Whatever the uses and abuses of climate research lately, buildings are still said to cause 40 percent of carbon emissions. As such, architects see themselves at the forefront against global warming. But why do most contemporary solutions involve evermore constraints? Indeed, it is now common to hear the argument that more restrictions aid creativity. Doesn’t more freedom aid creativity?
And what about the bureaucracy of carbon bean-counters? From Bioregional, the Carbon Trust and WWF to Biffa, WRAP and BRE, who are these unelected bodies that dictate environmental standards? What is the cost of prioritising carbon measuring, rationing, trading – carbon navel-gazing – in terms of design freedom and critical-thinking?
This, the first of three mantownhuman debates asks: Should architects not maximise – rather than minimise – their footprint? This event will take place March 25th, 7pm at BDP, Brewhouse Yard, London. Find out more here.
On Friday, April 23, 2010, top UK, European and American industry leaders will gather at the Architectural Association in London for a day-long Think Tank to explore solutions that could change the building industry for the better.
Among the firms that will participate are: Adams Kara Tylor London / Atelier Ten / Grimshaw Architects LLP / Foster and Partners / Johnson Controls / Oldcastle Glass/ Arup / Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners / Turner Construction / Werner Sobek / NG Bailey Off-Site
The Think Tank will consist of three 90 minute sessions of a series of “pecha-kucha” style short presentations followed by roundtable discussions. The C-BIP London Think Tank is the second in a series hosted by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation and generously underwritten by Oldcastle Glass®.
For more information on this event, click here.
According to a statement by the US Embassador in the UK, KieranTimberlake´s design “meets the goal of creating a modern, welcoming, timeless, safe and energy efficient embassy for the 21st century.”
Regarding the “safety” issues, KT’s design shows an interesting solution away from embassies from the early 90s surrounded by large walls with no urban considerations, using a park with a pond instead. The Embassy is no only an icon, but an urban piece “honoring the English tradition of urban parks and gardens as the context for many civic buildings”, connecting the Thames embankment to the new pedestrian way to the south.
“Viewed from the north at the proposed plaza, the embassy grounds will provide the prospect of an open park, a landscape of grasses rising gracefully to the new embassy colonnade, with the required secure boundaries incised into the hillside and out of view. Instead of a perimeter-walled precinct, the site to the north and south is a welcoming urban amenity, a park for the city that fuses the new embassy to the city of London. Alternatives to perimeter walls and fences are achieved through landscape design.”
The pure geometry of the cube is fragmented by a highly specialized ETFE (ethylene-tetrafluroethylene, used in several recent buildings) facade optimized to shade interiors from east, west and south sun while admitting daylight and framing large open view portals to the outside. If you take a closer look to the renderings from the inside you will notice that the ETFE foils include thin photovoltaic film that intercepts unwanted solar gain in certain angles. The scrim also renders the largely transparent façades visible to migratory birds to discourage bird-strikes.
More information and renderings about the Embassy after the break. I also recommend to read our interview with Stephan Kieran.
The ‘Concrete Geometries’ Research Cluster at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London is seeking submissions of work from the fields of art, architecture, sciences and humanities that explore the relationship between spatial form and social or aesthetic processes.
For more information go to the competition’s official website.
When asked to design a luxury hotel and spa at Hersham Golf Club in Surrey (which is within London’s Green Belt) ReardonSmith Architects responded with plans for a subterranean building. Matthew Guy, ReardonSmith’s project designer, explained “Our concept integrates hotel, spa, and golf facilities into a single architecturally exciting and organic composition below and above ground. The design fulfills the requirements of the brief for a bespoke five star hotel while returning hard standing to the Green Belt and improving the physical layout and visual attraction of the entire site. It represents a commercially viable solution to developing in the Green Belt and is, we believe, a world-first.”
More about the hotel after the break.
Architects: Haworth Tompkins Limited
Location: London, England
Project Manager: Applied Solutions (Projects) Limited
Main Contractor: Haymills
Structural Engineer: Price and Myers LLP
Environmental Engineer: Ernest Griffiths
Quantity Surveyor: Davis Langdon
Theater Consultant: Charcoalblue Ltd
Acoustic Engineer: Arup Acoustics
CDM Coordinator: PFB Construction Management Services Limited
Access Consultant: Babel Limited
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Philip Vile
Architects: Haworth Tompkins Limited
Location: London, England
Project Team: Graham Haworth, Chris Fellner, Roger Watts and David Lyndon
Client: The Royal College of Art
Main Contractor: LIFE Build Solutions Limited
Structural Engineer: Price and Myers LLP
Quantity Surveyor: Gardiner & Theobald
M&E Consultant & Lighting: Max Fordham Consulting Engineers
Project Area: 1,280 sqm
Project Year: 2008-2009
Photographs: Philip Vile, Helene Binet, Katsuhisa Kida Foteca
The 160m long wave shaped roof frame for Zaha Hadid’s Aquatic Center has just been lifted and lowered into place, marking one of the most complex engineering and construction challenges of the Olympic Park for the London 2012 games. Weighing in at over 3,000 tons, the gigantic steel trusses rest on a mere three concrete supports to provide open space for the facility’s large racing and diving pools. The roof is also designed to stretch, twist and contract in response to the effects of snow, wind and changing temperatures.
More about the construction and a video to follow.
Against tough competitors, such as Rafael Viñoly, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris and Foreign Office Architects, the competition to design the Jewish Community Center was awarded to Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands. The 30,000 sqf JCC project will emphasize an arts and community center that aims to bring “light, life and activity back to the street.” Situated on a heavily trafficked road, the JCC will include a three story linear pavilion that will create a “landscaped piazza and relate to the Camden Arts Center’s gardens” opposite the site.
More about the JCC after the break.
Architect: Amanda Levete Architects
Location: London, England
Project Director: Ho-Yin Ng
Project team: Gidon Fuehrer, Chris Geneste, Soren Aagaard, Alan Dempsey – Project Architect, John O’Mara, Michael Mitchell
Client: Clarendon Properties
Main Contractor: Powells Group
Façade: Frener & Reifer
Interiors: Windsor Workshop Ltd.
Constructed Area: 14,220 sqm
Project year: 2007-2009
Photographs: Gidon Fuehrer
Renzo Piano‘s latest project, the Shard, has recently moved to the construction phase. The 1,016 ft high skyscraper will be the tallest building in Western Europe and will provide amazing views of London. The mixed use tower, complete with offices, apartments, a hotel and spa, retail areas, restaurants and a 15-storey public viewing gallery, will sit adjacent to London Bridge station as part of a new development called London Bridge Quarter. Replacing the 1970′s Southwark Tower on Bridge Street, the Shard is a welcomed addition to the London skyline, and its central location near major transportation nodes will play a key role in allowing London to expand.
More about the tower after the break.
The Beijing 2008 Olympics happened less than a year ago, but the preparations for the next games in London already started. Beijing’s Bird’s Nest made quite an impression for everyone who enjoyed the 2008 Olympics so Populous faced a difficult challenge in designing the Olympic Stadium for London 2012. The new stadium will be complete summer 2011 and will host 80,000 spectators during the Games. More images and architect’s description, after the break.
The idea of using recycled shipping containers is becoming a growing trend as the crates are strong, efficient and inexpensive materials. We’ve featured a few cargo projects in the past for retail designs like LOT-EK’s Puma City, office spaces such as the first in Seattle by HyBrid Architecture + Assembly, plus the artist residences for Pier 57 in New York, all featured previously on AD. Now, the use of containers has spread to the education sector as Scabal has completed a sports hall for Dunraven secondary school in Streatham, London. Working with a limited budget and the pressing demand of the clients to produce a “new building of architectural distinction”, Scabal decided that using shipping containers would fulfill both requests.
More about the sports hall after the break.
Once again, our friend Architect Aristide Antonas surprises us with a wonderful project, this time in London. The design is really interesting but also the way he work the infographics, all in black and with, very sober and austere.
Hope you enjoy as much as I did looking at the project and understanding it!
Yesterday we featured Iwan Baan’s photo set for the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2009 by SANAA.
Now, we bring you a photo set from today, at the opening of the pavilion by Javier Vergara Petrescu, on which we can see more of the spatial relations at the park and the effect of the reflective material. See how the height varies creating different spaces, from a tall open space for a crowd, to a low intimate space at the end.
More photos after the break:
Architecture photographer Iwan Baan has been documenting the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, a series of temporary structures commissioned to renowned architects that sits on the Gallery’s lawn for three months, hosting a series of public talks and events at the park. And now he just shared with us his photo set for this years pavilion, which opens to the public tomorrow July 12th, and will stay open until October 18.
For this year, the pavilion was commissioned to Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, SANAA.
An undulating aluminum structure sits on top of a delicate column system, providing a series of connected spaces while keeping a continuous view through the park. The aluminum reflects the trees, the ground and the sky, for a dramatic blending effect as you can see of the photos.
More pictures after the break.
Designed by ThreefoldArchitects, the Ladderstile House, an eco-friendly large residence in Richmond Park, London, is arranged around an internally landscape courtyard. The home’s volumes open to external areas creating a unified residence with the exterior and interior complimenting each other.
More images and more about the residence after the break.
The Pavilion will initially appear as part of Tent London’s exhibit at the London Design Festival 2009 before taking up residence at The Lightbox as an annual summer pavilion and gallery space. The structure is to be engineered and constructed by Facit and funded by the Lightbox Museum’s £100,000 Art Fund Prize 2008.
More images and architect’s description after the break.
A group of ten architects, including Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid, and Frank Gehry, signed a letter criticizing Prince Charles for talking against the construccion of luxury houses in Chelsea Barracks, London.
Prince Charles is against the modern design with glass and steel used by architects in the Chelsea district, and wants them to use a more traditional design using stones and bricks. The Sunday Times also said that Prince Charles showed his concern to Qatar’s royal family, owner of the site.
The design was developed by Richard Rogers, member of the House of Lords and known for projects like Heathrow’s Terminal 5, the Millenium Dome in London and the European Court of Human Rights. Rogers, with the other ten architects, accused Prince Charles of taking advantage of his royalty position to attack the architectural plans of the site.
This isn’t the first time that Prince Charles enters the architectural debate, strong supporter of Leon Krier’s New Urbanism.
Full text of the public letter to Prince Charles:
THE Prince of Wales’s intervention over the design of the former Chelsea Barracks site deserves more reasoned comment. It is essential in a modern democracy that private comments and behind-the-scenes lobbying by the prince should not be used to skew the course of an open and democratic planning process that is under way.
Proposals by Richard Rogers’s practice for the developers Qatari Diar were recently submitted for planning to Westminster city council. The scheme has been adapted and changed in response to comments from Westminster’s planning officers and extensive local consultation. Statutory bodies such as the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment and the Greater London Authority have also been consulted. Westminster’s planning committee will meet and shortly deliver its verdict.
Its members should be left alone to decide whether the Rogers’s scheme is a fitting 21st-century addition to the fabric of London. The developers have chosen carefully in selecting the best architect for the sensitive project. Rogers and his team have played their part in engaging with the democratic process. The prince and his advisers should do the same. The process should be allowed to take its course; otherwise we risk condemning this critical site to years as an urban blight.
If the prince wants to comment on the design of this or any other project, we urge him to do so through the established planning consultation process. Rather than use his privileged position to intervene in one of the most significant residential projects likely to be built in London in the next five years, he should engage in an open and transparent debate.
Lord Foster, Foster and Partners, London, Pritzker Prize 1999
Zaha Hadid, Zaha Hadid Architects, London, Pritzker Prize 2004
Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, Pritzker Prize 2001
Jean Nouvel, Jean Nouvel Architectes, Paris, Pritzker Prize 2008
Renzo Piano, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Genoa, Pritzker Prize 1998
Frank Gehry, Gehry Partners, Los Angeles, Pritzker Prize 1989
Sir Nicholas Serota, Commissioner, CABE 1999-2006
Richard Burdett, London School of Economics
David Adjaye, Adjaye Associates, London
Deyan Sudjic, Director, Design Museum, London
The challenge to provide affordable housing is a global issue. At a time when market forces are eclipsing architecture’s social value, ELEMENTAL’s pioneering housing is transforming urban communities in Latin America.
Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena is a Professor at the Universidad Católica de Chile and Executive Director of ELEMENTAL, a ‘do tank’ addressing questions outside the traditional realm of architecture.