Following a two year-long bidding process, British-based international practice BDP (Building Design Partnership) have been chosen to restore and safeguard the future of the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the United Kingdom's parliament. Outbidding Foster + Partners, Allies and Morrison, and HOK the project is expected to run into billions of pounds and could see the two chambers—the House of Commons and the House of Lords, plus all ancillary support staff—move out of the iconic building for to a decade.
Foster + Partners has been named the UK's biggest architecture practice for the third year running in the annual AJ100 run by the Architects' Journal. The list of the top 100 architecture practices in the UK, based on the number of fully qualified architects employed, was announced at an awards ceremony last night in London.
In the past year Foster + Partners has almost doubled its lead at the top of the list, with its 290 architects putting it 87 ahead of second-place rival BDP, showing how the practice dominates the architecture world not just culturally, but also in terms of business size.
See the top 10 UK practices, as well as the results of the accompanying AJ100 Awards, after the break
Following news last week that four post-war buildings had been listed in the UK, the campaign to Save Preston Bus Station reached a victory today when it was announced that Ed Vaizey (Architecture and Heritage Minister) has listed the Brutalist icon, removing the threat of demolition. The campaign, which has garnered words of support from the likes of Richard Rogers and Rem Koolhaas, has been been underpinned by support from Angela Brady PRIBA, former President of the Royal Institute of British Architects.
Most parking is free - but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a high cost. A recent podcast from Freakonomics Radio examined parking in US cities, investigating the “cost of parking not paid for by drivers” - a cost paid not just by the government, but by the environment - due to congestion and pollution caused by people searching for kerbside parking. For example, in a 15 block area of Los Angeles the distance traveled by drivers looking for parking is equivalent to one trip across the USA per day.
One potential solution which they discuss is a San Francisco project called SF Park, which makes use of sensor technology to measure the demand for parking in certain areas of the city and adjust price according to demand. In theory, this would create a small number of empty spaces on each block and dramatically reduce the time that many drivers spend cruising for parking spaces.
Though the idea is certainly an intelligent approach to the problem of kerbside parking, unsurprisingly all this talk of supply, demand and pricing sounds very much like an economist's answer to a problem. But what can designers do to help the situation?
Perhaps, from the designer’s point of view, the real problem with kerbside parking and surface lots is that they are always seen as a provision “coupled with” a building or area of the city. There have been a number of attempts by architects – some successful and some tragically flawed – to make parking spaces less of a rupture in a city's fabric and more of a destination in themselves. Could these point to another way?
Read about 3 examples of parking’s past, and one of its potential future, after the break...