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Three Talks to Debate the Future of Life on London's Rivers

As part of the their Architecture for All programme, London's Old Royal Naval College is set to host three debates about the future planned along the River Thames, investigating the issues surrounding living, building and working on the City's waterways in the years to come. The series is curated by Ellis Woodman, critic for the Architects' Journal and the Architectural Review, who said: "Despite the fact that the riverfront is currently the subject of redevelopment proposals of unprecedented scale, London’s ambitions for the Thames have yet to be widely articulated or debated." Details of the three events after the break.

Architects Envision Buoyant "Thames Deckway" for London Cyclists

On the heels of Mayor Boris Johnson’s announced plan to construct an 18-mile protected bike lane by March 2016, architect David Nixon and artist Anna Hill have released their vision for relieving London’s congested streets with a floating “Thames Deckway” for cyclists. The proposal, though just in its preliminary design phase, claims the river Thames is currently a missed opportunity that could serve as a major travel artery for cyclists. If constructed, the £600 million project would run east-west for seven miles along the river’s southern bank, from Battersea to Canary Wharf, and harness it’s own energy through solar, tidal and wind power. Nixon and Hill have founded the River Cycleway Consortium in support of the project, which includes Arup and Hugh Broughton Architects.

New Images Released of Foster and Gehry's Battersea Power Station Designs

The Battersea Power Station Development Company has revealed new images of the buildings on "Electric Boulevard," designed by Foster + Partners and Gehry Partners. As phase three in the development of the Grade-II* power station and its surroundings, the buildings will form the primary entrance to the site, connecting the planned Battersea Underground station with the power station and forming one of London's most distinguished high streets.

The released images show both the exterior and interior features of Foster's "Battersea Roof Gardens" Building (formerly called "The Skyline") and Gehry's "Prospect Place" and "Flower" buildings. Read on after the break to see all the images.

Residents' Lounge in Foster + Partners' Building. Image Courtesy of Battersea Power Station Gehry Partners' "Flower Building". Image Courtesy of Battersea Power Station Electric Boulevard with Foster + Partners' "Battersea Roof Gardens" on the left and Gehry Partners' "Prospect Place" on the right. Image Courtesy of Battersea Power Station Residents' Lounge in Gehry Partners' "Flower" Building. Image Courtesy of Battersea Power Station

Pier Vittorio Aureli to Exhibit 30 'Non-Compositional' Drawings in London

Pier Vittorio Aureli's collection of thirty 'non-compositional' drawings, exhibited as part of a series entitled The Marriage of Reason and Squalor, will open at London's Betts Project architecture gallery tomorrow (8th October 2014). The drawings, in development since 2001, are part of an ongoing investigation into "what, in the absence of a better definition, Aureli has described as ‘non-compositional architecture’." This term, referring to the work of art historian Yve-Alain Bois who was himself prompted by the ambitions of the constructivist artist Alexander Rodchenko, is used to describe works that "aspire to the abandonment of composition and even the self of the artist." This will be Aureli's second recent exhibition in London following Dogma: 11 Projects, which was presented at London's Architectural Association in 2013.

Untitled 13 (from The Marriage of Reason and Squalor, 2001-2014) Ink on paper, 50x50cm. Image © Pier Vittorio Aureli Untitled 7 (from The Marriage of Reason and Squalor, 2001-2014) Ink on paper, 50x50cm. Image © Pier Vittorio Aureli Untitled 18 (from The Marriage of Reason and Squalor, 2001-2014) Ink on paper, 50x50cm. Image © Pier Vittorio Aureli Untitled 23 (from The Marriage of Reason and Squalor, 2001-2014) Ink on paper, 50x50cm. Image © Pier Vittorio Aureli

London Mayor Rejects Skyline Campaign Proposals Amid Planning Controversy

London's Mayor Boris Johnson has largely rejected the proposals by the Skyline campaign, organized by the Architects' Journal and the Observer, which aimed to introduce measures to allow more considered development in London, following the news that the UK's capital is currently going through its biggest building boom in recent memory.

The Architects' Journal reported on Friday that the mayor rejected proposals for a presumption against tall buildings submitted for planning permission, a review of over 200 tall buildings currently either proposed or being constructed, a more rigourous system of masterplanning, and an independent skyline commission to examine new proposals. However, he did support the idea of a city-wide 3D model containing both existing and proposed buildings, which would allow planning officers to make more informed decisions.

More on the issue, and a detailed look at the mayor's response to the proposals, after the break

London Mayor Rules in Favour of Controversial Mount Pleasant Scheme

London Mayor Boris Johnson has ruled in favour of the controversial Mount Pleasant scheme in North London at a public hearing held earlier today. The scheme was called in for a hearing at the request of the site's owner Royal Mail who claimed that Islington and Camden councils (who are both responsible for parts of the huge site) were taking too long over the planning application, but has been criticized heavily by locals who feel that the scheme is not appropriate for the site, and by the councils who feel that the scheme's 24% affordable housing is unacceptably low. However, Johnson drew criticism in June for apparently “compromising his neutrality” in advance of the hearing when he stated that the redeveloped Mount Pleasant “will be a wonderful place to live.”

Johnson approved the scheme after a heated hearing attended by over 100 members of the public and press, with many in attendance booing and heckling the mayor and representatives of the Royal Mail.

More on the hearing after the break

The Future of London's Historic Alexandra Palace Revealed in New Exhibition

The soaring glass roofs of London's Alexandra Palace are about to receive a major overhaul thanks to a £23.8m ($38.6m USD) fundraising project focused on the revitalization of the 139 year old palace. Images of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios 2014 revitalization are on display for the first time in an exhibition showcasing the upcoming changes to the public palace, including extensive renovations to reopen derelict sections of the building. Find out more about the exhibition after the break.

Constructing Worlds: Photography and Architecture in the Modern Age

Currently on exhibition at Barbican Art Gallery in London is Constructing Worlds, an exploration of architectural photography from the 1930s to now. The exhibition brings together over 250 rarely seen works by 18 leading photographers who have demonstrated the medium’s ability to look beyond simple documentation of the built world and reveal wider truths about society. Learn more about the exhibition after the break. 

2. Iwan Baan Torre David #10, 2012 Image courtesy of the artist and Perry Rubenstein Gallery, Los Angeles. Image Courtesy of Barbican Art Gallery 16. Iwan Baan Torre David #1, 2011 Image courtesy of the artist and Perry Rubenstein Gallery, Los Angeles. Image Courtesy of Barbican Art Gallery 9. Nadav Kander Chongqing IV (Sunday Picnic), Chongqing Municipality, 2006 © Nadav Kander, courtesy Flowers Gallery. Image Courtesy of Barbican Art Gallery 15. Luigi Ghirri Cemetery of San Cataldo, Modena; the ossuary in winter, 1986 Courtesy of the Luigi Ghirri Estate and Matthew Marks Gallery, New York © 2014 Eredi Luigi Ghirri. Image Courtesy of Barbican Art Gallery

Gia Wolff Transforms the Tate Modern with Canopy of Ropes

From the architect. What happens when a designer decides to turn a classic Herzog & de Meuron masterpiece into a carnival space? That's precisely what happened when architect Gia Wolff was asked to create an installation - part of which doubled as a performance piece - for the show Up Hill Down Hall: An Indoor Carnival in the Tate Modern's Turbine Hall. How did she approach transforming such a cultural icon? Three words: red-pink rope.

© Gia Wolff © Gia Wolff © John Hartmann (Freecell Architecture) © John Hartmann (Freecell Architecture)

Leather Dressing / Simon Astridge

  • Architects: Simon Astridge
  • Location: Paddington, London W2, UK
  • Area: 272.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Nicholas Worley

© Nicholas Worley © Nicholas Worley © Nicholas Worley © Nicholas Worley

Ernö Goldfinger's Balfron Tower to Open For Tours in October

The UK's National Trust has announced the 'pop-up' opening of a property in Ernö Goldfinger's famous Balfron Tower in London, offering public access to Flat 130 of the brutalist icon from the 1st to the 12th of October. Completed in 1967, the Balfron Tower was the first of Goldfinger's two distinctive London housing blocks (the other being Trellick Tower), and in 1968 Goldfinger himself lived for two months in Flat 130, to demonstrate the desirability of high-rise living.

More on the tours after the break

Three New Towers on the Cards for City of London

Just days after revealing that the Pinnacle has finally been scrapped, the City of London's Head of Design Gwyn Richards has told BD that three new skyscrapers are soon to be submitted for planning on nearby sites. Though Richards did not reveal the architects of the three towers, he singled out one of the plans as "a very considered response from an architect I have the utmost respect for," adding "I have worked very closely with him and there’s a mutual respect. It’s a good example of cooperation between architect and planner to come up with a building that hopefully the public will see the value in."

LOBBY: The Spectacle Of The "Un/Spectacle"

© Cameron Clarke
© 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 students of London’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.

© Cameron Clarke © Cameron Clarke © Cameron Clarke © Cameron Clarke

Heathcote Examines The Architecture Of Scottish Independence

Scotland have voted against independence.

Arguably there are only two architects in history that have become almost completely synonymous with one particular city - Charles Rennie Mackintosh for Glasgow and Antoní Gaudi for Barcelona. Indeed, a Catalonian architect, Enric Miralles, designed the Scottish Parliament Building in Holyrood, Edinburgh. The fact that both of these cities are part of large enclaves who are seeking, or have sought, independence is perhaps just a coincidence. Architecture, often used as a symbol for the identity of nationhood, will certainly be part of a wider dialogue about the Union of the United Kingdom following yesterday's referendum.

Skaters Win Battle Against Southbank Centre

London's  announced yesterday that it has reached an agreement with skateboarding group Long Live Southbank, and is dropping plans to move the famous skatepark to a new site underneath Hungerford Bridge nearby. The decision, which is ensured by a binding planning agreement with Lambeth Council, brings a close to a dispute that has lasted almost a year and a half - ever since the Southbank Centre unveiled redevelopment plans by Feilden Clegg Bradley which included the removal of the skatepark in favour of retail space in the Southbank's undercroft.

The agreement also involves both sides dropping a series of legal challenges initiated during the dispute, including the Southbank's challenge over the registration of the skatepark as an 'asset of community value,' an attempt by Long Live Southbank to have the skatepark listed as a village green, and a judicial review of Lambeth Council's decision to reject the village green application. 

Plywood House / Simon Astridge

  • Architects: Simon Astridge
  • Location: Balham, London, UK
  • Area: 134.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Nicholas Worley

© Nicholas Worley © Nicholas Worley © Nicholas Worley © Nicholas Worley

Dorset Road / Sam Tisdall Architects

© Richard Chivers © Richard Chivers © Richard Chivers © Richard Chivers