Chilean-German architecture practice GUN Architects‘ latest installation, accompanied by an exhibition in the AA gallery, brings the micro-climate of Chile to the UK. 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…
The 2014 London Festival of Architecture opened this week, with over 200 events 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
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.
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
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.
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 Glasgow School of Art 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.
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. London 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 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 London’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 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 London 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
A design by Squire and Partners for the controversial Chelsea Barracks site has been approved for planning. The approval comes five years after an earlier scheme by Richard Rogers was derailed by Prince Charles, sparking a row over what some perceived as the Prince abusing his status by bypassing proper planning procedure. Since then the plans were put on hold due to the UK‘s poor economy, before being resurrected last year.
Read more about the new plans after the break
Produced by The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, this somewhat hypnotic video charts the development of London from its origins as the Roman settlement of Londinium to the present day. It maps the changes in the city’s road network and built environment, and catalogs the thousands of historic structures which are now protected by either listing or scheduling. Among the fascinating thing revealed by the video is how historic events continue to have a profound effect on the city’s built environment: for example a law passed after the Great Fire of London determined that new buildings had to be built from brick, resulting in the large number of Georgian buildings that have survived to the present day.
BDP and SOM have submitted plans for ‘The Garden’ a new market which will be the largest new development in the Nine Elms area around Battersea Power Station in London. The £2 billion plans replace the existing New Covent Garden Market, the UK‘s largest fruit, vegetable and flower market, in addition to adding a mixed-use neighborhood of 3,000 homes and over 200,000 square feet of office and retail space.
Working together, BDP and SOM have created a “seamless masterplan” which extends from the detailed design of the new market structure through to a new riverside park connecting Battersea Power Station to Kieran Timberlake‘s US Embassy building.
Read on for more on the design
The Science Museum in London has announced plans to expand with three new galleries, launching three competitions to find designers. Two of the new galleries will house new permanent exhibitions about medicine and mathematics, while the third will host an interactive gallery. The three extensions combined will more than double the museum’s current size.
The museum hopes to complete the mathematics and interactive galleries in 2016, with the larger medicine wing scheduled for a 2018 completion date.
Read on after the break for more on the competitions
Work to alter Rafael Viñoly Architects‘ 20 Fenchurch Street – dubbed the Walkie Talkie due to its unusual shape and then the “Walkie Scorchie” after it created a heat-focusing ray strong enough to melt cars last summer – is due to start later this month, after planning permission for the additions was granted in April. The alterations, also designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects, will see horizontal aluminium louvres added to the glass facade between the 3rd and the 34th floor to ensure that the reflective “death ray” effect is not repeated.
More on the building after the break
As part of a new three-day festival in the London borough of Camden, KSR Architects have designed a brightly colored pop-up pavilion for the famous Britannia Junction. The festival’s centerpiece is made up of 640 fluorescent tubes hanging from a stage truss system to make a colossal wind chime, animating the area with movement, color and sound.
Read more about the pavilion and the festival, and see more images after the break
Since opening to the public last week, guests at the Shard‘s Shangri-La Hotel have been discovering that the building offers crystal clear views of more than just London. At night, the glass panels which extend beyond the edge of the floor plates and give the building its characteristic crystalline appearance act as mirrors, offering views into neighboring rooms. The Financial Times reports that when they visited, “guests in the neighbouring room were clearly visible as they prepared for bed.” You can read more on the story (and see proof of the effect) on the Financial Times.
London Mayor Boris Johnson has enlisted the help of three architects, Hawkins\Brown, Rick Mather Architects and Maccreanor Lavington Architects to design a new town on the site of Heathrow Airport. The move is designed to encourage support for Johnson’s plan to build a new airport in the Thames Estuary, jokingly dubbed ‘Boris Island’ by some. If the Estuary Airport were to go ahead it could mean closing Heathrow, currently one of the world’s busiest airports, freeing the land up for the new development. You can read more on the story at the Architects’ Journal.
The winners of the 2014 RIBA London Awards were announced in a ceremony last night. The awards recognize the RIBA London Architect of the year and 2014 RIBA Emerging Architect of the Year (Haworth Tompkins and RCKa, respectively) as well as a host of project awards which join other regional awards to make up the longlist for the 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize.
Among the winners are Zaha Hadid‘s Aquatics Centre, which becomes the final Olympics project to shoot for the Stirling Prize now that its seating wings have been removed; the Shard; the renovation of the Tate Britain by Caruso St John; and the transformation of King’s Cross by John McAslan + Partners. Read on after the break for a full list of winners.