2014 RIBA London Awards

© Hufton+Crow

The winners of the 2014 RIBA London Awards were announced in a ceremony last night. The awards recognize the RIBA London Architect of the year and 2014 RIBA Emerging Architect of the Year (Haworth Tompkins and RCKa, respectively) as well as a host of project awards which join other regional awards to make up the longlist for the 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize.

Among the winners are Zaha Hadid‘s Aquatics Centre, which becomes the final Olympics project to shoot for the now that its seating wings have been removed; the Shard; the renovation of the Tate Britain by Caruso St John; and the transformation of King’s Cross by John McAslan + Partners. Read on after the break for a full list of winners.

Maggie’s Centre Cardiff Receives Planning Permission

Courtesy of ’s

A design by Dow Jones Architects for a new Maggie’s Centre in Wales has received planning permission. The centre will enhance the existing cancer care facilities at Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff which provides support across South-Eastern Wales. The building sits in gardens designed by RHS Gold Medallist Cleve West, and has an intimate relationship with the surrounding landscape, with rooms that open onto woodland gardens.

Read more about the design after the break

Liverpool Becomes Latest City With High Line Plans

The Churchill Flyover in Liverpool. Image © Flickr CC User Arthur John Picton

Thanks to a group called Friends of the Flyover, Liverpool has become the latest city with aspirations to build its own High Line-style elevated parkway. The group have raised over £40,000 on the civic crowdfunding website Spacehive to conduct a feasibility study on the elevated Churchill Flyover, with the aim of creating a park, events space and cycle route. Liverpool Council currently has plans to demolish the flyover at a cost of £4 million – however they are said to be open to the proposal by Friends of the Flyover, who hope to show that they can deliver a better solution for around half the cost. You can read the full story on the Independent.

RIBA Finds Architects Rely Too Much on Single Sector

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The RIBA has found that many UK practices rely too heavily on a single sector, or even a single client, putting them at risk should work in that sector suddenly dry up. These statistics are among the findings of the RIBA’s annual Business Benchmarking Survey, the only mandatory survey of all chartered practices in the .

The benchmarking survey estimates that a maximum of 40% of a practice’s income can safely come from a single sector, but it found that 60% of practices with 20-50 staff and 54% of practices with over 50 staff failed to meet this rule of thumb. Furthermore the survey found that 90% of practices with fewer than 20 staff relied on just a single client for over 40% of their income.

Read on after the break for more results of the RIBA Business Benchmarking Survey

RIBA’s Future Trends Survey Reveals Small Drop in March

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The Royal Institute of British Architects‘ (RIBA) latest Future Trends Survey indicates a small drop from February’s index, “down to +35 from its all-time high of +41.” Despite this, “confidence levels about an improvement in future workloads for architects remain very solid.” All types of practice size, ranging from those with fewer than 10 employees to those with over 50 staff, are “reporting positive balance figures.” The strongest future workload forecasts came from Scotland and the North of England, suggesting that “the recovery in confidence levels is now widespread across the UK and has spread beyond and the South East.”

Foster + Partners Submit Plans for One of Britain’s Tallest Towers

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Foster + Partners has submitted plans for what would be the tallest residential tower in the . The “world-class development” includes a 73- and 36-story tower that would add more than 900 homes and 6,000 square meters of public space to the Isle of Dogs in east London.

“We will provide much-needed new homes, including new affordable homes, over an acre of new and enhanced public open space, a re-activated waterfront on to South Dock and the Millwall Cutting, as well as space for retail, bars and restaurants,” Berkeley Homes regional managing director Harry Lewis. “This is a rare opportunity to deliver such significant, high-quality public realm in Canary Wharf.”

Níall McLaughlin Chosen for Redevelopment of London’s Natural History Museum

Courtesy of MRC/Picture Plane

British practice Níall McLaughlin Architects together with Kim Wilkie have been unanimously selected as the winners of the competition to reimagine the external grounds of London’s Natural History Museum. The competition, which attracted proposals from shortlisted teams such as BIG (), Stanton Williams Architects, and Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, called for entries 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 whilst also improving access and engaging visitors.”

Happy Birthday James Stirling

Portrait of James Stirling. Ray Williams, photographer.. Image © Canadian Centre for Architecture

On what would have been his birthday today, we celebrate and look back on British architect and Pritzker Laureate Sir James Stirling, who died aged 66 in 1992. Stirling, who grew up in Liverpool, one of the two industrial powerhouses of the British North West, began his career subverting the compositional and theoretical ideas behind the first Modern Movement. Citing a wide-range of influences – from Colin Rowe, a forefather of Contextualism, to Le Corbusier, from architects of the Italian Renaissance to the Russian Constructivist movement – Stirling forged a unique set of architectural beliefs that manifest themselves in his works. Indeed, his architecture, commonly described as “non-comformist”, consistently caused annoyance in conventional circles.

According to Rowan Moore, Stirling also “designed some of the most notoriously malfunctioning buildings of modern time.”  Yet, for all the “veiled accusations of incompetence”, as Reyner Banham put it, Stirling produced a selection of the world’s most interesting and groundbreaking buildings. Notably, the Royal Institute of British Architects’ highest award, the Stirling Prize, was named after him in 1996.

Exhibition: Louis Kahn / The Power of Architecture

The American architect Louis Kahn (1901-1974) is regarded as one of the great master builders of the Twentieth Century. Kahn created buildings of monumental beauty with powerful universal symbolism.

This exhibition encompasses an unprecedented and diverse range of architectural models, original drawings, travel sketches, photographs and films. Highlights of the exhibition include a four-metre-high model of the spectacular City Tower designed for Philadelphia (1952-57), as well as previously unseen film footage shot by Kahn’s son Nathaniel Kahn, director of the film ‘My Architect’.

Title: Exhibition: Louis Kahn / The Power of Architecture
Website: http://designmuseum.org/exhibitions/2014/louis-kahn
Organizers: Design Museum
From: Wed, 09 Jul 2014 
Until: Sun, 12 Oct 2014 
Venue:
Address: Shad Thames, London SE1,

Applications Now Open for ManTownHuman’s Summer School

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Building on the success of their first Winter school in 2010, ManTownHuman’s “Critical Subjects” school returns this summer. The week-long event that will serve as a platform to debate vital architectural questions as diverse as “what is ‘nature’?”; “whatever happened to the avant garde?”; and “what is architecture for?” Applications are currently open – 30 of the keenest architecture students from the UK and beyond will be chosen for their critical and innovative thought.

The school will visit a different venue each day, with hosts including Zaha Hadid Architects, Arup Associates and The Architectural Review. In a series of lectures, debates and design challenges, students will be expected to explore these topics in greater depth than is usually possible in architecture school, challenging the method of received wisdom that is increasingly taking hold in education, as explained by event organizer Alastair Donald in his article for The Architectural Review.

Applications are open until May 7th, with the event taking place between July 13th-19th. For more information and to apply, visit the event’s webpage here.

Title: Critical Subjects: A ManTownHuman Summer School
Website: http://www.mantownhuman.org/
Organizers: ManTownHuman
From: Sun, 13 Jul 2014 17:00
Until: Sat, 19 Jul 2014 18:00
Venue: Multiple venues in

Milan Expo 2015: Shortlisted Designs Revealed for UK Pavilion

Team 2. Image Courtesy of UKTI

Details have been released on the eight proposals competing to serve as the UK Pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo. Each design draws inspiration from the theme “Grown in Britain: Shared Globally,” which is intended to showcase Britain’s contribution in research, innovation and entrepreneurship to the global food challenges. 

Presented anonymously, the proposals will be reviewed by an esteemed jury before a winner is announced in May. 

Check out all the innovative proposals, after the break…

RIBA’s 2014 Regional Award Winners Announced

Library of Birmingham / Mecanoo. Image © Christian Richters

has announced the first round of Regional Award winners, all of which will be considered for the RIBA national awards. From the list, Mecanoo’s Library of Birmingham takes center stage, as the artisan-inspired structure received a number of , including the West Midlands Building of the Year and Emerging Architect. Check out the complete list, after the break…

Norman Foster Wins Planning for Manchester Maggie’s Centre

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UPDATE: Foster + Partners have been granted planning permission for The Chirstie. The new Centre is due to open in 2016.

Norman Foster has applied for planning permission for a new ’s Cancer Centre in his hometown of Manchester. Planned to be built at The Christie, one of Europe’s leading cancer centres and the largest single-site centre in Europe, the new Centre intends to “provide free practical, emotional and social support for anyone living with cancer as well as their family and friends.”

“I believe in the power of architecture to lift the spirits and help in the process of therapy,” Foster explains. “Within the Centre, there is a variety of spaces – visitors can gather around a big kitchen table, find a peaceful place to think or they can work with their hands in the greenhouse. Throughout, there is a focus on natural light and contact with the gardens. The timber frame, with its planted lattice helps to dissolve the architecture into the surrounding greenery.”

Buy a Piece of the Royal Academy’s Sensing Spaces Exhibition

Eduardo Souto de Moura’s Square Arch. Image © James Taylor-Foster

London’s Royal Academy of Arts (RA) is selling off parts of their blockbuster architectural exhibition, Sensing Spaces. The Great Architecture Fair will see the seven practices behind the enormous installations select objects and materials from the exhibition to be repurposed as beautiful, unique items available to buy. In addition to these, the RA are offering members of the public the chance to experience the spaces out-of-hours “to give you your own exclusive moment in the exhibition.” 

Ranging from a top step from Chilean architects Mauricio Pezo and Sofia von Ellrichshausen’s gargantuan installation for £450, to a bag of pebbles (plus certificate) from Li Xiaodong’s Zen Garden for £10, slices of one of the world’s most accessible architecture exhibitions in recent years are up for grabs.

International Symposium for Social and Humanitarian Architecture

Next Month, the Mackintosh School of Architecture (The School of Art) will host its first International Symposium for Social and Humanitarian Architecture, ‘Clean Conscience Dirty Hands’, in the new Reid Building by Steven Holl Architects. The symposium focuses on the limited resources intrinsic to the provision of social and humanitarian architecture and the impact of such scarcity on the ability of organisations to ‘harness’ the learning from each built project through documentation, discussion and dissemination. As such, it seeks to provide both a locus and a forum for like-minded organisations engaged in social and humanitarian building projects, in order to capture and disseminate good practice in both a UK-based and overseas context.

International and award-winning speakers representing a multitude of organisations, including MASS Design Group, TYIN Tegnestue, Architecture for Humanity, London Metropolitan University, Peter Rich Architects and Orkidstudio will gather to discuss a range of ideas relating to one of the three topics broadly covered by the symposium:

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

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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.