London’s Victoria & Albert Museum have announced that David Bickle, formerly a partner at Hawkins\Brown, has been appointed as the new Director of Design, Exhibitions and FuturePlan. In this role Bickle will be responsible for the care and future development of the V&A’s buildings, as well as the presentation of all of the museum’s permanent collections and exhibitions. With the construction of Amanda Levete Architects’ new addition on Exhibition Road underway – coupled with the V&A’s plans for new exhibition spaces in Dundee, Scotland, and in East Stratford on the former site of the 2012 London Olympic Games – the museum is also in the process of helping to establishing a collection in Shenzhen.
The Listeners Project, a small London-based initiative that works with young filmmakers in unique architectural spaces to develop and create short films, have taken residence in the former BBC Television Centre. The building, designed by Graham Dawbarn of Norman & Dawbarn in the late 1940s, has an iconic plan that resembles a question mark. The centre, which was once the beating heart of the majority of the British Broadcasting Company’s television production, was listed in 2009 before it was finally vacated in 2013.
World Expos have long been important in advancing architectural innovation and discourse. Many of our most beloved monuments were designed and constructed specifically for world’s fairs, only to remain as iconic fixtures in the cities that host them. But what is it about Expos that seem to create such lasting architectural landmarks, and is this still the case today? Throughout history, each new Expo offered architects an opportunity to present radical ideas and use these events as a creative laboratory for testing bold innovations in design and building technology. World’s fairs inevitably encourage competition, with every country striving to put their best foot forward at almost any cost. This carte blanche of sorts allows architects to eschew many of the programmatic constraints of everyday commissions and concentrate on expressing ideas in their purest form. Many masterworks such as Mies van der Rohe’s German Pavilion (better known as the Barcelona Pavilion) for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition are so wholeheartedly devoted to their conceptual approach that they could only be possible in the context of an Exposition pavilion.
To celebrate the opening of Expo Milano 2015 tomorrow, we’ve rounded up a few of history’s most noteworthy World Expositions to take a closer look at their impact on architectural development.
Balfron Tower: a building archive, created by London-based PhD student David Roberts and graphic designer Duarte Carrilho da Graça, is an online archive that brings together public documents related to Erno Goldfinger’s Balfron Tower. Shining a light on all of the research material which Roberts has gathered over the course of his studies, archival documents from during the tower’s design phase to the most recent press articles are presented in the form of a timeline. You are also allowed the option of downloading these documents in full.
Prisons are often seen as problematic for their local communities. After centuries of correctional facilities discouraging economic growth and occupying valuable real estate as a necessary component of towns and cities, many of these institutions have been relocated away from city centers and their abandoned vestiges are left as unpleasant reminders of their former use. In fact, the majority of prisons built in the United States since 1980 have been placed in non-metropolitan areas and once served as a substantial economic development strategy in depressed rural communities.  However, a new pressure is about to emerge on the US prison systems: beginning in 2010, America’s prison population declined for the first time in decades, suggesting that in the near future repurposing these structures will become a particularly relevant endeavor for both community development and economic sustainability. These abandoned shells offer architects valuable opportunities to reimagine programmatic functions and transform an otherwise problematic location into an integral neighborhood space.
Why repurpose prisons rather than starting fresh? The answer to this question lies in the inherent architectural features of the prison typology, namely the fact that these structures are built to last. People also often forget that prison buildings are not limited to low-rise secure housing units – in fact, prisons feature an array of spaces that have great potential for reuse including buildings for light industrial activity, training or office buildings, low-security housing, and large outdoor spaces. These elements offer a wide variety of real estate for new programmatic uses, and cities around the world have begun to discover their potential. What could the US learn from these examples, at home and overseas?
New London Architecture (NLA), an independent resource and forum for debate about the city’s built environment, have unveiled a new, large-scale interactive model of the UK capital. Designed to provide a visual history of the city, NLA also intend for it to spark questions about its future. This model replaces an earlier one, which was revealed on the day that it was announced that London’s bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games has been successful. Now, a decade later, the present projection of the city’s built future has been mapped across the model, highlighting the locations of the 263 tall buildings planned or under construction. Visitors are also able to track the route and impact of new transport links, such as HS2 and Crossrail.
Nearly two hundred years after construction first began, and 150 years after being formally closed to the public, Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Rotherhithe shaft in the Thames Tunnel is slated to become London’s newest performance space.
Learn more about the project after the break.
British architect and Pritzker Laureate Sir James Stirling (22 April 1926 – 25 June 1992) grew up in Liverpool, one of the two industrial powerhouses of the British North West, and began his career subverting the compositional and theoretical ideas behind the Modern Movement. Citing a wide-range of influences – from Colin Rowe, a forefather of Contextualism, to Le Corbusier, from architects of the Italian Renaissance to the Russian Constructivist movement – Stirling forged a unique set of architectural beliefs that manifest themselves in his works. Indeed, his architecture, commonly described as “non-comformist”, consistently caused annoyance in conventional circles.
If approved, Robert A.M. Stern will build London’s most expensive flats. Aiming to replace a 1960s car park and a number of other buildings in city’s Mayfair district, the £2 billion “Audley Square House” apartment block is being commissioned by Phones4U billionaire John Caudwell.
As BD Online reports, Caudwell abandoned an already approved £300 million Foster + Partners scheme in favor of Stern’s neo-classical design, saying he chose the New York-based architect for his “ability to design high-quality buildings that do not stand apart from their surroundings but rather fit in comfortably amongst their neighbors.”
The great schools of architecture have been around since time immemorial, or at least that’s how it can often feel. In London, a city particularly dense with institutions of this calibre, this is perhaps felt more acutely. How, then, do you develop an entirely new school in this tightly packed environment which has the potency and capacity to compete? Will Hunter, former executive editor of the London-based Architectural Review, began a process to do just this with an article in 2012. Following this, he set up the ARFA—Alternative Routes For Architecture—in order to explore different models for architectural education, calling upon professionals and academics to contribute to a series of informal discussions.
“When the tuition fees in the UK escalated to around £9000 per year in 2013, it got me thinking about different models for architectural education,” Hunter recalls. The casual meetings held around this time gradually become more serious until, “at a certain point, we decided to test them: to make a school.” The project gathered momentum from that point on and now, two years later, the London School of Architecture (LSA) are preparing to take in their first ‘trailblazing cohort’ of postgraduate students.
The Architects’ Journal have reported that London based practice Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP), headed by Richard Rogers, has refined its in-house structure “as the practice continues to implement its long-term succession plan.” The practice, who will move into their new home on level fourteen of the Leadenhall Building following its completion last year, will operate one studio led by Richard Rogers alongside partner Simon Smithson; another by Graham Stirk with partner Richard Paul; and a third headed by Ivan Harbour.
Farshid Moussavi has been elected into the Royal Academy of Arts, joining Eva Jiricna, Zaha Hadid, David Chipperfield, Nicholas Grimshaw, and 11 other architects as a Royal Academician in the program’s architecture category. The Iranian-born architect best known for her work on the Yokohama International Cruise Terminal in Japan, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland, the flagship store for Victoria Beckham in London, and her installation at the 2012 Architecture Biennale in Venice.
“I’m particularly pleased to welcome Farshid because the Royal Academy architects currently comprise a more distinguished group than at any time in its long history,” commented Christopher Le Brun, president of the Royal Academy.
A Clockwork Jerusalem, the exhibition showcased in the British Pavilion at last year’s Venice Biennale, will make it’s UK debut at London’s Architectural Association (AA) next month. Commissioned by the British Council and curated by Sam Jacob, co-founder of FAT, and Wouter Vanstiphout, partner at Dutch practice Crimson Architectural Historians, the exhibition shines a light on the large scale projects of the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s by exploring the “mature flowering of British Modernism at the moment it was at its most socially, politically and architecturally ambitious – but also the moment that witnessed its collapse.”
Richard Rogers has announced that the home he built for his parents in Wimbledon, London, will be gifted to Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (GSD) for the training of doctorates in the field of architecture. The home, which will be donated by his charity, the Richard Rogers Charitable Settlement, was completed between 1967 and 1968 by Richard and his then wife Su Rogers. Originally designed for his parents, Dr. William Nino and Dada Rogers, the Grade II* listed pre-fabrictated single storey dwelling was later adapted for Rogers’ son Ab and his family, before being put on the market in 2013 for £3.2million ($4.8million).
German artist Carsten Höller is returning to London with plans for two new giant slides to be built at the Hayward Gallery this Summer. As part of his exhibition “Decision,” Holler will provide visitors with a two-slide exit option that will (hopefully) induce an “emotional state that is a unique condition somewhere between delight and madness.”
“[Holler] is “one of the world’s most thought-provoking and profoundly playful artists, with a sharp and mischievous intelligence bent on turning our ‘normal’ view of things upside-down,” says Ralph Rugoff, director of the Hayward Gallery. Decision, he continued, “will ask visitors to make choices, but also, more importantly, to embrace a kind of double vision that takes in competing points of view, and embodies what Holler calls a state of ‘active uncertainty’ – a frame of mind conducive to entertaining new possibilities.”