Spotlight: Peter Cook

Sir Peter Cook. Image © vimeo.com

As one of the founding members of Archigram, the avant-garde futurist architecture group of the 1960s, Sir Peter Cook, the British architect, professor, and writer has been a pivotal figure within the global architectural world for over half a century; one of his most significant works from his time with The Plug-In City, still invokes debates on technology and society, challenging standards of architectural discourse today. With a love for the slithering, the swarming and the spooky, Cook continues to teach at the University College London’s Bartlett School of Architecture and lecture around the world.

As one of the founding members of Archigram, Cook gained significant international recognition; however, he has now also been recognized for his built works around the world. His recent works, including the construction of his Art Museum in Graz, Austria (Kunsthaus) has brought his radical ideas to a wider public audience. He currently practices with Gavin Robotham as part of CRAB Studio (Cook Robotham Architectural Bureau). 

LOBBY: The Spectacle Of The “Un/Spectacle”

© Cameron Clarke

I was recently at a lecture at Rotterdam’s Nieuwe Instituut in which Dirk van den Heuvel mediated a discussion between Kenneth Frampton and Herman Hertzberger. Talking of those who contributed to the Dutch Structuralist movement, Hertzberger lamented the fact that so many have faded into obscurity: “if you make the mistake of not writing” he said, “you’re bound to be forgotten.” Accompanying design with the written word is at the core of good practice, not only because it lends design an elevated meaning by cementing it into a wider discourse, but also because it often uncovers the subconscious significance of the process of architecture.

LOBBY is an attempt from of ’s Bartlett School of Architecture to anchor in-house research and external contributions in words, “creating both a space we lack and an action we desire.” Their new journal is also a response to the school’s current in-between state as they await their new building in temporary studio spaces. As such, LOBBY will serve as a platform for exchange and discussion in lieu of a physical lobbying space. The first issue explores the theme of Un/Spectacle, offering different layers, approaches, readings and perspectives on the topic of the ‘(un)spectacle’ of the everyday.

The Legacy of Hydraulic Fracturing in Blackpool

The Legacy of Frackpool. Image © Jason Lamb

Jason Lamb, a recent graduate from ’s Bartlett School of Architecture, has developed a project which centres around the legacy of hydraulic fracturing in the British coastal city of Blackpool. The theoretical thesis, which employs the possibility of Chinese investment prompting the transitory integration of hydraulic fracturing within the city for the exploitation of shale gas, features a number of interesting explanatory illustrations.

Hawkins\Brown Reveal Plans for Bartlett School Revamp

Courtesy of The Bartlett School of Architecture

Hawkins\Brown have revealed plans for a £30 million revamp of Wates House in London, home to the Bartlett School of Architecture. The alterations will retain the structure of the 1970s building, opening up the facade to reveal the building’s internal activities to the street, as well as adding a new entrance and converting some of the ground floor into an exhibition space. The project strikes a balance between the requirements of working within one of ’s conservation areas, and retrofitting an outdated 1970s building to meet the needs of a constantly changing program.

Read on after the break for more project images and info

2013 RIBA President’s Medals Winners Announced

: Ben Hayes. Image Courtesy of RIBA

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced the President’s Medals Student Awards at a special event in London. The awards, known to be the world’s most prestigious awards in architectural education, were inaugurated in 1836 and are therefore the institutes oldest award (even older than the RIBA Gold Medal). Three medals – the Bronze for a Part I student, the Silver for a Part II student, and the Dissertation Medal – are awarded to “promote excellence in the study of architecture [and] to reward talent and to encourage architectural debate worldwide.”

Around 300 schools of architecture from over 60 countries were invited to nominate design projects and dissertations by their students, of which students of the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London won all of this year’s primary awards.

Winners of the First Old Doha Competition Announced

Courtesy of UK 2013 Year of Culture

Alicja Borkowska and Iris Papadatou from you&me architects have been announced as the UK winners of the inaugural , a competition to redesign part of the old city of Doha in Qatar

Four teams of architects have “worked intensively to develop contextual design responses to address the challenge of regenerating and maintaining the heritage of the city” as part of a British-Qatari collaborative project to “reimagine the urban landscape of old Doha.” As a city defined by its strong heritage, coupled with ambitious plans for the future, the competition aimed to discover ways of regenerating parts of the city centre in a sustainable, yet vibrant, way.

Bartlett’s Peter Cook Special Prize 2012 Goes to Maj Plemenitas

© Maj Plemenitas

Last September 25th, at , the Graduate Program Exhibition was inaugurated. The same day, gave by himself the “Multicoloured Ear”, (the physical icon coming from the fact that exhibition was taking place at the former Ear Hospital building) for the Special Prize of this year, to the postgraduate student Maj Plemenitas with his research project 10⁻⁹ ]LINK[ 10⁹.

Bartlett School of Architecture Year 1 Program Videos

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The Bartlett’s BSc degree programme aims to develop a creative, diverse and rigorous approach to architecture and design from the outset. Year 1 is centred on the design studio and is taught to the year as a whole. observe, draw, model and design, based in the School’s design studios and workshop from the first week onwards.

You can now see three videos of the Year 1 program, including a sketchfilm by Brook Lin, who sketched for 13 hours, transformed in a 10 minute film. For more information click here. See the other two videos after the break.

Sublime Flesh: Architectural Experiments for Sacred and Sublime Spaces

Sublime Flesh brings together, for the first time, new designs for contemporary spiritual spaces developed by students at the Bartlett School of Architecture, . A collection of research projects located in international cities including Istanbul, Rome, Turin, Lisbon, Havana and Miami, each explores a unique sense of sacredness and the Sublime.

The complex nature of these themes is articulated in a series of exquisite models that express a new ornamental, spatial and technological approach and also a reconsidered religious and cultural dimension for contemporary architecture design.

The exhibition will continue in Christ Church till April 11. Also, there will be various events through the exhibition. Among those there will be a symposium on Tuesday April 6 14:30-18:30. Speakers are Sir Peter Cook, Marjan Colletti, Rev Rod Green, Robert Harbison, Ali Mangera, Natasha Sandmeier, Yael Reisner, and Marcos Cruz (chair).

For more information, click here.