The big story today is about a new development in London’s financial district dubbed The Walkie Talkie due to its unusual shape.
The combination of its shape (which is curved), its placement, and its height has apparently created a tremendously intense reflection and beam of light that creates extraordinary heat on a nearby block, and one Jaguar owner says his car literally suffered melting damage from having been parked in that spot.
Following Angela Brady’s two year tenure as head of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Stephen Hodder MBE was officially inaugurated as the 75th President of the UK’s largest architectural body yesterday. Hodder, perhaps best known as the recipient of the first RIBA Stirling Prize in 1996 for the Centenary Building (University of Salford, UK), is chairman of the award-winning practice Hodder + Partners in Manchester (UK).
Imagine your city skyline as a chessboard battleground; which landmark would declare itself as the almighty king and who serve as its faithful pawn? Well, according to British designers Ian Flood and Chris Prosser, London’s Canary Wharf, Renzo Piano’s Shard and Norman Foster’s Gherkin would all deserve high ranks while the ubiquitous London terraced house fulfilled the role of the pawn.
After replacing their own standard chess set with 3D-printed models of their city’s landmarks, Flood and Prosser have established the Kickstarter campaign “Skyline Chess” with the hopes of expanding their idea beyond London’s skyline. If the campaign is successful, architectural enthusiasts worldwide will have the opportunity to select any of the world’s most iconic cities (Shanghai vs. Paris?) for an ultimate duel of chess.
Learn more about the campaign here on the Kickstarter.
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) have unveiled a three story flat-pack house in the courtyard of London’s Royal Academy of Arts (RA). Designed as an answer to the UK’s urgent need for cost-effective housing, the prototype demonstrates a method of building “high-quality, well-designed houses significantly cheaper than other traditional methods of construction.”
RSHP, known for their large-scale projects, envisage Homeshell as part of a wider platform which could encompass apartments, schools, factories and healthcare centers.
Hawkins\Brown, with Mae Architects and Grant Associates, have been appointed by London Borough of Camden to develop proposals in collaboration with residents for the potential redevelopment of the Agar Grove Estate, a major housing regeneration project for London with an estimated construction value of £55 million. The current proposal being developed includes the demolition of 112 homes and the provision of around 360 new homes, bringing the total number of homes to around 500. A range of unit types has been introduced including family terrace housing and maisonettes with gardens, as well as lateral flats with balconies. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Award-winning architectural practice Hawkins\Brown Architects, with Regal Homes, have just received planning permission from the London Borough of Hackney for their design of a new 6,750 sqm mixed-use development located on Wenlock Road. Situated within the Regents Canal Conservation Area, their proposal has a unique cruciform plan which not only gives the development a unique residential experience, but results in a dynamic form when seen from the Regent’s Canal. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The Royal Academy of Arts’ (RA) in London will soon be transformed into a multi-sensory “architectural maze” with the construction of seven installations by seven world-famous architects for the exhibit, Sensing Space: Architecture Reimagined. Participants, handpicked by curators Kate Goodwin and Drue Heinz, include Alvaro Siza, Eduardo Souto de Moura, Pezo von Ellrichshausen and Kengo Kuma.
The Architecture Foundation, in collaboration with Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and the Royal Academy of Arts, has shortlisted five multidisciplinary, architect-led teams to envision future development along the Tidal Thames in London. The competition, dubbed London As It Could Be Now: New Visions for the Thames, will challenged the teams to put forward new ideas for self-selected sites along the river that are relevant to changing social, economic, cultural and environmental conditions and concerns.
The shortlisted teams are:
The 2010 launch of the “Boris Bike” – London’s cycle hire scheme, named after mayor Boris Johnson – was the clearest indication to date that cycling was no longer just for a minority of fanatics but a healthy, efficient and sustainable mode of transport that city planners wanted in their armoury. There are now more than 8,000 Boris Bikes and 550+ docking stations in Central London. And the trend’s not anomalous to London: Wikipedia reports that there are 535 cycle-share schemes in 49 countries, employing more than half a million bikes worldwide.
However, the real question is: will cycling actually change the city? Will it result in new urban forms or, as the title of Australian academic Dr Steven Fleming’s new book predicts, a “Cycle Space”? Like Fleming, I believe so. I believe that cycling might just be the catalyst for a 21st Century urban renaissance.
Read how, after the break…
A recent profile in Architectural Record highlights the career of Peter Wynne Rees, the chief planner of the City of London: the famous ‘square mile’ which contains the major financial district of Greater London, as well as some of its great tourist attractions, such as St Paul’s Cathedral.
The profile focuses on the new crop of skyscrapers which Rees has ushered in in his 27 years as chief planner, something which has been contentious for preservationists. When he came to the job in 1985, the City of London had just one skyscraper: Tower 42, built in 1980. With the success of the Gherkin in the early 2000s, the surrounding area has seen many more high profile skyscrapers, such as the Heron Tower, 122 Leadenhall Street (The Cheesegrater) and 20 Fenchurch Street (The Walkie-Talkie).
Opening October 4, The Architecture Foundation in London is delighted to present ‘Futures in the Making,’ a group exhibition showcasing prospective architectural futures explored in the work of recent architecture graduates. From spectacular pollution capturing facades to innovative agrarian settlements, projects will include a global range of case studies that test new ideas for architecture and infrastructure by a rising generation of architectural talent. The exhibition will be on display until November 13. For more information, please visit here.
On September 28, 2013, Zaha Hadid Architects will be celebrating the completion of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery. An extension to London’s famous Serpentine Gallery, the new innovative arts venue will be housed in a 208-year-old, Grade II-listed building, formerly known as The Magazine, in Kensington Gardens just north of the main gallery.
This project will be Zaha Hadid’s first permanent structure in central London and second commission from the Gallery, as she designed the inaugural Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in 2000.
London-based United Visual Artists (UVA) has brought Sou Fujimoto’s “cloud-like” Serpentine Pavilion to life with an “electrical storm” of LEDs. With the intention of making the architecture “breathe” from within, UVA seamlessly integrated a network of LED lights into the latticed, 20mm steel pole structure that mimics the natural forms of an electric storm. In addition, carefully conducted auditory effects further enhance the experience, transforming Fujimoto’s “radical pavilion” into an electrified geometric cloud.
After a government report earlier this month found that the London Olympics had brought a £10-billion-boost to the UK’s economy – effectively breaking even with the initial investment after just one year – the architectural community has begun to question whether the built legacy of the games will be worthwhile in the long run.
Guardian critic Olly Wainwright is scathing about the Olympic park, particularly the developments at the edge of the site: “At every junction of this roaring A-road sprouts a steroidal tower, each clad in ever more lurid colours, transforming the street into a gauntlet of competing ambitions. Looming over adjacent council estates, these brash totems are a monument to Olympian greed… Strip away all the festive colours, though, and you’ll find that these are actually mean-minded silos of tightly packed one-bedroom flats, mostly sold overseas for buy-to-let.”
Find out more about Wainwright’s investigations, and other opinions of the Olympic legacy, after the break.