Exhibition / Reason & Intuition: Alvar Aalto & Ola Kolehmainen in Soane

© Foundation

This summer, the art, architecture and design of Finland will be celebrated in London. Reason & Intuition – Alvar Aalto & Ola Kolehmainen in Soane is a new exhibition bringing together the finest works of an acknowledged great of international modernist architecture and design and three collections of images by an acclaimed Finnish photographer.

Alvar Aalto (1898-1976) was a central figure in international modernism. His sculptural, and highly functional, furniture produced in the 1930s remains influential and very popular.

Reason & Intuition will feature around forty Aalto creations, including chairs, tables, lights, glassware and textiles, as well as rarer pieces, such as a collection of original designs and plans for some of Aalto’s 500 buildings and glassware designed by his first wife and collaborator, Aino.

Title: Exhibition / Reason & Intuition: Alvar Aalto & Ola Kolehmainen in Soane
Website: http://www.ealing.gov.uk/info/200893/pm_gallery_and_house/686/exhibitions/2
From: Fri, 04 Jul 2014
Until: Sun, 24 Aug 2014 
Venue: PM Gallery & House
Address: London,

Pop Up Studio Explores Participation Design at London Festival of Architecture

Courtesy of Cloud Architecture

As part of the London Festival of Architecture, Cloud Architecture is conducting a participation-based research and design project from a pop up studio in Old Spitalfields Market in central London. Running until June 20th, the project aims to engage visitors to the market with the ideas and process of architectural design studios, which members of the public rarely get to experience first-hand.

At the same time, visitors to the studio will be encouraged to take part in a project to redesign the Old Spitalfields Market, based on data collected on site and the participatory input and opinions of those who use it.

Read on after the break for more on the studio and some of the results from the first week of research

London Skyline Debate Taken to City Hall

The Norman Foster-designed London City Hall with the Shard in the background. Image © Flickr CC User alh1

The debate over the future of London‘s Skyline stepped up a gear on Tuesday, as the issue was taken up by the London Assembly’s Planning Committee in City Hall. The London Assembly is an elected watchdog which is tasked with examining the decisions and actions of London’s mayor, and is expected to apply pressure to mayor Boris Johnson over the issue of skyscrapers in the capital.

The committee heard from leading architectural figures in London including former RIBA president Sunand Prasad (of Penoyre & Prasad), English Heritage planning and conservation director for London Nigel Barker and former City planning officer Peter Rees.

More on the London Assembly debate after the break

David Chipperfield Picked to Remodel Selfridges’ London Store

© Flickr CC User Jennifer Martinez

David Chipperfield has been selected by Selfridges to remodel their flagship London store, creating a new 4,600 square metre accessories department and creating a new entrance to the Eastern side of the building. The additions by Chipperfield are part of the store’s larger 5-year, £300 million project which also includes work by Gensler to better connect the original 1909 building by Daniel Burnham with the later addition behind.

Chipperfield’s addition will aim to improve the store’s presence on Duke Street, which will act as a secondary entrance to the building’s primary public face on Oxford Street, with the new accessories department planned to open in 2016.

London’s Shell Centre Awarded Planning Permission

Courtesy of The Canary Wharf and Qatari Diar Groups

The £1.2 billion Shell Centre development in London, masterplanned by Squire & Partners, has been awarded planning permission after being called in for review by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles. Featuring 8 towers of up to 37 storeys which will sit alongside the existing 27-storey Shell Tower, the scheme was granted permission by the local council last year but was called in for review over fears that it could threaten the UNESCO Heritage status of the area around Westminster.

However, despite being awarded planning once again, opponents of the scheme have said they will continue to fight it, and have threatened to mount a judicial review of the scheme.

Read on after the break for more on the controversy

Redchurch Loft Apartment / Studio Verve Architects

© Luke White

Architects: Studio Verve Architects
Location: London,
Design Team: Vivian Chan, Ula Witkowska
Area: 150 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Luke White, Time & Space

3 Architects Appointed to Oversee £100 Million Cycling Infrastructure In London

Though the schemes are not exactly as dramatic as Foster + Partners’ Skycycle (pictured), they are part of a real commitment to make more cycle-friendly. Image © Foster + Partners

Roger Hawkins (Hawkins\Brown), Sunand Prasad (Penoyre & Prasad) and Peter Murray (New London Architecture) have all been appointed by the Mayor of London to oversee the implementation of £100 million worth of cycling infrastructure in the city.

The scheme will focus on three London Boroughs: Kingston, Enfield and Waltham Forest, each of which were awarded “mini-Holland” status – a reference to the cycling haven of the Netherlands which these areas of London will be modeled on. Each borough will nominate their own principal designers, but the three appointed architects, who all sit on the Mayor’s design advisory panel, will be acting as consultant and client for a different borough.

Read on after the break for a rundown of the proposed changes

What Can We Learn from Lloyd’s?

© Flickr CC User Mark Kent

Following the news that Lloyd’s of London is planning to leave it’s Grade-I listed headquarters designed by Richard Rogers, Edwin Heathcote has written an interesting article asking whether the Lloyd’s Building - along with some other more spectacular failures of ‘iconic’ commercial architecture – can teach us anything about how we ought to design buildings. He argues that while high-profile design serves developers well, tenants seem to prefer bland yet functional corporate buildings, leading Heathcote to ask: shouldn’t we be seeking something in between? You can read the article in full here.

Does London’s Planning System Lack Civic Representation?

London’s skyline is set to be dramatically altered by tall buildings in the near future. Image Courtesy of CPAT / Hayes Davidson / Jason Hawkes

A debate organized by New London Architecture (NLA) has revealed a strong need for civic societies in London which protect the interests of the public in planning decisions, offering New York as a potential model. The debate, which was one of the headline at the London Festival of Architecture, was organized in response to a study which showed over 200 tall buildings were currently in the pipeline for the UK’s capital, which sparked fears that the current planning system was not fit for the purpose of controlling development in the city.

More on the debate after the break

GUN Architects’ Latest Installation Brings Chilean Micro-Climate to the UK

© Valerie Bennett

Chilean-German architecture practice GUN Architects‘ latest installation, accompanied by an exhibition in the AA gallery, brings the micro-climate of Chile to the . Using tree-like structures and pyramidal fabric ‘stalactites,’ the architects create a unique ecology that is at once natural and material. The architects’ description of the installation, after the break…

2014 London Festival of Architecture Explores the Theme of “Capital”

The 2014 London Festival of Architecture opened this week, with over 200 running throughout the city in the month of June. This year’s theme is “Capital”, an intentionally ambiguous theme which allows an exploration of the culture, people, economy and built environment of London. Some of the key topics to be interrogated will be the housing crisis afflicting London and the recent boom in the construction of tall buildings.

Read on after the break for more on the festival and some of its headline events

The (Home-Grown) Threat to London’s Architectural Future

Some of London’s most recognizable designs have come from foreign architects – like Ernö Goldfinger’s Trellick Tower. Image © Flickr CC User Jim Linwood

With the London Festival of Architecture opening yesterday, this article in the London Evening Standard highlights just one of the many threads which make up this year’s theme: the importance of foreign talent in making up London‘s cosmopolitan architectural culture. From Adam Caruso to Zaha Hadid, many of the city’s biggest names have come from abroad to study and work in the UK, helping to make it one of the greatest centres for design in the world – but all this could be at risk from untenable housing prices and draconian new visa restrictions. You can read the full article here.

Lloyd’s Set to Leave Richard Rogers-Designed Headquarters

© Flickr CC User Mark Kent

Insurance firm Lloyd’s of London has indicated that it plans to leave its famous Richard Rogers-designed headquarters, which it has occupied since construction ended in 1986. Lloyd’s has recently been involved in talks with Henderson, the developer of Make Architects‘ Gotham City project which earlier this year gained planning permission for a site adjacent to their current headquarters.

More on the building’s uncertain future after the break

Do New Buildings In London Have Shard Envy?

© Malcolm Chapman

This interesting article by Oliver Wainwright at the Guardian reveals the trend in recent London architecture for “Shardettes” – smaller and usually cheaper imitations of Renzo Piano‘s famous design which Wainwright says “has become a beacon for designers bereft of inspiration.” Highlighting four angular, glazed buildings that are either recently or partially constructed, he questions the quality of these miniature imitations and asks “is this Shardenfreude frenzy something to be welcomed?” You can read the full article here.

10 Fires That Changed Architecture Forever

After being destroyed by fire and laying in ruins for 60 years, the Reichstag became a symbol of the new democracy in the 1990s with Norman Foster’s renovation. Image © Flickr CC User Werner Kunz

With no casualties, last week’s fire at the Glasgow School of Art, which caused significant damage to parts of the building and gutted Charles Rennie Mackintosh‘s canonical library room, will be remembered as a tragic event that robbed us of one of the best examples of Art Nouveau of its time. The intention of the is to restore the building in the hope that in generations to come, the fire will be all but forgotten, a strategy which has been largely well received by the profession.

However, in the case of other fires things have not gone so smoothly: for millennia, fire has played a big role in determining the course of architectural history - by destroying precious artifacts, but often also by allowing something new to rise from the ashes. Read on after the break as we count down the top 10 fires that changed the course of architectural history.

Norman Foster Reasserts Belief in Thames Estuary Airport

Courtesy of Foster + Partners

In response to the UK Airports Commission’s call for evidence, Foster + Partners has released a detailed feasibility study supporting their plans for a new airport on the Isle of Grain in the Thames Estuary. Their plan proposes a four-runway airport built on a 35 square kilometre platform constructed partially in the mouth of the Thames. The scheme is popularly called “Boris Island” thanks to its most prominent supporter, Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

Norman Foster said “Since the Airports Commission submission a year ago, the need for increased airport capacity has become even more urgent. It is time to get serious about the issue of airport capacity. Britain needs an effective long-term solution, not the usual short-term fix that is Heathrow’s proposed third runway.  today needs to follow in the footsteps of its nineteenth-century forebears and invest boldly in infrastructure. Only long-term thinking will properly serve the demands of our future generations.”

Read on for a breakdown of the information contained in the report

Hawkins\Brown Reveal Plans for Bartlett School Revamp

Courtesy of The Bartlett School of Architecture

Hawkins\Brown have revealed plans for a £30 million revamp of Wates House in London, home to the Bartlett School of Architecture. The alterations will retain the structure of the 1970s building, opening up the facade to reveal the building’s internal activities to the street, as well as adding a new entrance and converting some of the ground floor into an exhibition space. The project strikes a balance between the requirements of working within one of ’s conservation areas, and retrofitting an outdated 1970s building to meet the needs of a constantly changing program.

Read on after the break for more project images and info

Michael Hopkins Criticizes Holl’s Maggie’s Centre Plans

Steven Holl’s design for Maggie’s Centre St Bart’s. Image Courtesy of

Michael Hopkins has added his thoughts to the row over Steven Holl‘s plans for the New Maggie’s Centre at St Bart’s Hospital in London, with a letter to City Planners saying that the design is in the wrong place and would ruin the setting of the 18th Century Great Hall. Hopkins, whose rival scheme received planning permission last month, says that the construction of the Maggie’s Centre represented a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to restore the great hall to its original design which was only met by his plans to build the Maggie’s centre in a different part of the St Bart’s site.

Read on for more of Hopkins’ criticisms