The scaffolding has come down, revealing the first glimpse of FAT‘s extraordinary A House For Essex. Designed in collaboration with British ceramic artist Grayson Perry and commissioned by Alain de Botton’s alternative holiday rental project Living Architecture, the house will be the final built work that FAT complete. The bejewelled two bedroom dwelling, topped with a shimmering golden copper alloy roof and clad in glinting green and white tiles, sits in the rolling landscape of Essex – Charles Holland (FAT) and Perry’s home county. Adorned with sculptures integrated into a wider narrative that spatially recounts the life of a fictional character called Julie, the barn-like shape, bold colours and decoration has not simply garnered widespread attention but has also captured people’s curiosity.
Find out more about the project in an interview with the architect after the break.
One of the latest installations at London’s Serpentine Gallery, where Smiljan Radic recently unveiled an ethereal pavilion, is Marina Abramović’s performance installation entitled 512 Hours. Creating what has been described as “the simplest of settings” in one of the gallery’s large spaces, the artwork employs Abramović’s most frequently used material: herself. Coupled with the audience and a selection of common objects, the constantly changing sequence of events on display is the very first live installation by the artist displayed in the UK. Upon arrival, visitors are asked leave their baggage (including mobile phones, cameras and any other electronic equipment) behind in order to enter the exhibition. Find out more about what you can expect from it here.
The Cineroleum, a self-initiated project built in 2010 by London based practice Assemble Studio, transformed a derelict petrol station into a “hand-built” cinema on one of capital’s busiest roads. Aimed at raising awareness to the wider potential for reusing the 4,000 empty petrol stations across the UK for public use, the adapted structure on Clerkenwell Road was ”enclosed by an ornate curtain” strung from the “roof of the petrol station’s forecourt. Described as an “improvisation of the decadent interiors that greeted audiences during cinema’s golden age,” classic infusions of cinematic iconography were integrated into a space built from only cheap, reclaimed or donated materials.
According to Will Doig of NextCity, world renowned contemporary artist Damien Hirst has received planning permission to build a town from scratch on the British coastline. Working alongside Rundell Associates the project, which has been dubbed “Hirst-on-Sea” near the town of Ilfracombe, will consist of 75 affordable homes built over the next ten to fifteen years. Most famous for his 2007 diamond-studded skull entitled For the Love of God and, more ubiquitously, glass cases containing sharks and cows preserved in formaldehyde, Doig wonders that, “given Hirst’s history, it’s hard to imagine he’s not trying to make some sort of statement.” Time will tell as to what that might be.
Faith!, the latest ideas-based challenge organised by Combo Competitions, asked participants to design a place of worship in London. In spite of the beguiling simplicity of the title, coupled with a typically open brief, the placed winners and three honourable mentions exhibit a diverse, exciting collection of conceptual drawings and visuals. With an interesting balance of playful interpretations and more grounded proposals, all start to address relevant socio-political issues – such as the mutual acceptance and peaceful co-existence of different religions – in some way. The competition asked participants first and foremost to seek to merge two concepts: religion and knowledge.
The House of Lords has announced that the proposal to appoint a ‘Chief Architect’ in the UK, one of the major recommendations of this year’s report by Terry Farrell, will be discussed by the UK’s minister for architecture Ed Vaizey and Housing and Planning minister Brandon Lewis. The proposal was among 60 recommendations made by the Farrell Review at the end of March. Other proposals due to be discussed by ministers are a the idea of establishing a Place Leadership Council and design review panels for infrastructure projects. More after the break…
MagMag, a student-edited compendium of essays, projects and ideas from Glasgow’s Mackintosh School of Architecture, is now in its 39th edition. Following on from what has so far been a momentous year for the Mac, in which they’ve seen Steven Holl Architects’ new Seona Reid Building formally open and parts of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s art school (along with a great deal of student work) devastated in a fire, MacMag39 is a celebration of the spirit of a school which is faced with a challenging question: how do they introduce and then reconcile the new alongside the existing against the backdrop of an academically rich, diverse and successful learning environment?
The Maggie’s cancer charity has announced Thomas Heatherwick as the latest high-profile designer who will contribute to the Maggie’s Centre program, with a site at the new Bexley Wing of St James’s University Hospital in Leeds. The new centre will be the first Maggie’s in Yorkshire, with Heatherwick joining the likes of Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry and Steven Holl in the list of Maggie’s Centre designers.
More on the appointment after the break
7N Architects have revealed their designs for the 8.2 acre Fountainbridge site, one of the largest city centre developments in Edinburgh, where they plan 350 homes, a range of workspaces, a 130 room hotel, canalside retail and café space and two arts buildings. The intention for the former industrial zone is to offer “enhanced canalside features, open space and paths for both pedestrian and cycle use.”
More on the proposal after the break
As part of the 2014 London Festival of Architecture, teams of architects from the four of the most recent Stirling Prize winning British practices were challenged with creating the most imaginative piece of a city – out of LEGO. Each team began with a carefully laid out square on the floor of the largest gallery of the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, at which point they were given just one hour and 45 minutes to create an urban masterpiece out of blocks. Each group of architects worked alongside students from the Royal Academy’s attRAct programme, which offers A-level art students the chance to engage with art and architecture. An esteemed panel of judges ultimately selected the team from Zaha Hadid Architects as victorious, who “considered London on a huge scale and used curving buildings of different typologies which echoed the shape of the Thames.”
Read more about the brief and the other participating entries after the break.
The results of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Future Trends Survey for June show that the Workload Index among UK practices increased slightly to +34 (from +33 in May) with confidence levels amongst RIBA practices about the level of future workloads remaining “very strong and widespread across the whole of the UK”. Whereas last month’s survey showed Wales and the West with the brightest outlook, this month’s survey saw Scotland top the index with a balance figure of +50, the East Midlands and East Anglia tailing closely behind with a figure of +48. Workload forecasts from practices of all sizes are optimistically reporting positive balance figures.
In an article for London’s Royal Academy of Arts Magazine entitled Plane Sailing, Zaha Hadid discusses the influence of Russian Suprematist painter Kazimir Malevich on her own design work. In Hadid’s early work, such as The Peak Blue Slabs (1982/83), the visual connections to Malevich’s strict, regular shapes and lines are evident.
Jane Duncan, an Architect based in the English county of Buckinghamshire, has been elected as the 76th President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Taking over the reigns from current President Stephen Hodder in September 2015, Duncan will become only the third female President after beating fellow candidate Oliver Richards (by a majority of 52% of the vote) to the institute’s highest position. According to the Architects’ Journal, only 16.7% of RIBA members voted in the election.
Following the recent announcement of Aedas’ demerger into two separate companies - one retaining the Aedas name and the other now known as AHR - we spoke to Keith Griffiths, Chairman of Aedas’ global board and a practicing architect for close to three decades. The company, which was recently ranked by the Architects’ Journal as the 5th largest and most influential practice in the world, have now moved their head office to London’s Chandos Place and are championing a new approach to urban regeneration in the UK’s capital. Alongside discussing how an international practice of Aedas’ scale successfully operates, Griffiths offered his insight into how the future looks for European cities based on a tried and tested Asian model of densification.
To find out how Aedas approach sustainability in flourishing Asian markets, as well as the significance of the ‘urban hub’ typology for London’s metropolitan future, read the interview in full after the break.
In an article for The Guardian Richard Rogers questions why, with space still left in urban areas, we should build in the countryside? Lord Rogers, no stranger to political activism, chaired the UK’s Urban Task Force in the 1990s, culminating in his report Towards an Urban Renaissance. Now, over fifteen years later, his plea for denser, better designed urban environments has been rekindled as he argues that: “We can’t go on like this. The housing shortage threatens both the economy and our quality of life.” Laying out a clear argument reinforced by his forty years of experience as an architect, you can read his article in full here.
In a recent article for The Telegraph Jonathan Ruffer, a hedge fund manager turned campaigner for architectural heritage, discusses the significance of historic buildings in a time when they are “increasingly having to justify itself in the cold light of cost cuts.” The notion of architectural “heritage” covers not only castles and stately homes but increasingly post-war and early contemporary structures. Speaking from a financier’s point of view, Ruffler examines the “gulf” between public and private funding for restorative architectural schemes alongside the difficulty of mobilising large bodies to activate change. Arguing that “heritage has the power to change lives,” the need for people to engage with their built heritage is more important than ever. Read the article in full here.
ECOWEEK is a non-governmental NGO with the mission to raise awareness on environmental issues and Climate Change and to promote the principles of sustainability. ECOWEEK has been organizing conferences and workshops across Europe that inspire and empower young architects to be active designers for the benefit of their communities.
Since 2005 ECOWEEK has hosted keynote lectures by leading professionals and thinkers including award-winning architects, such as Shigeru Ban, Ken Yeang, Bjarke Ingels, Francis Kere, Francoise-Helene Jourda, Michael Sorkin and landscape architect Julie Bargmann.
The ECOWEEK International Conference & Sustainable Design Workshops is scheduled to take place in London in September 14-21, 2014. The event is expected to attract young architects, landscape architects, designers and architectural students from the UK and abroad.
Jason Lamb, a recent graduate from London’s Bartlett School of Architecture, has developed a project which centres around the legacy of hydraulic fracturing in the British coastal city of Blackpool. The theoretical thesis, which employs the possibility of Chinese investment prompting the transitory integration of hydraulic fracturing within the city for the exploitation of shale gas, features a number of interesting explanatory illustrations.