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Debate: Consultation Con

Community consultation is meaningless vacuous tick-box bullshit. It has become a decoy that developers deploy to shove unwanted projects down the throats of an unconsenting public. Its cringeworthy language of community empowerment is just thinly veiled power moves and lazy spin. The profession, the public, and the built environment would be better off without it.

Consultation Con is one in a series of debates rugby tackling six fundamental issues facing contemporary practice with a playful and combative format designed to ferment open and critical discussion. Framed by theatrically provocative opening gambits, a series of free debates will turn conventional consensus on its head.

Debate: Quit Architecture Now

We all assume that to quit architecture is to fail. Yet the vast majority of those who stick it out are sucked into a world of disempowered subservience to big business. Becoming an architect squanders the creativity and energy of those who are attracted to study architecture in the first place, robbing society and the individual of their potential. There is a better way. We should all quit architecture before it's too late.

Renzo Piano Defends London's Skyscraper Boom

"Cities face a choice of building up or building out," says Renzo Piano, according to a recent article on the Daily Mail. Responding to backlash led by the Skyline Campaign, a campaign spearheaded by architect Barbara Weiss that "aims to stop the devastation of London by badly designed and poorly placed tall buildings," Piano is defending London's controversial skyscraper boom by saying it's giving the one thing the city needs most: "space on the ground."

British Council Selects UK Curatorial Team for 2016 Venice Biennale

Shumi Bose, Jack Self and Finn Williams have been selected to curate the British Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale - "Reporting from the Front." Chosen by the British Council for their proposal "Home Economics," the team will "explore the future of the home through a series of full-scale domestic interiors." 

Lecture: Terreform ONE at The Bartlett

This lecture will discuss Terreform ONE, a non-profit design group that promotes smart design in cities. Through intensive projects, the group aims to illuminate the environmental possibilities of New York City and inspire solutions in similar areas globally. The group develops solutions for local sustainability in energy, transportation, infrastructure, buildings, waste treatment, food, and water. These solutions are derived from the interface of design, computation and synthetic biology.

Eames Retrospective Opens at London's Barbican

A much anticipated retrospective—The World of Charles and Ray Eames—opens today at London's Barbican Centre. The show, curated by Catherine Ince and designed by 6a architects, surveys the careers of Charles (1907-1978) and Ray (1912-1988), and the extraordinary body of work prodced by the Eames Office: a ‘laboratory’, active for over four decades, in which the Eameses, their collaborators and staff produced "an array of pioneering and influential work – from architecture, furniture, graphic and product design, to painting, drawing, film, sculpture, photography, multi-media installation and exhibitions, as well as new models for education."

© Tristan Fewings/Getty Images. Courtesy Barbican Art Gallery © Tristan Fewings/Getty Images. Courtesy Barbican Art Gallery © Tristan Fewings/Getty Images. Courtesy Barbican Art Gallery © Tristan Fewings/Getty Images. Courtesy Barbican Art Gallery

Boldrewood Innovation Campus / Grimshaw

© Jim Stephenson © Diane Auckland - Fotohaus © Jim Stephenson © Jim Stephenson

Call for Sessions: SAH 2017 Annual International Conference

At its 2017 Annual International Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, SAH will offer a total of 36 paper sessions. The Society invites its members, including graduate students and independent scholars, representatives of SAH chapters, and partner organizations, to chair a session at the conference. As SAH membership is required to chair or present research at the Annual International Conference, non-members who wish to chair a session will be required to join SAH at the time of submitting a session proposal.

2015 Leading Culture Destinations Awards Announced

The winners of the 2015 Leading Culture Destinations Awards have been announced at a ceremony in London. The Awards recognize the success of “museums, art organizations, and cultural destinations from around the world [that] are investing in iconic architecture, cross-sector collaborations, [and] audacious programming […] to diversify the experiences offered to visitors and establish their global reputations.”

This year’s Awards honored the Museum of Modern Art in New York City as the leading cultural destination of the year.

The winners of the 2015 Leading Culture Destinations Awards are:

57°10 Lecture Series

An architecture lecture series society at the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and the Built Environment in Aberdeen, Scotland. The society, 57°10, has been running for 27 years and invites guest lecturers to the school to talk about the ideas and projects explored by their practices. The society prides itself in being student led; providing lectures that will in turn inspire our future architects, perhaps on topics out-with the discourse of the school.

'A New Charter of Athens': a lecture by Professor Richard Sennett

'Next year sees the opening of Habitat III, the environmental congress held every twenty years by the United Nations. For this event, a manifesto is being prepared about the design of cities. It aims to replace the guidance given by Le Corbusier and others nearly a century ago, in document they called "The Charter of Athens." The new Charter of Athens addresses issues emerging in the 21st Century about environmental crises, the uses of technology and big data, and the challenge of social inclusion. The lecture serves as an introduction to this modest proposal.'

Transforming “Made in China” to “Created in China” Conference

China Design Week (CDW) supported by the China Britain Business Council (CBBC) is pleased to host this timely conference to discuss the possibility of increasing creative links between China and the UK.

"A Folly For London" Pokes Serious Fun at London's Architectural Troubles

London is in the throes of an architectural identity crisis, compounded by a severe shortage of housing. While politicians and public figures debate various solutions to the city's design dilemmas, a London-based artist has conceived of a "satirical competition for architecture of the absurd." Known as A Folly for London, the free open-call for solutions to London's architectural conundrums was created in response to Arup and Heatherwick Studio's proposal for the yet to be built, and highly controversial, Garden Bridge

Unlike traditional architectural competitions, A Folly for London sought to ignite debate on the current state of architecture in London. Presented with a distinctly British sense of humour, the competition received more than fifty entries. Winning proposals include the systematic burning of London's forests, construction of a massive inhabitable light bulb and the creation of a catacomb of submerged signature double-decker buses at the centre of the River Thames.

See the winners of "A Folly for London" after the break

The Bulb. Image Courtesy of A Folly for London The Green Fire of London. Image Courtesy of A Folly for London The Bulb. Image Courtesy of A Folly for London Floating Tidal Exploded Bus Maze. Image Courtesy of A Folly for London

China Design Week 2015 UK-China Year Of Cultural Exchange Exhibition

Even though China has become the world’s second largest economy and the world’s largest manufacturing base, the term ‘made in China’ still has negative connotations.

Transforming “Made in China” to “Created in China” is a key challenge for Chinese enterprises urgently in need of world-class creative design. What are the best methods, models and practices of designing? What is the value and the role of creativity in emerging markets? What are the contemporary ideas in design thinking? Are they appropriate in the Chinese context? What is “good design?”

Semi-detached / Delvendahl Martin Architects

© Tim Crocker © Tim Crocker © Tim Crocker © Tim Crocker

London Design Computing Community

We will be hosting the forthcoming Autumn talks for the London Design Computing Community at the offices of nbbj during the evening of Thursday October the 22nd. Speakers include Werner Sobek, One to One, nbbj, AKT II and Pilbrow and Partners.

The Design Computing Community is a social network focused on design and technology. It is comprised of professionals within the building industry including architects, engineers, manufacturers and design specialists. While the advancements in practice define the main focus of the group, it maintains close contact and collaboration with academic institutions and technology organizations.

Puddle-Free Parking: New Absorbent Surface Swallows Water Instantly

Perhaps the only material on the architectural market known for its "thirst," ultra-porous concrete is being hailed as the future of urban water runoff management for warm climates. The emerging material reached mainstream popularity in recent weeks thanks to a viral video depicting an apparently ordinary car park absorbing an inordinate amount of water; 1.2 million views later, the video has ignited debate on viability and possible uses for water-absorbent concrete. 

Ultra-porous concrete is gaining a foothold thanks to extensive research being conducted by architects and engineers around the world. Known for its rainy climate, daring use of innovative materials and unorthodox architecture, it comes as no surprise that the Dutch city of Rotterdam has embraced water-absorbent concrete for testing.

Courtesy of Rainaway Courtesy of Rainaway Courtesy of Rainaway Courtesy of Rainaway

2015 Restaurant & Bar Design Award Winners Announced

The winners of the seventh annual Restaurant & Bar Design Awards—the only awards in the world dedicated to the design of food and beverage spaces—have been announced in London. Out of over 860 entries from the United Kingdom and 70 other countries, 36 designs were awarded, with two grand prize winners.

The winners of the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards are: