Writing for Future Cape Town, this article by Julia Thayne – originally titled The Skycycle: A Plan for the People? - explores the proposal by Foster + Partners to build an elevated cycle highway above London’s, explaining why it is little more than an optimistic pipe-dream.
Headlines in London this November were grim. Six cyclist deaths in less than a fortnight. All but one cyclist killed in accidents involving trucks, buses, or coaches. People were understandably concerned. From 3,000 miles away, my mother sent me a fluorescent coat and another set of bike lights, and as a cyclist commuter, I avoided roundabouts that I had previously sailed through, noting that cars seemed to be driving more slowly and other cyclists thinking twice before flouting traffic laws.
In response to the deaths, the public and public sector alike launched a “cycling state of emergency.” Officers patrolled the streets to ticket both vehicles driving unsafely and cyclists disobeying road rules. A thousand citizens gathered for a candlelight vigil at the roundabout where three cyclists’ lives had been claimed. Another thousand staged a “die-in” outside of Transport for London’s headquarters, in which protesters lay down in the streets, using their bicycles to block traffic. Newspaper columns, magazine articles, and blog spots examined and re-examined the safety of cycling routes around London. Mayor Boris Johnson’s Cycle Superhighways (four blue-painted, supposedly safety-enhanced cycling routes around London) became a particularly contentious topic of discussion, as three of the six cyclist deaths during those two weeks (and of the 14 deaths thus far in 2013) had occurred on or near one of these routes.
From the conversation about cycling and safety, the Skycycle has emerged.
Read on for the problems with the Skycycle project
Third Natures presents 15 years of speculations, projects and built proposals by the Madrid- based duo of Cristina Díaz Moreno and Efrén García Grinda and their collaborators, ranging from the beginnings of the practice in 1997 to their latest works, completed in 2013. In total, 26 projects are shown through drawings, models, objects and photographs. All this material is organised according to laws of affinity and connection, in an attempt to convey the vast range of the projects and their main field of operation – the space of mediation between people, objects, natural species and built environments.
The title for this collection draws on a term first coined during the Renaissance to refer to a new type of garden that created a new and hitherto unknown reality – a ‘third nature’ – with a radical new materiality that was constructed through cultural connections. In the same way, the practice explores how cultural materials can be assimilated and then given back to the world in the form of proposals with strong links to contemporary society. Their approach, both critical and celebratory, is based on the emergence of new, extreme and unexpected forms of beauty. For further details, please click here.
The Architecture Foundation is delighted to be working with the Museum of London to commission a design team to develop a temporary structure that will help facilitate participatory discussion about future development plans for the Museum of London and the wider cultural hub in this part of London. The structure, which will be located outside the Museum of London’s main entrance, should be able to accommodate individuals and small groups at any one time and allow them to feedback on proposed visions for the Museum and its future. It is envisaged that the structure should also help attract visitors to the Museum and make use of its exterior forecourt spaces.
The winning design will be realised in time for the London Festival of Architecture 2014 in June and will remain in place until September 2014. The legacy of the structure will also be incorporated into the brief and designers will be asked to put forward suggestions for how the structure could have an afterlife.
For all the details, please click here.
Sellar Property Group has announced plans to commission yet another Renzo Piano-designed tower in London at the base of The Shard. Replacing the current Fielden House, a 1970s office building located on London Bridge Street, the new 27-story residential tower plans to provide 150 apartments, retail space and roof garden. As part of the area’s regeneration plan, the project will be the third Piano-designed building on the block.
In February 2014, The Architecture Foundation will present Exploration Architecture: Designing with Nature, the first ever solo show of Exploration, a thought-leading architecture and design practice working in the field of biomimicry.
A striking 3D printed installation will showcase a selection of four projects and prototypes from the studio’s cutting-edge research on sustainable, nature-inspired design, including two new, previously unpublished designs. Study models, sketches and specially commissioned short films introducing Exploration’s projects will be presented alongside a myriad of natural specimens that inspired the designs – offering unique insight into the studio’s practice of learning from nature in order to deliver future-facing solutions for architecture, systems design and materials production that address the major challenges of our age.
John McAslan + Partners, already known for their involvement in humanitarian issues thanks to their work in Haiti, are now turning their attention to Tottenham in London, as reported by The Guardian. The practice hopes that by opening a new office on the high street of Tottenham, the area notorious as the crucible of the riots that spread across the UK in August 2011, and by engaging with the community, they can help to make a change. Read the full story here.
Architects: Squire and Partners
Location: 10 Hanover Street, London W1S 1YF, UK
Quantity Surveyor: WT Partnership
External Shutter Manufacturer: Astec Projects
Show Apartment Interior: Jess Lavers
Area: 2979.0 sqm
Photographs: Gareth Gardner, James Balston
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 Norman Foster, 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.”
Mies. UK recently spoke to Roger Stephenson OBE, Managing Partner at Manchester 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 UK.
Read the interview in full, and watch a three minute tour of Chetham’s School of Music, after the break.
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.
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…
Architects have been invited to submit expressions of interest in designing The Crystal Palace as a new cultural destination for London 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.
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..