Why is it So Expensive to Build in London?

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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 ’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 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. 

Mint Street Peabody Housing / Pitman Tozer Architects

© Kilian O’Sullivan

Architects: Pitman Tozer Architects
Location: Mint Street, E2,
Project Architect:: Nikki Cutler
Area: 4702.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Kilian O’Sullivan, Nedko Dimitrov, Nick Kane

London Science Museum Selects Wilkinson Eyre to Design Medical Galleries

© Wilkinson Eyre

’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

Video: The Elevated London That Almost Was

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 , 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.

KPF Obtains Planning Permission for London’s “New Bondway”

©

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 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.

North London Hospice / Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

© Timothy Soar

Architects: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
Location: North Hospice, 71 Chase Side, N14 5BQ, UK
Area: 8000.0 ft2
Year: 2012
Photographs: Timothy Soar

The Workshop / Guy Hollaway Architects

© Charles Hosea

Architects: Guy Hollaway Architects
Location: London,
Year: 2013
Photographs: Charles Hosea

Will Alsop Designs Apartment Tower on Stilts for London’s South Bank

Courtesy of aLL Design

Led by Will Alsop, aLL Design’s funky apartment tower will soon add a whole lot of interest to London’s south bank. The tubular building, which tapers at the bottom and top, will rise above an existing four-storey building on purple stilts and be adorned with corten steel cladding, brightly colored balconies, and irregular rounded windows. Each apartment will include two balconies overlooking the River Thames and the neighboring heliport – bringing about the name “Heliport Heights.” To learn more about the lively design, keep reading after the break.

Dalston Studio / Cassion Castle Architects

© Kilian O’Sullivan

Architects: Cassion Castle Architects
Location: Dalston, London E8,
Area: 60.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Kilian O’Sullivan

Performance Space: Marina Abramović at the Serpentine Gallery

© Marco Anelli

One of the latest installations at London’s Serpentine Gallery, where Smiljan Radic recently unveiled an ethereal pavilion, is Marina Abramović’s performance entitled 512 Hours. Creating what has been described as “the simplest of settings” in one of the gallery’s large spaces, the artwork employs Abramović’s most frequently used material: herself. Coupled with the audience and a selection of common objects, the constantly changing sequence of events on display is the very first live installation by the artist displayed in the . Upon arrival, visitors are asked leave their baggage (including mobile phones, cameras and any other electronic equipment) behind in order to enter the exhibition. Find out more about what you can expect from it here.

OPSO / K-Studio

© Tom Gildon

Architects: K-Studio
Location: 10 Paddington Street, Marylebone, W1U 5QL, UK
Photographs: Tom Gildon

From Derelict Structure to Urban Cinema

Courtesy of Assemble

The Cineroleum, a self-initiated project built in 2010 by London based practice Assemble Studio, transformed a derelict petrol station into a “hand-built” cinema on one of capital’s busiest roads. Aimed at raising awareness to the wider potential for reusing the 4,000 empty petrol stations across the for public use, the adapted structure on Clerkenwell Road was ”enclosed by an ornate curtain” strung from the “roof of the petrol station’s forecourt. Described as an “improvisation of the decadent interiors that greeted audiences during cinema’s golden age,” classic infusions of cinematic iconography were integrated into a space built from only cheap, reclaimed or donated materials.

The Yellow Building / Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

© Timothy Soar

Architects: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
Location: West Cross Route, W11,
Area: 161500.0 ft2
Year: 2008
Photographs: Timothy Soar

Competition Results: “Faith! A Place of Worship in London”

You Are Here / Felicity Barbur and Edward Crooks. Image Courtesy of

Faith!, the latest ideas-based challenge organised by Combo Competitions, asked participants to design a place of worship in London. In spite of the beguiling simplicity of the title, coupled with a typically open brief, the placed winners and three honourable mentions exhibit a diverse, exciting collection of conceptual drawings and visuals. With an interesting balance of playful interpretations and more grounded proposals, all start to address relevant socio-political issues – such as the mutual acceptance and peaceful co-existence of different religions – in some way. The competition asked participants first and foremost to seek to merge two concepts: religion and knowledge.

Barking Central / Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

© Timothy Soar

Architects: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
Location: London,
Design Team: Redrow Regeneration Ltd, London Borough of Barking & Dagenham
Project Manager: Gill Associates
Area: 376.0 ft2
Year: 2010
Photographs: Timothy Soar

Concrete House / Studio Gil

© Simon Kennedy

Architects: Studio Gil
Location: , UK
Year: 2014
Photographs: Simon Kennedy

Astudio Complete Youth Space in East London

© Morley von Sternberg. Image Courtesy of Astudio

British practice Astudio have recently completed a large youth space in Poplar, East London, featuring a gym, recording studios and performance hall alongside multiple social and learning spaces. Designed with the input from other 1600 young people and stakeholders, the four year project has been part of a wider initiative to address the inadequate provision of existing youth facilities in the borough of Tower Hamlets. As the team’s second youth space completed in the last year, Spotlight has recently been shortlisted for a World Architecture Festival Award.

Temple of Agape / Morag Myerscough + Luke Morgan

© Gareth Gardner

Architects: Morag Myerscough , Luke Morgan
Location: London,
Artists: , Luke Morgan
Year: 2014
Photographs: Gareth Gardner, Supergrouplondon