Located in the Olympic East End, the London Pleasure Gardens is a new 20-acre riverside arts and entertainment destination. Patterned after the Pleasure Gardens of the 17th and 19th Centuries, LPG invites visitors to listen to music, admire paintings, stroll, drink, flirt and immerse themselves in culture. Featuring open-air concerts, dance and theatre arenas, historic and contemporary architecture, an urban nature reserve, a boutique hotel and a floating cocktail bar, LPG will evolve over the next three years, acting as an entertainment centre but also a platform for artists and musicians to showcase their work to the public. Here, we speak to LPGs creative director, Deborah Armstrong about the project, the regeneration of the Royal Docks and the artists and architects involved.
Planning permission for a new extension to the Victoria & Albert Museum has officially been granted today. The £41 million project will be the biggest new art space in London since the Tate Modern.The bid to design a 1,500 square metre underground gallery for temporary exhibitions, courtyard and entrance on Exhibition Road was won by architecture firm, AL_A, in March 2011. We interview Amanda Levete, founder and director of the firm, about the specifics of the plans and her thoughts on the government’s support of British architecture. Amanda Levete is one of the most successful women in architecture and is married to Ben Evans, director of The London Design Festival. She regularly collaborates with artists such as Anish Kapoor and has previously worked on projects such as the Selfridges department store in Birmingham, the media centre at Lord’s cricket ground and, with her own firm, installing ‘The Timber Wave’ in the entrance to the V&A.
The disappointment generated by the Shard’s opening laser light show is not so surprising for a project that has been grounded in controversy for over a decade. Since 2000, when Piano sketched his initial vision upon meeting developer Irvine Sellar, the project has consistently met obstacles such as English Heritage and the financial crash of 2007. But, the biggest opposition of the tower has been its height. English Heritage claimed that the tower, formerly known as London Bridge Tower, would “tear through historic London like a shard of glass” (ironically, coining the new name of the tower), and Piano counters that, “The best architecture takes time to be understood…I would prefer people to judge it not now. Judge it in 10 years’ time.”
Leading us to wonder…does the Shard simply need time to be fully appreciated?
The Cube, a nomadic, stateless and cosmopolitan piece of architecture designed by Park Associati, is a pavilion designed to host a small, temporary restaurant. Originating from Electrolux’s concept of an itinerant restaurant, The Cube has been conceived and organized by the Belgian event agency Absolute Blue with the logo and texture design by Studio FM Milano. Their architectural project has been conceived as a module that can be assembled and disassembled relatively easily. The structure, which will be on exhibit in London until September 30, is suitable for all climatic conditions, even the most extreme, while always providing the maximum in living comfort with its refined aesthetics and use of high-quality materials. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The UK’s largest arts centre, occupying an 21-acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames, has announced the shortlist of architects competing to head the refurbishment and renewal of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery complex. According to a statement released by the Southbank Centre, the project plans to bring the performance spaces and galleries in the complex up to the standard of the recently transformed Royal Festival Hall and will address current urgent problems including poor access to and the upgrading of the stages and galleries; sub-standard back stage areas; and worn out services.
The eight shortlisted practices are:
This post features time lapses of the construction of various venues that will be hosting the 2012 London Olympics. With the opening ceremony Friday, July 27, these construction time lapses give you an inside look to all of the effort put into the games. If you get a chance to watch the games, you will now have a new found appreciation for the amount of work it takes to hold a major event such as this. More videos after the break.
Tonight, Renzo Piano’s Shard will officially celebrate its opening complete with an amazing light show. A dozen lasers and thirty searchlights will beam streams of light across the city, creating a network between 15 other significant landmarks in London, such as the Gherkin, London Eye, Tate Modern, and Tower Bridge. (So, if you are in London, don’t miss the event at 10.15 this evening, and be sure to share some photos with us!)
Capping out at 310 meters, the Shard has become the tallest building in London, as well as the entire European Union. We have been following the history of Renzo Piano’s creation, and although laden with financial troubles, a change in developers, and criticism from Londoners, the project has finally reached completion.
More about the history of the tower after the break.
RIBA Competitions recently announced that six teams have now been selected to take part in the design stage of the competition for King’s College London to redevelop the Quadrangle at the historic Strand Campus in London. The shortlisted teams include: Barozzi Veiga Studio, Carme Pinos Studio, Eric Parry Architects, Hall McKnight, Henley Halebrown Rorrison, and Zaha Hadid Architects. Ian Caldwell, Director of Estates & Facilities at King’s, said: ‘We are very pleased with the variety and high standard of submissions and look forward to the development of an innovative, landmark design that will enhance the surrounding historic architecture’. More information on the competition after the break.
W Hotels opens its latest flagship in Leicester Square, London. With a rock and roll-inspired bar, a 38-seat 3D screening room and a restaurant run by three-Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, it stays true to its design and luxury roots.
As we announced earlier, Steven Holl Architects has been selected to design the Maggie’s Center at St. Bartholomew’s (Barts) Hospital in London. Situated at the periphery of the square, Maggie’s Barts will replace an existing 1960s block that was once used for offices. An average of 3,100 new cancer patients is expected to use the facility each year.
Steven Holl said: “It is a great honor to design a Maggie’s Centre and a very special challenge to be given such an important central site in London. The hospital has been at the forefront of medical understanding for centuries. We are inspired by the deep history of the area, and particularly the nearby St. Bartholomew the Great church which has been in continuous use with marvelous music since 1143. Our proposal is like a vessel within a vessel within a vessel. In the spirit of music, architecture can be a vessel of transcendence.”
Continue after the break to learn more.
Is it the perfect blend of sculpture and engineering, or it is a twisted form of nonsense? Opinions are quite varied on the subject of Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond’s observation tower, ArcelorMittal Orbit, which will serve as a permanent reminder of London’s hosting of the 2012 Olympic Games. The red steel structure will rise close to 400 feet – taller than New York’s Statue of Liberty and London’s Big Ben – to be Britain’s largest piece of public art. Criticized for undertaking such a massively expensive project during the country’s recession, London Mayor Boris Johnson has claimed that the Orbit will not only enhance visitors’ experiences at the Olympic Games but will also be “the right thing for the Stratford site” beyond the summer time, calling on its potential to become ”the perfect iconic cultural legacy”.
More about the Observation Tower after the break.
Chicago-based architecture practice Bureau Spectacular has converted The Architecture Foundation’s Project Space into a pop-up living space and installation made up of a graphic sequence of imaginary worlds entitled Three Little Worlds (we featured the project as a kickstarter). Jimenez Lai, the architecture practice’s founder, shows us around the space, where he has set camp, something which he has done before having lived and worked in a desert shelter in Taliesen and resided in a shipping container at Atelier Van Lieshout on the piers of Rotterdam. Here, he tells Crane.tv about his love of comics and cartoon, which is apparent in his installation and the interchangeable realities of the spectator and the performer, and demonstrates how to navigate his “giant comic book.” Three Little Worlds runs till 25 August at The Architecture Foundation.