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Fresh Bid To Save Robin Hood Gardens From Demolition

It has been reported that London's Robin Hood Gardens housing estate, which was thought to be finally condemned in March 2012, has re-entered a state of flux due to governmental indecision. The former UK Culture Secretary, Andy Burnham, gave the housing scheme an immunity from listing certificate in 2009, meaning that no concerned party could bid for it to gain protected status under British law. This certificate, designed to ensure that the buildings would be swiftly demolished, has now expired. This has led the Twentieth Century Society (C20) to launch a new bid for the estate to be both saved and protected.

Populous Wins Competition to Design Bristol's £90 Million Arena

Populous has been chosen to design the “UK’s most sustainable arena,” the new £90 million Bristol Arena. Selected ahead of Grimshaw, IDOM, White Arkitekter and Wilkinson Eyre, Populous will now work with Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and Buro Happold to realize their winning, “crystalline” venue. 

“Our design for Bristol Arena is unique,” says Populous principal Nicholas Reynolds. “It delivers a world-class live concert venue for 12,000 fans, and with seamless conversion the atmosphere and intimacy of a 4,000 seat amphitheater.”

First Images of David Adjaye’s £600 Million Piccadilly Redevelopment Plan

Images have been released of what will be one of Adjaye Associates’ largest UK commissions - London’s £600 million Piccadilly Redevelopment. The competition-winning scheme, selected over proposals by Rem Koolhaas, Jean Nouvel and Frank Gehry, will replace a post-war office building on 70-73 Piccadilly with a mixed-use project designed for Crosstree Real Estate Partners. 

More images after the break...

London's Architectural Association Exhibits Futuristic Work of Jan Kaplický

Now on view at London’s Architectural Association, Jan Kaplický Drawings presents work by the Czech architect Jan Kaplický (1937-2009) – a visionary designer with a passion for drawing as a means of discovering, describing and constructing. Through drawing he presented beguiling architectural imagery of the highest order.

The earliest projects date from the early 1970s when, for Kaplický, drawing was essentially a speculative pursuit. Whilst his days were spent working for other architects, during evenings and weekends he designed and drew at home. His architecture at this time was the plan and the finely detailed cross-section. Never satisfied, he constantly developed and honed his graphic language, perfecting the technique of the cutaway isometric which became his trademark.

A preview of Kaplický’s drawings, after the break. 

© Jan Kaplický © Jan Kaplický © Jan Kaplický © Jan Kaplický

RIBA Future Trends Survey Reveals A "Mixed Picture"

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)’s Future Trends Survey for January 2015 has revealed strong levels of optimism as workload forecasts remain strongly positive across all regions of the UK. Following little change in indexes between November and December 2014, the workload index has once again remained consistent at +29. Workload forecast balance figures have remained high, the highest numbers being reported from practices in Northern Ireland at +67 (from +50) and Scotland at +57 (from +75). Furthermore, practices of all sizes have been responding with positive workload prospects heading into the next quarter.

10 Facts about AJ's Woman Architect of the Year 2015: Teresa Borsuk

The Architects’ Journal as named Teresa Borsuk of Pollard Thomas Edward “Woman Architect of the Year 2015.” The prestigious title, awarded last year to Mecanoo’s Francine Houben, is being presented to Borsuk for her “remarkable” ability to improve equality within her practice. 

Borsuk was chosen over an impressive shortlist of women architects. Find out 10 facts about Borsuk and see why the jury consider her to be an ideal role model for future generations, after the break. 

Bromley Council Abandons Plan to Rebuild Crystal Palace

The ambitious and seemingly well-supported plans to reconstruct London’s iconic Crystal Palace have been abandoned. As reported by the BBC, Chinese developer ZhongRong Group, who was leading the project, failed to meet the required criteria and 16-month deadline set by the south London Bromley Council, resulting in the project’s demise. 

The original glass palace, designed as a prefabricated modular structure by Sir Joseph Paxton, was built in 1851 at Hyde Park, prior to being relocated to Crystal Palace in 1854. In 1936, the structure was destroyed by fire. 

More about the Council's decision, after the break.

Competition Seeks Ideas to Transform Preston Bus Station into Youth Center

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has launched an international design competition in search of ideas to transform Lancashire’s iconic Preston Bus Station into a new public hub and youth center. The anticipated £13 million plan hopes to not only provide a home for the new Preston Youth Zone Plus, but preserve the historic structure's brutalist appearance.  

Preston Bus Station, designed by BDP and completed in 1969, was previously slated for demolition. However, last year the success of an international preservation campaign saved it from destruction and helped the building achieve Grade-II listing

The proposed program and competition details, after the break. 

Arup Reveals Image Of Heatherwick's Garden Bridge 'Cupro-Nickel' Cladding

Arup have released a new image of the proposed copper-nickel alloy cladding that will adorn Heatherwick Studio's Garden Bridge in London. According to a report by the Architects' Journal, the "concrete structure will be coated in 'cupro-nickel', from its feet on the riverbed up to the base of the balustrades on the bridge deck." The copper will be donated from Glencore, a multi-national mining company, forming "a protective skin to the carbon steel structure giving it a maintenance free 120-year life, protecting the bridge from river and environmental corrosion." More than 240 tonnes of the metal alloy, which often finds use in medical equipment and ship propellers, will be used.

Which Architect Could Restore The Glasgow School Of Art?

With the Charles Rennie Mackintosh retrospective opening today at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London Rowan Moore, writing for The Guardian, asks "which architect could restore Mackintosh's masterpiece [in Glasgow]?" The Glasgow School of Art, parts of which were devastated by fire in May of last year, is in the process of selecting a restoration architect from a shortlist of five. Yet for Moore "there are examples of clumsiness and stodginess in some of the past projects of those included that should be allowed nowhere near the School of Art."

Symposium: Model Making In The Digital Age

An upcoming conference at the University of Manchester will tackle the idea of Model Making In The Digital Age. Based on the premise that the world of architecture is dominated by digital tools today more than ever, from design and manufacturing to the ways in which we visualise complex spaces and structures physically and virtually, this symposium seeks to shed new light on the practice of model making and its uses.

Creating A 'Domesday Book' Of Post-War Tower Blocks

The Edinburgh College of Art have announced that they will be creating a ‘Domesday Book’ catalogue of every multistory post-war housing project in the UK. The project - called Tower Blocks - Our Blocks! - will contain over 3,500 publicly accessible photographs from the 1980s, documented "at a time when post-1945 high-rise housing is continuously under threat threat across the [UK]." All images will be made searchable in a digital archive.

Carmody Groarke To Design UK Pavilion For Mexico's 2015 Guadalajara Book Fair

The British Council recently announced that London-based practice Carmody Groarke have been selected to design the UK pavilion at the 2015 Feria Internacional del Libro (FIL) in Guadalajara, Mexico. The organisers of the international event, which is the largest literary festival in the Spanish speaking world, have chosen the UK to be this year's "Guest of Honour" as part of a bilateral initiative launched to "build, strengthen and celebrate the growing connections" between the two countries.

In Conversation With Sheila O'Donnell And John Tuomey, 2015 Royal Gold Medallists

When Sheila O'Donnell and John Tuomey, who practice in partnership as O'Donnell + Tuomey, were named as this year's recipients of the RIBA Royal Gold Medal, a palpable collective satisfaction appeared to spread throughout the profession. No one could find criticism in Joseph Rykwert and Níall McLaughlin's nomination, nor the ultimate choice of the RIBA Honours Committee, to bestow the award upon the Irish team. Their astonishingly rigourous body of work, compiled and constructed over the last twenty five years, has an appeal which extends beyond Irish and British shores. A robust stock of cultural, community and educational projects, alongside family homes and social housing projects, leaves little doubt about the quality, depth and breadth of their mutual capabilities and the skill of those that they choose to collaborate with.

Read the conversation with the Gold Medallists after the break.

Ground sketch, Venice Biennale 2012 (Common Ground). Image © O'Donnell + Tuomey Sketch, Glucksman Gallery (Cork, Ireland). Image © O'Donnell + Tuomey Watercolour sketch, Ireland. Image © O'Donnell + Tuomey Sketch Plan of the Saw Swee Hock Centre (London). Image © O'Donnell + Tuomey

UK Report Says Universities are Failing to Prepare Architecture Students for Practice

UK universities are failing to properly equip graduates with the necessary skills required for practicing architecture, according to RIBA’s 2014 Skills Survey. Of the 149 employers and 580 architectural students or recent graduates who responded to the wide-spread survey, a large majority criticized architectural education for prioritizing “theoretical knowledge ahead of practical ability” and agreed that most graduates are ill-prepared for work after studying at the university.  

“I can think of no other profession where new graduates must wait a decade or more to be given significant responsibility because they have not acquired basic skills in university,” says Yarema Ronish, RIBA client adviser and director at Richard Morton Architects.

Rowan Moore On MUMA's Extension To Manchester's Whitworth Art Gallery

In an article for The ObserverRowan Moore visits Manchester's Whitworth Art Gallery (1908), a compact museum which has now undergone a comprehensive restoration and extension by MUMA (McInnes Usher McKnight). The practice, who won the job against 130 other bids for the project, worked with a budget of £15million in order to realise an ambitious brief. Their interventions and innovations, many of which are modest and unseen, have not only reconnected the building with its surrounding parkland but also elevated the interior rooms into world-class exhibition spaces. For Moore, their work is striking but muted: "the virtues of the new Whitworth – sustainable, accessible, sensitive, thoughtful – could all be synonyms for 'dull' or at least 'worthy'. But, thanks to its pleasures of light and material, it is not. It is a job very well done."

Design Council Highlights 70 as "Future of British Design"

In honor of their 70th anniversary, the Design Council has named 70 “rising stars” they believe represent the future of British design. The “Ones to Watch” list was chosen from hundreds of entrants for their “outstanding vision, ambition and potential to contribute to the UK’s reputation as a leading design nation.” “Potty-girl” Julia King and Sonila Kadillari’s Pre-Ecopoiesis Mars Yard (PEMY) are some of the many architects and projects highlighted. View them all, here

Mayor Of London Supports Plans For Europe's Longest Segregated Cycle Lane

According to a document published last month, London's aspiration to become "a great cycling city" has taken one step closer to reality. The office of the Mayor of London has approved plans to develop Europe's longest segregated bicycle lane through the centre of the city following modifications to an original plan that drew sharp criticism from residents and commuters. The new plans, which have been supported by a number of private companies and public bodies, aims to maintain vehicular traffic capacity whilst allowing the segregated cycle lanes to cater for a large capacity of cyclists.