Renzo Piano Gains Planning Permission for Shard-Adjacent Residential Tower

View from Guy’s Hospital Quad. Image © RPBW

Renzo Piano Building Workshop has been awarded planning approval for Feilden House, a 26-storey residential building at London Bridge Quarter, directly adjacent to the Shard. Designed to complement the Shard and Place Buildings, the third piece of Piano‘s Bridge Developments will add “generous public realm amenities” to the area at ground level.

Are Monuments And Memorials Intrinsically Introverted?

© Richard Lea-Hair and Historic Royal Palaces

The Observer’s Rowan Moore “accidentally got swept into a tide of humanity at the weekend, or to put it another way, couldn’t move for crowds.” In memorial of the start of the centenary of World War One, of which today marks the anniversary of the armistice (11.11.1918), the Tower of London have installed a sea of 888,246 ceramic poppies in the former moat. The artwork, created by Paul Cummins and Tom Piper, and entitled Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, ”has caught the national imagination.” For Moore, however, “it is deeply disturbing that a hundred years on from 1914, [the UK] can only mark this terrible as a national tragedy.” He argues that “the spectacle of all these red poppies is emptier than that. [...] It is a deeply aestheticised, prettified and toothless memorial.” Read the article in full here.

Winners Of The 2014 RIBA President’s Awards for Research Announced

Tom Bridgen: ‘The Protected Vista’ – Commendation – RIBA President’s Award for the Outstanding PhD Thesis. Image Courtesy of RIBA

The RIBA President’s Awards for Research, established to “promote and champion high-quality research and encourage its dissemination to the profession,” have announced the 2014 laureates. Spanning four categories – Master’s, PhD, University, and Practice-Located Research – the winning theses and projects highlight the need for research across the profession to nurture innovation and strategic thinking. Ruth Morrow, chair of the jury and Professor at Queen’s University Belfast, commented on the judging panel’s “disappointment” at the lack of entries submitted from outside London.

The disparity between the six London based schools and those in the rest of the (of which there are more than forty high-calibre institutions) continually makes itself manifest in RIBA student awards. In spite of this, half of the awards and commendations given this year are for students studying at schools outside the capital; the remaining half were awarded to students of The Bartlett (UCL). Morrow hopes that “next year, in the 10th anniversary year of the awards, that more universities and practices from across the nations and regions will submit entries.”

See this year’s winning and commended projects after the break.

UK’s First Frank Lloyd Wright House Blocked by Planning Inspector

The design produced by for Dr and Mrs O’Keefe. Image © The Foundation via www.savewright.org

A plan by Stephen Brooks Architects to build the first Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home in the UK has been blocked at the appeal stage by a planning inspector, reports the Architects’ Journal. Based on a 1947 design by Wright for the O’Keefe family in California, the project was the brainchild of Dr Hugh Petter, a Frank Lloyd Wright enthusiast who negotiated for eight years with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation before gaining permission to build the unrealised design in Tyntesfield Springs near Bristol, thousands of miles from its intended location.

Does Devolution Hold The Key To Greater Investment In The Built Environment?

Manchester Town Hall (Alfred Waterhouse)

The British city of Manchester, often seen as the UK’s second city alongside Birmingham, will become the first metropolis outside of London to be given greater local autonomy over budgets and city planning. The devolution deal, which will also see the city receive the right to directly elect a Mayor (in line with large in the US, for example), will furnish the city with “a new housing investment fund worth up to £300million.” As it is understood that the first Mayor of Greater Manchester will be elected in 2017, there’s time to discuss how this new political environment in the UK might help boost building in what has described as a “Northern Powerhouse.”

Investigating A Radical Future For Our Urban Waterways

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In the third and final installment of their micro documentary series on architecture and waterEllis Woodman and a team at the Architectural Review (AR) have collaborated with architects, developers, urbanists and thinkers to examine the latent connections between water infrastructure and our built environment. Taking a journey by narrowboat through , the film explores the radical ideas which may offer the keys to unlocking the potential of the urban waterway. Through recreation, interaction and radical ideas such as floating parks, amphibious houses and new public wetlands can the river become a living part of the city?

Foster + Partners Reveals Cardiff Central Square Masterplan

Millennium Walkway. Image Courtesy of Cardiff City Council

The City of Cardiff has unveiled plans by Foster + Partners to redesign the city’s Central Square, close to the Millennium Stadium, adding over a million square feet of office, retail and residential buildings organized around a new civic square. Explaining that it is “the key gateway to Cardiff” for many visitors, City Council leader Phil Bale said that Central Square’s ”role in providing a positive image for Cardiff and Wales cannot be underestimated,” adding that Foster + Partners’ design is “reflective of the City’s ambition to be amongst the most ‘liveable’ in the world.”

More on the plan after the break

Preston Bus Station to Become a Youth Centre Under New Proposal

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A proposal to ensure the future of Preston Bus Station could see part of the structure converted into a youth centre, as part of a £23 million renovation. The proposal by the building’s owners, Lancashire County Council, involves halving the number of bus bays used by the structure to 40, freeing up the western end of the building for other uses, including a sports hall, climbing wall, art centre and outdoor sports pitches.

In addition to the youth centre, the £23 million budget covers renovation to the existing structure and improvements to the surrounding highway. Funding for the proposal will come partly from the council and partly from Youth Zone.

More on the proposal after the break

‘The Rom’ Becomes Europe’s First Listed Skatepark

© Played in Britain

English Heritage has awarded a Grade-II listing to “The Rom,” a skatepark in Hornchurch on the outskirts of London. Built in 1978, the Rom was one of the ’s first wave of purpose-built skateparks, and probably the most complete example found in the UK today. The listing makes the Rom the first protected skatepark in Europe, and just the second in the world after Tampa‘s “Bro Bowl” was added to the USA’s National Register of Historic Places last year.

More on the listing decision after the break

The Question of Gentrification Along London’s Urban Waterways

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In the second installment of their new three-part micro documentary series on architecture and water (see the first part here), Ellis Woodman and a team at the Architectural Review (AR) have collaborated with architects, developers, urbanists and thinkers to examine the latent connections between water infrastructure and our built environment. Taking a journey by narrowboat through , the film explores the radical ideas which may offer the keys to unlocking the potential of the urban waterway. When has an ever-increasing overwhelming need for growth, how does the densification and gentrification of the city relate to the rivers and canals?

A Shed of One’s Own: An Exploration of Architectural Sheds and Writer’s Bothies

The Bothy Project - Pig Rock Bothy. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, Scotland. 2014. Image Courtesy of The Building Centre

As part of the Dylan Thomas in Fitzrovia festivalThe Building Centre is examining the space Dylan Thomas and other writers depend on to create their work. A Shed of One’s Own is a photographic exploration of unique sheds with architectural significance and literary connections. From award-winning studios in Central to weathered bothies in Scotland, this explores the importance of space for creativity and inspiration. 

A Mobile Italian Garden Overlooking London

© Dosfotos

The Decorators, an interdisciplinary group of practitioners working with space in London, recently transformed the terrace overlooking the city at Alexandra Palace by installing a mobile Italian garden. As a “landscape of scattered objects” which geometrically piece together to resemble a formal garden, the designers describe the project as somewhere between “grotto and folly, garden and landscape, stage and amphitheater,” all the while drawing from the historical character of the surrounding context. The scheme ultimately “breaks the monumental proportions of the main building to meet visitors with a more intimate scale on their first encounter” with the palace.

Architecture & Water: Exploring Radical Ideas To Unlock The Potential of Urban Waterways

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In the first part of their new micro documentary series on architecture and water, Ellis Woodman and a team at the Architectural Review (AR) have collaborated with architects, developers, urbanists and thinkers to examine the latent connections between water infrastructure and our built environment. Taking a journey by narrowboat through London, discussing a raft of radical ideas which may offer the keys to unlocking the potential of the river along the way, the films discuss how we might begin to shape the contemporary city’s relationship with its urban waterways. Can ”floating parks, amphibious houses, floodable public squares, new wetlands or brand new canals foster a more meaningful relationship between the citizen and the city’s waters?”

RIBA Future Trends Survey Shows UK’s Confidence Remains High

Courtesy of

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)’s Future Trends Survey for September showed that, for yet another month, confidence is high among UK architects, with the workload index up fractionally to +29 from +28 in August. Again, this positive figure was spread right across the country, with the most optimistic reports coming from Northern Ireland and the North of England, reporting workload index figures of +80 and +46 respectively – promising figures considering that these two areas were “slowest to show signs of recovery” after the recession, according to the RIBA.

Wright & Wright Unveils Scheme to Replace Chipperfield’s Plans for Geffrye Museum

View from Hoxton Station, Geffrye Street. Image © Wright & Wright Architects

Wright & Wright Architects has revealed their designs for the Geffrye Museum in East London, a £15 million redesign that will increase the museum’s total space by almost 40% through “unlocking” previously unused areas of the museum’s 18th century almshouses. The design replaces a scheme by David Chipperfield Architects, which last year failed to secure planning permission in part because of the hugely controversial proposal to demolish the former Marquis of Lansdown Pub that occupies the corner of the site.

Haworth Tompkins: Who Are The 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize Winners?

Everyman Theatre, Liverpool. Image © Philip Vile

This year’s RIBA Stirling Prize shortlist was seen by many as the strongest in years. The practice who emerged victorious, beating off competition from internationally recognised practices including Zaha Hadid ArchitectsRenzo Piano Building WorkshopMecanooO’Donnell + Tuomey and Feilden Clegg Bradley, was Haworth Tompkins: but who exactly are they? Ellis Woodman pinned his hopes on the successful Everyman Theatre before the award was announced, uncovering the practice’s rich history in designing performance spaces through a discussion with founding partner, Steve Tompkins. For Woodman, their theatre work “has left a legacy of spaces that count among the most beautiful and provocative created in Britain over the past twenty years.”

Architects Envision Buoyant “Thames Deckway” for London Cyclists

© RCC

On the heels of Mayor Boris Johnson’s announced plan to construct an 18-mile protected bike lane by March 2016, architect David Nixon and artist Anna Hill have released their vision for relieving London’s congested streets with a floating “ Deckway” for cyclists. The proposal, though just in its preliminary design phase, claims the river is currently a missed opportunity that could serve as a major travel artery for cyclists. If constructed, the £600 million project would run east-west for seven miles along the river’s southern bank, from Battersea to Canary Wharf, and harness it’s own energy through solar, tidal and wind power. Nixon and Hill have founded the River Cycleway Consortium in support of the project, which includes Arup and Hugh Broughton Architects.

London Mayor Rejects Skyline Campaign Proposals Amid Planning Controversy

Despite rejecting many of the proposals, Johnson has highlighted London’s Docklands as an area for concern, including Foster + Partners’ proposal for the tallest residential building in the . Image © Foster + Partners

London‘s Mayor Boris Johnson has largely rejected the proposals by the Skyline campaign, organized by the Architects’ Journal and the Observer, which aimed to introduce measures to allow more considered development in London, following the news that the UK‘s capital is currently going through its biggest building boom in recent memory.

The Architects’ Journal reported on Friday that the mayor rejected proposals for a presumption against tall buildings submitted for planning permission, a review of over 200 tall buildings currently either proposed or being constructed, a more rigourous system of masterplanning, and an independent skyline commission to examine new proposals. However, he did support the idea of a city-wide 3D model containing both existing and proposed buildings, which would allow planning officers to make more informed decisions.

More on the issue, and a detailed look at the mayor’s response to the proposals, after the break