The Institute for Digital Archaeology (IDA), a joint-venture between Harvard University (US), the University of Oxford (UK) and Dubai’s Museum of the Future (UAE) have announced that they will replicate a structure of architectural significance that was destroyed earlier this year by IS, or 'Islamic State', at full scale in the centre of London and New York City. The arch—all that remains of the Temple of Bel at the Syrian UNESCO World Heritage site—was captured by militants in May and destroyed. By no means an isolated case, IS have looted and demolished a number of similar architectural and anthropologically important sites that "pre-date Islam in Iraq," condemning them as "symbols of idolatry."
British filmmaker Joe Gilbert has created a short tribute film to Alison and Peter Smithson's Robin Hood Gardens estate in Poplar, East London, which—as of August 2015—is set to be demolished. Accompanied by insightful commentary from Timothy Brittain-Catlin, the film charts the buildings' history and recent threats to a backdrop of monochrome shots of the estate, in all of its dilapidated and "pleasantly wild" current state. The 'Streets in the Sky', made famous by the Smithsons and both widely praised and criticised as a response to the collapse of low-density terrace housing, are one of the focuses of the film.
Robert Mull, former Dean of London Metropolitan University's Sir John Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design—also known as 'The Cass'—has resigned over a dispute about proposed relocation plans for the school's campus in Aldgate, East London. As reported in The Independent, campaigners argue that the move, which was first announced in October 2015 by the university's Vice Chancellor John Raftery, would cause courses and jobs to be unnecessarily cut. The university's vision, named 'One Campus, One Community', aims to invest £125million ($185million) to create "a new, single campus in Islington, north London, bringing all of the [university's] faculties together on one site for the first time in the institution’s 170-year history."
For the third consecutive year, Hello Wood—an international educational platform of design and architecture based in Hungary—have "rethought the Christmas Tree." Their three festive installations, in London, Manchester and Budapest, have been designed to live beyond the holiday season and will be recycled into new structures to help different causes in the New Year. "The role of architecture has changed a lot in the last few years," says Peter Pozsar, co-founder of Hello Wood. "Hello Wood represents this socially responsive architecture."
View the three projects after the break.
London-based practice Sam Jacob Studio, led by a former partner of FAT, have installed a 1:1 replica of a standing sarsen stone from the Avebury stone circle in the centre of the British New Town of Milton Keynes. The 'MK Menhir', situated on a Porte Cochère on the city's Midsummer Boulevard, has been (CNC) milled from hard-coated foam using data from a 3D scan of the original stone. It has been given an iridescent tint using techniques similar to those used to spray paint a car.
London-based practice Studio Egret West have developed designs for future London Underground stations which centre on a holistic approach to infrastructure design. The so-called 'Station Design Idiom' is, according to the designers, "deliberately wide-ranging." As a manifesto, it "covers small interventions, like repainting, through to full station refurbishments and new builds" and "complements existing London Underground standards and guidance and is the first port of call for all design decision-making on the network."
Assemble, a London-based collective who "work across the fields of art, design and architecture to create projects in tandem with the communities who use and inhabit them," have been announced as the winners of the 2015 Turner Prize – Europe’s most prestigious contemporary visual art award. Their nomination was a surprise to many, not least because an architect (or architecture collective, in this case) has not been shortlisted before. Previous winners—some of whose work has intersected with the world of architecture—include Gilbert & George, Anish Kapoor (known for the Orbit at the 2012 London Olympic Games), Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst, Gillian Wearing and Grayson Perry (a collaborator on FAT's final built work).
London-based Eric Parry Architects have unveiled a design proposal for a 73-storey office tower in the heart of London's financial district. Named '1 Undershaft', after its street address, the building will be one of the tallest in the city (standing at 294.6m) competing only with Piano's Shard (306m). Having been commissioned by Aroland Holdings (Singapore), the tower will contain 90,000sqm of internal space and feature "a new public square at its base" and "the capital's tallest free public viewing gallery at the top," according to Parry. It will stand in place of the existing 'Aviva Tower'.
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) announced the President’s Medals Student Awards at a special event yesterday in London. The awards, recognised as the world’s most prestigious in architectural education, were inaugurated in 1836 (making them, including the RIBA Gold Medal, the institute's oldest award). Three medals in particular – the Bronze for a Part I student (Bachelor level), the Silver for a Part II student (Master level), and the Dissertation Medal – are awarded to “promote excellence in the study of architecture [and] to reward talent and to encourage architectural debate worldwide.” In addition to these, the winners of the Serjeant Award for Excellence in Drawing and the inaugural RIBA Research Medal alongside a rostra of commendations have also been announced.
See the winning projects and a full list of commendations after the break.
The six concept designs for the Tintagel Castle footbridge, the practices behind which were announced earlier this year, have now been revealed. With a shortlist featuring design consortiums led, among others, by WilkinsonEyre and Niall McLaughlin Architects, the proposals all respond to English Heritage's ambition for "a bridge that is of its place, [...] that, with its structural elegance and beauty, is in harmony with its extraordinary setting and landscape."
Following the announcement earlier this year that Herzog & de Meuron were developing designs for a new £500million stadium for Chelsea Football Club, the Swiss practice have released a series of official images which narrate the project's design intentions and contextual implications. The new stadium, which will be built in place of the football club's existing stadium at Stamford Bridge, will contain a "three-tier, four-stand, bowl with a capacity of 60,000 supporters" (compared to the current 41,837 capacity) and have around 60,000sqm of facilities housed within its ribbed shell.
Now in its second year, DesignCurial has revealed the results of their annual “Top 10 Public Toilets” award, recognizing outstanding lavatory design across the world. The top 10 emerged as exemplars among over 1,000 public toilet designs, evaluated on “design, innovation and the relationship with surroundings”. “The aim of the list was to bring international design to the fore, especially unique architecture that may be overlooked due to the structure’s mundane stereotype,” said Katherine Houston, web editor at DesignCurial. “This list is well geographically spread, with distinctive designs emerging from Japan, Australia and the UK to name a few.” See the world’s best public toilets for 2015 after the break.
In an article for the Financial Times, Edwin Heathcote responds to the recent news that OMA, based in Rotterdam, have won the competition to design the British city of Manchester's new "ultra-flexible" arts venue. The Factory, so-named because of city's rich musical heritage, will be one of the largest cultural projects of its kind. Having gained and maintained financial support from Westminster, the building—which must be able to transform from a 2,200-seat theatre into an open 5,000-capacity space—is a flagship project for the British government.
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)'s Future Trends Survey for October 2015 showed a level of caution among UK architects, reflecting a period of slowing growth in the industry. The Future Trends workload index dropped to +18 from last month's mark of +21, showing a decrease in the number of practices that expect their workload to increase in the coming months. All regions of the UK still reported a positive balance though, with the most optimism coming from Northern Ireland with a balance figure of +25, while the most uncertain figures came from the Midlands and East Anglia, where a balance figure of +12 was reported.
Rotterdam-based Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) have been announced by the UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer as the winning team in the competition to design the city of Manchester's high-profile Factory art space. Following the announcement of the shortlist earlier this year, featuring practices including Rafael Viñoly, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Zaha Hadid and Mecanoo, it has since been reported by The Guardian that the British government's original pledge of £78million ($117million) to the cost of the building will be raised by a further £9million per year from around 2018.
London-based practice Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) have announced the elevation of five associates to partner level while Mike Davies CBE, who has worked alongside Lord Rogers for more than forty years, will be reducing his roles. Davies has been involved in some of the practice's most significant projects including the Pompidou Centre in Paris, Lloyd's of London, the Millennium Dome, and Terminal 5 at London's Heathrow Airport. As a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, Davies is currently the project director for Grand Paris, the masterplan for Greater Paris 2025 which was commissioned by former President Nicolas Sarkozy. According to RSHP, Davies "will remain employed in a part-time role."
Using an innovative method of casting concrete in lightweight fabric molds, the architects of Orkidstudio -- along with StructureMode -- teamed up with a group of Khmer women in Sihanoukville, Cambodia to rebuild a community centre in the city’s urban heart.
The construction technique was developed and tested by engineers from StructureMode using a combination of physical testing and computer analysis software, Oasys GSA Suite, to predict the stretch of a particular fabric when concrete is poured inside. Through three-dimensional sketches the seamstresses and building team could understand the construction sequence of the form, completing the entire project in just eight weeks.
"A spectre," writes Kevin McKenna for The Guardian, "thought happily to have been exorcised from the heart of beautiful Edinburgh, is stalking the city’s old wynds and crevices once more." To put it more bluntly, the "formal recognition of [the Scottish capital] as one of the world’s most beautiful cities is under threat, amid a battle for the soul of its most historic quarter." As the UNESCO inspectorate moves in to determine whether the city's World Heritage Status should be renewed McKenna laments, through a series of case studies, the potentially bleak built future of one of Britain's most loved urban centres.