The legendary Cunard Queen Elizabeth 2 on the Hudson River in New York City, October 16, 2008, as she departs for the final time.

19 February, 2011

Stephen Payne's Clever Nod to the Past

Although it has been over a month now since we left Queen Mary 2 in New York City, she is still revealing wonderful little secrets.  Uploading and archiving the several thousand photographs taken on the trip has been a daunting task, still not fully complete.  While performing some touching up on the above photo, I had the photo zoomed in detail and noticed something that completely escaped me while onboard.

Stephen Payne, Queen Mary 2's Naval Architect, had inserted a subtle reference to the former Queens in the railing projection at the stern of the ship.  Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, along with most other ships of their vintage, had rear observation wings or decks that extended out beyond the ship to aid in docking maneuvers.  Maybe there is a proper name for this feature, but I could not find one with a Google search.  Whatever you want to call it, it was as functional as the extended bridge wings in their day, allowing extended views down the length of the ship.  Today, I would venture this rear observation platform has been rendered completely obsolete with all the modern day communication and video devices in use on the ship. Seeing this feature in the photo while sitting back at home at the computer, I thought to myself "if only I had seen it on deck, it would have made for some very interesting shots taken looking down the hull." 

Digging further into my photos, I found the above photo and am dissapointed in myself here.  Amazingly, I had already captured this feature on deck one early morning.  Perhaps getting up early each morning to see the spectacular sunrises left me a bit groggy and oblivious to this feature.  Nevertheless, I am completely guilty of not seeing obvious things while being totally absorbed in the taking of the photographs.  Looking at this photograph now, it also appears that the railing to the left of the life raft running perpendicular to the outer rail was either bent or damaged as seen in the crooked teak railing. 

From the Wikipedia entry on Queen Mary, here is a cropped view of what Stephen Payne was emulating.  In the practice of Architecture, we often borrow from the masters that have proceeded us.  We have a fancy description for this practice;  precident analysis.  We look to the past to see what was done right or wrong by designers facing similar constraints.  We do this with the intent not to copy, but to build and improve upon the design if possible while imparting our own style. Here is but one of several subtle and not so subtle examples of this practice being brilliantly applied to the Naval Architecture of Queen Mary 2.  I will elaborate on further references to great liners of the past used here in future posts.

1 comment:

  1. The word you are looking for is the docking bridge.