Four Post-War UK Buildings Given Heritage Status

The Spectrum Building / . Image © Richard Davies, Courtesy

Four post-war buildings, including the Spectrum Building by Norman Foster and Capel Manor House by Michael Manser, have been elevated to the List by the UK’s Architecture and Minister Ed Vaizey. Upon announcing the news, the Minister commented that in spite of England’s ”fine and wonderful built heritage it’s sometimes forgotten that we have many outstanding modern buildings too.” His listings show that “architecture in this country is very much alive and well in the modern world.”

Read more about the buildings after the break…

Joseph Rykwert Awarded 2014 Royal Gold Medal

recipient of the 2014 . Image © Pawel MazurI CC Krakow

Architectural critic, historian and writer Joseph Rykwert, 86, has been named as the recipient of the 2014 RIBA Royal Gold Medal, one of the world’s most prestigious architecture awards. Given in recognition of a lifetime’s work, the Royal Gold Medal is approved personally by the Queen and is presented to a person or group of people who have had a significant influence on the advancement of architecture.

Describing Rykwert’s recognition as “long overdue,” RIBA President Stephen Hodder stated: “Joseph’s writing and teaching are rare in that he can deliver the most profound thinking on architecture in an accessible way. All our lives are the richer for it.”

In response to selection, Joseph Rykwert stated:

Review: ‘Richard Rogers: Inside Out’ at the Royal Academy

Zip-Up House Concept drawing (1968) – courtesy of . Image © Richard and Su Rogers

“Architecture is too complex to be solved by any one person.”

Richard Rogers is an architect who understands the significance of collaboration. As a man with an intense social mind and a thirst for fairness in architectural and urban design, Rogers’ substantial portfolio of completed and proposed buildings is driven by the Athenian citizen’s oath of “I shall leave this city not less but more beautiful than I found it.”

In honor of his success, ’s Royal Academy (RA) is currently playing host to a vast retrospective of Richard Rogers’ work, from his collaborations with Norman Foster and Renzo Piano, to the large-scale projects that define Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) today. The RA’s extensive exhibition has been condensed into a series of motifs that have defined his architectural work, punctuated by memorabilia which offer personal insights into how Rogers’ career has been shaped by the people he’s worked with and the projects that he has worked on.

Continue after the break for a selection of highlights from the exhibition. 

20 Architects Design a Dolls’ House for KIDS

Inside Out House. Image © Coffey Architects

Inspired by the dolls’ house that Edwin Lutyens designed for The British Empire in 1922, twenty British practices are each designing a contemporary dolls’ house in aid of the disabled childrens’ charity KIDS. Each version will sit on a 750mm square plinth to be exhibited during this year’s London Design Festival (14th – 21st September, 2013) before being auctioned. Each design must contain “a unique feature to make life easier for a child who is disabled.”

Public Space Popping Up in London’s Suburbs

A Mobile town square designed for Cricklewood, by Studio Harto and Studio Kieren Jones. Image Courtesy of http://cricklewoodtownsquare.com/

Cricklewood, a North suburb devoid of public space, is finding a new lease of life through a series of pop-up interventions - including a mobile town square designed by Studio Hato and Studio Kieren Jones - put together by civic design agency Spacemakers. While the project might have a bit further to go before any benefits are truly felt by the local residents, the project is part of a wider scheme financed by the Mayor’s Outer London Fund which will hopefully lead to the rejuvenation of more of the capital’s suburbs. Read Liam O’Brien’s full article in The Independent here.

The Photon Project launches at the London Design Festival

Courtesy of The Building Centre

A large scale architectural installation, informative exhibition and free two day conference will take place at The Building Centre WC1 during the 2013 London Design Festival to launch a four year study into the effects of natural light.

A typical new home in the UK has an average of only 12% of the walls glazed. Natural light in the home and workplace can reduce energy costs and improve health and wellbeing, so why do we have so little natural light in our buildings?

The Photon Project is a major four-year scientific study to investigate the impact of natural light on biology and wellbeing. To launch the project a prototype fully-glazed ‘Photon Pod’ will be built in Central , complete with seating and landscaping. The installation and exhibition will be in place during the Design Festival (14 – 22 September). During this week the public are invited to experience ‘life under glass’ and take part in simple scientific tests, designed specifically for the event by Harvard University to test the effects of daylight on the human body.

Complete information after the break.

Critics React to Mecanoo’s Birmingham Library

© Christian Richters

With Birmingham’s new public opening last week, Mecanoo’s latest large-scale public building has received mixed reviews from critics in the . Check out the critical responses from Hugh Pearman, The Telegraph‘s Stephen Bayley, The Guardian‘s Oliver Wainwright, The Observer‘s Rowan Moore, and The Financial Times‘ Edwin Heathcote after the break…

London’s Largest “Living Wall” / Gary Grant

Courtesy of Green Roof Consultancy and Treebox

The Rubens at the Palace Hotel in Victoria, London, has unveiled the city’s largest “living wall” – a vertical landscape, composed of 16 tons of soil and 10,000 plants, designed to reduce urban flooding. Taking two months to construct and covering a 350 square foot area, the 21 meter high wall will beautify the cityscape year round with seasonal flowers such as strawberries, butter cups and winter geraniums.

Because of the lack of absorbent surfaces in the Victoria area of , the Victoria Business Improvement District (BID) decided to step in with the design of this incredible wall that combats urban flooding with special water storage tanks. Designed by  of Green Roof Consultancy, these tanks can store up to 10,000 liters of water that are then channeled back through the wall to nourish the plants. Not only will the wall do a great job of keeping the surrounding streets flood-free, it boosts the area’s green appeal and attracts wildlife into the dense urban environment.

RIBA Future Trends Survey Reveals Decrease in UK Architects’ Salaries

Courtesy of

The latest Future Trends Survey, published by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), shows a decrease of 3% in average earnings bringing the average in the UK to around £40,000. The largest fall in earnings is with sole principals, a quarter of whom are receiving less than £18,500 per annum. This is compared to principals in partnership who continue to average a of around £50,000.

According to the report, Architects earning the highest wages with an average salary of around £53,000 are working “in-house for private firms such as developers or other commercial groups.” Reported unemployment has fallen to 2%, which is lower than in recent years.

Stephen Hodder Inaugurated as 75th President of the RIBA

Stephen Hodder, the newly inaugurated President of RIBA. Image © Ed Tyler, www.edtyler.com

Following Angela Brady’s two year tenure as head of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Stephen Hodder MBE was officially inaugurated as the 75th President of the UK’s largest architectural body yesterday. Hodder, perhaps best known as the recipient of the first RIBA in 1996 for the Centenary Building (University of Salford, UK), is chairman of the award-winning practice Hodder + Partners in Manchester (UK).

Seven Architects, Seven Multi-Sensory Installations Planned for London’s RA

Concept image of environment by Li Xiaodong, commissioned by the Royal Academy of Arts, London, detail.Li Xiaodong

The Royal Academy of Arts’ (RA) in London will soon be transformed into a multi-sensory “architectural maze” with the construction of seven installations by seven world-famous architects for the exhibit, Sensing Space: Architecture Reimagined. Participants, handpicked by curators Kate Goodwin and Drue Heinz, include Alvaro Siza, , Pezo von Ellrichshausen and Kengo Kuma.

Five Teams Selected to Envision Future Development for London Thames

© Flickr User erg0

The Architecture Foundation, in collaboration with Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and the Royal Academy of Arts, has shortlisted five multidisciplinary, architect-led teams to envision future development along the Tidal in London. The competition, dubbed London As It Could Be Now: New Visions for the Thames, will challenged the teams to put forward new ideas for self-selected sites along the river that are relevant to changing social, economic, cultural and environmental conditions and concerns.

The shortlisted teams are:

Why Are So Many Women Leaving Architecture?

Lens House, / Alison Brooks Architects © Paul Riddle

Despite a rise in female architecture students, the amount of women in architecture continues drop in the UK. Though this is not the case in many parts of the world – as female architects reportedly outnumber the men in South America - the UK has yet to find a solution to equalize the numbers for professional women in architecture. Jane Duncan, founder of Jane Duncan Architects and equality and diversity champion, weighs in the issue by asking “Why are so many women leaving architecture, and how can we buck the trend?” here on The Guardian.

Venice Biennale 2014: FAT, Crimson & Owen Hatherley Selected to Curate British Pavilion

Museum of Copying, FAT’s at the Venice Biennale 2012. FAT is part of one of the teams competing to design the British Pavilion for the Venice Biennale 2014. Image © Nico Saieh

FAT Architecture, and Owen Hatherley have been selected to curate the British Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale next June. The chosen team will respond to Rem Koolhaas’ theme “Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014” with a project titled “A Clockwork Jerusalem.”

Vicky Richardson, British Council, said: ”We look forward to working with FAT, Crimson and Owen Hatherley on ‘A Clockwork Jerusalem’. The Selection Committee felt their approach was both challenging and poetic, and that their work will make an important contribution to understanding modernity in British architecture.”

Cambridge University Library Landscape Design Competition

University . Photo: Faoch via Flickr

The University of Cambridge Library, with the Department of Architecture, recently launched a landscape design competition to transform the space surrounding Cambridge University Library. Open to professionals and non-professionals alike, they are looking for bold submissions that reimagine the open spaces and environment of the iconic Giles Gilbert Scott building. A monumental presence both within the University and the city, entries to the competition will be judged on their innovative interpretation of the site, its context, use and history – as well as their ability to integrate contemporary ecological research. Entries should also promote new visibility for the Library and encourage people to think about the role of the site on the western edge of the city. The registration deadline is September 30, and the deadline for submissions is November 30. For more information, please visit here.

Do We Need Fewer Architects?

Courtesy of Wikipedia/ of Congress

In an article by the Architects’ Journal, Tony Fretton is quoted as saying there ought to be fewer architecture schools in the , with more difficult entry requirements and a higher failure rate. “There should be a shortage of architects in the ,” he says, “fewer bad architects, fewer good architects”.

Citing Switzerland and the Netherlands as countries which do well with just 2 or 3 major architecture schools, he believes that architectural education should be concentrated into just a few schools in order to give students more access to the best tutors.

Read more about Fretton’s proposal after the break

Five London Firms Shortlisted for Met Police HQ

Metropolitan Police Service Headquarters; Courtesy of RIBA Competitions

Five London-based firms - AHMMAllies & MorrisonFoster & PartnersKeith Williams Architects and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands - have been selected to compete for the “Scotland Yard” of the abandoned Curtis Green MPS building on the Victoria Embankment. As reported by BDOnline, the shortlisted firms will each propose a “landmark building for London” that will provide a “modern and efficient working environment” for the new Metropolitan Police Service Headquarters. The judging panel, spearheaded by architect Bill Taylor and RIBA Adviser Taylor Snell, will review the proposals in September. 

Chinese Developer Plans to Build Crystal Palace Replica in London

The Crystal Palace at Sydenham Hill, 1854. Photo by Philip Henry Delamotte © Wikimedia Commons

Shanghai-based developer ZhongRong Holdings is working with on an ambitious proposal to reconstruct Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace in . Originally built to house the Great Exhibition of 1851, the 80,000 square-meter cast iron and glass structure was relocated from Hyde Park to south-east in 1854 where it was ultimately destroyed by fire in 1936.