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Architecture

Part 1

This episode's vocabulary


  • Facade (noun) - the front of a building, especially a large or attractive building.
  • Decorative (adj.) - made to look attractive.
  • Victorian (adj.) - relating to the period 1837 to 1901, when Victoria was Queen of England.
  • Edwardian (adj.) - from the period when Edward VII was king of England (1901-10).
  • Skyscraper (noun) - a very tall modern building, usually in a city.
  • Residential (adj.) - a residential area or building is where people live.
  • Commercial building (noun) - a building that is used for business activities.
  • Listed building (noun) - a building of great historical or artistic value that has official protection to prevent it from being changed or destroyed.
  • Czarist (adj.) - supporting or relating to the system of government of Russia until 1917 by a male Russian ruler.
  • Harbour (noun) - an area of water next to the coast, often protected from the sea by a thick wall, where ships and boats can shelter.
  • Aesthetically (adverb) - in a way that relates to the enjoyment or study of beauty.
  • Reddish (adj.) - slightly red in colour.
  • Interior (noun) - the inside part of something.
  • National identity (noun) - the person's identity and sense of belonging to one state or to one nation, a feeling one shares with a group of people, regardless of one's citizenship status.
  • Crammed (adj.) - very full of people or things.
  • Elegant (adj.) - graceful and attractive in appearance or behaviour.

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Questions and Answers


M: Rory, are you fond of architecture?

R: Well, who doesn't like a building with a nice facade? I'd say I was quite fun of good architecture. Of course, good in my conception of things as sort of decorative in an older style. Maybe like Victorian, or Edwardian, or massive modern skyscrapers in the big city are also cool.

M: Are there many buildings where you live?

R: Well, I should hope so since it's a city. And there's quite a range to look at. We live in an old fisherman's cottage that's over a century old. But there are newer, more modern buildings just across the roads. Further into town, they're even older residential and commercial buildings. Actually, I think some of them are even listed buildings.

M: What kind of architecture do you like the most?

R: Well, like I said, older buildings from around a century ago have a good look. You can find them in the city... Well, you can find them in city centres of most Scottish towns. I also like the Russian styles of design from the czarist, Soviet and post Soviet periods. They all have this sort of massive look to them, but it varies from time period to time period. So that's interesting to see.

M: If you could live in any home in the world, where would you live?

R: Well, I quite like to live in, well, really any of the older buildings in Arbroath. That's an old resort and fishing town to the north of my actual hometown. It seemed better days in most ways, but the harbour site in coastal areas are very aesthetically pleasing in my opinion. The older buildings are made from cut sandstone, which gives it a reddish look, and they all have like really large interiors with high walls, which I quite like as well. So I would choose to live there.

M: Is architecture an important part in the cities identity?

R: I'm not sure about cities, but they're definitely part of a national identity. Though now I think about it more, certain cities where I live have their own look actually. Aberdeen has buildings made of granite. So they're like very grey and greyish colours and tones. Glasgow has lots of blocky buildings crammed in all over the place. And Edinburgh is quite elegant. So perhaps it is on reflection.

M: Thank you Rory for your architecture answers!

R: I hope you enjoyed the structure of my answers! There we go!

M: Oh, dear listener, we hope that you enjoyed the architecture of these answers!

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Discussion


M: So, dear listener, yes, architecture. And you know what? To get a nine for speaking, you should be an educated person. Right, Rory? Would you agree?

R: Allegedly.

M: Yes. Because a nine is the level of an educated native speaker and to get a nine you should be able to talk about architecture. Surely, you know different styles. And Rory here is quite educated. So you mentioned Victorian style. Edwardian. Edward the Great or what? Edwardian

R: No, Edwardian is the period of time after the Victorians. So it's like, I think it was King Edward the seventh. Sorry, time period. And so the buildings all look like they wouldn't, oh, I don't know, some sort of World War Two documentary or drama.

M: Oh, wow. Interesting. So Victorian architecture. That's Queen Victoria. Edwardian. Also you said modern architecture, you said more than skyscrapers.

R: Yes, massive modern skyscrapers. So actually, that's quite interesting because they have these older styles and new styles, but I've included them in the same answer, but I quite like them, but for different reasons.

M: Do you have any skyscrapers close to your cottage?

R: No, none of the bear thinking about. You're more likely to see skyscrapers in major cities like London, for example.

M: Are there any skyscrapers in Scotland at all? Maybe just one? Half a skyscraper?

R: I don't know. I don't really know. I can't like... There are tall buildings, but I don't think we would call them skyscrapers. Let me have a quick look.

M: Hmm. So Rory has no idea if he has any skyscrapers in his own country.

R: Well, here we go. Allegedly. So this is gonna be quite embarrassing, isn't it? We have...

M: No skyscrapers?

R: The tallest buildings in Edinburgh... Yeah, so they're all cathedrals until we get to number four on the list, which is an old residential building that was built in the 1960s. And that's 64 meters tall. So that's like, that's not very big, isn't it?

M: So there are no skyscrapers in Scotland. They're all hobbit houses. Which is okay, which is fine. You know, like, why not. And, dear listener, here, you need to talk about different, well, styles in architecture. You can say that you enjoy ancient Egyptian architecture, or ancient Greek architecture. Rory, which one? Ancient Egyptian architecture or ancient Greek?

R: Probably Greek, because what's ancient Egyptian architecture? It's all tombs, and that's kind of very close to death. Whereas ancient Greek architecture is more associated with temples, which are at least more lively.

M: Yes, like Buddhist architecture. We talk about temples. Temples are like churches, but not really. Like in Russia, we have churches. You can have a cathedral, but a temple is usually like a Buddhist temple, and we have temples in Asia, usually. Well, we can have a temple in Moscow, but usually we have churches. Also, you can say like classical style in architecture, modern architecture. Yeah? So different styles. So we say architecture. What's the person?

R: An architect.

M: Yes. Not architect, no, architect. Okay? Famous architects. And generally, how do you personally understand architecture? What is it for you?

R: Well, for me, it's like the design and style of buildings. So how they look.

M: That's why you said, for example, who doesn't like a building with a nice facade?

R: Yeah, facade is just the front of a building. It's not like, or sorry, it's the exterior part of a building. That's a little bit different to the front part of the building. Although the front is part of the facade.

M: Yeah, facade. So architecture is all about describing buildings, and the design of the buildings. And a facade is a specific word to describe the building. So yeah.

R: So we talked about the style. But we should also talk about kinds of buildings as well. So we mentioned residential and commercial. But residential is just another way of saying where people live. And commercial is just another way of saying buildings used for business.

M: You've also said listed buildings. Like for demolition?

R: So listed buildings are buildings that are put on, well, a list. It is what it is. But in more detail. There are different lists and categories of buildings. And some of them if they're on these lists, which are created by the government, they cannot be altered in any way, because they're considered to be part of the city's culture and look, and if they were destroyed, it would make the place, well, look worse for lack of a better term. And it would detract from the city's cultural value.

M: Oh, so listed buildings cannot be destroyed, right?

R: Well, they shouldn't be. If they're taken off the listed building, then the listed buildings list, then you could do what you like.

M: Oh, interesting. So I live in a listed building. So my building is part of the culture. It's part of the heritage. Hmm, interesting. So, Rory, now you live in an old fisherman's cottage. Is it true? Yes?

R: Yes. At least that's what I was told.

M: Hmm. So fishermen used to live there?

R: Yeah, I think it was actually originally, it was... I think it was several cottages and then they knocked them together to make three. And so we're the one in the middle.

M: Oh, nice. And close to you, you have other cottages?

R: No, actually. It's just three of us. And then around us, there are more modern buildings. Like there's one at the back of the house that's been built relatively recently. And then actually, a lot of the other ones around have been built within the past 50 to 60 years, I'm gonna say.

M: Hmm, okay, so, dear listener, you can say, well, there are a range of different buildings, modern buildings, residential, commercial buildings. And then the question is like, what kind of architecture do you like the most? But if you have no idea about, you know, styles, like nothing. Like what can you say? You know, what architecture? Well, skyscrapers.

R: Well, then you just describe the age. I mean, it's not as good as saying the actual word, but your examiner will get the idea. So I described both around a century ago, so about 100 years ago. And then I described different styles from czarist, Soviet and post Soviet. So all of these are actually different periods of time, as well as different architectural styles.

M: Yeah, the same like you can enjoy ancient architecture or modern 21st-century architecture. You can also talk about your city or town. Like Rory said like, oh, you can find them in the city centres of most Scottish towns. Right? And then Russian styles. Russian style? Is there a Russian style in architecture?

R: I don't think there's one specific Russian style.

M: Like Soviet architecture. Yeah.

R: Yeah.

M: We have seven sisters,. Kind of, you know, Soviet skyscrapers, you call them. In Moscow. A very nice question is, if you could live anywhere, where would you live? So I'd live in a hobbit house. You know, dear listener, the Lord of the Rings? You know hobbits? They have these cute little houses. Hobbit house. Rory mentioned something like...

R: Arbroath.

M: Oh, God, what is this? Arbroath?

R: Yes, Arbroath.

M: Arbroath. It's a town. It's the largest town in somewhere in Scotland.

R: It's not the largest town. It's quite small.

M: No, I'm reading the Wikipedia and it says the largest town in the council area of... I can't pronounce it. Somewhere in Scotland.

R: Oh, it would be the largest town in Angus, probably.

M: Oh, yeah, Angus. 23,000, almost 24,000 People. Dear listener, wow. A crowd. Quite a crowd. Oh, it's 1000. Not even, oh, wow. In Moscow we have what? 15 million, 8 million? 8 million legal people and like almost 15 just in general. And here, you've used specific vocabulary, so like an old resort, a fishing town.

R: Yeah. Although, that doesn't really, well, I suppose you could say it fits with the architecture. So a resort town is just going to be places. It's going to be a place with lots of things to do, lots of entertainment venues. For example. cinemas, leisure parks, that kind of thing. And then, well, if it's a fishing town, then there will be a harbour for the fishing boats to go to. And it does, but not as many as there used to be.

M: Yeah, and you said the harbourside. So harbour, is this area? Yeah, where like ships go in. But the harbour side, is this part of the sea? Yeah? Harbour side. And other coastal areas. So the coast, the sea, coastal areas. You said like oh, the buildings are a bit reddish.

R: Yes, that just means they're like varying shades of red. But you could also mention the materials that a building is made from. For example, I mentioned specific ones like granite and sandstone.

M: Hmm. And surely architecture is super important in a city's identity. It's part of national identity.

R: Yeah, although I would point out I wasn't very sure about this answer. So I started off by, well, changing the subject and then I went back to talking about cities because I was trying to buy time.

M: Yeah, and here you can give examples of some places. Like Edinburgh is quite elegant. New York is known for its skyscrapers, Moscow has Red Square and Soviet architecture, and also skyscrapers and all possible and impossible buildings crammed all together in one place. And you have used this word. Like blocky buildings crammed in all over the place.

R: Well, that just means that they're all connected together.

M: And they're all put together in one place. Packed, packed together.

R: Yeah.

M: Rory, would you like to know about new styles in architecture that have popped up quite recently? I think you're so fond of this topic.

R: Hah. Am I?

M: Yes. No, it's much better than shoes or flowers, right? Or no?

R: Um, I don't know, really. It's not my favourite thing in the world. That's for sure.

M: So, dear listener, you should know that now architects focus more on the environment. So buildings are built to meet green building sustainable design principles. So they are all going crazy about the environment. What do you think it means for building and buildings design? Rory, what do you think? What do they build? In terms of like, we care for the environment?

R: Oh, they could mount solar panels on them. Maybe... Oh, have good insulation, so they don't waste so much energy on heating.

M: Yep. Yeah. So solar panels - panels to get the energy of the sun. Green roof designs. And also on the roof, you can have a garden, so they plant some plants, and also biodegradable materials. They use biodegradable materials. What are they?

R: Materials that, well, decompose without damaging the environment.

M: Exactly. So these are new trends. And this approach is promoted, like a sustainable approach. So environmentally friendly approach. So you can talk about this, like, oh, I prefer organic architecture, dear listener. It's called, oh, it's actually a different style of architecture, organic architecture. So architecture, which promotes harmony between human habitation and the natural world. Rory, would you like to live in a house built according to organic architecture principles?

R: I thought you were just gonna say there, would you like to live in a house? And then just stop. I would be like, yes, I would like to live in a house. Wouldn't most people? I don't know. I don't mind. That's not something that's high on my list of things to do. So kind of like when your house is inspired by nature, and it celebrates the spirit of youth, play and surprise, expresses the rhythm of music, and the power of dance. So this is what organic architecture is all about, dear listener. Now you know.

R: Speaking of things that are organic, let's bring this conversation to an organic close. Thank you very much for listening!

M: Thank you! Goodbye!

R: Bye!

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