AD Interviews: Keith Griffiths, Chairman of Aedas, on Appoaching Densification in London

Keith Griffiths. Image Courtesy of Aedas

Following the recent announcement of Aedas’ demerger into two separate companies - one retaining the Aedas name and the other now known as AHR - we spoke to Keith Griffiths, Chairman of Aedas’ global board and a practicing architect for close to three decades. The company, which was recently ranked by the Architects’ Journal as the 5th largest and most influential practice in the world, have now moved their head office to London’s Chandos Place and are championing a new approach to urban in the UK’s capital. Alongside discussing how an international practice of Aedas’ scale successfully operates, Griffiths offered his insight into how the future looks for European cities based on a tried and tested Asian model of densification.

To find out how Aedas approach sustainability in flourishing Asian markets, as well as the significance of the ‘urban hub’ typology for London’s metropolitan future, read the interview in full after the break.

Top 10 Technical Apps for Architects

Arrette Scale: perspective. Image Courtesy of Arrette Scale

Building upon our Top 10 Apps for Architects, this collection brings together some of the best quality and most valued technical apps for designing, sketching, calculating and collaborating. Although the majority of those featured here are designed solely for the platform, every time we collate lists such as these it’s clear that more and more high quality apps for the and Windows platforms are being developed. From condensed versions of large scale software packages that architects and designers use every day, to blank canvases to scratch ideas down onto, you might just find an app that could improve the way you work.

Video: Charles Jencks on the 2014 Venice Biennale

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In this extended interview by the Architectural Review, Charles Jencks provides an in-depth description of the 2014 Venice Biennale and critiques his former student Rem Koolhaas’ overall curation and theme: Fundamentals.

Arguing that the previous thirteen Biennales have, “more or less, tried to predict what is going to happen over the next five years,” ”Rem Koolhaas has changed the paradigm:” Rem’s Biennale is about “the past of the present”. Jencks, who describes Koolhaas as ”the Corbusier of our time”, suggests that his Biennale is about analysis rather than total synthesis. He has, however, “shown that research can be creative.”

Project Meganom To Remodel Moscow’s Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts

Courtesy of Project Meganom

Russian practice Project Meganom have won a competition to redesign the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow. Their winning entry seeks to transform the museum complex into a hive of cultural activity, preserving the institution’s world class art collection whilst “actively engaging with the surrounding territory as a potential space for exhibition, dialogue, and communication.” The project focuses less on the provision of new areas but rather provides a single unified platform for a series of discordant parts, tying together all the elements of the environment into one cohesive design – “from buildings and monuments to benches and navigation.”

RIBA Future Trends Survey Demonstrates Continued Stability

Courtesy of RIBA

The results of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBAFuture Trends Survey for May show that the Workload Index among UK practices was slightly down in comparison to April (from +35 to +33) with the recovery in confidence levels remaining consistently “very strong” across the country. Although last month’s survey showed London as the region with the brightest outlook, confidence levels reported by architects in Wales and the West topped the index with a balance figure of +49. Workload forecasts in the private sector, public sector and community sector have all significantly increased.

Heatherwick Studio To Build “Learning Hub” in Singapore

Courtesy of

London based Heatherwick Studio have won a competition to design a Learning Hub at , Singapore. The construction of the Hub, part of a £360 million scheme, will be the first redevelopment of its campus in twenty years. Having already won the BCA Green Mark Platinum Award for Sustainability from the Singaporean Government, the design seeks to redefine the aspiration of a university building. Within this new context the purpose of the university is to “foster togetherness and sociability” so that students can meet and learn in a space that encourages collaboration.

Swedish Team Win Urban Design Competition in Trenčín

First Place. Image Courtesy of City of Trenčín

Swedish based Mandaworks + Hosper Sweden have recently won an international competition to find the “best comprehensive urbanistic proposals for connecting the city centre of Trenčín with both waterfronts of the River Váh.” The winning scheme – Tracing Trenčín – “is not a proposal which is noticeably stunning” but is, according to Thomas Matta, deputy chair of the jury, “considerate to the existing structure of the historic core of the city.”

Asymptote Architecture to Design “Park of Angels” in Italy

Asymptote Architecture has been commissioned to design a park with a collection of cultural buildings on the outskirts of Peccioli, Italy.  Called the “Parco Degli Angeli,” Italian for Park of Angels, this urbanized complex will be carefully grafted into the picturesque Tuscan countryside to create a dialogue with the surrounding farmland and historical sites.  The park will include museums, interactive sculpture installations, and an amphitheater that can host 800 people.

SOM Reveals Design for “All Aboard Florida” Train Station

Miami Station- 1st Avenue elevation. Image ©

SOM recently revealed its design for the Fort Lauderdale hub of All Aboard Florida’s passenger rail line. The terminal will be one of three (Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach) that connects more than 235 miles of rail lines crossing the state of Florida. With the Sunshine State close to becoming the third biggest in the union in terms of population, these stations will serve as a welcome travel alternative to crowded highways. The Miami station alone is expected to serve about 12 million visitors. The stations will also host retail outlets and restaurants, making them cultural landmarks within their respective cities.

Weddle Gilmore and !melk Redesign Phoenix’s Hance Park

Entrance Plaza. Image © !melk

Within a decade, the city of Phoenix, Arizona will transform a 32-acre downtown urban park into a vibrant cultural hub. Spanning over one half mile of U.S. Interstate Highway 10, the recently-approved, competition-winning masterplan was envisioned by New York’s !melk and locally based WEDDLE GILMORE black rock studio.

More on the masterplan, after the break…

Suyabatmaz Demirel Proposes Terraced Market Hall for Sultangazi  

Exterior View. Image ©

A marketplace is typical for most Turkish city districts. They provide a point of cohesion for the community, acting as an economic hub, a landmark, and an impromptu park. In the rapidly developing Sultangazi district of Istanbul, however, such a public place has yet to be seen. To remedy this, Suyabatmaz Demirel Architects have recently proposed a combination market hall and car park for the middle of this populous residential area.

Construction Begins on 3XN’s “Grove Towers” in Mumbai

Street View. Image ©

Construction has begun on 3XN’s first project in India. Aesthetically inspired by local foliage, the 136-meter “Grove Towers” are designed to interweave at their base, much like the roots of the native mangrove trees. These lower, “interwoven” floors will house retail establishments, while the upper floors will be given over to residential units.

CAAT Studio Propose Large Scale Commercial Centre in Isfahan

Courtesy of CAAT Studio

The Hamedanian, a proposal by CAAT Architecture Studio in collaboration with TTBP, seeks to design a large scale commercial complex in the centre of one of the oldest streets in the Iranian city of Isfahan. If built, the mixed use development, half which is parking facilities, would feature commercial and office space.

Winners of the Berlin Natural Science Museum Competition Revealed

First Place. Image Courtesy of AWR

The winners of the international competition to design Berlin’s new have been announced. The brief, which called for a large scale iconic building in the heart of the German capital, offered the opportunity for architects and students to design in a city founded in the 13th century.

Understanding that natural science museums are often simply seen as places for public spectacle, the organization behind the competition wanted to ensure that the “importance of the museum’s specimen collections for documenting historical and present-day patterns of biological diversity cannot be overstated.”

See the winning entry, along with the runners up, after the break…

Wilson Architects Tapped to Design MIT Hub for Nanoscale Research

MIT.nano and the courtyard looking northeast from Building 4. Image © Wilson Architects Inc.

Boston-based practice Wilson Architects has been commissioned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to design a state-of-the-art research hub for nanoscience and nanotechnology: MIT.nano. Centrally located at the heart of MIT, the new glass-encased, four-story structure will house two floors of high-performance cleanrooms, as well as imaging and prototyping facilities that are all designed to foster innovation through cross-discipline collaboration. 

Robert A.M. Stern Awards Master Student with $10,000 Travel Fellowship

Old House / Tadashi Yoshimura Architects © Hitoshi Kawamoto

The Robert A.M. Stern Architects has awarded McGill University Masters candidate Anna Antropva with the 2014 , a $10,000 award presented annually to ”promote investigations of the perpetuation of tradition through invention” – key to the firm’s own work. With the award, Antropva will travel to Japan to further her research into ancient wood joinery techniques and their potential to be transformed and manipulated into modern day construction. “This elegant and efficient mode of construction could meaningfully inform our western building industry,” she stated during her presentation to a jury that included Melissa DelVecchio, Dan Lobitz, and Grant F. Marani.

World’s Fastest Elevator Coming Soon To Guangzhou

CTF / KPF. Image © KPF

The days of elevator small talk could be coming to an end with planning to deliver the world’s fastest elevator by 2016. Capable of travelling at speeds of 72km/h (44m/h), the record-breaking lifts will be able to hoist passengers up 95 floors in less than 40 seconds. Khon Pedersen Fox’s 530-meter Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre will be the first to house the super-speed elevators, amongst 13 other high-speed elevators and 28 double-decker elevators. Currently, the world’s fastest elevator is by Toshiba and only capable of reaching speeds of 61km/h (38m/h) within Taipei 101. You can learn more about the super-speed elevators, here.

HASSELL, COX Architecture, HKS To Design Australia’s Largest Sporting Precinct

Burswood Peninsula Master Plan. Image Courtesy of Government of Western

The West Australian government has confirmed, HASSELL, COX Architecture and HKS will collaborate to design Australia’s largest ever stadium project. The $900million project will see Perth’s Burswood Peninsula transformed into a world-class sporting precinct by 2018. Included in the master plan is a new stadium that will hold some 60,000 spectators, a public tennis facility, significant transport infrastructure upgrades, such as a new train and bus station, and large public parklands. As negotiations continue between the firms and the West Australian Government, we should expect to see detailed drawings of the scheme by at least July with construction expected to begin by the end of this year.