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Has The Surge Of Visitors to Museums & Galleries Reached A Tipping Point?

In an article for the New York Times Rachel Donadio examines Masterworks vs. the Masses. From the Louvre in Paris to London's British Museum, Florence's Uffizi to the Vatican Museums, the increasing surge of visitors to these international cultural nodes "has turned many museums into crowded, sauna-like spaces." Balancing everyone's right to be "nourished" by cultural experiences with protecting and preserving the works of art in question is a very real problem. According to Donadio, "even when the art is secure, the experience can become irksome." With some museums seeing annual visitors of up to 6.7 million visitors (British Museum), addressing the issues faced by institutions that are a victim of their own success is becoming more and more pressing. Read the article in full here.

Stirling Prize Winning Architects Build LEGO Cities for the London Festival of Architecture

As part of the 2014 London Festival of Architecture, teams of architects from the four of the most recent Stirling Prize winning British practices were challenged with creating the most imaginative piece of a city - out of LEGO. Each team began with a carefully laid out square on the floor of the largest gallery of the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, at which point they were given just one hour and 45 minutes to create an urban masterpiece out of blocks. Each group of architects worked alongside students from the Royal Academy’s attRAct programme, which offers A-level art students the chance to engage with art and architecture. An esteemed panel of judges ultimately selected the team from Zaha Hadid Architects as victorious, who "considered London on a huge scale and used curving buildings of different typologies which echoed the shape of the Thames."

Read more about the brief and the other participating entries after the break.

© Agnese Sanvito Team from Zaha Hadid Architects and attRAct students with their winning entry. Image © Agnese Sanvito Zaha Hadid Architects' Project Under Construction. Image © Agnese Sanvito The creation by Witherford Watson Mann. Image © Agnese Sanvito

SURE Wins Competition with "Endless City" Skyscraper

Recently winning first place in a Skyscapers and SuperSkyscapers Competition, SURE Architecture has put forth a daring new proposition for a London skyscraper design. Their proposal, titled "The Endless City in Height," does away with the traditional notion of stacking floors on top of each other. Rather, this innovative design incorporates two street-sized ramps that wind their way up the exterior of the tower, creating extensions of the city streetscape that rise and coil vertically into the London skyline.

Zaha Hadid on Russian Artist Kazimir Malevich

In an article for London's Royal Academy of Arts Magazine entitled Plane Sailing, Zaha Hadid discusses the influence of Russian Suprematist painter Kazimir Malevich on her own design work. In Hadid's early work, such as The Peak Blue Slabs (1982/83), the visual connections to Malevich's strict, regular shapes and lines are evident.

Painting: Vitra Fire Station. Image © Zaha Hadid Relief Model: Vitra Fire Station. Image Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects Painting: Vitra Fire Station. Image © Zaha Hadid Vitra Fire Station, Germany. Image © Wojtek Gurak

Waltham Forest College / Platform 5 Architects + Richard Hopkinson Architects

© Alan Williams Photography © Alan Williams Photography © Alan Williams Photography © Alan Williams Photography

Canary Wharf Development Including Herzog & de Meuron Tower Wins Planning Approval

A significant development at Canary Wharf has been approved by planners in London. The scheme, dubbed 'Wood Wharf' and consisting of 30 new buildings, was masterplanned by Allies and Morrison and includes a cylindrical residential tower by Herzog & de Meuron, and will provide 3,100 homes, 240,000 square metres of office space, a primary school, a medical centre, a community centre, a hotel, and around 100 retail outlets. Connecting the space will be a 3.6 hectare network of public spaces.

Read on for more on the development

Courtesy of Canary Wharf Group plc Courtesy of Canary Wharf Group plc © DBOX for Canary Wharf Group Herzog & de Meuron's Residential Tower. Image Courtesy of Canary Wharf Group plc

AD Interviews: Keith Griffiths, Chairman of Aedas, on Appoaching Densification in London

Following the recent announcement of Aedas' demerger into two separate companies - one retaining the Aedas name and the other now known as AHR - we spoke to Keith Griffiths, Chairman of Aedas' global board and a practicing architect for close to three decades. The company, which was recently ranked by the Architects' Journal as the 5th largest and most influential practice in the world, have now moved their head office to London's Chandos Place and are championing a new approach to urban regeneration in the UK's capital. Alongside discussing how an international practice of Aedas' scale successfully operates, Griffiths offered his insight into how the future looks for European cities based on a tried and tested Asian model of densification.

London Announces Design Competition for 'Olympicopolis' Site

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has announced a new competition for the designs of a cultural quarter next to the 2012 Olympic park. The site has been dubbed 'Olympicopolis', and so far has expressions of interest from University College London, University of the Arts London, the V&A, Sadler's Wells Theatre and now possibly - according to the Guardian - Washington DC's Smithsonian.

Mayor of London Unveils Three Visions for the Future of Heathrow

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has unveiled three proposals to redevelop Heathrow Airport into 'Heathrow City,' a new town occupying the site that according to one study "could provide 90,000 jobs and 80,000 homes" in West London. Developed in parallel with Foster + Partners' proposal to create a new airport in the Thames Estuary, the three possible designs are part of a plan that Johnson believes will not only improve the capital's aviation capacity, but also the quality of living in the area around the existing Heathrow Airport.

The three proposals, by Rick Mather Architects, Hawkins\Brown and Maccreanor Lavington, all take very different approaches to the brief, which was to create a mixed use residential and commuter town, with a focus on education and technology industries. Find out more about the three different proposals after the break.

'The Transforming City' proposal / Rick Mather Architects. Image © Rick Mather Architects Courtesy of the Mayor of London's Office 'The Transforming City' proposal / Rick Mather Architects. Image © Rick Mather Architects Courtesy of the Mayor of London's Office 'Romance of the Sky' proposal / Hawkins\Brown. Image © Factory Fifteen 'Romance of the Sky' proposal / Hawkins\Brown. Image © Factory Fifteen

Steven Holl's Maggie's Centre Gains Planning Permission

Steven Holl's designs for a Maggie's Centre at St Bart's Hospital in London have finally been approved, after a tense debate among the City of London Planning Committee which culminated in a vote of 11 to 10 in favour of the design. The approval puts an end to a year of controversy, after Holl's first attempt failed to gain planning (the first time a Maggie's Centre has ever been declined permission) and a protest group commissioned a rival scheme by Hopkins Architects which gained planning permission in April.

More on the decision after the break

Shortlisted Designs Revealed for Goldsmiths College Art Gallery

© Harry Gugger Studios courtesy of Goldsmiths College
© Harry Gugger Studios courtesy of Goldsmiths College

The shortlisted projects in the competition to design a new art gallery for Goldsmiths College at the University of London have been revealed. The project will see a new 400 square metre gallery created in the back of what was formerly a Victorian bath-house, and is now the college's Grade-II listed art studios. Six shortlisted practices were given six weeks to design a gallery which works with the existing industrial structures - including the building's old water tanks.

The designs will now be judged by Goldsmiths' competition jury, a panel which includes David Chipperfield and sculptor Antony Gormley.

Read on after the break for details of all six proposals

© 6a Architects courtesy of Goldsmiths College © Assemble courtesy of Goldsmiths College © Dow Jones Architects courtesy of Goldsmiths College © Jamie Fobert Architects courtesy of Goldsmiths College

The Legacy of Hydraulic Fracturing in Blackpool

Jason Lamb, a recent graduate from London's Bartlett School of Architecture, has developed a project which centres around the legacy of hydraulic fracturing in the British coastal city of Blackpool. The theoretical thesis, which employs the possibility of Chinese investment prompting the transitory integration of hydraulic fracturing within the city for the exploitation of shale gas, features a number of interesting explanatory illustrations.

ECOWEEK London 2014

ECOWEEK in a non-governmental NGO with the mission to raise awareness on environmental issues and Climate Change and to promote the principles of sustainability. ECOWEEK has been organizing conferences and workshops across Europe that inspire and empower young architects to be active designers for the benefit of their communities.

Hawkins\Brown Designs Housing Scheme in Rotherhithe

Hawkins\Brown have gained planning permission for a development of 103 new homes in Rotherhithe, South-East London. Consisting of two terraces of 3-storey family homes and a series of four-storey 'mansion blocks' containing maisonettes with apartments above, the scheme will be built on the site of the former Fisher FC football ground on Salter Road, with the playing surface redeveloped to form a new public park.

More on the design after the break

Assemble Architects and the Coming-of-Age of the Pop-Up Project

In his interesting profile of the young London-based practice Assemble, Rowan Moore of the Observer investigates the work of arguably the best collective of designers to emerge from 2010's "Autumn of Pop-Ups" - examining how they have stayed true to the more noble aspects of pop-up architecture despite the concept's increasing commercialization. From their first project, a temporary cinema in a petrol station, to their recent Yardhouse project in Stratford, Moore finds an architecture that values exuberance and fun, yet is mature and refined. You can read his article in full here.

Design Contest Announced for New Thames Bridge at Nine Elms

Wandsworth Council has announced that it plans to hold an international design competition for a new pedestrian and cylist bridge across the Thames, connecting Nine Elms on the South of the river to Pimlico on the North. The announcement comes in response to a feasibility study by Transport for London which concluded that a bridge at this location could handle around 9,000 walkers and 9,000 cyclists a day at a construction cost of £40 million.

More on the competition after the break