Can a School Ensure East London’s Olympic Legacy?

Via CC Flickr User. Image © diamond geezer

In this article for The Guardian, Oliver Wainwright reviews Chobham Academy, a new school built as part of East London’s Olympic Legacy by architects AHMM. While he finds the school impressive and ambitious, Wainwright questions whether the campus, which acts as the ‘fulcrum’ between the poverty-stricken streets of Leyton and the high end flats of the former Athlete’s Village, will be able to bring the two parts of this community together. You can read the full article here.

Critical Round-Up: Tate Britain Renovation, Caruso St. John

Lower level rotunda, – Courtesy Caruso St. John and Tate. Image © Helene Binet

London’s Tate Britain, a partner gallery to the Tate Modern (who recently appointed Herzog & de Meuron to design a new extension), recently unveiled Caruso St. John‘s transformation of the oldest part of the iconic Grade II* listed Millbank building. The £45 million project to restore, renovate and reinterpret one of the ’s most important galleries has been met with a largely positive critical response; read the conclusions of The Financial Times’ Edwin Heathcote, The Guardian’s Oliver Wainwright,  The Independent’s Jay Merrick, the RIBA Journal’s Hugh Pearman, and the Architects’ Journal’s Rory Olcayto, after the break…

The Gherkin: How London’s Famous Tower Leveraged Risk and Became an Icon (Part 4)

Courtesy Jonathan Massey & Andrew Weigand

This four part series (originally published on Aggregate’s website) examines the Gherkin, the London office tower designed by , showing how the urban icon engaged and leveraged perceptions of risk. In part one, author Jonathan Massey introduced the concept of “risk design” to describe how the Gherkin’s design managed the risks posed by , terrorism, and globalization. In parts two and three, Massey examined the building’s treatment of risks associated with and terrorism. In this final installment, Massey concludes by addressing the building’s engagement with risks posed to the City of London by globalization. 

Unlike New York and other cities in which zoning codes entitle landowners to some kinds of development “as of right,” the City of London regulates property development through case-by-case review by planning officers, who judge how well the proposed construction conforms to City-wide plans and guidelines regarding factors such as building height, development density, access to transit, and impact on views and the visual character of the area. In order to develop the Gherkin, the property owners and Swiss Re had to secure planning consent from the City Corporation through its chief planning officer, Peter Wynne Rees. The review and permitting process that culminated in the granting of planning consent in August 2000 spanned the planning office as well as the market, the courts, and the press. Rees brokered a multilateral negotiation so intensive that we could almost say the building was designed by bureaucracy. Part of that negotiation entailed imagining and staging risk: climate risk, terrorism risk, and, especially, the financial risks associated with globalization.

Five Teams Shortlisted for London’s Natural History Museum Redesign

Natural History Museum . Image © David Iliff (License: CC-BY-SA 3.0), via Wikipedia

Five architect and landscape architect-led teams have been shortlisted to redesign and re-imagine the grounds of London’s world famous Natural History Museum. The major project will aim to “create an innovative exterior setting that matches the architectural excellence of the iconic 19th Century site, whilst ensuring that the Museum grounds are easily accessible to all visitors.”

Without further ado, the leaders of the five teams are:

Rogers Stirk Harbour Announced as Winner of LSE Competition

(Team E). Image Courtesy of LSA / RIBA

Shortly after the jury demanded further work to be done on the shortlisted proposals, The London School of Economics () has selected Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) to design the new Global Centre for the Social Sciences. Besting proposals from OMA, Hopkins, Heneghan Peng and Grafton, RSHP’s winning design was also voted the public’s favorite by an overwhelming margin.

The Gherkin: How London’s Famous Tower Leveraged Risk and Became an Icon (Part 3)

Courtesy of & Andrew Weigand

This four part series (originally published on Aggregate’s website) examines the Gherkin, the London office tower designed by Foster + Partners, showing how the urban icon engaged and leveraged perceptions of risk. In part one, author Jonathan Massey introduced the concept of “risk design” to describe how the Gherkin’s design managed the risks posed by , terrorism, and globalization. In part two, Massey examined the building’s treatment of climate risk. In part three, below, he explains how the Gherkin redesigned the risk imaginary associated with terrorism.

Mornings the Zamboni scrubs the plaza. Moving across the pavement in parallel lines connected by tight turns, the sweeper cleans the stone of cigarette butts and spilled food and beer left the night before by the underwriters and bankers who patronize the bar and shops in the building’s perimeter arcade as well as the adjacent restaurant that in fair weather sets up outdoor tables and chairs.

By pulling away from its irregular property lines, the tower achieves almost perfect formal autonomy from its context. The gap between the circular tower base and trapezoidal site boundaries forms a privately owned public space, a civic and commercial amenity in this densely built part of the City. 

Controversial Plans for Southbank Centre Face New Challenges

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It’s been almost two months since we revealed that the Southbank Centre had agreed to support a fundraising campaign by Long Live Southbank, the campaign aiming to preserve the skatepark in Southbank’s undercroft and save it from the £120 million redevelopment of the site as a whole.

This was just one twist in a story that included criticism from the ’s design council CABE and from the neighboring National Theatre, a 50,000 strong petition from skateboarders, an unsuccessful attempt to have the skatepark listed as a village green, a successful attempt to have it classified as an ‘asset of community value’, and a delayed planning application. 

So after all this controversy, what has happened in the last two months?

The Gherkin: How London’s Famous Tower Leveraged Risk and Became an Icon (Part 2)

Courtesy & Andrew Weigand

This four part series (originally published on Aggregate’s website) examines The Gherkin, the London office tower designed by Foster + Partners, showing how the urban icon engaged and leveraged perceptions of risk. In part one, author Jonathan Massey introduced the concept of “risk design” to describe how the Gherkin’s design managed the risks posed by climate change, terrorism, and globalization. In part two, below, Massey examines the Gherkin’s enclosure and ventilation systems in detail to explain how the building negotiated climate risk.

In a poster promoting London’s bid to host the Olympic Games, the Gherkin supported gymnast Ben Brown as he vaulted over the building’s conical peak. The image associated British athleticism and architecture as complementary manifestations of daring and skill, enlisting the Gherkin as evidence that London possessed the expertise and panache to handle the risk involved in hosting an Olympic Games.

But a poster created three years later offered a very different image. Created by activists from the Camp for Climate Action to publicize a mass protest at Heathrow Airport against the environmental degradation caused by air travel, this poster shows the Gherkin affording only precarious footing to a giant polar bear that swats at passing jets as its claws grasp at the slight relief offered by spiraling mullions and fins.

AD Interviews: Stephen Hodder, RIBA President

Courtesy of Mies. UK

ArchDaily recently got the chance to speak to Stephen Hodder, current President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) at his practice in Manchester. Best known as the recipient of the inaugural RIBA Stirling Prize in 1996 (for the Centenary Building), Hodder was educated at the University of ’s School of Architecture, he’s perhaps best known as the recipient of the inaugural RIBA Stirling Prize in 1996 for the Centenary Building and was awarded an MBE for services to architecture in 1998.

Having been officially in the role for only two months, Hodder spent some time with us discussing his hopes for the next two years. Find out why he described himself as a fan of Scandinavians and prog-rock after the break…

LSE Asks for ‘Further Work’ To Be Done on Shortlisted Designs

Team B. Image Courtesy of LSE /

Following the announcement last month that the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) had shortlisted five designs for their new Global Centre for Social Sciences (GCSS) in London’s Aldwych, they have now revealed that “there’s not one really outstanding scheme” and “there’s some further work to do by the practices and the LSE.” Therefore contestants Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, OMAHopkins ArchitectsGrafton Architects, and Henegham Peng Architects must reconsider their proposed designs

Heatherwick Releases Updated Images for London’s ‘Garden Bridge’

© Arup

After winning a Transport for (TfL) tender for ideas to improve pedestrian access across the River Thames, Thomas Heatherwick and Arup unveiled plans for a new, 367-meter long ‘Garden Bridge’ that will span the river from Temple to the Southbank. The lush pedestrian corridor, earmarked for opening in 2017, would be the first new crossing since the Millennium Bridge opened to the public in 2002.

More details and updated images after the break…

The Gherkin: How London’s Famous Tower Leveraged Risk and Became an Icon

How does design change the nature and distribution of risk? In this, the first of four installments examining , the London office tower and urban icon designed by Foster + Partners, author introduces the concept of “risk design.” The series, originally published on Aggregate’s website, explains how the Gherkin leveraged perceptions of risk to generate profits, promote economic growth, and raise the currency of design expertise.

Designing Risk

Back the Bid. Leap for London. Make Britain Proud. Emblazoned across photomontages of oversized athletes jumping over, diving off, and shooting for architectural landmarks old and new, these slogans appeared in 2004 on posters encouraging Londoners to support the city’s bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games. Featured twice in the series of six posters—along with Buckingham Palace, Nelson’s Column, the Tower Bridge, the London Eye, and the Thames Barrier—was 30 St Mary Axe, the office tower known colloquially as the Gherkin for its resemblance to a pickle, or as the Swiss Re building, after the Zurich-based reinsurance company that commissioned the building and remains its major tenant.

ORTUS, Home of Maudsley Learning / Duggan Morris Architects

© Jack Hobhouse

Architects: Duggan Morris Architects
Location: ,
Area: 1,500 sqm
Photographs: Jack Hobhouse

The Shed / Haworth Tompkins, by Philip Vile

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The Shed, a 225-seat auditorium designed by Haworth Tompkins, was completed earlier this year in London. It’s made of raw steel and plywood, while the rough sawn timber cladding refers to the National Theatre’s iconic board-marked concrete. You can see more photos of photographer Philip Vile after the break.

AD Classics: Rogers House / Richard & Su Rogers

Courtesy of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners LLP

The Rogers House, designed by Richard and Su Rogers in 1968, is one of the lesser known architectural works from the master who went on to design the Centre Pompidou in Paris with Renzo Piano. The house, which represented British Architecture at the 1967 Paris Biennale, was commissioned by Rogers’ parents and was granted Grade II* Listing in February 2013 – a rare accolade for a building so recent - cementing its importance in the architectural heritage of the .

Described by Rogers as “the most successful small project I’ve been involved in”, the house carefully balances the openness of shear glass facades with the need to provide his parents with privacy and seclusion – a task made harder by the building’s location, just a short walk from Wimbledon Village in central . Incorporated within the design is a separate flat and pottery studio which were positioned to provide a sound barrier between the house of the adjacent road. It is, essentially, “a transparent tube with solid boundary walls”.

Gehry and Foster Selected to Regenerate Battersea Power Station

Courtesy of Development Company

Gehry Partners and Foster + Partners have been selected to design phase three of the Battersea Power Station redevelopment project in . Together, the prestigious duo will design a retail pedestrian street that will link the power station to the new Northern Line extension. In addition to this, each practice will design a residential building along the avenue, which will be Gehry’s first residential project in .

“Our goal is to help create a neighborhood and a place for people to live that respects the iconic Battersea Power Station while connecting it into the broader fabric of the city,” Gehry stated. “We hope to create a design that is uniquely London, that respects and celebrates the historical vernacular of the city.”

AHMM to Design London’s New Metropolitan Police HQ

Winning Design (Allford Hall Monaghan Morris). Image Courtesy of Greater Authority (GLA)

Following the news last month that the RIBA and the Mayor of London’s Office revealed the five shortlisted designs for the new Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) headquarters, it has been announced that Allford Hall Monaghan Morris‘s (AHMM) design has won. The competition attracted submissions from the likes of Foster + PartnersAllies & MorrisonKeith Williams Architects and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands. AHMM’s proposal will be located in London’s Whitehall Conservation Area and is set for completion in 2015.

Gridiron, One St. Pancras Square / David Chipperfield

Battle Bridge Place. Image Courtesy of Gridiron / King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership

London’s King’s Cross has seen a surge of redevelopment in recent years, the most iconic of which – John McAslan + Partner’s new concourse for King’s Cross Station – was completed last year. The area has also been defined by the new Central Saint Martin’s campus, designed by Stirling Prize winner Stanton Williams, and Google’s new London headquarters. Plans have now been unveiled for Gridiron (One St. Pancras Square), a 50,000 square foot office building nestled between St. Pancras International and King’s Cross Stations, designed by David Chipperfield Architects and set for completion in the first half of 2014.