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Alejandro Aravena's UC Innovation Center awarded "Design of the Year" by London's Design Museum

London’s Design Museum has announced the category winners of the prestigious “Design of the Year” award. The winner of this year's Architecture Category is the Anacleto Angelini UC Innovation Center designed by Alejandro Aravena

Friends House / John McAslan + Partners

  • Architects: John McAslan + Partners
  • Location: London, UK
  • Design Team: John McAslan + Partners, Max Fordham, Walsh Group, Stephen Cuddy, Anne Minors Performance Consultants, Westco Partnership
  • Area: 2500.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Courtesy of John McAslan + Partners

Courtesy of John McAslan + Partners Courtesy of John McAslan + Partners Courtesy of John McAslan + Partners Courtesy of John McAslan + Partners

Silverlight / Adjaye Associates

  • Architects: Adjaye Associates
  • Location: London, UK
  • Structural Engineer: Techniker
  • Area: 603.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2009
  • Photographs: Courtesy of Adjaye Associates

Courtesy of Adjaye Associates Courtesy of Adjaye Associates Courtesy of Adjaye Associates Courtesy of Adjaye Associates

Chipperfield Unveils Plans To Reimagine London's Royal Academy of Arts

David Chipperfield Architects have revealed plans to connect the two Grade II*-listed London bases of London's Royal Academy of Arts - the 17th century Burlington House and the 19th century 6 Burlington Gardens - as part of a £50million ($80million) masterplan of "subtle interventions." According to the Architects' Journal, the two structures will be linked by a concrete bridge which will span fifteen metres across a service area and courtyard, and will see the creation of a number of new exhibition spaces, a lecture theatre, and a new space for the Royal Academy's world-renowned schools of art and architecture. A series of roof extensions and terraces will allow for new views over central London.

Courtesy of David Chipperfield Architects Courtesy of David Chipperfield Architects © David Chipperfield Architects / Squint/Opera Courtesy of David Chipperfield Architects

Heatherwick's Garden Bridge to Represent London's Horticultural History

New images of Thomas Heatherwick's recently approved Garden Bridge depicts how it will look once built in 2018. With 270 trees, 2,000 shrubs, hedging plants and climbers, over 22,000 perennials, ferns and grasses and 64,000 bulbs planted on the bridge, the lush river crossing will take pedestrians through London's horticultural history, "from wild marshland to cultivated gardens," as the Garden Bridge Trust reports. Five distinct landscaped areas, created by landscape designer Dan Pearson, will span the bridge's 6000 square-meters of open space and represent the capital city's plant cultivation from centuries past. 

London Collective Assemble Shortlisted For The Turner Prize

Assemble, a collective of artists, designers and architects based in London, have been shortlisted for the Turner Prize - the UK's foremost annual award for British visual artists. Much to the delight and surprise of members of the profession, this young collaborative team are the first spatial designers to be recognised by this prize in its three decade history, leading Sam Jacob to assert that they "represent something different: a validation of the belief that there are other ways of doing things." The four nominees for the award also include London artist Bonnie Camplin and German-born Nicole Wermers.

Grayson Perry On 'A House For Essex' And His Collaboration With FAT

In an article for The Guardian, Turner Prize winning ceramic artist Grayson Perry has written for the first time about his "plans for a Taj Mahal in Essex." The designs for the House for Essex, which have been realised over the last three years by FAT and led by Charles Holland, are of a "secular chapel" in the heart of the southern English countryside. The building was commissioned by the Living Architecture Project, which is headed by Alain de Botton and are the proprietors of property designed by the likes of Peter Zumthor, MVRDV, and David Kohn. This, their fifth foray into experimental collaborative architecture between architects and artists, is set to open its doors for holiday letting this year.

The Covert House / DSDHA

  • Architects: DSDHA
  • Location: Clapham, London SW4, UK
  • Design Team: Deborah Saunt, David Hills, Matt Lambert, Emma Canning
  • Area: 135.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2015
  • Photographs: Christoffer Rudquist, Helene Binet

© Christoffer Rudquist © Helene Binet © Christoffer Rudquist © Helene Binet

Wilkinson Eyre Architects to Bring New Life to King's Cross Gasholders

London-based Wilkinson Eyre Architects have revealed plans for a major refurbishment of three 'Siamese' gasholders in King's Cross. The development will see the historic structures restored and repurposed for multi-residential use, and create over 140 apartments. Dismantled in 2001 to allow construction of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, the Grade II-listed structures are currently undergoing refurbishment by Shepley Engineers in South Yorkshire, after which they will be relocated from their original site as part of a larger masterplan for King's Cross.

London's V&A Appoints New Director Of Design & Exhibitions

London's Victoria & Albert Museum have announced that David Bickle, formerly a partner at Hawkins\Brown, has been appointed as the new Director of Design, Exhibitions and FuturePlan. In this role Bickle will be responsible for the care and future development of the V&A’s buildings, as well as the presentation of all of the museum’s permanent collections and exhibitions. With the construction of Amanda Levete Architects' new addition on Exhibition Road underway - coupled with the V&A's plans for new exhibition spaces in Dundee, Scotland, and in East Stratford on the former site of the 2012 London Olympic Games - the museum is also in the process of helping to establishing a collection in Shenzhen.

'The Listeners Project' Create Four Short Films In London's Former BBC Television Centre

The Listeners Project, a small London-based initiative that works with young filmmakers in unique architectural spaces to develop and create short films, have taken residence in the former BBC Television Centre. The building, designed by Graham Dawbarn of Norman & Dawbarn in the late 1940s, has an iconic plan that resembles a question mark. The centre, which was once the beating heart of the majority of the British Broadcasting Company's television production, was listed in 2009 before it was finally vacated in 2013.

City of London Freemen’s School / Hawkins\Brown

  • Architects: Hawkins\Brown
  • Location: London, UK
  • Project Year: 2015
  • Photographs: Tim Crocker

© Tim Crocker © Tim Crocker © Tim Crocker © Tim Crocker

The Architectural Lab: A History Of World Expos

The Universal Exposition of 1889. Image © Wikimedia Commons
The Universal Exposition of 1889. Image © Wikimedia Commons

World Expos have long been important in advancing architectural innovation and discourse. Many of our most beloved monuments were designed and constructed specifically for world’s fairs, only to remain as iconic fixtures in the cities that host them. But what is it about Expos that seem to create such lasting architectural landmarks, and is this still the case today? Throughout history, each new Expo offered architects an opportunity to present radical ideas and use these events as a creative laboratory for testing bold innovations in design and building technology. World’s fairs inevitably encourage competition, with every country striving to put their best foot forward at almost any cost. This carte blanche of sorts allows architects to eschew many of the programmatic constraints of everyday commissions and concentrate on expressing ideas in their purest form. Many masterworks such as Mies van der Rohe’s German Pavilion (better known as the Barcelona Pavilion) for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition are so wholeheartedly devoted to their conceptual approach that they could only be possible in the context of an Exposition pavilion.

To celebrate the opening of Expo Milano 2015 tomorrow, we’ve rounded up a few of history’s most noteworthy World Expositions to take a closer look at their impact on architectural development.

1964 New York World’s Fair . Image via People for the Pavillion website Buckminster Fuller's Dome. Image © Flickr user abdallahh Barcelona Pavilion. Image © Gili Merin Kiyonari Kikutake's Landmark Tower

Explore Erno Goldfinger's Balfron Tower Through A New Online Archive

Balfron Tower: a building archive, created by London-based PhD student David Roberts and graphic designer Duarte Carrilho da Graça, is an online archive that brings together public documents related to Erno Goldfinger's Balfron Tower. Shining a light on all of the research material which Roberts has gathered over the course of his studies, archival documents from during the tower's design phase to the most recent press articles are presented in the form of a timeline. You are also allowed the option of downloading these documents in full.

From Prisons to Parks: How the US Can Capitalize On Its Declining Prison Populations

Prisons are often seen as problematic for their local communities. After centuries of correctional facilities discouraging economic growth and occupying valuable real estate as a necessary component of towns and cities, many of these institutions have been relocated away from city centers and their abandoned vestiges are left as unpleasant reminders of their former use. In fact, the majority of prisons built in the United States since 1980 have been placed in non-metropolitan areas and once served as a substantial economic development strategy in depressed rural communities. [1] However, a new pressure is about to emerge on the US prison systems: beginning in 2010, America's prison population declined for the first time in decades, suggesting that in the near future repurposing these structures will become a particularly relevant endeavor for both community development and economic sustainability. These abandoned shells offer architects valuable opportunities to reimagine programmatic functions and transform an otherwise problematic location into an integral neighborhood space.

Why repurpose prisons rather than starting fresh? The answer to this question lies in the inherent architectural features of the prison typology, namely the fact that these structures are built to last. People also often forget that prison buildings are not limited to low-rise secure housing units - in fact, prisons feature an array of spaces that have great potential for reuse including buildings for light industrial activity, training or office buildings, low-security housing, and large outdoor spaces. These elements offer a wide variety of real estate for new programmatic uses, and cities around the world have begun to discover their potential. What could the US learn from these examples, at home and overseas?

The Former Bangalore jail in India, now Freedom Park . Image © Flickr CC user abhisheksundaram Boston's Liberty Hotel Interior. Image © Flickr CC user adewale_oshineye Aerial view of the former Lorton Prison. Image via Bing Maps Freedom Park in Lagos, Nigeria. Image via

Graveney School Sixth Form Block / Urban Projects Bureau

© Kilian O’Sullivan © Kilian O’Sullivan © Kilian O’Sullivan © Kilian O’Sullivan

New London Architecture Unveils Updated 1:2000 Scale Model Of The UK Capital

New London Architecture (NLA), an independent resource and forum for debate about the city's built environment, have unveiled a new, large-scale interactive model of the UK capital. Designed to provide a visual history of the city, NLA also intend for it to spark questions about its future. This model replaces an earlier one, which was revealed on the day that it was announced that London's bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games has been successful. Now, a decade later, the present projection of the city's built future has been mapped across the model, highlighting the locations of the 263 tall buildings planned or under construction. Visitors are also able to track the route and impact of new transport links, such as HS2 and Crossrail.

172-Year-Old Tunnel Project to Become London's Newest Performance Venue

Nearly two hundred years after construction first began, and 150 years after being formally closed to the public, Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Rotherhithe shaft in the Thames Tunnel is slated to become London's newest performance space.

Thanks to a cantilevered staircase by local firm Tate Harmer, members of the public will be granted access to one of London's best-kept pieces of engineering history.

Learn more about the project after the break.