114. The interior of Chiswick Park
This is my idea of parks and recreation.
A turn around the cool, sighing interior of this station is more than a match for a ramble across one of London’s postal districts packed like squares of wheat.
You can breathe deeply in a place like this. The sense of height and empty space is liberating, and you can’t help but draw it down deep into your lungs.
Some of that feeling is done by sleight-of-hand: a deft architectural trick, a delicious equation (always the best kind) of artificial light and geometry.
But some of it is by design, and literally so. Circles and straight lines might be the everyday fundamentals of engineering, but applied with a dab of genius, they can be fundamentally marvellous every day:
It’s another of Charles Holden’s buildings that was inspired, like Arnos Grove, by the mouthwatering modernism of the wheelbarrows-full-of-money Weimar-era Germany.
I’d love it to survive for a millennium: the ultimate cold dish of revenge to serve upon the “1000-year Reich” that stamped Weimar out of existence, just around the time Chiswick Park was built.
Even in rush hour this station would still feel empty. For every circulating throng of people, there’s four times as much air doing the same thing. Not that you’d have much time, or cause, to notice it when you’re rushing for a train.
It will leave its tingling imprint, however, somewhere in the back of your mind as you try to adjust to the suddenly compact and stuffy confines of a carriage.
That, and the thought of high windows, the sun-comprehending glass, and the deep blue air.
This station is amazingly big for a station that is merely served by the Ealing branch of the District line. If only Turnham Green (which will have the piccadilly line service stopping there after it’s upgrade) was built as grandly as Chiswick Park!