‘Alphabeta’ Creative Workspace / Studio RHE

Courtesy of

In an effort to transform the Finsbury Square landmark building, the ’Alphabeta’ Creative Workspace by Studio RHE is set to become the new center for ’s most progressive and challenging companies.The development, set over nine storeys, will provide a dynamic shared atrium space, communal roof-terrace, ‘ride-in’ cycle ramp direct from Worship Street. The building’s original period features are to be restored and celebrated but the fabric and services are to be fully updated throughout with exposed wall finishes and ducting to ensure high ceiling levels. More images and architects’ description after the break.

And the Winner Is… Competitive Advantages?

Kengo Kuma’s competition winning design for the V&A at Dundee. Courtesy V&A.

Architectural may be regarded as an opportunity or a burden. There are numerous architectural practices that have gained significant attention for their submissions and winnings in highly publicized , but the reality is that architectural are expensive and do not guarantee reward. And yet, they are an opportunity to engage in a critical dialogue about the projects at hand, and may be approached with more creative and imaginative risk than when working directly with a client, which is probably why they are so popular and numerous.  They are also an opportunity to bring the public into conversations about architecture in the public forum. These are just some of the considerations that The Architecture Foundation hopes to tackle in its new series, “And the Winner is…?“.

Throughout 2013, The Architecture Foundation will be hosting a three-series of critical and polemic explorations into the culture of architecture awards, competitions and festivals.  The first in the series, “Competitive Advantages” will be a discussion considering the nature of architecture competitions and their advantages and disadvantages as they pertain to the clients and the public, established architectural firms and emerging practices.

Video: Russian For Fish, Notes From A Small Practice


This exciting architectural newcomer stands out for more than its quirky name.

Columnar Towers: Colville Estate Competition Entry / NL Architects + WHAT Architecture

Courtesy of NL Architects + WHAT Architecture

The proposal by NL Architects and WHAT Architecture for the Columnar Towers: Colville Estate competition attempts to mitigate the effects of a large massing of residences by breaking each tower into a ‘bundle’ of seven smaller towers, or ‘columns’. Each mini-tower is formed by simple ‘stacks’ of single apartments. This residential development of 199 apartments in Hackney, is part of a masterplan by for the regeneration of the Colville Estate. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Design Excellence of U.S. Embassies: Openness and Security

U.S. Embassy in / KieranTimberlake Architects

“The works of our artists, architects, and preservationists provide us with another language of diplomacy. A transcendent language that allows us to convey values that are at once uniquely American yet speak to all of humanity.  Increasingly in this world, art and architecture help us maintain our sense of openness and liberation.” — Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, April 12, 2010 

An embassy is much more than a building or a work of architecture; it functions as a symbolic representation of countries’ relationships to one another.  It represents the universal language of diplomacy – “communicating values and ideals, extending well beyond any moment in time”.  An embassy has the difficult task of representing two diametrically opposed concepts: security and openness.  The former typically overpowers the latter in importance, which is most probably why when we think of foreign embassies, it conjures up images of stately monolithic buildings surrounded by tall fences and menacing guards or “bunkers, bland cubes, lifeless compounds”, according to Tanya Ballard Brown of NPR’s All Things Considered.

More on the design excellence of embassies after the break…

ME Hotel / Foster and Partners

© Francisco Guerrero

Architects: Foster and Partners
Location: London,
Area: 28,070 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Francisco Guerrero, Nigel Young – Foster + Partners

The Architecture Foundation and We Made That Launch “The Open Office”

Courtesy of We Made That

The Architecture Foundation has recently launched a month-long initiative named The Open Office. The scheme, which is described as “part ‘Citizens Urban Advice Bureau’, and part functioning practice” is the brainchild of London-based practice We Made That  and will take place in the offices of in Southwark, London until 22nd March. Operating on a walk-in basis, and displaying all work openly, The Open Office aims to engage and educate local communities on issues of architecture, urbanism and planning.

Read more about The Open Office scheme after the break.

Zaha Hadid to Develop Plans for New London Airport

Zagreb Airport Competition Proposal / ZHA © Zaha Hadid Architects

As pressure mounts to solve the ’s aviation crisis, the Mayor of London has appointed Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) alongside a world-class team of aviation experts to develop plans for a new major airport in southeast . The team is expected to resolve the debate on how and where the capital’s next multi-runway airport hub should be constructed, a decision that will play a critical role in the future of the British economy.

Zaha Hadid said: “This work is essential to deliver the most integrated transport solutions for London and the UK. It will enable London to maintain its position as one of the world’s most important economic, commercial and cultural centers; outlining the city’s future growth and development which has always been founded on global connectivity.”

See who made the list after the break…

HomeMade / Bureau de Change Design Office

© Eliot Postma

Architects: Bureau de Change Design Office
Location: London,
Area: 210 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Eliot Postma

Towers and Flagship Hub Proposal / mæ

Courtesy of mæ

architects recently announced that they were selected to design a ‘split-site’ elderly and healthcare hub project in Lisson Grove, Central . Intended for City West Homes, on behalf of Westminster City Council, the scheme, which will be designed to HAPPI recommendations ( for an Aging Population Panel for Innovation), will bring contemporary, socially-orientated architecture to a deprived community which is desperately in need of re-invigoration. Construction is due to start at the end of 2013 and will be completed in two phases. More images and architects’ description after the break.

The Shard Opens to the Public

© Getty Images

Today, six months after the laser light extravaganza that marked the completion of The Shard in , the controversial glass tower celebrated its official opening to the public. Architecture enthusiasts and residents were welcomed to join the mayor of 244 meters above the capital on the 72 floor observation deck for the official ribbon cutting.

Designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, the 310 meter needle-point structure is currently the tallest in Western Europe. The two million square meter mixed-use development offers ample office space, restaurants, a five-star shangri-la hotel and residences.

Shoreditch Rooms / Archer Architects

© Tim Soar

Architects: Archer Architects
Location: , , UK
Area: 1,186.27 sqm
Year: 2010
Photographs: Tim Soar

Holland Park School / Aedas

Courtesy of

Architects: Aedas
Location: , UK
Client: The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Area: 20,000 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Courtesy of Aedas

Karakusevic Carson and David Chipperfield to Design Residential Towers in London

Existing Colville Estate via Estates Gazette

Karakusevic Carson and David Chipperfield have been announced as the “preferred bidder” for a pair of residential towers the East district of Shoreditch. As reported on BDOnline, the £25 million project at Colville Estate will rise up to 14 and 20 stories high to replace the existing 1950‘s low-rise buildings. This will be the second and last phase of the largest council-backed development in London and the first UK mass project for Chipperfield.

Grimshaw Reveals Aviation Vision for London

Courtesy of

Grimshaw Architects are the latest practice to add their voice to the debate surrounding the capacity problem of ’s airports. Their innovative proposal, entitled ‘London: Hub City’, bucks the trend of recent ‘superhub’ proposals, which are frequently suggested as a solution to the problem.

Instead of creating a large ‘airport hub’ on a single site separated from the city, Grimshaw’s design prioritizes construction of new express lines by creating a ‘City Hub’ that allows passengers to transfer between London’s existing airports via the city center. The benefit being that expansion could be spread amongst its four existing airports incrementally, as needed, instead of being concentrated on the construction of one ‘super-hub’.

More on Grimshaw’s aviation proposal for London after the break.

Video: Rob Montgomery & Pernilla Ohrstedt, The Hot Seat


Two leading London creatives meet for a chat and a chop in an East End hair salon.

Design Studio HQ / Archer Architects

© John Reynolds

Architects: Archer Architects
Location: , England,
Area: 1,204 sqm
Photographs: John Reynolds

Or2 Project Wins Good Design Award / Orproject

Courtesy of

Designed by Orproject, their Or2 project, which is a single surface roof structure that reacts to sunlight, won the 2012 Good Design Award. This award, which is known as the world’s most prestigious, recognized, and oldest Design program, is organized annually by The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design in cooperation with the European Centre for Architecture, Art, Design and Urban Studies.  Special software components have been developed in order to create the shapes and to generate the cutting schedules so that the beauty of Or2 is its constant interaction with the elements, where its appearance is unique at each moment of the day. More images and architects’ description after the break.