The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) just announced the launch of a new design competition on behalf of the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) and Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to create a new central London Headquarters – replacing their existing New Scotland Yard building. The Invited Design Competition provides architects/practices with the opportunity to produce a design for the renovation of this landmark in one of London’s most important and historic areas – to provide a modern, flexible and secure office environment for the MPS. The deadline for submissions is June 27. For more information, please visit here.
London School of Economics and Political Sciences (LSE) New Global Center for the Social Sciences Competition
RIBA is now inviting expressions of interest from architect-led design teams with exceptional design skills for the London School of Economics and Political Sciences (LSE) New Global Center for the Social Sciences, the world’s leading center for social sciences. The next step in the campus development program is to further improve the School’s teaching, research and support facilities through the complete redevelopment of the center of its Aldwych campus. The new building that will be constructed will have a vital role to play in cementing the LSE’s position as a world renowned educational establishment and will become a place that inspires existing LSE students and will help attract new high caliber students and staff to the School. The deadline for submissions is June 14. For more information, please visit here.
A recent report by the UK Architectural Education Review Group has highlighted the high cost of education as a barrier which prevents less wealthy students from accessing the profession, reveals BDonline. Among a number of concerns raised about the current state of architectural education, it says that the cost to study architecture in the UK could “create an artificial barrier to the profession based solely on a student’s willingness to accept high levels of personal debt”.
Architecture has long been seen as a pastime of the wealthy, as evidenced by Philip Johnson‘s claim that “the first rule of architecture is be born rich, the second rule is, failing that, to marry wealthy”. However, the report acknowledges the fact that making the profession open to people of all backgrounds is not only a moral imperative, but will be vital to bring the best talent into the field.
Read more about the barriers surrounding the profession of architecture after the break…
As part of the on-going debate surrounding the UK’s future aviation strategy, Make Architects just unveiled further studies to support its proposals for an expansion of Stansted Airport as a viable option. Building on existing infrastructure, the architects strongly believe that Stansted can connect with central London within 25 minutes, thereby making it one of the most deliverable and affordable solutions currently on the table, costing £18billion to deliver and providing up to £100billion in investment for the east of the country. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Sou Fujimoto’s contribution for the 13th edition of the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion is beginning to take shape, as the “geometric, cloud-like form” has slowly made its way towards the height of the trees in the rustic landscape of London’s Kensington Gardens. Upon its completion in June, the 350 square-meter latticed structure will fuse together the man-made and natural world, creating a lush, semi-transparent terrain that will host a series of flexible social spaces and a vibrant collection of plant life.
More images by London photographer Laurence Mackman after the break.
Shiro Studio, in collaboration with Mesh Partnership and Equals Consulting were just announced by RIBA as the winning team of the Great Fen Visitor Center competition. Sitting beautifully within the expansive landscape, the team had skillfully incorporated elements of the traditional Fenland building typology within an exciting contemporary visitor center design. The silvery and bog-oak black exterior, shimmering with the play of Fenland light, would contrast markedly with, and complement, its spacious, light-filled interiors and panoramic views onto the surrounding landscape. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The ‘Great Sky Visitor Center’ is a shimmering mirrored disc floating above the flat horizon of the Great Fen atop a shallow cone of fenland planting – a dramatic profile and marker in the landscape, but also one camouflaged when seen from the air. Designed by Nicholas Hare Architects, the silvered surface, that seen from within, dematerializes its edge against a reflected sky, intends to patinate and change over time in sympathy with the landscape it reflects. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Scott Tallon Walker Architects just won the competition to design the new £35 million 5G Research Centre for the University of Surrey which will be the world’s first center for research into the next stage of mobile technology at the University. Their concept for the new building creates a flexible space with a circular atrium that acts as a central lung and focus, to ensure maximum interaction amongst researchers. The building will house the UK’s largest academic research center for mobile communications with 130 researchers and around 90 PhD students. The project has been given an urgent status and it is being undertaken immediately/ The project is expected to be completed well before the end of next year. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Titled, ‘The Fenland Beacon’, this proposal for the Great Fen Visitor Center is rooted in the landscape; responding to the inherent qualities of the Great Fen. Designed by Nicholas Hare Architects, the expansive sweep of the timber façade that ventures out and dissolve into the landscape is punctuated by the tower dramatically rising above the Fenland horizon, anchoring the visitor center within the wider context; an orientating beacon within the expanse of the Great Fen. More images and architects’ description after the break.
In preparation for a ministerial review of housing standards by the UK government, the RIBA has launched their “Without Space + Light” campaign aimed at advocating minimum requirements for total space and natural lighting in order to improve quality in new built homes.
The campaign, supported by a survey titled “Housing Standards and Satisfaction: What the Public Wants“, aims to combat the recent trend towards ‘shoe-box homes’, highlighting the dissatisfaction among owners of new homes when it comes to living standards and the fact that new homes are an average of 10% smaller than they used to be.
Not only are the space standards in UK homes poor compared to past housing, they also lag behind standards set by other European countries: in Ireland, new homes are on average 15% larger, in the Netherlands they are 53% larger, and most strikingly in Denmark they are a full 80% larger.
Read more about the campaign after the break…
The proposed Great Fen Visitor Center by Arrigoni Architetti consists of three barns arranged on the edge between land and water in a clear orthogonal layout. Gathered around an open space, the buildings will represent the welcoming meeting point for single visitors and groups as well as the ideal setting for outdoor activities and events. The goal is to find a balance between architecture and landscape, loosening the boundaries between inside and outside, allowing different views and encouraging the curiosity for an individual, non preset experience. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Last week the UK’s Culture Minister Ed Vaizey announced that he was commissioning a review of the country’s architecture policy, to be led by Sir Terry Farrell along with a number of high profile advisors, including Thomas Heatherwick, Alison Brooks and Alain de Botton. According to Vaizey, the review, expected to be complete by the end of the year, “will be a rallying point for the profession.”
In his article in The Guardian, Olly Wainwright rather hopefully questioned: “might this year-long study result in an innovative new piece of legislative guidance – perhaps along the lines of Denmark’s architecture policy, introduced in 2007?” While Wainwright somewhat flatly concludes, “somehow, that seems unlikely,” there’s no doubt that the UK could only stand to gain from learning from Denmark’s innovative policy.
So what lessons could the UK (and the world) learn from the Danes? Read on after the break…
Long Lane, a key section of the Great Kneighton development on the southern fringe of Cambridge, has recently received planning approval, which will provide 273 homes over 5.4 hectares. Designed by C.F. Møller their contemporary masterplan retains historic features from the existing site, while providing homes that are functional, flexible and sustainable. Working in collaboration for developer Homes by Skanska and PRP, the customer-focused scheme provides a tenure-blind mix of private and affordable housing. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Designed by Alexandros Avlonitis + Aggeliki Anagnostopoulou, their proposal for the Great Fen Visiting Center is derived by the observation of the natural environment of the site and its manipulation by he human factor. The concept is based on an attempt to mimic a very common phenomenon of agricultural terrains: the stacking of blocks of hay, and their impulsive installation in the middle of endless fields. Therefore, the new Great Fen Visitor Center becomes not a building, but a stack of volumes placed in the landscape. More images and architects’ description after the break.
BBC Radio 4, in collaboration with RIBA, just launched a competition for the design of a portable ‘pod’ to enable their conversations, which have become essential listening, valued moments in their hectic broadcasting schedules, to take place in different venues around the UK such as shopping centers, libraries and festivals. For some people it might be the chance to capture memories, to relive shared moments, to put down for posterity how we feel about each other – or to have the one conversation they have always wanted to have. The Listening Project enables more of the general public the opportunity to record a conversation. The deadline to register is April 18 and the submission deadline is April 23. More information on the competition after the break.
European architects can now compete in the UK’s prestigious Young Architect of the Year Award (YAYA). Now in its 16th year, YAYA is the only prize that recognizes the UK’s most promising new architectural practice and is a crucial means of allowing new practices to emerge.
Speaking at MIPIM, the international property fair in Cannes last week, BD Editor-in-Chief Amanda Baillieu said: “Over time, YAYA has proved itself as a consistently strong means of identifying the most promising young architects of each generation. But, since the prize was launched, the world has changed and the best architects in the UK now have to compete with their counterparts abroad. More than any other, this is a global profession so it makes sense to extend YAYA’s helping hand to the rest of Europe.”
Daniel Madeiros and Jonathan Schwinge were recently announced as the winners of the ideas competition organized by Millennium Point and the RIBA to enhance the visibility and image of Millennium Point in Birmingham from the Jennens Road approach. The jury panel was struck by the beauty and grace of their winning idea which was underpinned by craft and technology, convincing the jury that the dramatic form could be constructed. Also demonstrating complexity and sensitivity to the site, Millennium Point will benefit greatly from this competition and the opportunities it now has for its next phase of architectural evolution. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The findings of the recent BD employment survey in the UK, revealing that 22% of British architects are unemployed, certainly makes for unpleasant reading, but it is important to look beyond the upsetting numbers to figure out what they mean.
Much more than a simple number showing the rate of UK unemployment, a closer look at the results highlights problems, exposes trends, and dispels myths – from the assumed truth that London is an employment “oasis” to the supposed strength the profession has shown in this economic crisis.
Read more analysis of the survey results, after the break…