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LOBBY #2: Projecting Forward, Looking Back

From Vitruvius to Le Corbusier, words and writing have always played an essential role in architectural discourse. One could argue that crafting words is akin to orchestrating space: indeed, history’s most notable architects and designers are often remembered for their written philosophies as much as they are for their built works.

With the exception of a few of architecture’s biggest names, the majority of practicing architects no longer exploit the inherent value writing offers as a means for spatial and theoretical communication. This trend is exacerbated by the fact that many architectural schools place little emphasis on the once-primary subjects of history and literature, resulting in a generation of architects who struggle to articulate their ideas in words, resulting in an ever-growing proliferation of ill-defined “archispeak.”

LOBBY is an attempt from students of London’s Bartlett School of Architecture to reclaim the potency of the written word, presenting in their second issue an ambitious array of in-house research and external contributions. The theme is Clairvoyance, and the journal seeks to investigate the ways in which architects are forced to constantly grapple with the possibilities and uncertainties of designing spaces that exist in the intangible realm of the world-to-be.

© Cameron Clarke © Cameron Clarke © Cameron Clarke © Cameron Clarke

Five Teams Shortlisted to Masterplan UCL’s New Campus in London’s Olympicopolis

Five consortiums have been shortlisted to envision the University College London’s (UCL) new 125,000-square-meter campus on a key section of London’s Olympicopolis. Planned for the site’s cultural and educational district, nearby the future homes of Victoria & Albert Museum, University of the Arts London and Sadler’s Wells, the campus’ first phase will include the university’s first School of Design, a “Museum of the Future,” and the UCL Center for Experimental Engineering. 

The complete shortlist, including Aecom, Gehl Architects and Stanton Williams, after the break.

Bartlett Students Invent Skeleton-Inspired Structural Material for Lightweight Construction

A team of graduates from the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London have developed a new hybrid building material designed for use in uniquely challenging construction environments. "Augmented Skin" combines a regimented structural core with a flexible opaque skin, which is coated in PVA to serve as casting formwork for concrete. Inspired by biological skeletal frameworks, the material can be assembled quickly at a minimal cost with maximum flexibility. The project was designed by architecture graduate students Kazushi Miyamoto, Youngseok Doo, and Theodora Maria Moudatsou, and was exhibited at The Bartlett's 2014 graduation exhibition B-Pro

Read more about the flexibility of Augmented Skin after the break

Courtesy of Kazushi Miyamoto, Youngseok Doo & Theodora Maria Moudatsou Courtesy of Kazushi Miyamoto, Youngseok Doo & Theodora Maria Moudatsou Courtesy of Kazushi Miyamoto, Youngseok Doo & Theodora Maria Moudatsou Courtesy of Kazushi Miyamoto, Youngseok Doo & Theodora Maria Moudatsou

LOBBY: The Spectacle Of The "Un/Spectacle"

© Cameron Clarke
© Cameron Clarke

I was recently at a lecture at Rotterdam’s Nieuwe Instituut in which Dirk van den Heuvel mediated a discussion between Kenneth Frampton and Herman Hertzberger. Talking of those who contributed to the Dutch Structuralist movement, Hertzberger lamented the fact that so many have faded into obscurity: “if you make the mistake of not writing" he said, "you’re bound to be forgotten.” Accompanying design with the written word is at the core of good practice, not only because it lends design an elevated meaning by cementing it into a wider discourse, but also because it often uncovers the subconscious significance of the process of architecture.

LOBBY is an attempt from students of London’s Bartlett School of Architecture to anchor in-house research and external contributions in words, “creating both a space we lack and an action we desire.” Their new journal is also a response to the school’s current in-between state as they await their new building in temporary studio spaces. As such, LOBBY will serve as a platform for exchange and discussion in lieu of a physical lobbying space. The first issue explores the theme of Un/Spectacle, offering different layers, approaches, readings and perspectives on the topic of the '(un)spectacle' of the everyday.

© Cameron Clarke © Cameron Clarke © Cameron Clarke © Cameron Clarke

'Olympicopolis' Design Contest Officially Open

The competition to design a cultural complex at London's new 'Olympicopolis' site formally opened today, seeking to attract "an exceptional team" of architects, masterplanners, engineers and landscape designers to transform the site next to London's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Organizers Malcolm Reading Associates say that the competition has already registered over 960 expressions of interest from firms worldwide before the details were even announced, thanks to their early announcement seeking interested parties in July.

London Announces Design Competition for 'Olympicopolis' Site

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has announced a new competition for the designs of a cultural quarter next to the 2012 Olympic park. The site has been dubbed 'Olympicopolis', and so far has expressions of interest from University College London, University of the Arts London, the V&A, Sadler's Wells Theatre and now possibly - according to the Guardian - Washington DC's Smithsonian.