In response to the recent study by New London Architecture, which found that there are currently over 230 tall buildings either planned or under construction in London, an argument is brewing over the UK capital’s sudden, seemingly uncontrolled, growth.
The most vocal reaction to all of this has come from Rowan Moore, architecture critic for The Observer, who has teamed up with the Architects’ Journal to launch a campaign calling for more rigorous planning and public consultation when it comes to tall buildings. The campaign has support from 80 signatories, a list that reads like a ‘who’s who’ of British architecture, including architects, planners, politicians, developers and artists as well as a range of civic societies.
Read on for more reaction to London’s tall building boom.
The London Festival of Architecture will be taking place from June 1 to June 30. Now in its 10th year, the Festival is initiated by The Architecture Foundation, British Council, New London Architecture and RIBA London to celebrate London as a global hub of architectural practice, discussion and debate.
Leading cultural institutions including the Barbican, Design Museum, National Trust, Royal Academy of Arts, Serpentine Gallery and Sir John Soane Museum will be presenting activities across the city. Now, the Festival is presenting a call for associated projects by independent practices, designers, artists and curators to form part of the Festival in 2014.
Participants need to respond the 2014 Festival’s theme: Capital. They will need to explore the dynamism of London, including ts architecture and open space. More information can be found here.
In this intriguing article in the Telegraph, Stephen Bayley critiques protecting cities’ “traditional” view corridors out of nostalgia (or fear of bad architecture). On the premise that “not all development is bad” and that “the only cities that do not develop are dead ones”, Bayley argues forcefully for better, rather than less, city building. You can read the full argument here.
In a study of all development plans in London, the think tank New London Architecture has found that at least 236 buildings over 20 stories are currently either under construction, approved or awaiting approval in the capital – with over 80% of these projects yet to break ground.
The study, created to support an exhibition by NLA called “London’s Growing… Up!,” found that 80% of the new towers will be residential, and that the areas of greatest activity were in Central and Eastern areas of London, with 77% of these tall buildings in the City of London or the Boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Lambeth, Greenwich, Newham and Southwark.
Read on for more results of, and reactions to, the study…
Bennetts Associates has revealed plans for the latest development in London’s King’s Cross. Their proposal for a sensitive heritage conversion to “breath new life into a disused Victorian building” will house a new supermarket and cookery school, as well as an events and cultural space. As part of the ongoing transformation of one of London’s central districts which has recently seen the completion of John McAslan’s station concourse, Stanton William’s Central Saint Martins, and an office proposal from David Chipperfield, Bennetts Associates’ designs aim to reinvigorate the historic Midland Goods Shed.
As part of his strategy to solidify the “Olympic Legacy” of East London, Mayor Boris Johnson has recently been focusing on providing the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park with a little more diversity in its buildings, placing an emphasis on bringing cultural institutions alongside the sports buildings. Now, alongside the V&A’s plans for new galleries and University College London’s proposed design school and cultural centre, The Art Newspaper reports that Johnson is out to grab a headline attraction: London’s own Guggenheim.
Read on after the break for more
Following the news last year that five teams had been shortlisted to redesign and reimagine the grounds of London’s iconic Natural History Museum (NHM), five anonymous concept images have been unveiled. The brief called for proposals to “reshape the Museum’s grounds and reinvigorate its public setting” with an aim to creating “an innovative exterior setting that matches Alfred Waterhouse’s Grade I listed building and the award-winning Darwin Centre for architectural excellence, whilst also improving access and engaging visitors.”
Read on to see the competing teams, including individual concept images from BIG, Stanton Williams and Feilden Clegg Bradley.
Architectural photographer Agnese Sanvito will be exhibiting a selection from her portfolio at The Building Centre in London. Her works, which include photographs of buildings by Renzo Piano, Jean Nouvel, Santiago Calatrava, Wilkinson Eyre, and Sou Fujimoto, focuses on the ways color shapes our sense of buildings.
The exhibition will run from March 17 to April 26, 2014.
Title: Exhibition: Agnese Sanvito – Absorb/reflect/scatter
Organizers: The Building Centre
From: Mon, 17 Mar 2014
Until: Sat, 26 Apr 2014
Venue: The Bulding Centre
Address: 26 Store Street, London WC1E 7BT, UK
After an open competition that sought to attract “the very best British architecture can offer,” six architects – including Zaha Hadid and Richard Rogers – have been selected as the potential architects of the project to rebuild the Crystal Palace in south London. See the full shortlist after the break.
The Finnish Institute in London and The Architecture Foundation have unveiled Viewpoint, a floating platform on Regent’s Canal in the centre of Camley Street Natural Park, London. Designed by Erkko Aarti, Arto Ollila and Mikki Ristola of Finnish practice AOR, the platform will be operated by the London Wildlife Trust. The permanent structure is intended to bring visitors to London’s most central nature reserve, connecting them with the wildlife of the park and the Regent’s Canal. In addition, it will also provide the park with an additional workshop space and learning facility, becoming “an architectural focal point of King’s Cross.”
As the most ambitious architecture exhibition hosted by the Royal Academy of Arts in a generation, Sensing Spaces was inevitably going to be under a lot of scrutiny from architecture and art critics. According to the Academy’s Chief Executive Charles Saumarez-Smith, the momentous exhibition “represents a shift away from postwar modern architecture where it was about problem solving, to thinking about architecture in terms of experience, material, light and space.”
Fortunately the exhibition seems to have struck a chord with critics, who have almost universally praised the exhibition’s premise and have, to varying extents, been highly complementary about the individual exhibits.
Read on after the break for a round-up of the critics’ opinions
As an accompaniment to their ongoing Sensing Spaces Exhibition in London, the Royal Academy of Arts has produced six wonderful films interviewing the architects involved in the exhibition, unearthing what motivates and inspires them as architects, and what the primary themes of their exhibition projects are.
The above video features both Álvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura, who both designed their Sensing Spaces exhibits with the other in mind. Siza explains his preoccupation with the joints between the natural and the man-made through his Leça Swimming Pool complex, and the way the rock formations informed his interventions. He also introduces his one-time protégé Souto de Moura’s Braga stadium as expressing the same understanding of the natural and man-made.
See videos from the 5 other Sensing Spaces participants after the break