Stonehenge Visitor Centre Opens its Doors

© Peter Cook

After a tortuous 21-year process Stonehenge, the stone circle that is one of the world’s most important neolithic artifacts, finally has the visitor centre it deserves. Denton Corker Marshall‘s design, situated 2.5 km (1.5 miles) to the west of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, has opened its doors and is preparing to deal with the site’s nearly 1 million annual visitors.

The new design features a museum, educational facilities, a cafe, shop and a ticket office. These spaces are brought together by a perforated oversailing roof supported on 211 narrow angled columns.

Read on for more about the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre

The Crystal Palace Architectural Competition

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Architects have been invited to submit expressions of interest in designing The Crystal Palace as a new cultural destination for in the spirit, scale and magnificence of the original. Plans to invest £500 million in rebuilding The Crystal Palace and restoring the surrounding public park were announced in October by ZhongRong Group, with the support of the Mayor of London and the Bromley Council.

The new culture-led exhibition and space will sit at the top of the 180-acre Crystal Palace Park in south London. It will incorporate the listed Italian style terraces, and other Victorian heritage within the park, fully restored for the public. The project is expected to create more than 2000 permanent and temporary jobs as well as attracting wider investment into the local high streets and the wider economy.

A Bad Month for Frank Lloyd Wright Fans

The SC Johnson Administration building, featuring Wright’s (now controversial) desks. Image © Jeff Dean

December has been a month of disappointment for fans of Frank Lloyd Wright: first, a plan to build a house designed by Wright and adapted for the English countryside has been rejected by Wraxall Councillors (Bristol Post), who believe that “can’t be that influential”. This was followed by the news that SC Johnson, the company for whom Wright designed the famous Johnson Administration Building, is trying to stop the high profile Sotheby’s auction (ArtInfo) of a desk and chair designed for their building – claiming that the items were in fact stolen from them way back in the 1950s. More on the Bristol rejection here and the Sotheby”s controversy here.

Detailed New Rendering of Southbank Released

© Miller Hare

Earlier this month, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios released new images of the Southbank Centre, the most detailed renderings yet of the highly controversial redevelopment. Among the most significant alterations are a change to the exterior of the crowning glass box, a slight reduction in the size of the “liner” building (to preserve views of the Houses of Parliament from the neighboring National Theatre), and adjustments to various columns to preserve routes through the site.

Read on to find out more about the changes to the design..

HOK Selected to Refurbish Palace of Westminster

Palace of Westminster via Wikipedia

Correction: The HOK-team has been appointed to appraise the options for refurbishment and has not yet been commissioned for the work itself. 

HOK, in collaboration with Aecom and Deloitte, has been selected from a shortlist of five to lead the £720m refurbishment of ’s Palace of Westminster. As reported by BDOnline, the grade I listed building will now undergo a feasibility study before work begins. The plan is to modernize the mid-1800s palace, which was originally designed by Sir Charles Barry with the help of Augustus Pugin. This will include upgrading all HVAC systems and improving fire safety, as well restoring the cast iron roofs and deteriorating stone exterior.

2013 RIBA President’s Medals Winners Announced

: Ben Hayes. Image Courtesy of RIBA

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced the President’s Medals Student Awards at a special event in London. The awards, known to be the world’s most prestigious awards in architectural education, were inaugurated in 1836 and are therefore the institutes oldest award (even older than the RIBA Gold Medal). Three medals – the Bronze for a Part I student, the Silver for a Part II student, and the Dissertation Medal – are awarded to “promote excellence in the study of architecture [and] to reward talent and to encourage architectural debate worldwide.”

Around 300 schools of architecture from over 60 countries were invited to nominate design projects and dissertations by their students, of which students of the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London won all of this year’s primary awards.

2013 AR+D Awards for Emerging Architecture Announced

Highly Commended: Accomodations for the Oceanological Observatory of Banyuls-sur-Mer by Atelier Fernandez & Serres. Image Courtesy of The Architectural Review

The winners of the 2013 AR+D Awards for Emerging Architecture have been announced! The , presented by The Architectural Review and now in its 15th year, have seen “projects from locales as diverse as Bloomsbury and the Himalayas.” This year over 350 entries were discussed by four esteemed judges, including Sir Peter Cook, and have led to four winners who will share a prize fund of £10,000. See both the four winning entries and the ten highly commended schemes after the break…

Tunnels Under London: the Largest Infrastructure Project in Europe

western tunnels, December 2012. Image Courtesy of

Crossrail, “the largest infrastructure project in Europe, costing more, for example, than the London Olympics“, has been slowly winding it’s way beneath London for years. Getting access to the labyrinthine collection of underground tunnels and volumes, Rowan Moore of The Observer says that – despite the superficial furore surrounding it – this £5 billion undertaking will eventually be worth it: alongside the tunnels and tracks will be three million square feet (“or about six Gherkins“) of commercial development, and one million square feet of ‘public realm’.

Why Garden Cities Should Stay in the 20th Century

Town square in Letchworth Garden City, one of the ’s first. Via Flickr CC user. Image © Steve Cadman

After the Wolfson Economics Prize announced a challenge to deliver new garden in the UK for the 21st Century, Feargus O’Sullivan of Atlantic Cities responds, calling the attempt to bring back garden cities “misguided”. His article gives a comprehensive rundown of why garden cities were popular during the 20th century, why they are becoming popular again and, ultimately, why they are a bad idea that will not succeed this time around – finishing with some ideas from The Netherlands and Sweden that would be much more appropriate. You can read the full article here.

Can a School Ensure East London’s Olympic Legacy?

Via CC Flickr User. Image © diamond geezer

In this article for The Guardian, Oliver Wainwright reviews Chobham Academy, a new built as part of East London’s Olympic Legacy by architects AHMM. While he finds the school impressive and ambitious, Wainwright questions whether the campus, which acts as the ‘fulcrum’ between the poverty-stricken streets of Leyton and the high end flats of the former Athlete’s Village, will be able to bring the two parts of this community together. You can read the full article here.

Critical Round-Up: Tate Britain Renovation, Caruso St. John

Lower level rotunda, Tate Britain – Courtesy and Tate. Image © Helene Binet

London’s Tate Britain, a partner gallery to the Tate Modern (who recently appointed Herzog & de Meuron to design a new extension), recently unveiled Caruso St. John‘s transformation of the oldest part of the iconic Grade II* listed building. The £45 million project to restore, renovate and reinterpret one of the UK’s most important galleries has been met with a largely positive critical response; read the conclusions of The Financial Times’ Edwin Heathcote, The Guardian’s Oliver Wainwright,  The Independent’s Jay Merrick, the RIBA Journal’s Hugh Pearman, and the Architects’ Journal’s Rory Olcayto, after the break…

Winners of the First Old Doha Competition Announced

Courtesy of 2013 Year of Culture

Alicja Borkowska and Iris Papadatou from you&me architects have been announced as the UK winners of the inaugural Old Doha Prize, a competition to redesign part of the old city of Doha in Qatar

Four teams of architects have “worked intensively to develop contextual design responses to address the challenge of regenerating and maintaining the heritage of the city” as part of a British-Qatari collaborative project to “reimagine the urban landscape of old Doha.” As a city defined by its strong heritage, coupled with ambitious plans for the future, the competition aimed to discover ways of regenerating parts of the city centre in a sustainable, yet vibrant, way.

AD Interviews: Stephen Hodder, RIBA President

Courtesy of Mies. UK

ArchDaily recently got the chance to speak to Stephen Hodder, current President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) at his practice in Manchester. Best known as the recipient of the inaugural RIBA Stirling Prize in 1996 (for the Centenary Building), Hodder was educated at the University of ’s School of Architecture, he’s perhaps best known as the recipient of the inaugural RIBA Stirling Prize in 1996 for the Centenary Building and was awarded an MBE for services to architecture in 1998.

Having been officially in the role for only two months, Hodder spent some time with us discussing his hopes for the next two years. Find out why he described himself as a fan of Scandinavians and prog-rock after the break…

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

Team B. Image Courtesy of / 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

The Shed / Haworth Tompkins, by Philip Vile

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The Shed, a 225-seat auditorium designed by Haworth Tompkins, was completed earlier this year in London. It’s made of raw steel and plywood, while the rough sawn timber cladding refers to the National Theatre’s iconic board-marked concrete. You can see more photos of photographer Philip Vile after the break.

RIBA Examines How Over 60s Might Impact Future Cities

Family Homes. Image Courtesy of

According to the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the number of people aged over 60 is expected to increase by 40% over the next twenty years, suggesting that “our post-retirement years will be longer and healthier.” There is no doubt, therefore, that people in this age group will have a greater economic, social and political power – but how will this affect our ?

RIBA Future Trends Survey Indicates Stability for UK Profession

Courtesy of

The latest Future Trends Survey, published by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), indicates both stability and optimism. The Future Trends Workload Index increased to +26, a rise of four balance points from August 2013, “building upon the steadily increasing positive trend” seen since the start of this year. The survey also shows evidence that “the growing optimism about an upturn in overall workloads is now widespread” throughout the .

AHMM to Design London’s New Metropolitan Police HQ

Winning Design (). Image Courtesy of Greater Authority (GLA)

Following the news last month that the RIBA and the Mayor of London’s Office revealed the five shortlisted designs for the new Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) headquarters, it has been announced that Allford Hall Monaghan Morris‘s (AHMM) design has won. The competition attracted submissions from the likes of Foster + PartnersAllies & MorrisonKeith Williams Architects and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands. AHMM’s proposal will be located in London’s Whitehall Conservation Area and is set for completion in 2015.