UK Airports Commission Rules Out Thames Estuary Airport Plans

Courtesy of Foster + Partners

The Airports Commission, the independent group charged with planning the future of the London‘s  infrastructure, has finally ruled out an ambitious plan for a major airport in the Thames Estuary designed by Foster + Partners and supported by Mayor Boris Johnson. Chairman of the Airports Commission Sir Howard Davies said the proposal had been ruled out because “the economic disruption would be huge and there are environmental hurdles which it may prove impossible, or very time-consuming to surmount.”

Instead, the Airports Commission will select between three options to expand one of London’s existing airports at either Heathrow or Gatwick. Read on after the break for the reactions to the decision.

Capco and Bold Rocket offices / D+DS architecture office

© Tom Fallon

Architects: D+DS architecture office
Location: London,
Year: 2014
Photographs: Tom Fallon

Translating Smiljan Radić’s Serpentine Pavilion from Fantasy to Fabrication

The use of fiberglass allowed for the pavilion to be thin and brittle, but also had the strength to span a large face. The pigment made it fire retardant. Image Courtesy of Louis Webb Bird/

Settled neatly in the quiet hum of London‘s Kensington Gardens rests Smiljan Radić‘s 2014 Serpentine Pavilion, an ethereal mass of carefully moulded fiberglass punctuated by precisely cut openings. Radić desired a structure that appears thin and brittle, yet was strong enough to support itself, and his affection for the rudimental layered qualities of papier-mâché – his maquette medium of choice – inspired the use of fiberglass by AECOM, who engineered Radić’s wild ideas. In this article, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as “Paper-Thin Walls, an AECOM engineer explains their solution. Read on after the break to find out more. 

Beefeater Gin Visitor Centre / Lee Boyd

© Paul Riddle

Architects: Lee Boyd
Location: London SE11 5DE,
Year: 2014
Photographs: Paul Riddle

RIBA To Launch Retrospective of Edwin Smith’s Photography

To coincide with the opening of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)’s new Architecture Gallery at their headquarters in London’s Portland Place, the first major retrospective of Edwin Smith will open next month. Smith, one of Britain’s foremost 20th century photographers, was considered a master of capturing the essence of the places, landscapes and buildings he documented over an extensive career. The exhibition, entitled Ordinary Beauty, will display over a hundred carefully curated black and white images from a collection of over 60,000 negatives and 20,000 prints donated by Olive Cook, Smith’s widow and collaborator, to the .

Zaha Hadid to Receive Honoray Degree from Goldsmiths College

© Simone Cecchetti

Zaha Hadid will be awarded an honorary degree and fellowship from Goldsmiths College, at the University of London, during the college’s graduation ceremony in September. Hadid was chosen because of her “inventive approach, and eagerness to challenge conventions which have pushed the boundaries of architecture and urban design,” Architects’ Journal (AJ) reported.

Among Hadid’s work in London is the  Aquatics centre for the 2012 London Olympics, which has been shortlisted for the 2014 Stirling Prize, which recognizes a building that has made the greatest contribution to British architecture in the past year.  Architects was also behind the design for London’s Roca Gallery and was selected to develop plans for a new airport in London.

Hadid is one of six other creative professionals receiving honorary degrees from Goldsmiths College.

Video: First Look Inside Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partner’s “Cheesegrater”

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In a short film for The Guardian Lead Architect and Partner of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Graham Stirk, tours Robert Booth around the almost-complete Leadenhall Building. The building is referred to as a relative of it’s neighbour, Lloyds of London, which was completed by Richard Rogers‘s practice in 1986. Leadenhall, dubbed the “Cheesegrater” due to its angled façade, is twice the height of Lloyds and is considered to be the physical manifestation of the evolution of Rogers’ architectural and tectonic language. Although less “structurally showy” than its counterpart, the building is still unconventionally bold when it comes to structural expression.

Search for the 2014 Young Architect of the Year Begins

Ferreries Cultural Centre by [ARQUITECTURIA

The search for the 2014 Young Architect of the Year Awards (), organised by BDOnline, has begun. Now in its 16th year, YAYA “recognises the most promising new architectural practice in the European Union.” Open to fully qualified architects who have been practising for twelve years or less, the winner of this year’s YAYA will be announced at the Architect of the Year gala dinner on the 2nd December 2014 at The Brewery, London.

Why is it So Expensive to Build in London?

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London is the world’s most expensive city to build in, but the reasons may surprise you. The city is well known for its high cost of living despite being far less crowded than cities such as Tokyo and New York. In fact, commercial in London’s West End costs nearly twice as much as similarly sized spaces on New York’s Madison Avenue.

This video from the Economist reveals how these high costs arise thanks to the city’s historic infrastructure. Vast networks of underground tunnels, unexploded World War II bombs, ancient Roman ruins, and narrow medieval roads all make in the city a highly specialized endeavor. These difficulties, combined with strict historical preservation regulations drive up costs even more. However, architects and developers are not deterred, and are willing to pay high prices for the privilege of building in London. 

Mint Street Peabody Housing / Pitman Tozer Architects

© Kilian O’Sullivan

Architects: Pitman Tozer Architects
Location: Mint Street, London E2,
Project Architect:: Nikki Cutler
Area: 4702.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Kilian O’Sullivan, Nedko Dimitrov, Nick Kane

London Science Museum Selects Wilkinson Eyre to Design Medical Galleries

© Wilkinson Eyre

’s Science Museum has announced Wilkinson Eyre as the winner of its competition to design new medical galleries. Winning the project over a shortlist of six other architects – including Caruso St John, Amanda Levete Architects and Haworth Tompkins - Wilkinson Eyre’s £24 million galleries will occupy 3,000 square metres on the museum’s first floor, almost doubling the size of the museum’s existing galleries.

More on the Science Museum’s transformation after the break

Video: The Elevated London That Almost Was

Inspired by an article written by in 1993, Chris Bevan Lee’s forty minute documentary explores the elevated post-war infrastructural redevelopment of the City of , fragments of which still stand across the square mile today. The Pedway: Elevating London examines London planners’ attempt to build an ambitious network of elevated walkways through the city that largely never saw completion. In a carefully produced film those ’pedways’ that remain are photographed and discussed as symbols of a utopia that almost was.

KPF Obtains Planning Permission for London’s “New Bondway”

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After months of planning and preliminary design, it is expected that architecture firm KPF will be given permission to proceed with their New Bondway project in Vauxhall, London. This residential complex is sited in the Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Opportunity Area, in close proximity to the new US embassy. The property was previously to be the site for the Octave Tower designed by Make architects, until the proposal was rejected by the Secretary of State.

North London Hospice / Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

© Timothy Soar

Architects: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
Location: North London Hospice, 71 Chase Side, London N14 5BQ,
Area: 8000.0 ft2
Year: 2012
Photographs: Timothy Soar

The Workshop / Guy Hollaway Architects

© Charles Hosea

Architects: Guy Hollaway Architects
Location: , UK
Year: 2013
Photographs: Charles Hosea

Will Alsop Designs Apartment Tower on Stilts for London’s South Bank

Courtesy of

Led by Will Alsop, aLL Design’s funky apartment tower will soon add a whole lot of interest to London’s south bank. The tubular building, which tapers at the bottom and top, will rise above an existing four-storey building on purple stilts and be adorned with corten steel cladding, brightly colored balconies, and irregular rounded windows. Each apartment will include two balconies overlooking the River Thames and the neighboring heliport – bringing about the name “Heliport Heights.” To learn more about the lively design, keep reading after the break.

Dalston Studio / Cassion Castle Architects

© Kilian O’Sullivan

Architects: Cassion Castle Architects
Location: Dalston, E8, UK
Area: 60.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Kilian O’Sullivan

Performance Space: Marina Abramović at the Serpentine Gallery

© Marco Anelli

One of the latest installations at London’s Serpentine Gallery, where Smiljan Radic recently unveiled an ethereal pavilion, is Marina Abramović’s performance installation entitled 512 Hours. Creating what has been described as “the simplest of settings” in one of the gallery’s large spaces, the artwork employs Abramović’s most frequently used material: herself. Coupled with the audience and a selection of common objects, the constantly changing sequence of events on display is the very first live installation by the artist displayed in the UK. Upon arrival, visitors are asked leave their baggage (including mobile phones, cameras and any other electronic equipment) behind in order to enter the exhibition. Find out more about what you can expect from it here.