Harvey Nichols, would double in size to over 45,000 sq. ft. It was also announced that Brockton Capital and Milligan would work in coordination with Birmingham City Council to improve the public area reaching from the underpass beneath Suffolk Street Queensway to the front of Mailbox.
  • Previously the location of a railway goods yard with canal wharves off the Worcester and Birmingham Canal leading to Gas Street Basin, the site was the location of the Royal Mail’s main sorting office building for Birmingham.
  • When completed, it was the largest mechanised letters and parcels sorting office in the country with a floor area of 81,000 m2 and the largest building in Birmingham.

Location of The Mailbox

Mailbox is conveniently located in Birmingham city centre, whichever your method of travel. The main shopping and business districts such as New Street, High Street, Corporation Street, Grand Central, Brindleyplace, Bullring and Colmore Row are all less than a 10-minute walk away.

There are also three major train stations within a 10-minute walk, including New Street, the largest station in the city.

To find out more about the Mailbox click here


Posted in Warwickshire

Archtrove Travels To Wollaton Hall – the beginning of batman

Wollaton Hall

Driving up the vast drive, and on a slight hill, you are met with a lusious green grass, with deers in the distance. The picture is like something out of a movie. To be precise, the Batman movie. This 16th century Elibethean Hall was used as the setting for the Batman Manor and its clear to see why.

Exterior of Wollaton Hall

Wollaton Hall was built in 1580 by Elizabethan architect Robert Smythson. Over the years it has undergone massive transformations in order to keep it at its peak. In 1702, the Duchess of Chandos recorded that some of the statuary, were brought from in Italy including the decorative gondola mooring rings carved in stone on the exterior walls. The building is of Ancaster stone from Lincolnshire.

There are also obvious French and Dutch influences. The exterior and hall have extensive and busy carved decoration, featuring strapwork and a profusion of decorative forms, as well as the window tracery of the upper floors.


Interior of Wollaton Hall

The floor plan has been said to derive from Serlio’s drawing of Giuliano da Majano’s Villa Poggio Reale near Naples of the late 15th century, with elevations derived from Hans Vredeman de Vries.

The building consists of a central block dominated by a hall three storeys high, with a stone screen at one end and galleries at either end. From this there are extensive views of the park and surrounding country. There are towers at each corner, projecting out from this top floor. At each corner of the house is a square pavilion of three storeys. Much of the basement storey is cut from the rock the house sits on.




Its actual use, is as Nottingham Natural History Museum with the surrounding parkland used for sporting events and concert.


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See more buildings in Nottinghamshire here.

See more buildings in England here.



Posted in Indonesia

Archtrove Travels to Bali – Hinduism and Homes

Balinese architecture, like Bali, is individual from Indonesia, and even possibly Asia. This could be due to the fact that Bali is considered a top resort destination by foreigners and therefore is influenced by the foreign economy, or perhaps due to its beautiful beaches and picturesque countryside, or it could be due to it being the “island of the gods” with its hundreds of temples. Either way, its culture, laid-back attitude, deep religious notions and natural resources, all combine to make what is known as Balinese architecture.

Bali Architecture Style

Balinese architecture is a vernacular style of an architecture wherein designers use local materials to help construct buildings, structures, and houses, as well as reflecting local tradition. It is a centuries-old style of design that’s heavily influenced by Bali’s Hindu traditions, as well as ancient Javanese elements.

Materials commonly used in Balinese homes and buildings include thatch roofing, coconut wood, bamboo poles, teak wood, stone, and bricks.

Balinese architecture has a distinct characteristic of traditional aesthetic principles, using the island’s ancient culture and artistry in every design element of a structure.

Bali Architecture and Its Uses Today

Many of Bali’s domestic homes and luxury villas use the distinct philosophies of Balinese architecture. Using nature at its best to provide a man-made structure with a relaxed and tropical atmosphere, Bali homes and private resorts provide the perfect dwellings that are in tune with the environment.

With the island becoming more and more popular as a top tourist destination in Asia, more establishments are offering private luxury villas to compliment an exciting Balinese vacation. Private luxury villas in Bali using the distinct Balinese style combined with modern elements have become a staple of architectural designs found on the island.

The Philosophies of  Architecture in Bali

The philosophies of this architectural design revolve around Hinduism, spatial organization, and communal-based social relationships. A Balinese-designed home or villa is built around these 7 philosophies:

1. Tri Hata Karana – Creating harmony and balance between the 3 elements of life – the atma or human, angga or nature, and khaya or gods.

2. Tri Mandala – rules of space division and zoning

3. Sanga Mandala – also a set of rules of space division and zoning based on directions

4. Tri Angga – concept or hierarchy among different realms

5. Tri Loka – similar to Tri Annga but with different realms

6. Asta Kosala Kosali – 8 guidelines of architectural designs regarding symbols, shrines, stages, and measurement units

7. Arga Segara – sacred axis between mountain and sea


Bali Architecture and the Home

Unlike most Western countries where there is one, single large house, a Balinese home is a compound of separate pavilions that serve different functions. One pavilion houses the kitchen, while another houses the master bedroom, and another being the family shrine, and so on. All these structures are connected through a series of gates.

A house also typically has a front open pavilion to welcome guests to the home. A Balinese home must also have a landscaped garden with tropical decorative plants that merge the home with nature. However, the grounds are never heavily altered, and designers always use the garden’s natural features to create their designs around them.

A typical feature of a Balinese garden is a floating pavilion surrounded by ponds packed with waterlilies, usually used for meditation or relaxation purposes.

Balinese architecture provides a calm and relaxing atmosphere that forces you to reflect and be at one with the earth. With design elements of plants, flowers, natural construction materials, and large open spaces, staying in a Balinese home or luxury villa is the perfect way to unwind, contemplate, and truly enjoy mother nature.


Blog Posts

See more about Architecture in Indonesia here.

Posted in Birmingham

Archtrove Travels To Modern Birmingham – yes, it does exist

Top 10 Modern Buildings to Visit in Birmingham

When you think of Modern Buildings in England, Birmingham is not top of the list, London is. However, with recent investment and cheaper land, in recent years the scope to develop Birmingham has been HUGE!! By 2030, Birmingham will be the innovative green city and a stand out city for international markets. With more in the pipeline, like the HSBC building, numerous towers including the 42-storey tower on Broad Street and Natwest Tower, Paradise Forum and the redevelopment Digbeth Canal. In the meantime, here is a couple to get you started.

  1. Grand Central Station

Grand Central in 2015 transformed our embarrassing old New Street station into somewhere visitors wouldn’t mind spending more than ten minutes.

       2. The Cube

The Cube is a 25-storey mixed-use development, it contains 135 flats, offices, shops, a hotel and a skyline restaurant. The cubic dimensions of the main design element lend to the name of the development. However, the building consists of three stages with the cube being one of them.

3. Mailbox

The Mailbox is an upmarket shopping and office development in the city centre of Birmingham, England. It serves as the base for BBC Birmingham and houses the Harvey Nichols department stores. Above the front shops, it has an additional 6 floors which include a Malmaison hotel and residential apartments. The Worcester and Birmingham Canal passes along the back with a number of restaurants overlooking.

4. The Library of Birmingham

The Library of Birmingham is a public library in Birmingham, England. It is situated on the west side of the city centre at Centenary Square, beside the Birmingham Rep and Baskerville House.

5. Millennium Point

Millennium Point is a multi-use meeting complex in Birmingham, England, situated in the developing Eastside of the city centre

6. Hyatt Regency

Hyatt Regency Birmingham offers a quintessential stay in Birmingham’s city centre

7. La Tour Hotel

Hotel La Tour is a modern classic Birmingham hotel proudly designed and managed around creating lasting memories and exceptional experiences for our guests.

We are committed to providing first-class customer service. Here you’ll find meticulous attention to detail and passion for getting things right that is reflected in all we do: from the early morning “How are you?” to the 174 stylish bedrooms, brasserie-style restaurant, sophisticated bar, gym and conference and events floor.

8. 10 Holloway Circus

10 Holloway Circus is a 427-foot tall mixed-use skyscraper in Birmingham city centre, England. It is named after the developers, Beetham Organisation, and was designed by Ian Simpson and built by Laing O’Rourke

9. Rotunda

The Rotunda is a cylindrical highrise building in Birmingham, England. The Grade II listed building is 81 metres tall and was completed in 1965.

10. Bullring Shopping Centre

The site has always been a centre for commercial trade and shopping, originally holding markets, then a shopping centre and most recently, in 2003, the Bullring Shopping Centre with the iconic silver disc facade of Selfridges.


So remember, when booking your next trip to  England, and if you want something a bit different, keep Birmingham in mind.

To find out more about Birmingham and other architectural sites click here

To find out more about the surrounding area of Birmingham click here


Posted in England

Archtrove Travels To Nottinghamshire – Sherwood Forest and Wollaton Hall

Nottinghamshire is a county in the East Midlands of England, bordering South Yorkshire to the north-west, Lincolnshire to the east, Leicestershire to the south, and Derbyshire to the west

Nottingham in Nottinghamshire

Nottingham is a city in central England’s Midlands region. It’s known for its role in the Robin Hood legend and for the hilltop Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery, rebuilt many times since the medieval era. In the Lace Market area, once the centre of the world’s lace industry, the Galleries of Justice Museum has crime-related exhibits. Wollaton Hall is an ornate Elizabethan mansion with gardens and a deer park.

History of Nottinghamshire

 Roman settlements are inevitable in this county, for example at Mansfield and forts such as at the Broxtowe Estate in Bilborough. However, there is evidence of Saxon settlement at the Broxtowe Estate, Oxton, near Nottingham, and Tuxford, east of Sherwood Forest. The name first occurs in 1016, but until 1568 the county was administratively united with Derbyshire, under a single Sheriff. In Norman times the county developed malting and woollen industries.

What To See in Nottinghamshire

It is famous for its involvement with the legend of Robin Hood. This is also the reason for the numbers of tourists who visit places like Sherwood Forest, City of Nottingham and the surrounding villages in Sherwood Forest. The ancestral home of the poet Lord Byron is also located here at Newstead Abbey,. It is now owned by Nottingham City Council and open to the public. As is the acclaimed author D. H. Lawrence, who was from Eastwood. Toton was the birthplace and home of English folk singer-songwriter Anne Briggs, well known for her song ‘Black Waterside’.


Buildings to Visit in Nottinghamshire

Wollaton Hall

Blog Posts Related to Nottinghamshire

Top 10 Buildings to See

Top 5 Areas to Visit


Posted in Birmingham

Archtrove Travels To Bullring Shopping Centre – the start of blobism and the revival

The Bullring Shopping Centre is a major commercial area, and iconic symbol, within the centre of Birmingham. The area has long been the established shopping district of Birmingham, since the Middle Ages, but is more commonly known to outsiders since the redevelopment. The current shopping centre was built in 2003 in order to revive the city and establish it as the true second city of England.

Location of Bullring Shopping Centre

The site is located on the edge of the city ridge which results in the steep gradient towards Digbeth. The slope drops from New Street to St Martin’s Church which is very visible near the church. Within easy walking distance to 3 main train station, and numerous car parks, it is accessible to all.

Exterior of Bullring Shopping Centre

The most iconic part of Bullring Shopping Centre is the Selfridges store. The Selfridges store is clad in 15,000 shiny aluminium discs and was inspired by a Paco Rabanne sequinned dress. There is a multi-storey car park opposite Selfridges which is connected to the Selfridges store via a 37-metre long, curved, polycarbonate-covered footbridge, known as the Parametric Bridge, suspended over the street.

The building’s shape itself resembles that of the shell and featured a curved bronze roof with both ends covered with glass. The building form is inspired by the mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci who identified natural patterns of growth found throughout the universe.

Outside the Bullring, towards the south, consists of a restaurant area called Special Street. Construction of the part indoor, part outdoor development consists of a glass, wooden and aluminium exterior and concertinaed style roof.

Also, at the main entrance to the west building stands “The Guardian”, a 2.2-metre tall bronze sculpture of a running, turning bull inside a ring.


 The shopping centre itself consists of two main buildings the East Mall and the West Mall. Inside the two buildings which are connected by an underground passage lined with shops and is also accessible from St Martin’s Square. The two malls are different internally in design.


Bullring is the glamorous heart of Birmingham with over 160 imaginative and desirable shops to explore. Since opening in 2003 Bullring has helped to transform the city of Birmingham. 

Gallery of Bullring Shopping Centre


To see more Buildings in Birmingham, click here

Blog Posts that include the Bullring Shopping Centre