In praise of surprise

Several architects have recently cudgelled their brains to produce carefully designed bird hides – perky structures that are an ornament to their environment and sit well in the landscape. But that is not always what you want.

I was recently at Fowlmere Nature Reserve near Cambridge and came across a most mundane structure, a kind of supersized garden shed blocking an area of not very special path. Step inside however and what you saw was this – a most wonderful view across water – and a couple of minutes after this photo was taken the bright blue of a kingfisher skimming across it. 
Sometimes the mundane can deliver more pleasure than the carefully considered, because it conceals the delights that will come next.

How many great buildings can lead you into a new world in the way that this very ordinary one does?


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