A proposal to create a floating swimming pool in the Thames river will step up a gear tomorrow, as Studio Octopi will present their design for the Thames Baths at the Guardian’s World Cities Day Challenge. Originally created as part of the Architecture Foundation’s competition to design ways to reconnect Londoners with the river, the Thames Baths design has gained momentum over the last year, with a recent iteration of the design proposed for London‘s Victoria Embankment.
More on the design after the break
A proposal to ensure the future of Preston Bus Station could see part of the structure converted into a youth centre, as part of a £23 million renovation. The proposal by the building’s owners, Lancashire County Council, involves halving the number of bus bays used by the structure to 40, freeing up the western end of the building for other uses, including a sports hall, climbing wall, art centre and outdoor sports pitches.
In addition to the youth centre, the £23 million budget covers renovation to the existing structure and improvements to the surrounding highway. Funding for the proposal will come partly from the council and partly from Preston Youth Zone.
More on the proposal after the break
A new technology developed by researchers at Ohio State University has the potential to increase the efficiency and decrease the cost of generating and storing the sun’s energy. Led by professor of chemistry and biochemistry Yiying Wu, the team has created a combined solar cell and lithium storage battery with an efficiency of electron transfer between the two components of almost 100%, in a design which they believe will reduce costs by up to 25%.
“The state of the art is to use a solar panel to capture the light, and then use a cheap battery to store the energy,” Wu said. “We’ve integrated both functions into one device. Any time you can do that, you reduce cost.”
Read on after the break for more on the news
English Heritage has awarded a Grade-II listing to “The Rom,” a skatepark in Hornchurch on the outskirts of London. Built in 1978, the Rom was one of the UK’s first wave of purpose-built skateparks, and probably the most complete example found in the UK today. The listing makes the Rom the first protected skatepark in Europe, and just the second in the world after Tampa‘s “Bro Bowl” was added to the USA’s National Register of Historic Places last year.
More on the listing decision after the break
Architectural aid charity Article 25 has unveiled the drawings for its most important annual fundraising event, the 10×10 Drawing the City Auction. Featuring drawings donated by leading architects including Norman Foster, Ivan Harbour, Sheila O’Donnell, Terry Farrell and Ken Shuttleworth among many others, in previous years the 10×10 auction has raised over £90,000 for the charity, and this year it is hoped that it will top £100,000.
The 10×10 concept divides a section of the city up into a 10 by 10 square grid, with each participating architect assigned a section of the grid where they must find inspiration for an artwork. This year, the grid centred on the Shard, where this year’s auction will be held on November 27th. In the lead-up to the auction, bidding will also be available online from November 4th-25th, at the 10×10 website.
Read on after the break for another 20 of the pieces to be auctioned
Ben Derbyshire, managing partner at HTA Design and a newly-elected member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Council, has called for a significant overhaul of the RIBA election process if the organization is to reverse ”a long term decline in the fortunes of the profession, the role of architects in commerce and society, the influence of design in the quality of environment and on long term sustainability.” Derbyshire, writing in his column for Building, argued that future RIBA presidents should only be drawn from the elected councillors if the RIBA is to avoid “the likelihood of successive Presidents failing to share agendas” – alongside five other proposals that he believes will strengthen the architectural profession. Read on after the break for more of his comments.
With the first ever World Cities Day taking place on Friday, the Guardian is partnering with UN Habitat for the Cities Day Challenge, a day-long competition where representatives of 36 cities around the world will present their best city ideas, with the winner being selected for an in-depth article in the Guardian. Judged by Ivan Harbour of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Toronto City Planner Jennifer Keesmaat; Anna Minton, Dan Hill, Usman Haque and Adam Greenfield, the Guardian will be live-tweeting the entire day.
They are also reaching out to readers to “share your photos, videos and stories of something brilliant that your city does better than any other,” some of which they will feature throughout the day. You can follow this link to contribute - or read on after the break as we take the opportunity to round up some of the biggest city ideas that have passed through the pages of ArchDaily.
Developer Tom Bloxham has argued that problems with prefabricated homes or other unusual building techniques “must not stop innovation” in the UK housing sector. Bloxham, whose company Urban Splash was responsible for the Stirling Prize-nominated Park Hill regeneration and has worked with architects such as Norman Foster, FAT and Will Alsop, was speaking at an Archiboo event titled “Housebuilding is Ripe for Disruption.” Discussing the problems that have befallen RSH+P’s Oxley Woods project, he said “Whenever we innovate something inevitably goes wrong. There are risks and it is difficult. But somebody has to take these risks for the industry to move forward,” reports the Architects’ Journal.
The 2030 Progress Report for the American Institute of Architects (AIA)’s 2030 Commitment - a voluntary program for architects who want to commit their practice to advancing the AIA’s goal of carbon neutral buildings by the year 2030 – has found a significant increase in the number of projects that meet its current targets for a 60% reduction in carbon emissions, with over 400 buildings in the program meeting the goal. “There is some very encouraging data in this report that shows how architects are making measurable progress towards reducing the carbon emissions in their design projects,” said AIA Chief Executive Officer, Robert Ivy, FAIA. Read on after the break for more results of the report.
Italian firm Piuarch has won an international design contest to design the new headquarters of the French housing company IDF Habitat in Champigny-sur-Marne. Designed in collaboration with Stefano Sbarbati, the new building is described as “linear and efficient,” but it also acts as a defining building in a new public square, offering “an example of how architecture can contribute to defining empty spaces, transforming them into social areas,” according to the architects.
— Rob Fiehn (@Rob_Fiehn) October 22, 2014
The news that every single one of the 1,715 designs for the future Guggenheim Museum in Helsinki have been released via a new competition website was understandably something of a media storm earlier this week. As the largest ever set of proposals to be simultaneously released to the public, how could anyone possibly come to terms with the sheer number and quality of the designs – let alone all the other issues which the proposals shed light on?
In this instance, the answer to that question is simple: get help. Guggenheim Helsinki will arguably go down in history as the prototypical competition for the social media age, not just for releasing the designs to the public but for their platform which enables people to select favorites, and compile and share shortlists. In the days since the website launched, Twitter users have risen to the challenge. See what some of them had to say after the break.
As part of the launch of his latest book, Food City, Professor CJ Lim of the Bartlett School of Architecture will present a lecture at Ravensbourne in Greenwich, London. Food City follows on from professor Lim’s previous book, Smartcities and Eco-Warriors, exploring the role that food production and distribution has historically played in day-to-day life, and how we might once again reinstate it as an integral part of our cities through essays on 25 cities around the globe.
“All space must be attached to a value, to a public dimension. There is no private space. The only private space that you can imagine is the human mind.” – Paulo Mendes da Rocha, May 26, 2004
Paulo Mendes da Rocha is one of Brazil‘s greatest architects and urbanists. Born in Vitória, Espírito Santo in 1928, Mendes da Rocha won the 2006 Pritzker Prize, and is one of the most representative architects of the Brazilian Paulista School, also known as ”Paulista Brutalism” that utilizes more geometric lines, rougher finishes and bulkier massing than other Brazilian Modernists such as Oscar Niemeyer.
Invited by the Municipal Arts Society (MAS) and the Regional Plan Association (RPA), Woods Bagot has created an alternative design for the future of New York‘s Penn Station which would allow Madison Square Garden to remain in its current location above the station’s entrance. The design, produced as part of MAS and RPA’s report into the future of the station, the design was unveiled yesterday at Penn 2023: Where will the Garden Go?, the first session of the Municipal Arts Society’s 2014 Summit for New York City, which discussed the possible options for the site at the end of Madison Square Garden’s current 10-year permit.
Though the report by MAS and RPA favors the idea of moving Madison Square Garden – identifying Farley Post Office’s Western Annex and the Morgan Postal Facility and Annex as potential new sites – it also says that “there needs to be a Plan B… In the event a deal between the state, city, railroads and Madison Square Garden does not get done in the next eight years, there needs to be a plan for improving Penn Station and the surrounding district with the Garden still in place.” This is where Woods Bagot’s designs come in.
Read on after the break for more on Woods Bagot’s proposal
The Danish Building & Property Agency has selected Arkitema Architects to design a new office building to house four government agencies: Banedanmark, The Danish Transport Authority, The Danish Road Directorate and the Danish Energy Agency. The 43,000 square metre office building is named “Nexus,” a word which “comes from Latin and means linkage, centre and connection,” according to Glenn Elmbæk, partner at Arkitema Architects. “And that is exactly what we want to create for The Danish Building & Property Agency – a connection between people in their work lives, between knowledge and between the four government agencies.”
More on the design after the break
The competition for the new Guggenheim Museum in Helsinki closed last month, becoming the most popular architectural competition in history with 1,715 entries. Now, competition organizers Malcolm Reading Consultants have made every single one available to view online, with each anonymous proposal presented in a series of two images, and a short description fro the architects. “Since its inception, this competition has been organized to be welcoming, inclusive, and transparent, and the gallery presents a singular opportunity for the public to explore and consider the broad expanse of entries,” says Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation.
Competition organizer Malcolm Reading added: “For anyone interested in design, the gallery is a tremendous resource that offers rare insight into the design process and further illustrates how the vision for a Guggenheim Helsinki… [has] captured the imagination of architects around the world.”
And indeed, the website does provide a tremendous tool: with such a huge volume of entries, the database and its associated tagging system offer an interesting way to probe the architectural zeitgeist: for example, it seems ‘curved’ buildings are almost twice as popular as ‘straight’ buildings; and ‘opaque’ buildings are still unpopular, being outpaced by ‘transparent’ buildings by almost five to one, despite the traditionally opaque museum typology.
But when it comes to architectural quality, where do you even begin with 1,715 proposals? The competition’s website has that covered too, with a favorites button, a six-building shortlist tool and a search-by-registration tool. ArchDaily is here to help too: after the break, we’ve hand-picked 50 of the most exciting, unusual, interesting and simply absurd proposals for you to start talking about.
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)’s Future Trends Survey for September showed that, for yet another month, confidence is high among UK architects, with the workload index up fractionally to +29 from +28 in August. Again, this positive figure was spread right across the country, with the most optimistic reports coming from Northern Ireland and the North of England, reporting workload index figures of +80 and +46 respectively – promising figures considering that these two areas were “slowest to show signs of recovery” after the recession, according to the RIBA.
Students from the Pratt Institute have created a wall of concrete blockwork… but not like any you’ve seen before. Challenged by their tutors Lawrence Blough and Ezra Ardolino to produce something highly customized from something highly standardized – the 8-by-8-by-24-inch AAC brick – the students used Rhino software and a CNC miller to create a 96-block screen wall composed of 20 different block profiles. “The earlier stuff I’d done was trying to use as much off-the-shelf material as I could,” said Blough. “Here we decided to really push it, and to take on more of the ideas of mass customization.” Find out more about the project at the Architect’s Newspaper Fabrikator Blog.