This edition of Section D, Monocle 24's weekly review of design, architecture and craft, is dedicated to plants and gardens and specifically their role in architecture, urban life, and the design of the workplace. The episode considers the history of London’s urban greenery and the role of plants in landscape architecture touching upon, in conversation with Sam Jacob, the latest in London's green infrastructure: Heatherwick Studio's proposed Garden Bridge across the River Thames. It also traces the lineage of semi-private squares in Georgian London to Ebenezer Howard's Garden City movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries – all approaches discussing how best to unite the built environment with the natural world.
Temporary architecture is often misrepresented as a flimsy trend or photo-ready quick fix: easy, entertaining and often, mistakenly, cheap. This is Temporary concerns itself with a group of young, emerging, socially minded group of architects and designers who are taking the city back into their own hands and creating experimental sites for interaction and engagement. These architects, collectives, students and artists are designing transient structures, situations and events that invest and embed themselves in a community, public space or set of ideas.
Read an excerpt from the book This is Temporary after the break.
For over 20 years the American Institute of Architects UK Chapter 'Excellence in Design Awards' programme has proven highly valued by architects as they confer trans-Atlantic recognition for design excellence. Professional entries are sought from architects, industrial designers, urban planners, landscape architects and interior designers based in Britain, and from around the world for completed projects in the UK.
Sto Werkstatt have announced that Sam Jacob Studio will be creating "a unique installation" for their London gallery space that will "explore the exchange of information between digital and physical worlds." Entitled One Thing After Another, the project has its origins with what Jacob considers the most mundane, yet essential form, of architecture: the garden shed. The structure will be 3D-scanned to create a digital copy which will then be processed and scaled to fabricate a new CNC’d version from Verolith, a lightweight type of volcanic stone made of 90% perlite.
For this edition of The Urbanist, Monocle 24's weekly "guide to making better cities," the team head back in time to explore London in 1891, examining some of the city’s achievements to get a glimpse of what life was like in the British capital. They investigate the architectural legacy of Victorian London, see how the introduction of the railway changed the city, and chat about Charles Booth’s pioneering study into Victorian Londoners’ quality of life. They also take a tour around the country’s first council estate.
Drawing Futures, a new the international peer-reviewed conference on speculative drawing for art and architecture has launched a call for works.
The two-day conference will bring together some of the world’s leading practitioners in drawing for conversations about the contemporary cutting-edge and future directions using drawing as a critical tool for art and architecture.
London-based firm Carmody Groarke has been selected to design a standalone hotel suite on Burgh Island, a tidal island on the South Devon coast. Commissioned by Burgh Island Ltd, the owners of the site's eponymous Grade-II listed art deco hotel, the new standalone "Pool House" suite sits atop the island's cliffs offering customers generous views of the Bantham Estuary and the hotel’s Mermaid Pool, an outdoor seawater pool and private beach for hotel guests.
The Museum of London and Malcolm Reading Consultants have launched an international search for an outstanding architect or team of architects to create a new building for the museum at West Smithfield in the City of London. The project at the heart of the two-stage design competition has a £130-150m construction budget, and is focused on regenerating a nationally-significant landmark and creating new contemporary galleries within a group of historic buildings on the West Smithfield site. The Museum of London is one of the top ten museums and galleries in the UK capital and responsible for the world’s largest archaeological archive, which currently holds six million artefacts.
Damien Hirst has outgrown his 14-bedroom, nineteenth century London home. As reported by Hyperallergic, Hirst is in the process of enlarging his villa – downwards. In the spirit of the London 'super-basement' trend, for which the Royal Boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea first took opposition to in 2014, the Turner Prize-winning artist's plans appear to be some of the most ambitious yet. The proposed subterranean warren of rooms—including a sauna, a steam room, a cargo elevator leading to a double height "art room", and an 82-foot long swimming pool—will all be excavated from his half-acre back garden. Although the plans have faced local opposition the artist's "lair", designed by Purcell, is now set for construction.
The Serpentine Galleries have revealed that the 2016 Serpentine Pavilion will be designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), alongside a surprise announcement that four "Summer Houses" will also be built by internationally acclaimed practices. Kunlé Adeyemi – NLÉ (Amsterdam/Lagos), Barkow Leibinger (Berlin/New York), Yona Friedman (Paris), and Asif Khan (London) will each design a 25sqm structure inspired by the nearby Queen Caroline’s Temple, a neo-Classical summer house built in 1734 and "a stone’s throw from the Serpentine Gallery." In line with the criteria for the selection of the Serpentine Pavilion architect, each chosen to design a Summer House has yet to realise a permanent building in England.
Venturi Scott-Brown’s National Gallery Sainsbury Wing extension (1991) was born into a precarious no-man’s land between the warring camps of neo-Modernists and traditionalists who had been tussling over the direction of Britain’s cities for much of the prior decade. The site of the extension had come to be one of the most symbolic battlefields in British architecture since a campaign to halt its redevelopment with a Hi-Tech scheme by Ahrends Burton Koralek had led to that project’s refusal at planning in 1984.
Following the news in 2015 that Alison and Peter Smithson's Robin Hood Gardens was committed to demolition, Stirling-Prize winning practice Haworth Tompkins have been selected to work on the buildings' replacement. Alongside Metropolitan Workshop Architects existing master plan—entitled the Blackwall Reach Regeneration Project—the second phase of the regeneration will see the west block razed to make way for approximately 200 homes. The east wing will not be demolished until the third phase of the regeneration begins.
A new type of greenery has arrived in central London. Placed along the western façade of Westminster City Hall (known as Kingsgate Walk), a sprawling concrete frieze in relief depicts shimmering nocturnal birch trees photographed in forests from Beijing to London. Created using emerging technology, the relief was rendered through the concrete casting of a photograph by artist Rut Blees Luxemburg, a photographic artist and a reader in Urban Aesthetics at London's Royal College of Art. The textured surface of the frieze changes according to ambient light, creating a perplexing effect in the image from day to night.
Realized through a unique collaboration between artist Blees Luxemburg, London-based Lynch Architects and developer Land Securities as a part of Kingsgate, Silver Forest completes the major urban regeneration project for London Victoria in its new home in a public square adjacent to Westminster City Hall.
Find out more about the interdisciplinary partnership formed for Silver Forest after the break.
Join ASF-UK for a one day symposium to explore how built environment practitioners can respond to emerging global challenges in cities. With highly interactive sessions throughout the day, we will test and discuss different skills, approaches and knowledge that can ‘challenge practice’ in order to design in uncertain global times. The day will be a great opportunity to expand your knowledge of working in this sector, to network with others in this field and a chance to discover ways in which to engage with ASF-UK. The event will end with a reflection by practitioners involved in innovative forms of practice in the UK and around the world.
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)’s Future Trends Survey for December 2015 showed a dip in UK architects’ confidence, reflecting the low number of new inquiries received by practices at the end of the year. The Future Trends workload index dropped substantially to +15 in December from +27 in November, showing a decrease in expected new projects. However, all regions in the UK, with the exception of Wales and the West (balance figure -3) and Scotland (balance figure -50), showed positive balance figures, with Scotland’s low numbers possibly related to the impact of oil price changes. The South of England was the most optimistic region with a balance figure of +30.
Zaha Hadid, who was named as the the first sole woman to be awarded the UK's highest honour for architects in her own right in 2015, received the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) 2016 Royal Gold Medal at a ceremony in London yesterday. Hadid, who was appointed a Dame of the British Empire in 2012, received the Pritzker Prize in 2004. Her practice also took both the 2010 and 2011 RIBA Stirling Prizes.
Stuttgart experimental architect Achim Menges has been commissioned to kickstart the V&A's first ever Engineering Season with a site specific, nature-inspired installation fabricated by robots. Complemented by Ove Arup's first major retrospective, Engineering the World: Ove Arup and the Philosophy of Total Design, the Elytra Filament Pavilion will be Menges' first public commission in the UK. He will work with Moritz Dörstelmann, structural engineer Jan Knippers and climate engineer Thomas Auer to complete the project.
"Elytra Filament Pavilion will explore the impact of emerging robotic technologies on architectural design, engineering and making," says the V&A. "Inspired by a lightweight construction principle found in nature, the fibrous structures of the forewing shells of flying beetles known as elytra, the Pavilion will be an undulating canopy of tightly-woven carbon fibre cells created using a novel robotic production process."
In his essay "Figures, Doors and Passages", the architectural historian Robin Evans described how "it is difficult to see in the conventional layout of a contemporary house anything but the crystallization of cold reason. Because of this," he asserted, "we are easily led into thinking that a commodity so transparently unexceptional must have been wrought directly from the stuff of basic human needs." His words, which highlight the passive approach of designers, developers and dwellers when it comes to the vast majority of British housing being built today, were first published in 1978 – two years before the Conservative government under Margaret Thatcher introduced the 1980 Housing Act.