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Rainham: The East London Village that Became an Urban Planning Exemplar

For the past century or so, the key to turning around the fortunes of a community was thought to be simple: large scale, infrastructural overhaul was capable of rethinking a place from the ground up, fixing any problems. The deficiencies with this sort of thinking are now well known, and in recent years small, surgical interventions which preserve the existing qualities of a town have gained traction. But how do you create large-scale change with such small-scale proposals?

The town of Rainham, at the far Eastern reaches of London, might hold an answer. Having preserved its village-like atmosphere despite being part of London's industrial hinterlands, since the turn of the millennium Rainham has been the subject of a series of small developments that have made a big overall change. Projects by Alison Brooks Architects, Maccreanor Lavington, Peter Beard LANDROOM, Studio Weave, Civic, and East have improved key spaces within Rainham while connecting it to the Thames and the nearby marshes - all by being respectful of the town's existing qualities and responsive to each others' interventions.

RIBA Selects Six Houses for 2014 Manser Medal Shortlist

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced the shortlist for this year's Manser Medal, the award given for Britain's best new house. With a shortlist comprising a mixture of two London townhouses, a seaside getaway and three remote getaways in Scotland and Wales, the winner of this year's Manser medal will be announced at the RIBA's awards ceremony on October 16th.

RIBA President Steven Hodder said of the shortlisted schemes: "With each of the projects, the architects have added real value to the homeowner’s happiness and wellbeing. The originality, ingenuity and innovation on show in this shortlist should be an inspiration for anyone planning to build or make improvements to their own home. I encourage the UK’s volume house builders to look at the shortlisted schemes – we all deserve to live in homes that comfort and delight us."

Read on after the break for all six shortlisted projects

Cliff House / Dualchas Architects. Image © Alistair Nicholls Luker House / Jamie Fobart Architects. Image © Oliver Hess The Kench / Meloy Architects. Image © Jim Stephenson House no 7 / Denizen Works. Image © David Barbour

North West Cambridge Extension Proposals Enter Planning Phase

Earlier this year the University of Cambridge announced an ambitious new urban extension in the north west of the city in order to create a framework for a new district centered on a mixed academic and urban community. The development, planned by Aecom, has aspirations of achieving urban space that is well balanced, permanent and sustainable. Containing 1,500 homes for its key workers, accommodation for 2,000 postgraduate students, 1,500 homes for sale, 100,000 square metres of research facilities and a local centre with a primary school, community centre, health centre, supermarket, hotel and shops, proposals from Mecanoo and MUMA are now entering the planning phase. Future lots are expected to be filled by the likes of Stanton WilliamsAlison Brooks Architects and by Cottrell and Vermeulen working with Sarah Wigglesworth and AOC.

Alison Brooks Architects Wins Competition For Exeter College, Oxford

Courtesy of Alison Brooks Architects
Courtesy of Alison Brooks Architects

Alison Brooks Architects  has won the competition to design a `third quad´ for Exeter College at Oxford University.  The “third quadrangle” is just a ten minute walk from the historic 700-year-old Turl Street campus in the heart of Oxford.

More on this project after the break.

Courtesy of Alison Brooks Architects Courtesy of Alison Brooks Architects Courtesy of Alison Brooks Architects Courtesy of Alison Brooks Architects