Farrell’s Architecture Review: 60 Ways to Improve the UK

Farrell believes that planning needs to be more proactive: “You could buy a plot of land, get lucky, and have a Shard built in your back garden. The tallest building in Europe was never on anyone’s plan, yet it stands there today”. Image © Renzo Piano

After a year of gathering evidence and consultation, Sir Terry Farrell’s review of UK architecture has finally been released. The review, commissioned by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, includes 60 proposals to improve the quality of the UK‘s built environment, targeting a wide range of groups including education, planning, government and developers.

Vaizey has urged everyone involved in the construction industry to get behind the report, saying that it “needs to kick-start a national debate” in order to achieve its aims.

Read on for some of the recommendations from the report

RIBA Future Trends Survey Indicates An “All-Time High” for Workloads

Courtesy of

The latest Future Trends Survey, published by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), indicates an “all-time high” for architects’ workload with “confidence levels about future workloads continuing to rise.” The February report shows +41 in the Future Trends Workload Index, up from +35 in January, with the highest balance figures coming from (+54) and Scotland (+60). The optimistic report suggests that there “still appears to be significant spare capacity within the profession,” noting that many practices actually under-employed in the last month.

North West Cambridge Extension Proposals Enter Planning Phase

Masterplan. Image Courtesy of North West Cambridge

Earlier this year the University of Cambridge announced an ambitious new urban extension in the north west of the city in order to create a framework for a new district centered on a mixed academic and urban community. The development, planned by Aecom, has aspirations of achieving urban space that is well balanced, permanent and sustainable. Containing 1,500 homes for its key workers, accommodation for 2,000 postgraduate students, 1,500 homes for sale, 100,000 square metres of research facilities and a local centre with a primary school, community centre, health centre, supermarket, hotel and shops, proposals from Mecanoo and MUMA are now entering the planning phase. Future lots are expected to be filled by the likes of Stanton WilliamsAlison Brooks Architects and by Cottrell and Vermeulen working with Sarah Wigglesworth and AOC.

Lines Drawn: UK Architecture Students Network Discuss the Future of Architectural Education

Delegates discussing. Image © Vinesh Pomal / Zlatina Spasova

Lines Drawn, the latest gathering of student delegates by the Architecture Students Network (ASN), recently met at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) to discuss the future of architectural Seventy RIBA Part 1, 2 and 3 students (including those on their placement years) from across twenty two schools of architecture gathered together to address and unify their voice in calling for improvements to the current pedagogy of ’s architectural education to reflect a changing society.

The weekend conference provoked questions surrounding the merits and pitfalls of the Part 1, 2 and 3 British route to qualification, raising aspirations of a more flexible education system. Sparked by the latest directive from the European Union (EU), which seeks to “establish more uniformity across Europe by aligning the time it takes to qualify” and by making mutual recognition of the architect’s title easier between countries, the discussions centred around how architecture students’ opinions can be harnessed at this critical moment of change to have voices heard.

Continue reading for ArchDaily’s exclusive pre-coverage of the ASN’s report.

Call for Projects: London Festival of Architecture

The London Festival of Architecture will be taking place from June 1 to June 30. Now in its 10th year, the Festival is initiated by The Architecture Foundation, British Council, New London Architecture and RIBA London to celebrate as a global hub of architectural practice, discussion and debate.

Leading cultural institutions including the Barbican, Design Museum, National Trust, Royal Academy of Arts, Serpentine Gallery and Sir John Soane Museum will be presenting activities across the city. Now, the Festival is presenting a call for associated projects by independent practices, designers, artists and curators to form part of the Festival in 2014.

Participants need to respond the 2014 Festival’s theme: Capital. They will need to explore the dynamism of London, including ts architecture and open space. More information can be found here.

Contextualism: Dead or Alive?

Courtesy of

In a symposium to be held this week at the Manchester School of Architecture, Contextualism: Dead or Alive? will explore the importance of contextualism in contemporary architecture. Five key speakers will be featured, presenting papers discussing context both in its purest theoretical form and how it might be addressed in practice. From debating the significance of building traditions (Jonathan Foyle) to how Mecanoo, who recently completed the Library of Birmingham, have approached contextualism in the UK (Ernst ter Horst), the symposium will endeavor to uncover the ties between architecture and the wider urban realm.

Bennetts Associates Unveil Plans for Latest Development in London’s King’s Cross

Visualisation. Image Courtesy of Bennetts Associates

Bennetts Associates has revealed plans for the latest development in ’s King’s Cross. Their proposal for a sensitive heritage conversion to “breath new life into a disused Victorian building” will house a new supermarket and cookery school, as well as an and cultural space. As part of the ongoing transformation of one of London’s central districts which has recently seen the completion of John McAslan’s station concourse, Stanton William’s Central Saint Martins, and an office proposal from David Chipperfield, Bennetts Associates’ designs aim to reinvigorate the historic Midland Goods Shed.

Could London be Getting its Own Guggenheim Museum?

The Guggenheim New York, Bilbao and Abu Dhabi. Images (clockwise from top left) © Flickr CC User Erik Drost, © Flickr CC User RonG8888, and Courtesy of Gehry Partners. Image

As part of his strategy to solidify the “Olympic Legacy” of East London, Mayor Boris Johnson has recently been focusing on providing the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park with a little more diversity in its buildings, placing an emphasis on bringing cultural institutions alongside the sports buildings. Now, alongside the V&A’s plans for new galleries and University College ’s proposed design school and cultural centre, The Art Newspaper reports that Johnson is out to grab a headline attraction: London’s own Guggenheim.

Read on after the break for more

Winners of the 2014 Civic Trust Awards Announced

Aalborg Waterfront / C.F. Møller Architects. Image © Jørgen True

The Civic Trust Award scheme, established in 1959 to recognise “outstanding architecture, planning and design in the built environment”, has revealed their 2014 recipients. The thirty one projects, ranging from urban masterplans on the former 2012 Olympics site to a waterfront landscaping project in Aalborg, have all been recognised for their “positive contribution to the local communities that they serve.” See all of the recipients of the 2014 award here.

Designs Unveiled for London’s Natural History Museum Urban Redevelopment

Team 1. Image Courtesy of

Following the news last year that five teams had been shortlisted to redesign and reimagine the grounds of ’s iconic Natural History Museum (NHM), five anonymous concept images have been unveiled. The brief called for proposals to “reshape the Museum’s grounds and reinvigorate its public setting” with an aim to creating “an innovative exterior setting that matches Alfred Waterhouse’s Grade I listed building and the award-winning Darwin Centre for architectural excellence, whilst also improving access and engaging visitors.”

Read on to see the competing teams, including individual concept images from BIG, Stanton Williams and Feilden Clegg Bradley.

Milan Expo 2015: Eight Teams Shortlisted to Design UK Pavilion

Site, prior to construction

Eight multidisciplinary teams have been selected to move forward in the second stage of competition to design the Pavilion for the 2015 Milan Expo. Drawing inspiration from the theme “Grown in Britain: Shared Globally,” the teams will now envision proposals that showcase Britain’s contribution in research, innovation and entrepreneurship to the global challenges addressed by the overarching exposition theme, “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.” Presentations will commence mid-April and a winner will be announced in May. View the selected teams, after the break.

The Unpublishables: Showcasing Writing From Young Architects & Designers

Issue 2. Image Courtesy of The Unpublishables

The Unpublishables, an independent architectural fanzine based in the UK, seeks to offer a platform for young architects – as well as designers and makers – to publish their own writing. About to launch their second edition, the has provided an outlet for ideas of young people who have the commitment and vision to develop their own design philosophies, polemics and research outside of full-time or employment.

Exhibition: Agnese Sanvito – Absorb/reflect/scatter

National Theatre, . 1976 / Denys Lasdun / 6:10pm, January 4, 2014

Architectural photographer Agnese Sanvito will be exhibiting a selection from her portfolio at The Building Centre in London. Her works, which include photographs of buildings by Renzo Piano, Jean Nouvel, Santiago Calatrava, Wilkinson Eyre, and Sou Fujimoto, focuses on the ways color shapes our sense of buildings.

The exhibition will run from March 17 to April 26, 2014.

Title: Exhibition: – Absorb/reflect/scatter
Website: http://www.buildingcentre.co.uk/galleries/galleries_cafe.asp#Agnese
Organizers: The Building Centre
From: Mon, 17 Mar 2014
Until: Sat, 26 Apr 2014
Venue: The Bulding Centre
Address: 26 Store Street, London WC1E 7BT, UK

AOR Unveils Floating Platform for the London Wildlife Trust

Courtesy of The Finnish Institute in London / Architecture Foundation

The Finnish Institute in London and The Architecture Foundation have unveiled Viewpoint, a floating platform on Regent’s Canal in the centre of Camley Street Natural Park, London. Designed by Erkko Aarti, Arto Ollila and Mikki Ristola of Finnish practice AOR, the platform will be operated by the London Wildlife TrustThe permanent structure is intended to bring visitors to London’s most central nature reserve, connecting them with the wildlife of the park and the Regent’s Canal. In addition, it will also provide the park with an additional workshop space and learning facility, becoming “an architectural focal point of King’s Cross.”

Videos: Viewpoint / Finnish Architects

Designed by Helsinki-based practice AOR, Viewpoint is a peaceful respite floating on the canal in London’s Kings Cross. See how Erkko Aarti, Arto Ollila and Mikki Ristola explained the process and the relationship between the built and unbuilt in Kings Cross.

Siza, Souto de Moura, Kuma Reflect on Their ‘Sensing Spaces’ Exhibitions

As an accompaniment to their ongoing Sensing Spaces Exhibition in London, the Royal Academy of Arts has produced six wonderful films interviewing the architects involved in the exhibition, unearthing what motivates and inspires them as architects, and what the primary themes of their exhibition projects are.

The above features both Álvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura, who both designed their Sensing Spaces exhibits with the other in mind. Siza explains his preoccupation with the joints between the natural and the man-made through his Leça Swimming Pool complex, and the way the rock formations informed his interventions. He also introduces his one-time protégé Souto de Moura’s Braga stadium as expressing the same understanding of the natural and man-made.

See videos from the 5 other Sensing Spaces participants after the break

London Calling: The ‘Practical’ Architect

Thomas Heatherwick and Arup’s plans for a new, 367-meter long ‘Garden Bridge’ that will span the river from Temple to the Southbank (more renderings at http://www.archdaily.com/389848/thomas-heatherwick-designs-garden-bridge-in-london/). Image Courtesy of Arup

Recently the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne pledged £30 million towards Thomas Heatherwick’s Garden Bridge over the Thames. It was an easy offer to make towards a conspicuous piece of design by the author of the 2012 Olympic flame. Contrast this with the Secretary Michael Gove’s remarks about the contribution that our profession might make to schools: “We won’t be getting Richard Rogers to design your school. We won’t be getting any award-winning architects to design it, because no one in this room is here to make architects richer.”

Together, these indicate that our government does not understand our profession. Genius minds may be called upon to make exceptional contributions to a built environment that otherwise need not be exposed to such frivolity and impracticality. And yet, every day architects make practical decisions that lead to great buildings. It’s about time the politicians here in the UK and abroad listened to a very ‘practical’ profession.

Sir Terry Farrell on UK Architecture & the “Urbi-Cultural Revolution”

Beijing South Station / . Image © Fu Xing

In this intriguing and often insightful two-part interview with Section D, Monocle‘s weekly design radio show, Sir Terry Farrell discusses at length the findings of his review into UK architecture as well as his views on the current state of architecture in the UK and the world. Looking to the future of the profession, Farrell says he sees architects as one of the key contributors to the world’s social future: ”We live in what we’ve built, we’re an urban-building creature… I call it the urbi-cultural revolution.”

Read more about the interview, and listen to both parts of the interview, after the break