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Between Intuition and Pragmatism: Peter Clegg on Holistic Sustainability

Founded in 1978, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios has spent over thirty years refining its approach to sustainability, and is now regarded as one of the UK's leading practices in low-energy design. Yet their work still resonates on many other levels, bringing them multiple awards including the 2008 RIBA Stirling Prize for the Accordia Housing Project which they completed alongside Alison Brooks Architects and Maccreanor Lavington. In this interview from Indian Architect & Builder's May 2015 issue, Peter Clegg talks about the principles behind their work, explaining the concept of holistic sustainability which makes their designs so successful.

Indian Architect & Builder: The Yorkshire Sculpture Park, The Southbank Centre and many other projects desire to involve the social aspects for the larger good of the community. How would you describe the incorporation of these into the design process?

Peter Clegg: Architecture is an art form but also social science and we have a duty not only to work with our current client base and generate ideas collaboratively, but also think ahead and envisage the needs of future generations who are our ultimate clients. Our most creative work comes from working closely with creative clients who are more prevalent in the creative and cultural industries.

Model of Feilden Clegg Bradley's proposals for the Southbank Centre renovation, London. Image © Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios Manchester School of Art, Manchester, England. Image © Hufton + Crow Broadcasting Place, Leeds, England. Image © Cloud9Photography City and University Library for Worcester ("The Hive"), Worcester, England. Image © Hufton + Crow

Fitzroy Park House / Stanton Williams

© Edmund Sumner © Hufton+Crow © Hufton+Crow © Hufton+Crow

See All 38 Winners of the 2015 RIBA London Awards

From a shortlist of 68 buildings, 38 London projects have been awarded the 2015 RIBA London Awards for architectural excellence, the city's most prestigious design honor. The awards highlight projects that embody exceptional merit in their designs and positively impact the lives of their occupants. This year's winners include three arts and leisure buildings, 11 educational and community facilities, 16 residential designs, and eight commercial buildings.

All of these designs will be further considered for the RIBA National Awards, to be announced in June.

Brentford Lock West / Duggan Morris Architects. Image © Jack Hobhouse St Paul's School Science Building / Nicholas Hare Architects. Image © Morley Von Sternberg Bonhams / Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands. Image © Hufton + Crow The Foundry / Architecture 00 Ltd. Image © Rory Gardiner

A Guided Tour Of The 2015 Milan Expo

© Hufton+Crow
© Hufton+Crow

With 145 countries participating in the 2015 Expo, alongside input from international organizations, corporate partners and an extensive program organized by the Expo itself, there's a lot going on in Milan right now. So much so, in fact, that it can be a little overwhelming to get a handle on all the sights that are worth your attention.

To help you out, we've put together a guided tour of the key pavilions that are turning heads, including the defining vistas of the expo grounds, the displays that are worth your time and the oddities that might entertain. From the Expo's defining icon, the 30-meter-tall Tree of Life, to the exhibition on architecture's favorite consumable (that's coffee), and all the national pavilions in between, the things you need to see are here. Whether you're planning to visit the Expo and want a quick and dirty way to ensure you've covered the highlights, or whether you're simply hoping to live vicariously through the internet, this tour is for you.

© Evan Rawn © Evan Rawn © Min Keun Park © Hufton+Crow

Vanke Pavilion - Milan Expo 2015 / Daniel Libeskind

  • Architects: Daniel Libeskind
  • Location: Ingresso EXpo, Via Giorgio Stephenson, 107, 20157 Milano, Italy
  • Architect In Charge: Yama Karim
  • Area: 1210.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2015
  • Photographs: Hufton+Crow

© Hufton+Crow © Hufton+Crow © Hufton+Crow © Hufton+Crow

Patrik Schumacher Actually Makes a Good Point

Last week Patrik Schumacher, director at Zaha Hadid Architects and the practice's frontman in the field of architectural theory, took once again to Facebook to disseminate his ideas - this time arguing that "the denunciation of architectural icons and stars is superficial and ignorant." In the post, Schumacher lamented the default position of the architectural media which he believes sees success and reputation as "a red cloth and occasion to knock down icons," going on to outline his beliefs on why stars and icons are useful and even inevitable mechanisms of architectural culture.

Schumacher has made headlines via Facebook before, with a post last year in which he argued for an end to the "moralizing political correctness" that has led to the popularity of socially-conscious design - a post which attracted almost universal outrage from architects, critics and social media users of all stripes. However this latest post had a very different feel; many people, myself included, seemed to find themselves at least partially agreeing with Schumacher. After all, at the most basic level he was asking for designs to each be judged on their individual merits - what's not to like?

Milan Expo 2015: Wolfgang Buttress Completes UK Pavilion's "Virtual Beehive"

Wolfgang Buttress' “pulsating” beehive is one of the first pavilions to complete for the 2015 Milan Expo. Serving as the UK's contribution, “BE,” the “virtual hive” is designed to highlight the plight of the honeybee and offer an “immersive sensory experience” that leaves visitors with a “lasting flavor of the British landscape.”

Comprised of a 14-meter lattice structure, made from 169,300 pieces of aluminum and steel, the domed structure sits at the end of a meandering wildflower meadow that leads visitors to the "hive." Once inside, a sensory composition of audio and visual effects will mimic the activity of an existing beehive in Nottingham. 

A look inside the beehive, after the break. 

Patrik Schumacher: "The Denunciation of Architectural Icons and Stars is Superficial and Ignorant"

In the latest of his provocative posts on Facebook, Patrik Schumacher has come out in defense of iconic design and star architects, arguing that the current trend of criticism is "superficial and ignorant," and "all-too-easy point-scoring which indeed usually misses the point."

Schumacher says that critics "should perhaps slow down a bit in their (pre-)judgement and reflect on their role as mediators between the discourse of architecture and the interested public." In the 1,400 word post, he goes on to elaborate that so-called icons and the star system are inevitable results of this mediation, adding that "explanation rather than dismissal and substitution should be seen as the critics’ task."

Read on after the break for more highlights from Schumacher's argument

Turnmill / Piercy&Company

  • Architects: Piercy&Company
  • Location: 63 Clerkenwell Road, London EC1M 5NP, UK
  • Area: 9032.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2015
  • Photographs: Hufton Crow

© Hufton Crow © Hufton Crow © Hufton Crow © Hufton Crow

How Heatherwick Studio Provides Small-Scale Encounters in a Large-Scale World

A casual observer might be forgiven for wondering how Thomas Heatherwick has developed such a reputation among architects. A scan of the works of Heatherwick Studio reveals relatively few completed buildings, and many of those that do make the list are small projects: kiosks, retail interiors, cafés. Indeed, to the average Londoner he is probably better known as the designer of the new homage to the iconic red Routemaster bus and as the creator of the wildly popular cauldron for the London 2012 Olympics - both unveiled in a year in which Heatherwick all but officially became the state-approved designer of 21st century Britain.

A look at the website of Heatherwick Studio sheds some light on this conundrum. With projects separated into “small,” “medium” and “large,” it is clear that a progression in scale is mirrored by a progression in time, with many of the smallest projects completed in the Studio’s early years, and most of those in the “large” category either recently completed or (more frequently) still on the drawing board. Their most recently completed project is also one of their largest, a “Learning Hub” for Nanyang Technical University in Singapore. How does a design studio that made its name in small projects adapt to such scale? ArchDaily spoke to Thomas Heatherwick about the Learning Hub and the increasing size of his projects to find out.

© Hufton + Crow © Hufton + Crow © Hufton + Crow © Hufton + Crow

Shortlist Announced For 2015 RIBA North West Awards

A total of 15 projects have been shortlisted for RIBA North West 2015 Awards, featuring buildings by John McAslan + Partners, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, MUMA and Carmody Groake. All shortlisted buildings will now be assessed by a regional jury. Regional winners will then be considered for a RIBA National Award in recognition of their architectural excellence, the results of which will place some projects in the running for the 2015 RIBA Stirling Prize. The 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize was won by Haworth Tompkins for the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool, a project which was shortlisted by this branch of the RIBA. Feilden Clegg Bradley StudiosManchester School of Art also made it to the national finals.

See the complete list of shortlisted projects after the break.

Shortlist Announced For 2015 RIBA London Awards

A total of 68 buildings have been shortlisted for RIBA London 2015 Awards, featuring buildings by AHMM, dRMM, John McAslan + Partners and Grimshaw, to Níall McLaughlin Architects, Eric Parry Architects, and Rogers Stirk Harbour. Winning projects from last year included three Stirling Prize shortlisted projects, as well as another by Haworth Tompkins who ultimately took the prize in 2014 for the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool. All shortlisted buildings will now be assessed by a regional jury. Regional winners will then be considered for a RIBA National Award in recognition of their architectural excellence, the results of which will place some projects in the running for the 2015 RIBA Stirling Prize.

See the complete list of shortlisted projects after the break.

© Hufton + Crow © Hufton + Crow © Ben Blossom © Jack Hobhouse

Video: Tour Through Mons International Congress Xperience with Daniel Libeskind

In light of the recent opening of Mons International Congress Xperience (MICX), Daniel Libeskind hosted a private tour through the conference center, explaining his thinking behind the building’s expressive form. The experience was captured on this short film by Spirit of Space with the intention to open the discussion up to a larger audience. 

The building, an important new landmark in the Belgium city of Mons, is described by Libeskind as “an expression of contrasting geometric forms.” Aside form providing function and “lively” spaces for auditoria and conference use, the building aims to be “a hinge between the old city and the new.”

Leventis Art Gallery / Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

© Hufton & Crow © Hufton & Crow © Hufton & Crow © Hufton & Crow

Fishbourne Quay / The Manser Practice Architects + Designers

© Hufton+Crow © Hufton+Crow © Hufton+Crow © Hufton+Crow

Spotlight: Zaha Hadid

Since winning the Pritzker Prize in 2004, the first woman and Muslim to do so, Hadid's career has been on an exponential trajectory. Before the prize, Hadid was better known for her extraordinary sketch-paintings of unbuilt works; particularly, her competition-winning entries for "The Peak" in 1982 and the Cardiff Bay Opera House in 1994. Zaha's "flying" forms were so revolutionary, that some questioned if they could even be made reality - hence why the Opera House was ultimately rejected, for supposed "uncertainties." Indeed, before 1994, the only built project she could boast was the complex, deconstructivist Vitra Fire Station.

Haworth Tompkins' Everyman Theatre Wins the 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize

Haworth Tompkins' Everyman Theatre has won the RIBA Stirling Prize for 2014, beating competition from Zaha Hadid, Renzo Piano, Mecanoo, O'Donnell + Tuomey and Feilden Clegg Bradley. The result was announced last night by RIBA President Stephen Hodder at an event held at the RIBA's Headquarter's in London, with Hodder saying that "Haworth Tompkins have struck the perfect balance between continuity and change" and calling the scheme "a ground-breaking example of how to build a daring, bold and highly sustainable large public building in a historic city centre."