2014 RIBA President’s Medals Winners Announced

Winner of the RIBA Silver Medal: Nick Elias of the Bartlett School of Architecture. Image Courtesy of RIBA

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) have announced the President’s Medals Student Awards at a special event today in London. The awards, recognised as the world’s most prestigious set of awards in architectural education, were inaugurated in 1836 (making them the institutes oldest award, including the RIBA Gold Medal). Three medals in particular – the Bronze for a Part I student, the Silver for a Part II student, and the Dissertation Medal – are awarded to “promote excellence in the study of architecture [and] to reward talent and to encourage architectural debate worldwide.” In addition to these, the winners of the Serjeant Award for Excellence in Drawing and the SOM Foundation Fellowships are also announced.

317 schools of architecture from over 61 countries were invited to nominate design projects and dissertations by their students. This year saw the majority of winners come from London schools, including the Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL), Kingston University, the University of Westminster, London Metropolitan University (the CASS), the Royal College of Art, the University of East London, and the University of Greenwich. University College Dublin (Ireland) and the University of Brighton () also saw their students commended, alongside the University of Sydney (two students) and the (one student).

See drawings from all the winning and commended students after the break.

Chipperfield On London’s “Success-Based Culture”

Neues Museum, (courtesy Staatliche Museen zu ). Image © Achim Kleuker

Speaking to The Guardian, has stated that he regards the hold of private investment over new architecture in London as an ”absolutely terrible” means of building a city. He argues that Berlin – where he spends considerable amounts of time and runs a large office – “is a much more reflective society than ours” because the UK has sunk into ”a success-based culture.”

[In Berlin] there is still an idea of the public realm. We have given that up in London. We have declared the public realm dead; the question is how to get stuff out of the private sector. We are unbelievably sophisticated at that.

Westminster Council Approves Heatherwick’s Garden Bridge Plans

Courtesy of Arup

Update: Today Westminster Council approved the Garden Bridge proposals - the second of three required approvals - with councillors voting 3-1 in favour of the bridge. Though  Mayor Boris Johnson still has to officially rule on the plans, it is almost certain that he will ultimately give the go-ahead to the project as he has previously voiced his support for the idea. The following article was originally published on November 13th, after Lambeth Council granted the bridge its first approval.

RIBA Announces Charles Rennie Mackintosh Retrospective for 2015

Design for Scotland Street School by . Image © Hunterian, University of Glasgow

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced a major retrospective of the work of celebrated Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, with an exhibition to be held at the RIBA’s Headquarters in London from February to May 2015. Having shown talent as a draughtsman from a young age, Mackintosh started his architectural apprenticeship at the age of just 16, and the exhibition features over 60 original drawings, watercolours and perspectives spanning his entire career from the late 19th century until his death in 1928.

Read on after the break for more on the contents of the exhibition

BIG Unveils Design For Battersea Power Station Square

Courtesy of Development Company

BIG has unveiled the design for their addition to the development at Battersea Power Station, a public square that will link the power station itself with the Electric Boulevard development designed by Norman Foster and Frank Gehry. Called Malaysia Square after the Malaysian development consortium behind the plans, the design features cascading steps that link the main public space at the lower level with the entrance to the power station above. The split-level design also provides for two pedestrian bridges and a road bridge that cross above the ”urban canyon” of the public square.

The 9 Most Controversial Buildings of All Time

It is now just over a year since the unveiling of Zaha Hadid’s Al-Wakrah Stadium in Doha, Qatar, and in the intervening twelve months, it seems like the building has never been out of the news. Most recently, remarks made by Hadid concerning the deaths of construction workers under Qatar’s questionable working conditions created a media firestorm of legal proportions. Hadid’s stadium has been widely mocked for its ‘biological’ appearance, not to mention the fact that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, for which the stadium will be built, has encountered a storm of controversy all of its own.

The criticism surrounding Al Wakrah has prompted us to look far and wide for the world’s most debated buildings. Could Al Wakrah be the most controversial building of all time? Check out ArchDaily’s roundup of nine contenders after the break.

Find out which buildings top our controversial list after the break

House in Hampstead / Cullinan Studio

© Paul Raftery

Architects: Cullinan Studio
Location: Hampstead, London NW3,
Project Architect: Kevin Goh
Project Director: Carol Costello
Area: 100.0 sqm
Photographs: Paul Raftery

Is Heatherwick’s Garden Bridge “Nothing But A Wasteful Blight”?

Courtesy of Arup

After a fortnight of highs and lows for Thomas Heatherwick and British celebrity Joanna Lumley’s campaign for a garden bridge stretching across ’s River Thames, Rowan Moore of The Observer has meticulously described the project as “nothing but a wasteful blight.” Although he acknowledges that support for the bridge “has been overwhelming,” he argues that Heatherwick – though an “inventive and talented product designer” – has a past record in large scale design which “raises reasonable doubts about whether his bridge will be everything now promised.”

Garden Bridge Plans Face Fresh Attack After Initial Planning Permission

© Arup

After gaining the first in a series of required planning approvals last week, Thomas Heatherwick‘s highly controversial Garden Bridge proposal has once again come under fire from a variety of opponents, with campaign group Thames Central Open Space (TCOS) dubbing it a “luvvies’ folly,” and the Guardian’s architecture critic Oliver Wainwright saying that it is “not in fact a bridge – in the sense of being a public right of way across the river – but another privately managed tourist attraction, on which £60m of public money is to be lavished.”

Much of this new assault is the result of the 46 conditions which came with Lambeth Council’s recommendation to grant the bridge planning approval, which as BD Online uncovered, include closing the bridge between 12 and 6am, a ban on cycling, and a restriction of group sizes to 8 people or fewer, unless booked in advance.

BIG Tapped to Design Public Square for Battersea Power Station

Masterplan. Image Courtesy of

is set to make its UK debut. As reported by the Architect’s Journal, the Danish practice has been selected from an international shortlist to design a public square for Battersea Power Station. Though no formal announcement has been made, the “Malaysia Square” scheme will be a key element in the Wilkinson Eyre-designed masterplan, serving as the development’s “front door.” It will connect the masterplan’s first three phases, just south of the listed landmark, which include Frank Gehry and Foster + Partners’ proposed “Electric Boulevard.”

Renzo Piano Gains Planning Permission for Shard-Adjacent Residential Tower

View from Guy’s Hospital Quad. Image © RPBW

Renzo Piano Building Workshop has been awarded planning approval for Feilden House, a 26-storey residential building at London Bridge Quarter, directly adjacent to the Shard. Designed to complement the Shard and Place Buildings, the third piece of Piano‘s Bridge Developments will add “generous public realm amenities” to the area at ground level.

Are Monuments And Memorials Intrinsically Introverted?

© Richard Lea-Hair and Historic Royal Palaces

The Observer’s “accidentally got swept into a tide of humanity at the weekend, or to put it another way, couldn’t move for crowds.” In memorial of the start of the centenary of World War One, of which today marks the anniversary of the armistice (11.11.1918), the Tower of London have installed a sea of 888,246 ceramic poppies in the former moat. The artwork, created by Paul Cummins and Tom Piper, and entitled Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, ”has caught the national imagination.” For Moore, however, “it is deeply disturbing that a hundred years on from 1914, [the UK] can only mark this terrible war as a national tragedy.” He argues that “the spectacle of all these red poppies is emptier than that. [...] It is a deeply aestheticised, prettified and toothless war memorial.” Read the article in full here.

Sheppard Robson Designs Rooftop Pavilion for Aldwych House

©

The Westminster City Council has granted planning permission to Sheppard Robson for a “dramatic” rooftop extension to ’s Aldwych House. The £15m project – situated within the Westminster Conservation Area – will add 8,500 square feet of high-quality office and reception space by installing a series of geometrical-folded forms on top of the landmark Midtown office building.

Bartlett Students Invent Skeleton-Inspired Structural Material for Lightweight Construction

A team of graduates from the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London have developed a new hybrid building material designed for use in uniquely challenging construction environments. “Augmented Skin” combines a regimented structural core with a flexible opaque skin, which is coated in PVA to serve as casting formwork for concrete. Inspired by biological skeletal frameworks, the material can be assembled quickly at a minimal cost with maximum flexibility. The project was designed by architecture graduate students Kazushi Miyamoto, Youngseok Doo, and Theodora Maria Moudatsou, and was exhibited at The Bartlett’s 2014 graduation exhibition B-Pro.

Read more about the flexibility of Augmented Skin after the break

Does Devolution Hold The Key To Greater Investment In The Built Environment?

Town Hall (Alfred Waterhouse)

The British city of Manchester, often seen as the UK’s second city alongside Birmingham, will become the first metropolis outside of to be given greater local autonomy over budgets and city planning. The devolution deal, which will also see the city receive the right to directly elect a Mayor (in line with large cities in the US, for example), will furnish the city with “a new housing investment fund worth up to £300million.” As it is understood that the first Mayor of Greater Manchester will be elected in 2017, there’s time to discuss how this new political environment in the UK might help boost building in what has described as a “Northern Powerhouse.”

Investigating A Radical Future For Our Urban Waterways

YouTube Preview Image

In the third and final installment of their micro documentary series on architecture and waterEllis Woodman and a team at the Architectural Review (AR) have collaborated with architects, developers, urbanists and thinkers to examine the latent connections between water and our built environment. Taking a journey by narrowboat through , the film explores the radical ideas which may offer the keys to unlocking the potential of the urban waterway. Through recreation, interaction and radical ideas such as floating parks, amphibious houses and new public wetlands can the river become a living part of the city?

Video: Peter Murray of New London Architecture Outlines his Cycling Vision

In the latest video from Crane.tv, architectural journalist and planner Peter Murray ruminates on the benefits of integrating cycling into the urban fabric of the world’s biggest cities. “For the last half century, we’ve bowed down to the god of the motor car and have destroyed cities across the UK,” says Murray, Chairman of New London Architecture and the London Society. Murray and his team at New London Architecture are charged with analyzing and advocating for the improvement of London’s Built environment, acting as advisors to Mayor Boris Johnson on an array of projects including the overhaul of cycling infrastructure in the city.

Murray discusses his foray into cycling around the world, most recently from Portland, Oregon, to Place in London, via New York City. Through his adventures in cycling across the United States and Europe, Murray has gained insight into best practices with an eye towards implementation in London. Inspired by Dutch cycling infrastructure, “Mini Hollands” are London’s latest project, spearheaded by the NLA and executed under a major redevelopment of London’s bicycle infrastructure, designed to create entire communities where bicycles rule the roads and vehicles are a thing of the past.

Studio Octopi Proposes Floating Swimming Pool in the Thames

The latest iteration of the design proposed for Victoria Embankment. Image © / Picture Plane

A proposal to create a floating swimming pool in the Thames river will step up a gear tomorrow, as Studio Octopi will present their design for the Baths at the Guardian’s World Cities Day Challenge. Originally created as part of the Architecture Foundation’s competition to design ways to reconnect Londoners with the river, the Thames Baths design has gained momentum over the last year, with a recent iteration of the design proposed for London‘s Victoria Embankment.

More on the design after the break