Norman Foster-Designed Scheme Aims to Transform London into “Cycling Utopia”

SkyCycle. Image © Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners has unveiled a scheme that aims to transform London’s railways into cycling freeways. The seemingly plausible proposal, which was designed with the help of landscape firm Exterior Architecture and transportation consultant Space Syntax, would connect more than six million residents to an elevated network of car-free bicycle paths built above London’s existing railway lines if approved.

“SkyCycle is a lateral approach to finding space in a congested city,” said , who is both a regular cyclist and the president of Britain’s National Byway Trust. ”By using the corridors above the suburban railways, we could create a world-class network of safe, car free cycle routes that are ideally located for commuters.”

AD Interviews: Ben van Berkel, UNStudio on London’s Canaletto Tower

Ben van Berkel. Image © Inga Powilleit

ArchDaily recently spoke to Ben van Berkel, co-founder and principal architect at UNStudio, an international network of specialists in architecture, urban development and based in the Netherlands. The office, which was founded in 1988, has completed projects around the world ranging from Rotterdam’s Erasmus Bridge to the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart. With over 81 built projects, and 54 currently in progress (including Raffles City in Hangzhou and Scotts Tower in Singapore), London’s Canaletto Tower (which is due to be completed in 2015) marks the practice’s first major project in the UK.

Roger Stephenson: “Using Craft in a Contemporary Way”

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Mies. UK recently spoke to Roger Stephenson OBE, Managing Partner at based stephenson:ISA Studio, about his award winning practice’s approach to “using craft in a contemporary way”. The office most recently completed an addition to Chetham’s School of Music, winning the 2013 RIBA Regional Building of the Year Award, RIBA National Award, and the RIBA Regional Award. This project is the latest in a long list of innovative buildings that are part of a ”rigorously coherent, contextually progressive architecture” that has made the practice one of best known regionalist design offices in the

Read the interview in full, and watch a three minute tour of Chetham’s School of Music, after the break.

London Cinema Challenge Winners Announced

Third Place: Peep(le) Show. Image Courtesy of Cinema Challenge / Combo

The London Cinema Challenge, organized by Combo Competitions, challenged participants to design a new cinema located on Newman Street in central London which should “reflect the participants’ ideas of the cinematic experience in the near future.” The scope of the proposal, along with the extravagance of the idea, was decided by the individual competitors with the only criterion being that the design provided a space to watch movies. In addition to the cinema, each proposal had to include a “unique feature helping to serve the main purpose” of the building. Whether “an intimate screening room for indie films, or a commercial multi-storey cinema complex showing blockbusters,” the winning proposals demonstrate an array of unique ideas.

Lullaby Factory / Studio Weave

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From the architect. The Lullaby Factory is an intervention by Studio Weave which makes the best of a bad situation: a recently designed building at Great Ormond Street Childrens’ Hospital, the Morgan Stanley Clinical Building, was designed to look onto an open space – a view which, thanks to the hospital’s phasing of developments, will be obstructed by the Southwood Building for another 15 years.

In the intervening time, something had to be done about the view onto the narrow alleyway and industrial facade of the Southwood Building. Studio Weave re-imagined the building, covered in pipework, as a fantastical factory, manufacturing lullabies for the children staying in the hospital.

Read on after the break for more on Studio Weave’s clever intervention…

The Crystal Palace Architectural Competition

Site

Architects have been invited to submit expressions of interest in designing The Crystal Palace as a new cultural destination for in the spirit, scale and magnificence of the original. Plans to invest £500 million in rebuilding The Crystal Palace and restoring the surrounding public park were announced in October by ZhongRong Group, with the support of the Mayor of London and the Bromley Council.

The new culture-led exhibition and employment space will sit at the top of the 180-acre Crystal Palace Park in south London. It will incorporate the listed Italian style terraces, and other Victorian heritage within the park, fully restored for the public. The project is expected to create more than 2000 permanent and temporary jobs as well as attracting wider investment into the local high streets and the wider economy.

Praça das Artes wins Building of the Year at Icon Awards

© Nelson Kon

Praça das Artes, designed by Marcelo Ferraz and Francisco Fanucci (Brasil Arquitetura) and Marcos Cartum, has won Building of the Year at the Icon Awards in London. The project competed with works by great names in international architecture: Herzog & de Meuron (with their Parrish Art Museum in Long Island, New York), Renzo Piano (The Shard in London), SANAA (the Louvre-Lens, in the north of France) and Hugh Broughton Architects (the Halley VI Research Station, the world’s first relocatable research facility, located in Antartica).

Detailed New Rendering of Southbank Released

© Miller Hare

Earlier this month, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios released new images of the Southbank Centre, the most detailed renderings yet of the highly controversial redevelopment. Among the most significant alterations are a change to the exterior of the crowning glass box, a slight reduction in the size of the “liner” building (to preserve views of the Houses of Parliament from the neighboring National Theatre), and adjustments to various columns to preserve routes through the site.

Read on to find out more about the changes to the design..

Paleys upon Pilers / Studio Weave

Courtesy of

Architects: Studio Weave
Location: London,
Architect In Charge: Studio Weave
Year: 2012
Photographs: Courtesy of Studio Weave

Herzog & de Meuron Skyscraper Unveiled for New Canary Wharf Development

London firm Allies and Morrison has submitted planning applications for a 9.23 hectare, mixed-use development east of London’s Canary Wharf. Dubbed “Wood Wharf,” the new neighborhood will include upwards of 3,000 homes, 240,000-square-meters of commercial office space, 100 retail outlets, hospitality and more – all interconnected by a 3.6 hectare network of public space. 

A 56-story, cylindrical skyscraper designed by Herzog & de Meuron will be one of three buildings planned for the scheme’s first phase, designed in collaboration with Stanton Williams. , who provided the revised masterplan for Canary Wharf Group, will design the first two office blocks targeted at technology-based companies. 

HOK Selected to Refurbish Palace of Westminster

Palace of Westminster via Wikipedia

Correction: The -team has been appointed to appraise the options for refurbishment and has not yet been commissioned for the work itself. 

HOK, in collaboration with Aecom and Deloitte, has been selected from a shortlist of five to lead the £720m refurbishment of ’s Palace of Westminster. As reported by BDOnline, the grade I listed building will now undergo a feasibility study before work begins. The plan is to modernize the mid-1800s palace, which was originally designed by Sir Charles Barry with the help of Augustus Pugin. This will include upgrading all HVAC systems and improving fire safety, as well restoring the cast iron roofs and deteriorating stone exterior.

2013 RIBA President’s Medals Winners Announced

RIBA Silver Medal: 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 . 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.

2013 AR+D Awards for Emerging Architecture Announced

Highly Commended: Accomodations for the Oceanological Observatory of Banyuls-sur-Mer by Atelier Fernandez & Serres. Image Courtesy of The Architectural Review

The winners of the 2013 AR+D Awards for Emerging Architecture have been announced! The awards, presented by The Architectural Review and now in its 15th year, have seen “projects from locales as diverse as Bloomsbury and the Himalayas.” This year over 350 entries were discussed by four esteemed judges, including , and have led to four winners who will share a prize fund of £10,000. See both the four winning entries and the ten highly commended schemes after the break…

Tunnels Under London: the Largest Infrastructure Project in Europe

Crossrail western tunnels, December 2012. Image Courtesy of Crossrail

Crossrail, “the largest project in Europe, costing more, for example, than the London Olympics“, has been slowly winding it’s way beneath London for years. Getting access to the labyrinthine collection of underground tunnels and volumes, Rowan Moore of The Observer says that – despite the superficial furore surrounding it – this £5 billion undertaking will eventually be worth it: alongside the tunnels and tracks will be three million square feet (“or about six Gherkins“) of commercial development, and one million square feet of ‘public realm’.

Can a School Ensure East London’s Olympic Legacy?

Via CC Flickr User. Image © diamond geezer

In this article for The Guardian, Oliver Wainwright reviews Chobham Academy, a new built as part of East London’s Olympic Legacy by architects AHMM. While he finds the school impressive and ambitious, Wainwright questions whether the campus, which acts as the ‘fulcrum’ between the poverty-stricken streets of Leyton and the high end flats of the former Athlete’s Village, will be able to bring the two parts of this community together. You can read the full article here.

Critical Round-Up: Tate Britain Renovation, Caruso St. John

Lower level rotunda, – Courtesy and Tate. Image © Helene Binet

London’s Tate Britain, a partner gallery to the Tate Modern (who recently appointed Herzog & de Meuron to design a new extension), recently unveiled Caruso St. John‘s transformation of the oldest part of the iconic Grade II* listed Millbank building. The £45 million project to restore, renovate and reinterpret one of the UK’s most important galleries has been met with a largely positive critical response; read the conclusions of The Financial Times’ Edwin Heathcote, The Guardian’s Oliver Wainwright,  The Independent’s Jay Merrick, the RIBA Journal’s Hugh Pearman, and the Architects’ Journal’s Rory Olcayto, after the break…

The Gherkin: How London’s Famous Tower Leveraged Risk and Became an Icon (Part 4)

Courtesy Jonathan Massey & Andrew Weigand

This four part series (originally published on Aggregate’s website) examines the Gherkin, the office tower designed by Foster + Partners, showing how the urban icon engaged and leveraged perceptions of risk. In part one, author Jonathan Massey introduced the concept of “risk design” to describe how the Gherkin’s design managed the risks posed by , terrorism, and globalization. In parts two and three, Massey examined the building’s treatment of risks associated with and terrorism. In this final installment, Massey concludes by addressing the building’s engagement with risks posed to the City of London by globalization. 

Unlike New York and other cities in which zoning codes entitle landowners to some kinds of development “as of right,” the City of London regulates property development through case-by-case review by planning officers, who judge how well the proposed construction conforms to City-wide plans and guidelines regarding factors such as building height, development density, access to transit, and impact on views and the visual character of the area. In order to develop the Gherkin, the property owners and Swiss Re had to secure planning consent from the City Corporation through its chief planning officer, Peter Wynne Rees. The review and permitting process that culminated in the granting of planning consent in August 2000 spanned the planning office as well as the market, the courts, and the press. Rees brokered a multilateral negotiation so intensive that we could almost say the building was designed by bureaucracy. Part of that negotiation entailed imagining and staging risk: climate risk, terrorism risk, and, especially, the financial risks associated with globalization.

Five Teams Shortlisted for London’s Natural History Museum Redesign

Natural History Museum . Image © David Iliff (License: CC-BY-SA 3.0), via Wikipedia

Five architect and landscape architect-led teams have been shortlisted to redesign and re-imagine the grounds of London’s world famous Natural History Museum. The major project will aim to “create an innovative exterior setting that matches the architectural excellence of the iconic 19th Century site, whilst ensuring that the Museum grounds are easily accessible to all visitors.”

Without further ado, the leaders of the five teams are: