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…
Foster + Partners have received the green light from the Lambeth Council for three mixed use towers on the 20-21 Albert Embankment in London. Ranging from 15 to 27 stories, the curved steel and glass structures will provide the area with 253 apartments, including affordable homes for senior living, along with offices, restaurants and a residents’ bar, gym, pool and spa.
Grant Brooker, Senior Partner at Foster + Partners: “We are absolutely delighted that 20-21 Albert Embankment has received planning permission – working alongside our clients at St. James and with great support from Lambeth and the GLA, we hope to transform this important and highly visible site into a vibrant riverside community that sets a benchmark for the regeneration of this part of the river.”
More after the break…
A controversial plan to redevelop a large area of Liverpool’s waterfront has received an effective green light after the Communities Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, chose not to call in the scheme for a public inquiry. The £5.5 billion scheme is designed by Chapman Taylor and provides 9,000 homes, 300,000 square meters of office space and 50,000 square meters of hotel and other facilities. The scheme also includes the 55-story ‘Shanghai Tower’ and a cruise ferry terminal.
The plan has attracted criticism, in particular from English Heritage and UNESCO who worry that the size of the developments will negatively affect the Liverpool skyline, dominated for almost a century by the ‘Three Graces’ a trio of listed buildings that have come to define the view from the Mersey River. UNESCO has strongly opposed the development, placing Liverpool’s world heritage site on it’s ‘endangered’ list and threatening that if the scheme goes ahead, the area could lose its world heritage status.
Read more about the reaction to the scheme after the break…
Atelier CMJN shared with us their proposal for the Great Fen Visiting Center which aims at reconnecting humans with nature. In terms of sustainable development, or in the broader term ecology, is the reconnection of humans with their environment by restoring links between the users and the fen. By maximizing one’s chances to connect to this raw and simply beautiful environment, the project intends to not just restore a piece of anthropogenic nature, but reconnect mankind with its deepest self, nature. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The American Institute of Architects UK Chapter recently announced its call for entries in their annual Excellence in Design Awards. Entries are sought from architects based in Britain, and from architects throughout the world for built projects in the UK. Students of architecture who are currently enrolled in UK Universities are also strongly encouraged to apply. The winners of this year’s Excellence in Design Awards will be announced at the Excellence in Design Awards Gala Tuesday, April 23. The deadline for submissions is March 22 at 5:00pm. For more information, please visit here.
A survey conducted by BD has revealed that 22% of qualified architects in the UK are currently unemployed. The survey included fully qualified architects as well as graduates who are still in training, and paints a bleak picture of the current state of the British architecture industry. Other trends which the survey highlights are a reduction in job security as many architects move to freelance work to stay active, and an average 30% wage reduction for those still in employment.
More results of the survey after the break
Architectural competitions may be regarded as an opportunity or a burden. There are numerous architectural practices that have gained significant attention for their submissions and winnings in highly publicized competitions, but the reality is that architectural competitions are expensive and do not guarantee reward. And yet, they are an opportunity to engage in a critical dialogue about the projects at hand, and may be approached with more creative and imaginative risk than when working directly with a client, which is probably why they are so popular and numerous. They are also an opportunity to bring the public into conversations about architecture in the public forum. These are just some of the considerations that The Architecture Foundation hopes to tackle in its new series, “And the Winner is…?“.
Throughout 2013, The Architecture Foundation will be hosting a three-series of critical and polemic explorations into the culture of architecture awards, competitions and festivals. The first in the series, “Competitive Advantages” will be a discussion considering the nature of architecture competitions and their advantages and disadvantages as they pertain to the clients and the public, established architectural firms and emerging practices.
The proposal by NL Architects and WHAT Architecture for the Columnar Towers: Colville Estate competition attempts to mitigate the effects of a large massing of residences by breaking each tower into a ‘bundle’ of seven smaller towers, or ‘columns’. Each mini-tower is formed by simple ‘stacks’ of single apartments. This residential development of 199 apartments in Hackney, London is part of a masterplan by Karakusevic Carson Architects for the regeneration of the Colville Estate. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Led by UK housing minister Mark Prisk, architects from five high-profile British practices – Haworth Tompkins, Foster & Partners, Amanda Levete Architects, Avanti Architects and de Matos Ryan – have embarked on a week-long visit to Brazil in search of major infrastructure opportunities for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games. The trip is part of the UKBrasil Season, a six-month series of dynamic and engaging projects designed to showcase the best of British business, culture, science and innovation in Brazil and become the largest post-Olympic legacy project in the world.
Mark Prisk stated: “Brazilian companies in these cities are actively looking for fast-track construction systems, innovative building materials and low carbon solutions to meet current and future demand, not only in preparation for hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games but also to compete in the country’s many major infrastructure projects.
More after the break…
As pressure mounts to solve the UK’s aviation crisis, the Mayor of London has appointed Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) alongside a world-class team of aviation experts to develop plans for a new major airport in southeast England. The team is expected to resolve the debate on how and where the capital’s next multi-runway airport hub should be constructed, a decision that will play a critical role in the future of the British economy.
Zaha Hadid said: “This work is essential to deliver the most integrated transport solutions for London and the UK. It will enable London to maintain its position as one of the world’s most important economic, commercial and cultural centers; outlining the city’s future growth and development which has always been founded on global connectivity.”
See who made the list after the break…
Known for their conservation and creative re-use of historic buildings, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios has been appointed to develop the Farmiloe Building, a landmark Victorian building in the heart of London’s Clerkenwell. They will now draw up plans to transform the 40,000 sq ft building into a commercial development that is in keeping with one of the capital’s most vibrant areas, which also includes a new building that will substantially increase the amount of commercial space. These changes will help in making a significant architectural addition to St. John Street. More images and architects’ description after the break.
What are Live Projects? A UK term, it refers to collaborations between architecture schools and real clients on real projects. In the US, for example, these are merely referred to as industry collaborations. Clients are widely variant, from municipal governments and youth organizations, as well as galleries and community-based gardens.
There are many iterations of this teaching model in the UK so the issue is, how to determine a good fit for prospective students? One issue that is increasingly at the fore of students’ minds is how to balance idealism with practical skills. At Birmingham City University’sBIAD (Birmingham Institute of Art and Design), the program is structured precisely to help students achieve that balance.
After winning the Aberdeen City Garden competition in early 2012, Diller, Scofidio + Renfro‘s ‘Granite Web’ design was rejected over the summer in a 22-20 city council vote for being overly expensive. Despite public approval the proposal, which totaled a whopping £140m, was rejected in favor of a collection of more fiscally responsible city projects, such as refurbishing the Aberdeen Art Gallery and redeveloping the site of the St. Nicholas House.
Just recently, the City of Aberdeen announced a £300m city-wide plan of improving roads, schools and cultural buildings, with only £20m allotted for the city center, which will be pedestrianized but not much else. Thus, confirming the “final nail in the coffin“ for DS+R’s ambitious web of lush gardens and cultural landmarks.
Read more after the break…
Grimshaw Architects shared with us their construction update video on the Reading Station redevelopment, which consists of the existing station facilities being enhanced with two new entrances and by the addition of a new transfer bridge over the tracks, designed to accommodate a 100% uplift in passenger growth. One of the major interchanges of the south east, and one of the busiest stations outside London, it is also the Great Western Main Line’s biggest constraint in terms of performance and capacity in its current form.
Online application is now open for a competition to design a temporal sustainable theatre, to be built in Cardiff, as part of the World Stage Design 2013 festival. Open to students and emerging practitioners from across all related disciplines, the winning design will be built in the courtyard of the Anthony Hopkins Centre and will be used as a major venue to house performances, presentations and seminars during the World Stage Design 2013 festival. The deadline for submissions is March 15. For more information, please visit here.
mæ architects recently announced that they were selected to design a ‘split-site’ elderly housing and healthcare hub project in Lisson Grove, Central London. Intended for City West Homes, on behalf of Westminster City Council, the housing scheme, which will be designed to HAPPI recommendations (Housing for an Aging Population Panel for Innovation), will bring contemporary, socially-orientated architecture to a deprived community which is desperately in need of re-invigoration. Construction is due to start at the end of 2013 and will be completed in two phases. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Organized by International Art Consultants (IAC) and supported by The Royal Photographic Society, the Architect’s Eye competition has been celebrating and encouraging architects’ passion for photography since 2007. Now, in its fourth edition, UK architects are challenged to submit photos into two distinct categories: Architecture and Place and Architecture and People. The former focuses solely on the aesthetics of the architecture and places it creates, while the latter explores and celebrates the interaction of people with the environments created by architects. There are no restrictions on which buildings qualify for the competition.
The winner in each category will receive a weekend break for two anywhere in the EU. There will also be Special Commendation prizes awarded at the judges’ discretion.