The saga of the Southbank Centre redevelopment in London heated up recently, after the scheme for the new ‘Festival Wing‘ was formally submitted to Lambeth’s planning department. The scheme, which has been well received by some of the architecture community, including the centre’s original architects Norman Engleback and Dennis Crompton, has run afoul of the skateboarding community, which opposes the plan to infill the undercroft that has been their home for almost 40 years.
After a petition to save the skatepark garnered over 40,000 signatures, the skating community has mobilized once again to object to the planning application en masse. The campaign to save the skatepark has even garnered the attention of skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, who wrote to the Southbank Centre’s director of partnership and policy Mike McCart to explain that:
“It’s truly an historic feature of London street culture, and is as well known to skateboarders around the world as Big Ben or Buckingham Palace. Honestly.”
Sou Fujimoto’s 2013 Serpentine Pavilion, now complete and standing on the front lawn of London’s Serpentine Gallery, has opened to the press and we are now able to see Iwan Baan’s photographs of the temporary pavilion. Fujimoto will be lecturing to a sold out crowd this coming Saturday (June 8th) when the pavilion opens to the general public. The semi-transparent, multi-purpose social space will be on view until October 20th.
Fujimoto (age 41) is the youngest architect to accept the Serpentine Gallery’s invitation, joining the ranks of Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei (2012), Peter Zumthor (2011), Jean Nouvel (2010), SANAA (2009), and more. He described his Serpentine project as “…an architectural landscape: a transparent terrain that encourages people to interact with and explore the site in diverse ways. Within the pastoral context of Kensington Gardens, I envisage the vivid greenery of the surrounding plant life woven together with a constructed geometry. A new form of environment will be created, where the natural and the man-made merge; not solely architectural nor solely natural, but a unique meeting of the two.”
The Guardian has posted both print and video reviews by Oliver Wainwright.
More images by Iwan Baan after the break. See also In Progress: Serpentine Gallery Pavilion / Sou Fujimoto.
Westminster City Council has just announced Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, urban designers and architects and Grant Associates, UK landscape architects, as part of a multidisciplinary team to devise a twenty-year infrastructure and public realm plan for Church Street, London, to support the council’s housing renewal strategy. Residents have just voted in favor of proceeding with the first phase of regeneration plans for Church Street in a ward-wide referendum. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) just announced the launch of a new design competition on behalf of the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) and Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to create a new central London Headquarters – replacing their existing New Scotland Yard building. The Invited Design Competition provides architects/practices with the opportunity to produce a design for the renovation of this landmark in one of London’s most important and historic areas – to provide a modern, flexible and secure office environment for the MPS. The deadline for submissions is June 27. For more information, please visit here.
London-based practice Farrells will be teaming up with UK developer Stanhope and commercial developer ABP China (Holding) to regenerate London’s historic docklands into a thriving, mixed-use business district. The deal, which represents one of the first direct investment by a Chinese developer in London’s property market, will act as a platform for financial, high-tech and knowledge driven industries looking to establish their business in UK and European markets.
More on the Farrells’ masterplan after the break…
London School of Economics and Political Sciences (LSE) New Global Center for the Social Sciences Competition
RIBA is now inviting expressions of interest from architect-led design teams with exceptional design skills for the London School of Economics and Political Sciences (LSE) New Global Center for the Social Sciences, the world’s leading center for social sciences. The next step in the campus development program is to further improve the School’s teaching, research and support facilities through the complete redevelopment of the center of its Aldwych campus. The new building that will be constructed will have a vital role to play in cementing the LSE’s position as a world renowned educational establishment and will become a place that inspires existing LSE students and will help attract new high caliber students and staff to the School. The deadline for submissions is June 14. For more information, please visit here.
Founded by Grimshaw and FutureCity in collaboration with the Fellows of the RSA, the Urban Research Unit (URU) is a one-year research project focused on urban design, masterplanning and placemaking. It will include a series of eight panel discussions that will use various urban factors to compare and contrast New York and London. Their upcoming event, ‘Navigating the Future City’ will take place in London on June 5. This event sets out an ambitious and achievable vision for London as the most vibrant, vital and accessible city in the world. The discussions will focus on a new approach to supporting London’s role as a key aviation hub, and points towards radical solutions for the capital’s transport network. For more information, please visit here. A video of their previous event can be viewed after the break.
Sou Fujimoto’s contribution for the 13th edition of the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion is beginning to take shape, as the “geometric, cloud-like form” has slowly made its way towards the height of the trees in the rustic landscape of London’s Kensington Gardens. Upon its completion in June, the 350 square-meter latticed structure will fuse together the man-made and natural world, creating a lush, semi-transparent terrain that will host a series of flexible social spaces and a vibrant collection of plant life.
More images by London photographer Laurence Mackman after the break.
Free of clutter but filled with light, shadow and sculptural forms, filmmaker Matthew Donaldson takes you inside the minimalist masterpiece that Italian architect Claudio Silvestrin calls home. As part of NOWNESS’ In Residence series, this video sheds light Silvestrin’s “reductive, contemplative, near-ecclesiastical spaces” that can be found across the globe – from Moscow to Majorca, and soon-to-be in Miami, where Silvestrin is currently designing a home from Kanye West that will undoubtedly exhibit many of his signature components.
Foster + Partners has been selected to developed a proposal for a low energy, high-density residential community in Islington, London. The site is a 1980s business park that is to be regenerated into a residential zone of two towers and a landscaped park. The project will incorporate the arera’s planned high-rise buildings and is ultimately set to provide a new landmark for the city.
London is engrossed in a vigorous debate over recently unveiled plans for the South Bank Centre, the cluster of Brutalist concrete buildings on the River Thames including the Queen Elizabeth Hall (QEH) and Hayward Gallery.
Today, the Centre has as its neighbour one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions – The London Eye – and this, with the addition of retail and other leisure-led developments in and around the South Bank, has refocused both commercial and cultural attention on the complex.
Last month, British architects Fielden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBS) unveiled their vision for a “Festival Wing” on the site, focussing on the QEH and the Hayward Gallery. It isn’t the first time an architect has been asked to look at these buildings in recent decades. However, it is the most likely to come to fruition.
Read more about the Southbank Centre and its future development, after the break…
SYN City, a postgraduate research & design unit at UCACanterbury School of Architecture, will be putting on an expo at the Doodle Bar London on April 26 at 6:00pm. Architects and guests have been invited and are attending from London including Foster & Partners, Charles Holland of FAT architects and Will Alsop. In 2012/13, Ashford in Kent has been the studio’s testbed to explore the dialectical and contested nature of the contemporary city. By focusing on one exemplary context, specific and at the same time, typical and paradigmatic urban conditions are addressed. For more information, please visit here.
The Architecture Foundation recently launched their annual international Open Call for innovative independent exhibitions and installations for its central London Project Space. Intended as an incubator for independent positions and architectural experimentation, projects selected through the Open Call will punctuate the AF’s ongoing curated program. This program, competitively selected through a jury process, will give space to individuals or organizations to activate the AF Project Space as a testing ground for modes of exhibition and 1:1 scale spatial experimentation, an open studio, a public residency or other diverse formats. The foundation’s recent initiative, ‘We Made That’, was a project selected through the 2012 Open Call. The deadline for submissions is May 10. For more information, please visit here.
London’s Design Museum has announced the seven category winners for the annual Designs of the Year Awards, celebrating the best of international design from the last 12 months. Among the seven category winners include the renovation and reimagining of a faded 1960s tower block in Paris and the ”quiet” graphics of David Chipperfield’s 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale, Common Ground.
The seven category winners are:
An interesting phenomenon is taking place in London: the priciest tiers of its housing market are increasingly being driven by overseas investment, primarily from the Far East. The most interesting – and perhaps most concerning – aspect of these investments is that at least 37% those who buy property in the most expensive neighborhoods of central London do not intend to use that property as a primary residence. This results in upscale neighborhoods and residential properties that are largely abandoned and contribute almost nothing to the local economy of the city. Parts of Manhattan are experiencing similar behavior, leading us to ask the question “what is happening to our cities as they become more and more globalized and how will this trend affect city economies around the world?”
Read more after the break…
There’s no denying that London’s airport capacity is insufficient (to put it mildly) – not just for its current needs, but, most worryingly, for the future. Nor are architects ignorant to the situation; in the last few years we’ve published proposals from the likes of Foster+Partners, Zaha Hadid Architects, Beckett Ravine, and Grimshaw Architects, offering their own unique perspectives on what could be done.
However, for all the proposals (some emphasizing new off-shore airports, others on bulking up infrastructure or existing facilities), it’s hard to untangle what’s actually being done towards making these ideas reality. To clarify the situation, and lay our doubts at rest, we spoke with Ricky Burdett, one of the commissioners of the newly created Independent Airports Commission.
In the video above, Burdett, a renowned architect and professor of Urban Studies at the LSE (who has previously served as architecural advisor for both the 2012 London Olympics and the Mayor of London, 2001-2006), explains the political situation in the UK that has been preventing action, and describes how the Independent Airports Commission has been assembled in order to help the government through this process.
More info on this controversial commission, after the break…