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Charles Rennie Mackintosh Exhibition To Open Next Month In London

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) have announced that a new exhibition exploring the Scottish designer and artist's celebrated, but difficult, career is to open next month in London. Mackintosh Architecture will be the first exhibition solely devoted to his architecture, offering the opportunity to view over sixty original drawings, watercolours and perspectives spanning the entirety of his working life. Seen together, they "reveal the evolution of his style from his early apprenticeship to his later projects as an individual architect and designer." Drawings on display will also show his collaboration with the accomplished artist and designer Margaret Macdonald, his wife.

RIBA Future Trends Survey Indicates Consistent Growth

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)’s Future Trends Survey for December 2014 has revealed little month-on-month change in indexes with the acknowledgement of a growing level of optimism. After falling back slightly in November 2014, the workload index has remained consistent at +29 (from +37 in November). Workload forecast balance figures have remained extremely positive, with practices reporting +50 in Northern Ireland and up to +75 in Scotland. Furthermore, practices of all sizes have been responding with "optimistic" workload prospects heading into the next quarter. The percentage of respondents reporting that they had personally been under-employed fell to 9% from 12%.

Video: Drone Tour Inside St. Peter's Seminary

Scotland's Grade-A listed Brutalist St. Peter's Seminary, abandoned for the past 25 years, is being rediscovered through drone technology. The building, which was originally designed by Gillespie, Kidd & Coia in 1966 and heavily inspired by the work of Le Corbusier ("with Scottish inspirations"), has recently been offered a new lease of life. London-based Avanti Architects, along with Glasgow-based  and NORD Architectsrecently released the first images of their plans to breathe new life into the iconic building. This filmed footage not only gives a sense of how dilapidated the structure is in its current state, but also hints at the exciting possible future it has as an arts venue.

Avery Associates Reveals Design for 270-Metre Tower Next to London's Cheesegrater

London practice Avery Associates Architects has unveiled their designs for No.1 Undershaft, a 270-metre tall office tower directly adjacent to Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners' Cheesegrater in the City of London's central skyscraper cluster. The building is currently planned to be the tallest in this cluster and the second-tallest in London (after the Shard) - notwithstanding an as-yet-unrevealed plan for the site of the scrapped Pinnacle project which could potentially supersede it.

Courtesy of Avery Associates Architects Courtesy of Avery Associates Architects Courtesy of Avery Associates Architects Courtesy of Avery Associates Architects

St. Peter's Seminary: 'La Tourette' With "Scottish Inspirations"

In an article for The Guardian, Rowan Moore explores the state and future of the Grade A listed Brutalist Seminary of St. Peter, "where the influence of Le Corbusier’s monastery of La Tourette combines with [...] Scottish inspirations." Although the building is often seen as wholly unique in the canon of religious buildings, it is still comprised of traditional elements - "cloister, chapel, refectory, cells - but rearranged over multiple levels in unexpected ways, alternately enclosing and opening up to its surroundings."

Sutherland Hussey Wins Competition to Design Sessay Community Hub

© Sutherland Hussey Architects, courtesy of RIBA
© Sutherland Hussey Architects, courtesy of RIBA

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced Sutherland Hussey Architects and Gross Max Landscape Architects as winners of a competition to design a new community hub for Sessay Village in North Yorkshire. The proposal, which jury chair Robin Snell believed to have “best expressed the client vision,” aims to become a well-used public destination that properly serves more than 20 local organizations, including a primary school, cricket club and the Sessay First Responders.

The narrow, single-story pavilion will stretch between two circular sports fields, connecting it’s inner halls directly to the outdoors. Continue after the break for more images of the project. 

© Sutherland Hussey Architects, courtesy of RIBA © Sutherland Hussey Architects, courtesy of RIBA © Sutherland Hussey Architects, courtesy of RIBA © Sutherland Hussey Architects, courtesy of RIBA

Call For Entries: RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship 2015

The 2015 RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship has launched and is inviting applications from schools of architecture around the world. A £6,000 grant will be awarded to one student by a panel of judges which will include Lord Foster and the current President of the , Stephen Hodder. First established in 2006, the scholarship is now in its eighth year and is designed to fund international research on a topic related to the survival of our towns and cities in a location of the student’s choice.

Five Teams Shortlisted to Masterplan UCL’s New Campus in London’s Olympicopolis

Five consortiums have been shortlisted to envision the University College London’s (UCL) new 125,000-square-meter campus on a key section of London’s Olympicopolis. Planned for the site’s cultural and educational district, nearby the future homes of Victoria & Albert Museum, University of the Arts London and Sadler’s Wells, the campus’ first phase will include the university’s first School of Design, a “Museum of the Future,” and the UCL Center for Experimental Engineering. 

The complete shortlist, including Aecom, Gehl Architects and Stanton Williams, after the break.

Five Practices Shortlisted To Restore Mackintosh's Glasgow School Of Art

Five practices are the running to restore Charles Rennie Mackintosh's celebrated school of art in Glasgow. UK based John McAslan + Partners (who restored Mackintosh's last major commission), Scottish practice Page \ Park, and London and Hong-Kong based architects Purcell are all in the frame to lead the restoration of the Mackintosh Building amid a debate over how best to approach the rebuilding of the library and the areas of the building that were devastated by fire in May of last year. The selection of Avanti Architects and LDN Architects complete the rostra.

2015 London Festival Of Architecture To Explore 'Work In Progress'

It has been revealed that the theme for the 2015 London Festival of Architecture (LFA) will centre around 'Work In Progress'. The festival, which is comprised of a series of events in and around the UK capital, seeks to "highlight the key role architecture plays in social, urban and cultural development." The annual celebration, which will run between the 1st and 30th June, will be jointly delivered by the Architecture Foundation, the British Council, New London Architecture, and the RIBA's London branch. Last year's 10th anniversary festival saw over 200 events ranging from walking tours and cycle rides, to exhibitions, talks, debates and films all addressing the theme of 'Capital'.

Demolition Begins On John Madin's Brutalist Former Library in Birmingham

Work has begun on the demolition of the UK city of Birmingham's former Central Library, designed by home-grown Brutalist architect John Madin. The move by Birmingham Council to not retain the structure of the library, in spite of ideas and petitions put forward by numerous public groups (including one titled Keep The Ziggurat), has been widely met with disappointment among the architectural community. The BBC recently compiled some of the most interesting ideas for reuse which included, among others, transforming the concrete structure into a new English Parliament, an international trade centre, and an enormous space for rock climbing.

Madin, who passed away in 2012, had at least three of his major Modernist projects demolished during his lifetime. His design for Birmingham Library had been met with criticism from the likes of the city's Director of Planning and Regeneration of the time who described it as a "concrete monstrosity." Prince Charles famously described it as "looking more like a place for burning books than keeping them."

See photographs of the former library under construction and in use after the break.

View of the former lending library Interior perspective view of the proposed library (date unknown) John Madin's Library under construction (1971) Aerial view of the completed former library

When Does A Restoration Become A Replica?

Following the unfortunate series of events that saw the Glasgow School of Art's (GSA) iconic Mackintosh Library devastated in a fire in May of last year, a leading Scottish architect has stated that he is "seriously against the idea of remaking the library" as a replica of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's original acclaimed design. Talking to the Scottish Herald, Professor Alan Dunlop has stated that "there is actually no way you can replace it as it was [as] there was 100 years of age and patina that you would have to replicate." Furthermore, he believes that it would not be something that "Mackintosh would do," citing the expansion of "his work in the years between each part of the Mackintosh Building being built [in 1899 and 1909]" as justification. It is his feeling that "the former library had essentially become a museum [and] not a viable working room for students and staff."

Four Shortlisted for Sessay Sports Pavilion

Sutherland Hussey, Faed Brown Architects, Daykin Marshall Studio, and Gibson Thornley Architects have been announced as finalists in the RIBA-backed competition for a new community hub and sports pavilion for the Sessay Cricket Club in North Yorkshire. The four shortlisted competitors, selected from over 80 entrants, will be reviewed by a judging panel on January 8. A winning team is expected to be announced shortly after. 

Herzog & de Meuron Considered for London’s Chelsea FC Stadium Expansion

Herzog & de Meuron is said to be collaborating with Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands to explore options for expanding the Chelsea Football Club’s Stamford Bridge home stadium in west London. According to a report by the Architects’ Journal, news of the possible expansion first broke last June, after considerations of relocating the stadium were heavily criticized by the public.

The stadium, originally designed by Scottish architect Archibald Leitch and built in 1876, has already undergone several renovations. Chelsea FC hopes to increase its capacity from 41,837 to 60,000, as well as provide a new decking over the railway line on the east and north sides of the building. 

More from Chelsea FC regarding the expansion, after the break.

Oliver Wainwright's 2015 Wish List for British Cities

In the UK, urban issues are starting to see something of a renaissance, with problems such as the nation's housing shortage increasingly being subjected to scrutiny in ever more public arenas - in fact earlier this year housing overtook transport as the biggest concern among London voters. All of this means that 2015 will be "a golden opportunity to fix some of the worst city problems," according to the Guardian Cities, who have asked their architecture critic Oliver Wainwright to offer up a wishlist of positive changes that could benefit the nation's urban centres. From councils building more council housing to a tax on empty homes, Wainwright's four-point list offers straightforward policy advice that could truly transform the lives of British urbanites - and perhaps most promisingly, in three of these cases he explains how there are nascent movements already being made to bring his recommendations to fruition. You can read the full article here.

Prince Charles' 10 "Geometric Principles" for Architecture Cause a Stir in the UK

Last weekend, the Architectural Review published an article by the Prince of Wales in which he outlined his stance on architecture, reiterating his belief that a return to traditional design principles is necessary to enable sustainable urban growth that meets human needs. In the 2,000 word essay, Prince Charles argues that "we face the terrifying prospect by 2050 of another three billion people on this planet needing to be housed," adding that rather than "wanting to turn the clock back to some Golden Age" as he is often accused, he is focused on the needs of the future. At the conclusion of his article, he outlines ten principles for architecture which meet the requirements of his vision.

As is often the case with Prince Charles' pronouncements on architecture, the article has prompted a strong reaction from members of the profession, with responses ranging from Robert Sakula saying "if more people cared as much as he does we would have a better architectural culture," to the response of Birmingham City University's Alister Scott, who said "there is clear evidence of elitism and his lack of empathy with the problems facing his peasantry."

Read on after the break for more on the Prince's article and the reaction from architects

UK Housing Review Panel "Needs To Be More Balanced," Admits Terry Farrell

Last week the UK Government appointed a new housing design panel, intended to "ensure that new homes are not only lower-cost but also high-quality and well-designed." The panel will be led by Terry Farrell, classical architect Quinlan Terry and aesthetics philosopher Roger Scruton, as well as representatives from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), the UK Design Council and lobby group Create Streets. However, the profession was quick to criticize the selection of the three lead members of the panel.

RIBA To Open Chapter In India

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) have announced that they will open a chapter in India in 2015 in order to offer "enhanced membership support, networking opportunities and a forum for local activities and CPD." It will also allow the RIBA to work "collaboratively with the Indian Institute for Architects (IIA) for the enhancement of the profession." The launch of this branch of the institute follows the opening of chapters in the USA, Hong Kong and the Gulf in recent years. According to Chloe Sadler, RIBA Head of International Chapters, the RIBA currently has "just under 100 members in India who are working tirelessly to uphold the principles of the [institute] and share the importance of good design." "This new Chapter will cement the RIBA’s commitment to support our members in India through knowledge exchange and the celebration of architecture."