Níall McLaughlin Chosen for Redevelopment of London’s Natural History Museum

Courtesy of MRC/Picture Plane

British practice Níall McLaughlin Architects together with Kim Wilkie have been unanimously selected as the winners of the competition to reimagine the external grounds of ’s Natural History Museum. The competition, which attracted proposals from shortlisted teams such as BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group), Stanton Williams Architects, and Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, called for entries to ”reshape the Museum’s grounds and reinvigorate its public setting” with an aim to creating “an innovative exterior setting that matches Alfred Waterhouse’s Grade I listed building whilst also improving access and engaging visitors.”

Happy Birthday James Stirling

Portrait of . Ray Williams, photographer.. Image © Canadian Centre for Architecture

On what would have been his birthday today, we celebrate and look back on British architect and Pritzker Laureate Sir James Stirling, who died aged 66 in 1992. Stirling, who grew up in Liverpool, one of the two industrial powerhouses of the British North West, began his career subverting the compositional and theoretical ideas behind the first Modern Movement. Citing a wide-range of influences – from Colin Rowe, a forefather of Contextualism, to Le Corbusier, from architects of the Italian Renaissance to the Russian Constructivist movement – Stirling forged a unique set of architectural beliefs that manifest themselves in his works. Indeed, his architecture, commonly described as “non-comformist”, consistently caused annoyance in conventional circles.

According to Rowan Moore, Stirling also “designed some of the most notoriously malfunctioning buildings of modern time.”  Yet, for all the “veiled accusations of incompetence”, as Reyner Banham put it, Stirling produced a selection of the world’s most interesting and groundbreaking buildings. Notably, the Royal Institute of British Architects’ highest award, the Stirling Prize, was named after him in 1996.

17a Highbury Terrace Mews / Studio 54 Architecture

© Sarah Blee

Architects: Studio 54 Architecture
Location: , UK
Contractor: Fullers Builders
Year: 2013
Photographs: Sarah Blee

Exhibition: Louis Kahn / The Power of Architecture

The American architect (1901-1974) is regarded as one of the great master builders of the Twentieth Century. Kahn created buildings of monumental beauty with powerful universal symbolism.

This exhibition encompasses an unprecedented and diverse range of architectural models, original drawings, travel sketches, photographs and films. Highlights of the exhibition include a four-metre-high model of the spectacular City Tower designed for Philadelphia (1952-57), as well as previously unseen film footage shot by Kahn’s son Nathaniel Kahn, director of the film ‘My Architect’.

Title: Exhibition: Louis Kahn / The Power of Architecture
Website: http://designmuseum.org/exhibitions/2014/louis-kahn
Organizers: Design Museum
From: Wed, 09 Jul 2014 
Until: Sun, 12 Oct 2014 
Venue: Design Museum
Address: Shad Thames, London SE1,

Applications Now Open for ManTownHuman’s Summer School

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Building on the success of their first Winter school in 2010, ManTownHuman’s “Critical Subjects” school returns this summer. The week-long event that will serve as a platform to debate vital architectural questions as diverse as “what is ‘nature’?”; “whatever happened to the avant garde?”; and “what is architecture for?” Applications are currently open – 30 of the keenest architecture students from the UK and beyond will be chosen for their critical and innovative thought.

The school will visit a different venue each day, with hosts including Zaha Hadid Architects, Arup Associates and The Architectural Review. In a series of lectures, debates and design challenges, students will be expected to explore these topics in greater depth than is usually possible in architecture school, challenging the method of received wisdom that is increasingly taking hold in education, as explained by event organizer Alastair Donald in his article for The Architectural Review.

Applications are open until May 7th, with the event taking place between July 13th-19th. For more information and to apply, visit the event’s webpage here.

Title: Critical Subjects: A ManTownHuman Summer School
Website: http://www.mantownhuman.org/
Organizers: ManTownHuman
From: Sun, 13 Jul 2014 17:00
Until: Sat, 19 Jul 2014 18:00
Venue: Multiple venues in

Ace Hotel London / Universal Design Studio

Courtesy of Ace Hotel

Architects: Universal Design Studio
Location: 100 Shoreditch High Street, Shoreditch, London E1 6JQ,
Year: 2013
Photographs: Courtesy of Ace Hotel, Andrew Meredith, Mandee Taylor

VIDEO: London From the Top of The Barbican, A Brutalist Icon

Recently voted the UK’s ugliest tower, The Tower is one of the three residential towers of the Estate, built between 1965 and 1976 in . Along with fourteen apartment blocks, the Barbican Estate contains 2014 flats, connected by a labyrinth of floating passageways and landscaped gardens. 

Designed by the architects Chamberlin, Powell and Bon, the Estate was part of a utopian vision of urban renewal and transformation of the city center after the Second World War. When it opened in 1982, Queen Elizabeth even referred to the high-end mega-complex as “one of the modern wonders of the world.” Though many Londoners despise the massive concrete megastructure, it is in fact a Brutalist masterpiece in the heart of London, a relic from a time of architectural coherence and uncompromised ambition.

Check out the incredible view from the Barbican Tower in the time-lapse above, and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Quality Chop Shop / Fraher Architects

© Jack Hobhouse

Architects: Fraher Architects
Location: Farringdon, ,
Year: 2013
Photographs: Jack Hobhouse

Buy a Piece of the Royal Academy’s Sensing Spaces Exhibition

Eduardo Souto de Moura’s Square Arch. Image © James Taylor-Foster

London’s Royal Academy of Arts (RA) is selling off parts of their blockbuster architectural exhibition, Sensing Spaces. The Great Architecture Fair will see the seven practices behind the enormous installations select objects and materials from the exhibition to be repurposed as beautiful, unique items available to buy. In addition to these, the RA are offering members of the public the chance to experience the spaces out-of-hours “to give you your own exclusive moment in the exhibition.” 

Ranging from a top step from Chilean architects Mauricio Pezo and Sofia von Ellrichshausen’s gargantuan installation for £450, to a bag of pebbles (plus certificate) from Li Xiaodong’s Zen Garden for £10, slices of one of the world’s most accessible architecture exhibitions in recent years are up for grabs.

One Church Square / Paul Davis+Partners

© Adam Parker

Architects: Paul Davis+Partners
Location: ,
Area: 2,400 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Adam Parker

Foster and Gehry Reveal Designs for Battersea Power Station

“The Skyline” on “The Electric Boulevard” / Foster + Partners. Image Courtesy of

As phase three of London’s Battersea Power Station regeneration, Foster + Partners has collaborated with Gehry Partners to design the 42-acre development’s primary entrance. Together, the duo has envisioned “The Electric Boulevard” – a massive gateway connecting the Northern Line Extension station to the Power Station, which will be formed by an undulating Foster-designed tower known as “The Skyline” and Gehry’s five-building “Prospect Place.”

Housing more than 1,300 homes and over 350,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, the boulevard is expected to become one of London’s most distinguished high streets.

Analog Folk / DH Liberty

© Quintin Lake

Architects: DH Liberty
Location: Warner Street, London,
Design Team: Dara Huang, Ryan Day, Remo de Angelis and Lisa Hinderdael
Area: 100.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Quintin Lake

The Battle for the Skies Over London

Courtesy of CPAT / Hayes Davidson / Jason Hawkes

In response to the recent study by New London Architecture, which found that there are currently over 230 tall buildings either planned or under construction in London, an argument is brewing over the capital’s sudden, seemingly uncontrolled, growth.

The most vocal reaction to all of this has come from Rowan Moore, architecture critic for The Observer, who has teamed up with the Architects’ Journal to launch a campaign calling for more rigorous planning and public consultation when it comes to tall buildings. The campaign has support from 80 signatories, a list that reads like a ‘who’s who’ of British architecture, including architects, planners, politicians, developers and artists as well as a range of civic societies.

Read on for more reaction to ’s tall building boom.

The Herringbone House / Atelier Chanchan

© Mike Tsang Photographs

Architects: Atelier Chanchan
Location: Islington, N1,
Design Team: Zoe Chan, Joao Neves
Year: 2013
Photographs: Mike Tsang Photographs, Thomas Giddings

Call for Projects: London Festival of Architecture

The London Festival of Architecture will be taking place from June 1 to June 30. Now in its 10th year, the Festival is initiated by The Architecture Foundation, British Council, New London Architecture and RIBA London to celebrate London as a global hub of architectural practice, discussion and debate.

Leading cultural institutions including the Barbican, Design Museum, National Trust, Royal Academy of Arts, Serpentine Gallery and Sir John Soane Museum will be presenting activities across the city. Now, the Festival is presenting a call for associated projects by independent practices, designers, artists and curators to form part of the Festival in 2014.

Participants need to respond the 2014 Festival’s theme: Capital. They will need to explore the dynamism of London, including ts architecture and open space. More information can be found here.

We Need Better, Not Fewer, Buildings

Sight lines to St Paul’s Cathedral are the most fervently protected views in . Image Courtesy of Make Architects

In this intriguing article in the TelegraphStephen Bayley critiques protecting cities’ “traditional” view corridors out of nostalgia (or fear of bad architecture). On the premise that “not all development is bad” and that “the only cities that do not develop are dead ones”, Bayley argues forcefully for better, rather than less, city building. You can read the full argument here.

Hackney Townhouse / ZCD Architects

© Charles Hosea

Architects: ZCD Architects
Location: London,
Area: 158.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Charles Hosea

London’s Impending Tall Building Boom

Central as it will look when all current projects are completed.. Image Courtesy of CPAT / Hayes Davidson / Jason Hawkes

In a study of all development plans in London, the think tank New London Architecture has found that at least 236 buildings over 20 stories are currently either under construction, approved or awaiting approval in the capital – with over 80% of these projects yet to break ground.

The study, created to support an by NLA called “London’s Growing… Up!,” found that 80% of the new towers will be residential, and that the areas of greatest activity were in Central and Eastern areas of London, with 77% of these tall buildings in the City of London or the Boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Lambeth, Greenwich, Newham and Southwark.

Read on for more results of, and reactions to, the study…