Designs Unveiled for London’s Natural History Museum Urban Redevelopment

Team 1. Image Courtesy of Natural History Museum

Following the news last year that five teams had been shortlisted to redesign and reimagine the grounds of London’s iconic Natural History Museum (NHM), five anonymous concept images have been unveiled. The brief called for proposals to “reshape the Museum’s grounds and reinvigorate its public setting” with an aim to creating “an innovative exterior setting that matches Alfred Waterhouse’s Grade I listed building and the award-winning Darwin Centre for architectural excellence, whilst also improving access and engaging visitors.”

Read on to see the competing teams, including individual concept images from BIG, Stanton Williams and Feilden Clegg Bradley.

Milan Expo 2015: Eight Teams Shortlisted to Design UK Pavilion

Site, prior to construction

Eight multidisciplinary teams have been selected to move forward in the second stage of competition to design the Pavilion for the 2015 Milan Expo. Drawing inspiration from the theme “Grown in Britain: Shared Globally,” the teams will now envision proposals that showcase Britain’s contribution in research, innovation and entrepreneurship to the global challenges addressed by the overarching exposition theme, “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.” Presentations will commence mid-April and a winner will be announced in May. View the selected teams, after the break.

The Unpublishables: Showcasing Writing From Young Architects & Designers

Issue 2. Image Courtesy of

The Unpublishables, an independent architectural fanzine based in the UK, seeks to offer a platform for young architects – as well as designers and makers – to publish their own writing. About to launch their second edition, the zine has provided an outlet for ideas of young people who have the commitment and vision to develop their own design philosophies, polemics and research outside of full-time or employment.

Exhibition: Agnese Sanvito – Absorb/reflect/scatter

National Theatre, . 1976 / Denys Lasdun / 6:10pm, January 4, 2014

Architectural photographer Agnese Sanvito will be exhibiting a selection from her portfolio at The Building Centre in London. Her works, which include photographs of buildings by Renzo Piano, Jean Nouvel, Santiago Calatrava, Wilkinson Eyre, and Sou Fujimoto, focuses on the ways color shapes our sense of buildings.

The exhibition will run from March 17 to April 26, 2014.

Title: Exhibition: Agnese Sanvito – Absorb/reflect/scatter
Website: http://www.buildingcentre.co.uk/galleries/galleries_cafe.asp#Agnese
Organizers: The Building Centre
From: Mon, 17 Mar 2014
Until: Sat, 26 Apr 2014
Venue: The Bulding Centre
Address: 26 Store Street, London WC1E 7BT, UK

AOR Unveils Floating Platform for the London Wildlife Trust

Courtesy of The Finnish Institute in London / Architecture Foundation

The Finnish Institute in London and The Architecture Foundation have unveiled Viewpoint, a floating platform on Regent’s Canal in the centre of Camley Street Natural Park, London. Designed by Erkko Aarti, Arto Ollila and Mikki Ristola of Finnish practice AOR, the platform will be operated by the London Wildlife TrustThe permanent structure is intended to bring visitors to London’s most central nature reserve, connecting them with the wildlife of the park and the Regent’s Canal. In addition, it will also provide the park with an additional workshop space and learning facility, becoming “an architectural focal point of King’s Cross.”

Videos: Viewpoint / Finnish Architects

Designed by Helsinki-based practice AOR, Viewpoint is a peaceful respite floating on the canal in London’s Kings Cross. See how Erkko Aarti, Arto Ollila and Mikki Ristola explained the process and the relationship between the built and unbuilt in Kings Cross.

Siza, Souto de Moura, Kuma Reflect on Their ‘Sensing Spaces’ Exhibitions

As an accompaniment to their ongoing Sensing Spaces Exhibition in London, the Royal Academy of Arts has produced six wonderful films interviewing the architects involved in the exhibition, unearthing what motivates and inspires them as architects, and what the primary themes of their exhibition projects are.

The above video features both Álvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura, who both designed their Sensing Spaces exhibits with the other in mind. Siza explains his preoccupation with the joints between the natural and the man-made through his Leça Swimming Pool complex, and the way the rock formations informed his interventions. He also introduces his one-time protégé Souto de Moura’s Braga stadium as expressing the same understanding of the natural and man-made.

See videos from the 5 other Sensing Spaces participants after the break

London Calling: The ‘Practical’ Architect

Thomas Heatherwick and Arup’s plans for a new, 367-meter long ‘Garden Bridge’ that will span the river from Temple to the Southbank (more renderings at http://www.archdaily.com/389848/thomas-heatherwick-designs-garden-bridge-in-/). Image Courtesy of Arup

Recently the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne pledged £30 million towards Thomas Heatherwick’s Garden Bridge over the Thames. It was an easy offer to make towards a conspicuous piece of design by the author of the 2012 Olympic flame. Contrast this with the Secretary Michael Gove’s remarks about the contribution that our profession might make to schools: “We won’t be getting Richard Rogers to design your school. We won’t be getting any award-winning architects to design it, because no one in this room is here to make architects richer.”

Together, these events indicate that our government does not understand our profession. Genius minds may be called upon to make exceptional contributions to a built environment that otherwise need not be exposed to such frivolity and impracticality. And yet, every day architects make practical decisions that lead to great buildings. It’s about time the politicians here in the UK and abroad listened to a very ‘practical’ profession.

Sir Terry Farrell on UK Architecture & the “Urbi-Cultural Revolution”

Beijing South Station / TFP Farrells. Image © Fu Xing

In this intriguing and often insightful two-part interview with Section D, Monocle‘s weekly design radio show, Sir Terry Farrell discusses at length the findings of his review into UK architecture as well as his views on the current state of architecture in the UK and the world. Looking to the future of the profession, Farrell says he sees architects as one of the key contributors to the world’s social future: ”We live in what we’ve built, we’re an urban-building creature… I call it the urbi-cultural revolution.”

Read more about the interview, and listen to both parts of the interview, after the break

Seven Architects Transform London’s RA into Multi-Sensory Experience

Installation (Blue Pavilion) by Pezo von Ellrichshausen. © , , 2014. Photography: James Harris

This past week London’s Royal Academy of Arts (RA) celebrated the opening of, what many claim to be, one of the most “epic” and “enchanting” exhibitions of 2014: Sensing Space: Architecture Reimagined. With a series of large scale installations by some of profession’s most acclaimed architects, such as Eduardo Souto de Moura, and Kengo Kuma, the immersive exhibition creates an atmosphere that encourages visitors to become part of the experience and open their minds to the sensory realm of architecture.

“Architecture is so often the background to our lives,” stated curator Kate Goodwin. “We often don’t think about it – it’s practical and functional, but when does it do something more?”

A preview of the installations, after the break.

London’s Growing… Up! The Rise and Rise of London’s Tall Buildings

CPAT / Hayes Davidson / Jason Hawkes

London’s skyline is currently going through a massive change. Over 200 towers are planned in the capital in an attempt to meet the needs of the capital’s growing population. So how will London’s skyline change in the next 20 years?

This April, New London Architecture (NLA) – London’s Centre for the Built Environment will explore this new skyline with London’s Growing… Up! Through the use of images, , models, CGI’s and visitor interaction, the exhibition will present a past, present and future view of London’s skyline as the capital’s developers focus on building upwards rather than outwards.

More after the break.

UK Pavilion Milan Expo 2015 Design Competition

The British Government will showcase Britain’s distinctive qualities of creativity and enterprise to millions of international visitors through the UK Pavilion at Milan Expo 2015.

Competing with pavilions from 140+ countries, the UK Pavilion will address the overall Expo theme, Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life, which asks the question: is it possible to ensure sufficient, good, healthy and sustainable food for everyone on the planet? While the Expo’s central theme is nutrition, explored in terms of food production and consumption, participating countries are also asked to examine how to nurture the environment and celebrate the life-enhancing and social aspects of food.

The new Pavilion should build on the perception of the UK established by its Pavilion at Shanghai Expo 2010 and the London 2012 Olympic Games. As one of the most entrepreneurial countries in the world and currently benefiting from a strongly-growing economy, Britain’s unique global contribution flows from its values and attributes − as an open, innovative, collaborative and diverse nation.

The challenge is to invent a structure that represents a British take on the Expo theme. The Expo organisers have asked for pavilions which are designed in relation to their content and add to their significance. The overall concept needs to be original, visually compelling and memorable. The project presents a fascinating opportunity for an exceptional team to come to world attention.

This is a fast-track competition – Expressions of Interest by 19th February 2014. For all the details regarding submission, please go to the competition’s official website.

AA Exhibition: Third Natures

The Golden Dome, Tokyo

Third Natures presents 15 years of speculations, projects and built proposals by the Madrid- based duo of Cristina Díaz Moreno and Efrén García Grinda and their collaborators, ranging from the beginnings of the practice in 1997 to their latest works, completed in 2013. In total, 26 projects are shown through drawings, models, objects and photographs. All this material is organised according to laws of affinity and connection, in an attempt to convey the vast range of the projects and their main field of operation – the space of mediation between people, objects, natural species and built environments. 

The title for this collection draws on a term first coined during the Renaissance to refer to a new type of garden that created a new and hitherto unknown reality – a ‘third nature’ – with a radical new materiality that was constructed through cultural connections. In the same way, the practice explores how cultural materials can be assimilated and then given back to the world in the form of proposals with strong links to contemporary society. Their approach, both critical and celebratory, is based on the emergence of new, extreme and unexpected forms of beauty. For further details, please click here.

House of Muses – Future Visions for the Museum of London

Museum of Exterior, Courtesy The Museum of

The Architecture Foundation is delighted to be working with the Museum of London to commission a design team to develop a temporary structure that will help facilitate participatory discussion about future development plans for the Museum of London and the wider cultural hub in this part of London. The structure, which will be located outside the Museum of London’s main entrance, should be able to accommodate individuals and small groups at any one time and allow them to feedback on proposed visions for the Museum and its future. It is envisaged that the structure should also help attract visitors to the Museum and make use of its exterior forecourt spaces.

The winning design will be realised in time for the London Festival of Architecture 2014 in June and will remain in place until September 2014. The legacy of the structure will also be incorporated into the brief and designers will be asked to put forward suggestions for how the structure could have an afterlife.

For all the details, please click here.

Renzo Piano-Designed Residential Tower Planned to Neighbor the Shard

View of from Millennium Bridge (June 2012). Image © Michel Denancé

Sellar Property Group has announced plans to commission yet another Renzo Piano-designed tower in at the base of The Shard. Replacing the current Fielden House, a 1970s office building located on London Bridge Street, the new 27-story residential tower plans to provide 150 apartments, retail space and roof garden. As part of the area’s regeneration plan, the project will be the third Piano-designed building on the block.

AJ’s Women in Architecture Survey Reveals Discrimination and a Pronounced Pay Gap

Denise Scott-Brown in Las Vegas. Image © Frank Hanswijk

Following a year of high-profile debates surrounding , the results from the Architects’ Journal (AJ) third annual survey entitled Women in Architecture has been revealed. According to the AJ, “two thirds of women in architecture have suffered sexual discrimination at work, an eight point increase since the survey began in 2011″, and “88% of women respondents believe that having children puts women at a disadvantage in architecture.” Even though women in architecture believe that they are paid equally to men, they can in fact “earn as much as £10,000 ($16,500) less than their male counterparts.” More, after the break.

Exploration Architecture: Designing with Nature

The Sahara Forest Project. Courtesy The Sahara Forest Project Foundation

In February 2014, The Architecture Foundation will present Exploration Architecture: Designing with Nature, the first ever solo show of Exploration, a thought-leading architecture and design practice working in the field of biomimicry.

A striking 3D printed installation will showcase a selection of four projects and prototypes from the studio’s cutting-edge research on sustainable, nature-inspired design, including two new, previously unpublished designs. Study models, sketches and specially commissioned short films introducing Exploration’s projects will be presented alongside a myriad of natural specimens that inspired the designs – offering unique insight into the studio’s practice of learning from nature in order to deliver future-facing solutions for architecture, systems design and materials production that address the major challenges of our age.

John McAslan: Community Design, From Haiti to Tottenham

Tottenham High Road, Where plan to open their new office. Image © Flickr CC User Alan Stanton

John McAslan + Partners, already known for their involvement in humanitarian issues thanks to their work in Haiti, are now turning their attention to Tottenham in London, as reported by The Guardian. The practice hopes that by opening a new office on the high street of Tottenham, the area notorious as the crucible of the riots that spread across the UK in August 2011, and by engaging with the community, they can help to make a change. Read the full story here.