Stirling Prize Winning Architects Build LEGO Cities for the London Festival of Architecture

Organised as part of the London Festival of Architecture. Image © Agnese Sanvito

As part of the 2014 London Festival of Architecture, teams of architects from the four of the most recent Stirling Prize winning British practices were challenged with creating the most imaginative piece of a city – out of LEGO. Each team began with a carefully laid out square on the floor of the largest gallery of the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, at which point they were given just one hour and 45 minutes to create an urban masterpiece out of blocks. Each group of architects worked alongside students from the Royal Academy’s attRAct programme, which offers A-level art students the chance to engage with art and architecture. An esteemed panel of judges ultimately selected the team from Zaha Hadid Architects as victorious, who “considered London on a huge scale and used curving buildings of different typologies which echoed the shape of the Thames.”

Read more about the brief and the other participating entries after the break.

Spotlight: Richard Rogers

© 2013 LLP

Richard Rogers, one of the leading architects of the British High-Tech movement, turns 81 today. Rogers made his name in the 70s and 80s, with buildings such as the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Headquarters for Lloyd’s Bank in London, which utilized highly expressive structures that placed services on the exteriors.

Richard Rogers: “Forget About Greenfield Sites, Build In The Cities”

“London as it could be” / Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. Image © RSHP

In an article for The Guardian Richard Rogers questions why, with space still left in urban areas, we should build in the countryside? Lord Rogers, no stranger to political activism, chaired the ’s Urban Task Force in the 1990s, culminating in his report Towards an Urban Renaissance. Now, over fifteen years later, his plea for denser, better designed urban environments has been rekindled as he argues that: “We can’t go on like this. The housing shortage threatens both the economy and our quality of life.” Laying out a clear argument reinforced by his forty years of experience as an architect, you can read his article in full here.

Has London’s British Museum Become a “Mall”?

The Great Court / Fosters + Partners. Image © janis.photo

“They’ve got the mall. They’ve got the food court. Now they’ve got the multiplex.” ’s latest piece for the Guardian discusses the collaged plight of London’s British Museum as Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) complete a large extension of exhibition spaces. Describing it as a “composite Foster-Rogers” building, Moore argues that “a strange distribution of space” coupled with “an inattention to the cultural complexities of the modern museum” have led to “a void, wrapped in a void, with another void to the side.” Although he states that “there are many things to like about RSHP’s building”, the total compilation of spaces, extensions and interventions have led to a museum more like a mall than a house of culture.

Major Defects Uncovered at Homes Designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

© Flickr CC User Oxley Woods Photos

A report uncovered by the Architects’ Journal has revealed that an experimental housing project by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners has developed major problems just seven years after construction. The low cost factory-built Oxley Woods scheme won the RIBA Manser Medal for housing in 2008 but a report commissioned by the scheme’s developer has shown faults in the detailing are causing some parts of the construction to rot. Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners have distanced themselves from the defects insisting that it was “Taylor Wimpey and Wood Newton responsible for the final detailed design”. You can find out more about the controversy at the Architects’ Journal and the Financial Times.

Mexico City Shortlists Seven Architects for Major Airport Expansion

Zagreb Airport Competition Proposal / ZHA © Zaha Hadid Architects

Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster and Richard Rogers are among seven international practices listed to compete for a 5,000 hectare expansion that hopes to “alleviate severe congestion” at the Mexico City airport. With each team led by Mexican firms, the shortlisted architects, which also include SOM, , Pascall+Watson and Teodoro González de León with Taller de Arquitectura X, have been asked to envision a 70-gate, phased expansion capable of hosting 40-million passengers per year. A schematic masterplan has been provided by . Completion of the first phases is tentatively planned for 2018. 

Richard Rogers’ Pre-Fab Y-Cube Takes on UK Housing Crisis

The Y-Cube Deployed. Image Courtesy of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

The Y-Cube, a £30,000 factory-built 26 square meter flat which can be easily transported and craned into place, has been prototyped and successfully tested in the UK. The asked Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners to create the Y-Cube, an affordable alternative for residents moving on from the non-profit’s hostels. And now, the YMCA wants more of these one-bedroom dwellings.

“The beauty is that the units can be moved off site as quickly as they are installed,” says Andy Redfearn of the YMCA, “as we operate on short-term leases – we expect people to stay [in the Y-Cube] for between three to five years, giving them time to skill up and save for a deposit.”

Six of Britain’s Best Shortlisted for Crystal Palace Project

Aerial view of site for Crystal Palace rebuild. Image Courtesy of ZhongRong Group

After an open competition that sought to attract “the very best British architecture can offer,” six architects – including Zaha Hadid and Richard Rogers – have been selected as the potential architects of the project to rebuild the Crystal Palace in south . See the full shortlist after the break.

Rogers Stirk Harbour Unveils Design for Venezuela’s National Football Stadium

Courtesy of RSHP

Following our recent news that confirmed Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) will oversee the design and construction of two new stadiums within ’ Hugo Chavez Park, details have emerged regarding the Estadio Nacional de Fútbol de . Designed by RSHP, in collaboration with Arup and Schlaich Bergermann und Partners, the project will be the practice’s first ever football stadium.

Richard Rogers to Design Two New Stadiums for Hugo Chávez Park

The proposed football stadium. Image Courtesy of the municipality of Caracas

On January 17th, the mayor of Caracas, Jorge Rodriguez, and British architect Richard Rogers signed a contract that confirms Rogers will oversee the design and construction of two new stadiums within ”Hugo Chavez” Park. Both stadiums should be completed by 2015.

The 200-hectare ”Hugo Chavez” Park will be located around the race course and the Museum Alejandro Otero (MAO). The project, which began in April 2013, includes the construction of a football stadium with capacity for 50,000 people and a baseball stadium with capacity for 45,000, plus a multipurpose gym and the new headquarters of the Bolivarian University of .

Nuovo Centro Civico in Scandicci / Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

© Alessandro Ciampi

Architects: Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
Location: Scandicci Florence, Italy
Local Architect: DA.Studio
Project Manager: Federica Barni
Area: 2013.0 sqm
Year: 15500
Photographs: Alessandro Ciampi

Rogers Stirk Harbour Announced as Winner of LSE Competition

(Team E). Image Courtesy of LSA /

Shortly after the jury demanded further work to be done on the shortlisted proposals, The London School of Economics (LSE) has selected Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) to design the new Global Centre for the Social Sciences. Besting proposals from OMA, Hopkins, Heneghan Peng and Grafton, RSHP’s winning design was also voted the public’s favorite by an overwhelming margin.

LSE Asks for ‘Further Work’ To Be Done on Shortlisted Designs

Team B. Image Courtesy of LSE / RIBA

Following the announcement last month that the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) had shortlisted five designs for their new Global Centre for Social Sciences (GCSS) in London’s Aldwych, they have now revealed that “there’s not one really outstanding scheme” and “there’s some further work to do by the practices and the LSE.” Therefore contestants Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, OMAHopkins ArchitectsGrafton Architects, and Henegham Peng Architects must reconsider their proposed designs

Dolls’ House Designs for KIDS Unveiled

Coffey Architects. Image Courtesy of A Dolls

Inspired by the dolls’ house that Edwin Lutyens designed for The British Empire in 1922, twenty British practices are each designing a contemporary dolls’ house in aid of the disabled childrens’ charity KIDS. Each version will sit on a 750mm square plinth to be auctioned at Bonham’s on the 11th November and contains one feature which would make life easier for a disabled child. Among the participating practices is Zaha Hadid Architects and Rogers Stirk Harbour + PartnersFAT will also be working with Turner Prize recipient Grayson Perry CBE, and Studio Egret West with artist Andrew Logan.

See all the entries after the break…

Shortlist Announced for LSE Global Centre for Social Sciences

Team C. Image Courtesy of LSA / RIBA

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) have unveiled five shortlisted proposals for the new £90 million Global Centre for Social Sciences (GCSS) in London’s Aldwych. The competition, which has attracted designs from the likes of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and OMA, will be the school’s “biggest ever building project” and is set to “transform” the world-leading institution. Other entrants include Hopkins Architects, Grafton Architects, and Henegham Peng Architects. See the anonymous proposals after the break…

‘London As It Could Be Now’: Reconnecting Londoners with the Tidal Thames

The Thames Baths Project. Image © Studio Octopi / Civic Engineers / Jonathan Cook Landscape

Five proposals for reconnecting Londoners with the River Thames have gone on display at ’s Royal Academy of Arts (RA). The competition, organised by the Architecture Foundation, “launched an open call for multidisciplinary design teams to put forward new ideas and visions for self-selected sites along the Tidal Thames” earlier this year. The five selected teams were shortlisted earlier this year and recently discussed their designs at a public design workshop. The schemes are now being exhibited as part of the Richard Rogers RA: Inside Out exhibition.

Read extracts of the proposals after the break…

Review: ‘Richard Rogers: Inside Out’ at the Royal Academy

Zip-Up House Concept drawing (1968) – courtesy of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. Image © Richard and Su Rogers

“Architecture is too complex to be solved by any one person.”

Richard Rogers is an architect who understands the significance of collaboration. As a man with an intense social mind and a thirst for fairness in architectural and urban design, Rogers’ substantial portfolio of completed and proposed buildings is driven by the Athenian citizen’s oath of “I shall leave this city not less but more beautiful than I found it.”

In honor of his success, London’s Royal Academy () is currently playing host to a vast retrospective of Richard Rogers’ work, from his collaborations with Norman Foster and Renzo Piano, to the large-scale projects that define Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) today. The RA’s extensive exhibition has been condensed into a series of motifs that have defined his architectural work, punctuated by memorabilia which offer personal insights into how Rogers’ career has been shaped by the people he’s worked with and the projects that he has worked on.

Continue after the break for a selection of highlights from the exhibition. 

20 Architects Design a Dolls’ House for KIDS

Inside Out House. Image © Coffey Architects

Inspired by the dolls’ house that Edwin Lutyens designed for The British Empire in 1922, twenty British practices are each designing a contemporary dolls’ house in aid of the disabled childrens’ charity KIDS. Each version will sit on a 750mm square plinth to be exhibited during this year’s London Design Festival (14th – 21st September, 2013) before being auctioned. Each design must contain “a unique feature to make life easier for a child who is disabled.”