Open House 2014, a concept developed in London twenty two years ago which has now spread to cities across the world, will throw open the doors to some of the UK capital’s most inspiring spaces and interiors this month. “Revealing”, the theme of this year’s Open House, intends to “shed light on issues that are relevant to local communities.” In this way, the scheme hopes to examine how the built environment is evolving. Exploring the role of architects, engineers and contemporary design in revitalising places and spaces, the festival hopes to show above all “how good design can make London a more livable, vibrant and enjoyable city.”
There’s no doubt about it – cycling in cities is a big deal these days. But, while cycle lanes and bike-sharing schemes are all well and good for our cities, the cycling revolution hasn’t yet brought us many examples of beautifully designed infrastructure to gawp at. This article, originally printed on The Dirt as “Do Elevated Cycletracks Solve Problems or Just Create More?” discusses two seemingly similar examples of high profile cycling infrastructure, examining why one is a success and the other a non-starter.
This year, two designs – one proposed and one built – for elevated cycletracks, which create bicycle highways above street level, have gained considerable media attention. They highlight questions at the heart of urban design: Should cities blend or separate transportation options? How can cities best mitigate the hazards created when cars, bikes, mass transit, and pedestrians mix? How can cities create low-cost transportation networks in increasingly dense urban cores?
London’s Science Museum has selected muf architecture/art to design a new permanent interactive gallery. Set to open in 2016, the new gallery will be an expansion of the current Launchpad children’s gallery, creating a larger area to engage visitors in interactive math and science exhibits and live events.
“Muf architecture/art impressed us with their collaborative approach, strong design and bold vision for the new gallery. Above all, their scheme shows a keen awareness of the prime purpose of the gallery – fostering exploration and curiosity in science through intelligent and exciting design,” Karen Livingstone, Director of Masterplan at the Science Museum said.
The results of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Future Trends Survey for July 2014 show that the Workload Index among UK practices fell back to +28 (from +34 in June) with confidence levels among RIBA practices about the level of future workloads remaining “very strong in practices of all sizes across the whole of the UK.” Whereas last month’s survey saw Scotland top the index with a balance figure of +50, London showed the greatest strength in July with a balance figure of +38. Practices located in Wales and the West were the most cautious about prospects for future workloads, returning a balance figure of just +12. The survey shows that actual workloads have been growing for four consecutive quarters and the overall value of work in progress last month was 10% higher than this time last year.
The Airports Commission, the independent group charged with planning the future of the London‘s airport infrastructure, has finally ruled out an ambitious plan for a major airport in the Thames Estuary designed by Foster + Partners and supported by London 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.
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.
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 RIBA Library.
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. Zaha Hadid 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.
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.
The search for the 2014 Young Architect of the Year Awards (YAYA), 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 Awards gala dinner on the 2nd December 2014 at The Brewery, London.
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 real estate 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 construction 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.
London’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
Inspired by an article written by Michael Hebbert in 1993, Chris Bevan Lee’s forty minute documentary explores the elevated post-war infrastructural redevelopment of the City of London, 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.
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.