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.

RIBA Future Trends Survey Shows Workload Forecasts Are Firmly In Positive Territory

Courtesy of RIBA

The results of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBAFuture Trends Survey for June show that the Workload Index among practices increased slightly to +34 (from +33 in May) with confidence levels amongst RIBA practices about the level of future workloads remaining “very strong and widespread across the whole of the ”. Whereas last month’s survey showed Wales and the West with the brightest outlook, this month’s survey saw Scotland top the index with a balance figure of +50, the and East Anglia tailing closely behind with a figure of +48. Workload forecasts from practices of all sizes are optimistically reporting positive balance figures.

Zaha Hadid on Russian Artist Kazimir Malevich

Zaha Hadid RA, The Peak Blue Slabs, 1982-83. Image © Zaha Hadid / Royal Academy of Arts

In an article for London’s Royal Academy of Arts Magazine entitled Plane Sailing, Zaha Hadid discusses the influence of Russian Suprematist painter Kazimir Malevich on her own design work. In Hadid’s early work, such as The Peak Blue Slabs (1982/83), the visual connections to Malevich’s strict, regular shapes and lines are evident.

Jane Duncan Elected as the next President of the RIBA

Courtesy of

Jane Duncan, an Architect based in the English county of Buckinghamshire, has been elected as the 76th President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Taking over the reigns from current President Stephen Hodder in September 2015, Duncan will become only the third female President after beating fellow candidate Oliver Richards (by a majority of 52% of the vote) to the institute’s highest position. According to the Architects’ Journal, only 16.7% of RIBA members voted in the election.

AD Interviews: Keith Griffiths, Chairman of Aedas, on Appoaching Densification in London

. Image Courtesy of Aedas

Following the recent announcement of Aedas’ demerger into two separate companies - one retaining the Aedas name and the other now known as AHR - we spoke to Keith Griffiths, Chairman of Aedas’ global board and a practicing architect for close to three decades. The company, which was recently ranked by the Architects’ Journal as the 5th largest and most influential practice in the world, have now moved their head office to London’s Chandos Place and are championing a new approach to urban regeneration in the UK’s capital. Alongside discussing how an international practice of Aedas’ scale successfully operates, Griffiths offered his insight into how the future looks for European cities based on a tried and tested Asian model of densification.

To find out how Aedas approach sustainability in flourishing Asian markets, as well as the significance of the ‘urban hub’ typology for London’s metropolitan future, read the interview in full after the break.

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 UK’s 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.

Does Heritage Have The Power To Change Lives?

Recently Listed: The Spectrum Building / Foster + Partners.. Image © Richard Davies, Courtesy Foster + Partners

In a recent article for The Telegraph Jonathan Ruffer, a hedge fund manager turned campaigner for architectural heritage, discusses the significance of historic buildings in a time when they are “increasingly having to justify itself in the cold light of cost cuts.” The notion of architectural “heritage” covers not only castles and stately homes but increasingly post-war and early contemporary structures. Speaking from a financier’s point of view, Ruffler examines the “gulf” between public and private funding for restorative architectural schemes alongside the difficulty of mobilising large bodies to activate change. Arguing that “heritage has the power to change lives,” the need for people to engage with their built heritage is more important than ever. Read the article in full here.

ECOWEEK London 2014

ECOWEEK is a non-governmental NGO with the mission to raise awareness on environmental issues and Climate Change and to promote the principles of sustainability. ECOWEEK has been organizing conferences and workshops across Europe that inspire and empower young architects to be active designers for the benefit of their communities.

Since 2005 ECOWEEK has hosted keynote lectures by leading professionals and thinkers including award-winning architects, such as Shigeru Ban, Ken Yeang, Bjarke Ingels, Francis Kere, Francoise-Helene Jourda, Michael Sorkin and landscape architect Julie Bargmann.

The ECOWEEK International Conference & Sustainable Design Workshops is scheduled to take place in London in September 14-21, 2014. The event is expected to attract young architects, landscape architects, designers and architectural from the and abroad.

The Legacy of Hydraulic Fracturing in Blackpool

The Legacy of Frackpool. Image © Jason Lamb

Jason Lamb, a recent graduate from London’s Bartlett School of Architecture, has developed a project which centres around the legacy of hydraulic fracturing in the British coastal city of Blackpool. The theoretical thesis, which employs the possibility of Chinese investment prompting the transitory integration of hydraulic fracturing within the city for the exploitation of shale gas, features a number of interesting explanatory illustrations.

Miniature Spaces Carved From Stone

Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence. Image © Matthew Simmonds

Matthew Simmonds, an art historian and architectural carver based in Italy, has created a collection of exceptionally beautiful miniature spaces carved from . Having worked on a number of restoration projects in the – from Westminster Abbey to Ely Cathedral - his skills have been transferred into work of a much smaller, if not more intricate, scale. Hewn from large stone blocks (some of marble), the level of intricacy Simmonds has achieved in the architectural detailing is almost incredible. Capitals, vaults and surfaces all distort and reflect light in a very beguiling way.

Aedas Announces Demerger Into Two Separate Companies

As of this week , which was recently ranked as the 5th largest and influential practice in the UK by the Architects’ Journal, has demerged into two separate practices. The thirteen offices in China, South-East Asia, the Middle East and the US, will continue to operate under the Aedas brand whilst the eight UK offices and the offices in , Poland and Kazakhstan will operate under a new name: AHR. According to the outgoing board, the demerger “will allow both companies to focus on their respective strengths and will enable them to grow the businesses in different directions.” The intention is that both groups will continue to work together on projects in the future.

Assemble Architects and the Coming-of-Age of the Pop-Up Project

The Cineroleum, a temporary cinema in a disused petrol station. Image © Flickr CC User John Gordy

In his interesting profile of the young London-based practice Assemble, Rowan Moore of the Observer investigates the work of arguably the best collective of designers to emerge from 2010′s “Autumn of Pop-Ups” – examining how they have stayed true to the more noble aspects of pop-up architecture despite the concept’s increasing commercialization. From their first project, a temporary cinema in a petrol station, to their recent Yardhouse project in , Moore finds an architecture that values exuberance and fun, yet is mature and refined. You can read his article in full here.

Exhibition / Designing a Moment: The London 2012 Cauldron

©

The Cauldron, designed by the internationally renowned Heatherwick Studio, is one of the most enduring and creative symbols of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 204 unique copper elements, each alight and representing every competing nation, were arranged in sublime concentric formation at the tips of slender mechanised steel stems. Slowly pivoting sequentially, they converged to form the Cauldron, in which the Olympic, and later Paralympic flame, would burn brightly for the duration of London’s summer of sport.

Designing a Moment: The London 2012 Cauldron, a new gallery at the Museum of London, tells the story of this moment, and celebrates the London 2012 Cauldron.

In the courtyard of the museum, a bespoke new pavilion to house the exhibition has been specially designed and built by Stage One – the creative engineers behind the London 2012 Cauldron. The permanent addition is the first new gallery in the museum since 2010, coinciding with the two year anniversary of the Olympic opening ceremony, when an audience of over one billion people first set eyes on the Cauldron.

Title: Exhibition / Designing a Moment: The London 2012 Cauldron
Website: http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/london-wall/whats-on/exhibitions-displays/the-london-2012-cauldron-designing-moment/
From: Fri, 25 Jul 2014
Until: Sun, 28 Sep 2014
Venue: Museum of London
Address: 150 London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN, UK

Four Freedoms Park: Louis Kahn’s “Ancient Temple Precinct” in NYC

Aerial Rendering Prior to Completion. Image Courtesy of Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, LLC

Built four decades after Louis Kahn’s death, New York City’s Four Freedoms Park - the architect’s posthumous memorial to Franklin D. Roosevelt and his policies – is becoming one of the architect’s most popular urban spaces. In a recent article for the GuardianOliver Wainwright investigates what he describes as perhaps Kahn’s ”best project”. Wainwright’s spatial description of the monument is interweaved by fragments of Kahn’s personal history, building up a picture of a space with “the feel of an ancient temple precinct” and “a finely nuanced landscape”. Although , who ultimately realised the plans in 2005, argues that Four Freedoms Park ”stands as a memorial not only to FDR and the New Deal, but to Kahn himself”, can a posthumous project ever be considered as an architect’s best? Read the article in full here.

Critical Round-Up: 2014 Serpentine Pavilion / Smiljan Radic

© Iwan Baan

Last week, the 2014 Serpentine Pavilion opened in London‘s Hyde Park. The Serpentine Pavilion program invites architects who are yet to work in the to create a temporary installation at the gallery’s grounds for one summer, and this year it was the turn of Chilean architect Smiljan Radic, who rarely builds outside his native country and is arguably the least well-known architect in the Pavilion’s 14 year history.

Always a highlight in London’s architectural calender, critics almost line up to write their reviews. This year, they are almost entirely unanimous: Radic’s pavilion is, unquestionably, weird. But they’re also unanimous on another judgement: it may be one of the best Serpentine Pavilions yet.

Read on after the break to find out what the critics said about this year’s design

RIBA Report Aims to Put Architecture at the Heart of Next Government’s Agenda

One proposal made by the report is to funnel transport money into ‘active transport’ routes, such as the Hackney Greenway which was created as part of the London Olympic Legacy. Image © Flickr CC User Andy Wilkes

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has published a report which it hopes will influence government writers in time for the general election next year. The report outlines the RIBA’s stance on a wide variety of architectural issues, from planning , to school building, to designing healthy cities.

The report hopes to build on the recommendations made by the Farrell Review, which among many other things recommended the appointment of a chief architect to advise the government, as well as an overhaul of the current planning system. However, in one sense the RIBA report goes further than the Farrell Report by saying that the government should implement a defined architecture policy, pointing to the success of such policies in countries such as Denmark.

Read on after the break for more on the report’s recommendations

Video: drMM

The latest video from Crane.tv involves the -based drMM architecture studio. An eclectic mix of architectural know-how puts this practice at the forefront of innovative and sustainable design.

HOK Proposes East London Thames Crossing

© HOK/Arup

Nearly half of London’s population lives east of Tower yet they are served by only two fixed road river crossings,” says Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive of  Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI). This is the infrastructural predicament which has sparked the LCCI’s “Bridge East ” campaign, a proposal for bridge linking Beckton and Thamesmead at Gallions Reach, which is aided by a design by HOK.

The proposal was unveiled on Monday, the 120th anniversary of the opening of Tower Bridge. Designed to allow clear passage for both ships underneath and aircraft taking off or landing at City Airport above, the bridge also features a segregated cycle path, adding a much needed - and entirely safe – river crossing for London’s growing number of cyclists.

More on the bridge after the break