As reported in the Architects' Journal, Transport for London (TfL) – the authority in charge of the Garden Bridge programme, which was approved last year – have ordered a review into the procurement process leading up to Heatherwick's selection to design a new bridge spanning the Thames. Sir Peter Hendy, Commissioner for TfL, will "review of the overall process of procurement of the design contracts, the findings of which [will be published] in full." This statement follows the revelation that Heatherwick Studio’s estimated total price (which was wrongly redacted in response to a Freedom of Information request made by the AJ last February) "was far higher than its two fellow bidders in the 2013 invited concept design competition." Full information about the request is detailed here.
With this year's Serpentine Pavilion in London scheduled to open next week, the Serpentine Gallery has released construction images of SelgasCano's multi-colored plastic shelter. The images by NAARO show the double-skinned ETFE-coated structure taking shape, and give an impression of the spatial experience offered by the "secret corridors" which circumnavigate and provide access to the interior space.
When it was announced in 2012 that London's Robin Hood Gardens – Alison and Peter Smithson's world-famous Brutalist housing estate – was to be demolished, there was outrage among the architectural community. Since then, many have called for the profession to act in order to protect "one of Britain’s most important post-war housing projects," which led to a fresh bid to save the scheme in March of this year. Richard Rogers, Simon Smithson (a partner at RSHP and son of Alison and Peter Smithson), and academic Dirk van den Heuvel have now called upon members of the public to voice their concerns to the UK Ministry for Culture, Media and Sport, before the end of the week:
"Previous efforts in 2009 to have the building listed failed, but the case has now been re-opened and we understand that the new Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage will be reviewing the arguments at the end of this week [w/c 15th June 2015]."
The monograph is a popular platform for dissemination and debate in the art and design world, yet architectural monographs are often treated with suspicion – viewed more as a self-serving PR exercise. But do monographs actually have a more substantive role within the practice of architecture? This was the backdrop for a discussion entitled ‘Why a Monograph?’ held at Waterstones Piccadilly as part of this year’s London Festival of Architecture. The participants included Jay Merrick, architecture correspondent of The Independent; Simon Henley of Henley Halebrown Rorrison (HHbR); David Grandorge, architectural photographer and Senior Lecturer at London’s CASS; and Ros Diamond of Diamond Architects. The session was chaired by ArchDaily Editor James Taylor-Foster.
In an exclusive hour-long interview with British designer Thomas Heatherwick, Monocle's Andrew Tuck discusses building a business in the world of design and architecture, the process behind revamping the iconic red London bus, and the inspiration behind placing people – and plants – at the heart of the River Thames. Heatherwick leads London-based Heatherwick Studio, a multidisciplinary design practice who have recently completed a distillery in England and a learning hub in central Singapore, They are currently collaborating with BIG on the new Google Campus in San Francisco having been recently labelled as among the top ten most innovative architectural practices of 2015 by FastCompany.
Listen to the interview in full below:
For this edition of The Urbanist, Monocle 24's weekly "guide to making better cities," the team visited the annual congress of the Academy of Urbanism to discuss how happiness and wellbeing can be achieved on the urban level. In this show Andrew Tuck and his correspondents spoke to architects, planners, designers and urbanists in an attempt to ascertain what makes a 'social city' for 'social animals', and which metropolises from around the world offer lessons that we can learn from.
An exploration of "post-war design for play," The Brutalist Playground by Assemble and artist Simon Terrill has opened to the public at RIBA's Architecture Gallery. The immersive installation draws on a number of historic London estates - Churchill Gardens, Pimlico; the Brunel Estate, Paddington and the Brownfield Estate in Poplar - where playgrounds were once made from concrete and cast into sculptural forms to offer children an abstract landscape for play. Now deemed unsafe, these playgrounds no longer exist. Thus, The Brutalist Playground was envisaged to explore play, "the Brutalist way."
Images of the complete installation, after the break.
Steven Holl Architects (SHA) has broken ground on London's newest Maggie's Centre across from the large courtyard of St. Bartholomew’s (Barts) Hospital, the city's oldest hospital. The structure, a branching concrete frame lined with perforated bamboo and matte white glass, was inspired by its historic site, which also neighbors the St. Bartholomew the Great Church. It was envisioned as a "vessel within a vessel within a vessel" embellished with colored glass fragments that recall "neume notation" of Medieval music in the 13th century.
"The word neume originates from the Greek pnevma, which means 'vital force.' It suggests a 'breath of life' that fills oneself with inspiration like a stream of air, the blowing of the wind. The outer glass layer is organized in horizontal bands like a musical staff while the concrete structure branches like the hand," describes SHA.
A video of Steven Holl detailing the center's design, after the break.
Maggie's, the UK charity famed for its cancer care centers designed by world-renowned architects, has released a proposal for a new building designed by Heatherwick Studio. The new center is planned to be built on the grounds of the St James' University Hospital in Leeds, and was submitted for planning permission this morning.
The design consists of a series of stepped "planters" which aim to harness the therapeutic effect of plants for the benefit of the center's users. The building's public and private interior spaces are woven both in between these elements, and into the interior space of the planters themselves.
The Architects' Journal (AJ) have revealed the results of their fourth AJ120 award, an annual survey which ranks the largest and wealthiest practices based in the UK. Partially calculated on the number of ARB-registered (or equivalent) fully qualified architects in employment, the AJ have announced that London based Foster + Partners have topped the 2015 table. Describing the 48 year old practice as an "international powerhouse," employing 312 architects (out of their 1,066 employees worldwide), the survey also shows that "the £185million fees billed by the practice’s architects – up a huge £45 million from last year – made up 38% of the combined total of all of the companies in the Top 10." The survey saw BDP ranked second, while AHMM came in third.
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)’s Future Trends Survey for April 2015 shows widespread consistency in comparison to March, the workload index remaining around the same at +35 from +36 last month. The private housing sector remains strong, rising to +38, while the commercial sector forecast dropped slightly to +15. In addition, the public sector forecast saw a drop to +3 while the community sector forecast "experienced a significant decline" to -3 from +9 in March. However, workload forecast balance figures have remained high, and practices in London and the South of England are most confident about medium-term workloads. Small practices continue to be positive about the outlook for future workloads, while medium and large practices "continue to be even more optimistic about future growth."
A new pool has just opened in the heart of London's King's Cross. In the centre of one of the city's largest mixed-use development projects Ooze Architects, in collaboration with artist Marjetica Potrc, have developed and realised "the UK's first man-made fresh water public bathing pond" as a piece of and art. The oblong pool is forty metres long, built two metres above ground level, and is surrounded by "pioneer plants, wild flowers grasses, and bushes so that the environment evolves as the seasons change." It will be purified through "a natural closed-loop process, using wetland and submerged water plants to filter and sustain clean and clear water."
Belfast-based Hall McKnight are set to open a pop-up pavilion in London's King's Cross as part of the 2015 London Festival of Architecture. Located in Cubitt Square, the project forms part of the New Horizon’s initiative, supported by the Irish Architecture Foundation and ID15 (the year of Irish Design 2015). The structure, built from a collection of cut boards, "explores how the phenomenon of the city is assembled from individual pieces." The interior spaces will feature an installation of bricks reclaimed from a street of row houses in Belfast.
In an article for The Observer, Rowan Moore dives into a set of newly recreated rooms in London's Soane's Museum, a gallery dedicated to Sir John Soane's collection of architectural curiosities set within his eccentric former home. The experience, according to Moore, "of an internal world of unknown boundaries" has just become more extensive. Visitors will now be afforded the opportunity to visit a series of private spaces that give "a view into Soane’s bizarre mind," following extensive restoration work led by Julian Harrap.
Allies and Morrison, together with O’Donnell + Tuomey and Josep Camps/Olga Felip Arquitecturia, has been chosen ahead of David Chipperfield, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and three other teams to design London's Olympicopolis culture and education quarter. The major commission, which will be sited at the gateway to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park along the Stratford waterfront, will include new buildings for the Victoria and Albert Museum, Sadler’s Wells, the London College of Fashion, and potentially the Smithsonian Institute's first permanent museum outside the US.
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) have announced a call for entries for the 2015 President’s Awards for Research. For the first time this year will see the introduction of the President's Research Medal, which will be awarded to the best work judged from across all four categories of research. RIBA President, Stephen Hodder, has said that "this award will help to give recognition to the ever increasing importance of research to architecture and our industry."
Have you ever dreamed of dozing off as you sail along one of the UK's busiest water highways in an eclectic bright blue cottage replete with a lawn, wisteria over the door and an apple tree? For five days and nights, between the 18th and 23rd May, this dream will come to life in the shape of Nick and Steve Tidball's floating residence for Airbnb.
David Chipperfield Architects have revealed plans to connect the two Grade II*-listed London bases of London's Royal Academy of Arts - the 17th century Burlington House and the 19th century 6 Burlington Gardens - as part of a £50million ($80million) masterplan of "subtle interventions." According to the Architects' Journal, the two structures will be linked by a concrete bridge which will span fifteen metres across a service area and courtyard, and will see the creation of a number of new exhibition spaces, a lecture theatre, and a new space for the Royal Academy's world-renowned schools of art and architecture. A series of roof extensions and terraces will allow for new views over central London.