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.

The Gherkin Receives CTBUH’s Inaugural 10 Year Award

© Nigel Young

Norman Foster’s Swiss Re Headquarters, a.k.a. “The Gherkin,” has been selected as the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat’s (CTBUH) first 10 Year Award recipient. The uniquely-shaped skyscraper, as described by CTBUH, “cleared the way for a new generation of tall buildings in and beyond. Ten years on, its tapering form and diagonal bracing structure afford numerous benefits: programmatic flexibility, naturally ventilated internal social spaces that provide user comfort while reducing energy demand, and ample, protected public space at the ground level.”

RIBA Shortlist for Stirling Prize Announced

UPDATED: Out of 52 exemplars of UK architecture, RIBA has chosen the six buildings that will compete for the prestigious RIBA Stirling prize (awarded to the building that makes the greatest contribution to British architecture that year). See the six contenders, including a video of each, after the break…

Critical Round-Up: Reactions to the Stirling Prize Shortlist

Most critics agree that this year’s shortlist for the Stirling Prize is more “modest” than in past years – which is not to say that they didn’t have plenty to say on ’s selection. Check out the critical responses from The Financial Times Edwin Heathcoate, The Guardian’s Oliver Wainwright and The Independent’s Jay Merrick, after the break…

Two Teams Shortlisted for 2014 British Pavilion in Venice

Museum of Copying, FAT’s exhibition 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

BD Online reports that the British Council has shortlisted two teams who will compete for the honor of curating the British Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. With Rem Koolhaas at the helm of this year’s Biennale (June 7 – November 23), the selected theme will be: ‘Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014.’

The two teams facing off are: architect David Knight, The Guardian architecture critic Oliver Wainwright, and planner Finn Williams VS. the architects of FAT, architectural historians Crimson and writer Owen Hatherley.

The final pair were chosen from a longlist of four, including a team led by DSDHA and another made up of Graham Bizley of Prewett Bizley Architects and Rob Gregory, programme manager at the Architecture Centre. The final winner will be announced in august.

Story via BD Online.

Bristol Hospital Competition Finalists

In the international competition to improve the facade of one of ’s most hated buildings, three finalists were just announced which will be narrowed down to an single winner later this summer. The challenge encouraged participants to put forward concepts for a facelift to improve the aesthetics and performance of Royal Infirmary. The shortlisted designs are Veil by Spain’s Nieto Sobejano; Vertical Garden by Swedes Tham & Videgård; and Light and Air by US design office Solid Objectives-Idenburg Liu (SO-IL). More images and information after the break.

A Complete List of the RIBA National Award Winners

Church Walk, N16 by David Mikhail © Crocker

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has unveiled the 2013 RIBA National Award winners, a shortlist of 52 exemplars in design excellence from the UK and EU that will compete for the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize. This year’s award winners were selected from practices of all sizes and projects of all scales, ranging from a beautifully-crafted chapel in the back garden of an Edinburgh townhouse to the innovative yellow-roofed Ferrari Museum in Italy. Notably, one third of the UK winners are exceptionally designed education buildings.

The 43 UK buildings that have won an RIBA National Award are:

Skaters Object to Southbank Centre Proposals

© Feilden Clegg Bradley

The saga of the Southbank Centre in London heated up recently, after the scheme for the new ‘Festival Wing‘ was formally submitted to Lambeth’s planning department. The scheme, which has been well received by some of the architecture community, including the centre’s original architects Norman Engleback and Dennis Crompton, has run afoul of the skateboarding community, which opposes the plan to infill the undercroft that has been their home for almost 40 years.

After a petition to save the skatepark garnered over 40,000 signatures, the skating community has mobilized once again to object to the planning application en masse. The campaign to save the skatepark has even garnered the attention of skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, who wrote to the ’s director of partnership and policy Mike McCart to explain that:

“It’s truly an historic feature of London street culture, and is as well known to skateboarders around the world as Big Ben or Buckingham Palace. Honestly.”

2013 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion / Sou Fujimoto

© Iwan Baan

Sou Fujimoto’s 2013 Serpentine Pavilion, now complete and standing on the front lawn of London’s , has opened to the press and we are now able to see Iwan Baan’s photographs of the temporary pavilion. Fujimoto will be lecturing to a sold out crowd this coming Saturday (June 8th) when the pavilion opens to the general public. The semi-transparent, multi-purpose social space will be on view until October 20th.

Fujimoto (age 41) is the youngest architect to accept the Serpentine Gallery’s invitation, joining the ranks of Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei (2012)Peter Zumthor (2011)Jean Nouvel (2010)SANAA (2009)and more. He described his Serpentine project as “…an architectural landscape: a transparent terrain that encourages people to interact with and explore the site in diverse ways. Within the pastoral context of Kensington Gardens, I envisage the vivid greenery of the surrounding plant life woven together with a constructed geometry. A new form of environment will be created, where the natural and the man-made merge; not solely architectural nor solely natural, but a unique meeting of the two.”

The Guardian has posted both print and video reviews by Oliver Wainwright.

More images by Iwan Baan after the break. See also In Progress: Serpentine Gallery Pavilion / Sou Fujimoto.

Public Realm Plan Proposal / Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios + Grant Associates

Courtesy of + Grant Associates

Westminster City Council has just announced Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, urban designers and architects and Grant Associates, UK landscape architects, as part of a multidisciplinary team to devise a twenty-year infrastructure and public realm plan for Church Street, , to support the council’s housing renewal strategy. Residents have just voted in favor of proceeding with the first phase of regeneration plans for Church Street in a ward-wide referendum. More images and architects’ description after the break.

New Headquarters for the Metropolitan Police Service Competition

Courtesy of

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) just announced the launch of a new design competition on behalf of the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) and Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to create a new central Headquarters – replacing their existing New Scotland Yard building. The Invited Design Competition provides architects/practices with the opportunity to produce a design for the renovation of this landmark in one of ’s most important and historic areas – to provide a modern, flexible and secure office environment for the MPS. The deadline for submissions is June 27. For more information, please visit here.

London School of Economics and Political Sciences (LSE) New Global Center for the Social Sciences Competition

Courtesy of RIBA

RIBA is now inviting expressions of interest from architect-led design teams with exceptional design skills for the London School of Economics and Political Sciences (LSE) New Global Center for the Social Sciences, the world’s leading center for social sciences. The next step in the campus development program is to further improve the School’s teaching, research and support facilities through the complete redevelopment of the center of its Aldwych campus.  The new building that will be constructed will have a vital role to play in cementing the LSE’s position as a world renowned educational establishment and will become a place that inspires existing LSE students and will help attract new high caliber students and staff to the School. The deadline for submissions is June 14. For more information, please visit here.

Does the Cost of Architectural Education Create a Barrier to the Profession?

© Rory MacLeod

A recent report by the Architectural Education Review Group has highlighted the high cost of education as a barrier which prevents less wealthy students from accessing the profession, reveals BDonline. Among a number of concerns raised about the current state of architectural education, it says that the cost to study architecture in the UK could “create an artificial barrier to the profession based solely on a student’s willingness to accept high levels of personal debt”.

Architecture has long been seen as a pastime of the wealthy, as evidenced by Philip Johnson‘s claim that “the first rule of architecture is be born rich, the second rule is, failing that, to marry wealthy”. However, the report acknowledges the fact that making the profession open to people of all backgrounds is not only a moral imperative, but will be vital to bring the best talent into the field.

Read more about the barriers surrounding the profession of architecture after the break…

Stansted Airport Proposal / Make Architects

Courtesy of Make Architects

As part of the on-going debate surrounding the ’s future aviation strategy, Make Architects just unveiled further studies to support its proposals for an expansion of Stansted Airport as a viable option. Building on existing infrastructure, the architects strongly believe that Stansted can connect with central within 25 minutes, thereby making it one of the most deliverable and affordable solutions currently on the table, costing £18billion to deliver and providing up to £100billion in investment for the east of the country. More images and architects’ description after the break.

In Progress: Serpentine Gallery Pavilion / Sou Fujimoto

© Laurence Mackman

’s contribution for the 13th edition of the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion is beginning to take shape, as the “geometric, cloud-like form” has slowly made its way towards the height of the trees in the rustic landscape of London’s Kensington Gardens. Upon its completion in June, the 350 square-meter latticed structure will fuse together the man-made and natural world, creating a lush, semi-transparent terrain that will host a series of flexible social spaces and a vibrant collection of plant life.

More images by London photographer Laurence Mackman after the break.

Great Fen Visitor Center Winning Proposal / Shiro Studio

Courtesy of

Shiro Studio, in collaboration with Mesh Partnership and Equals Consulting were just announced by RIBA as the winning team of the Great Fen Visitor Center competition. Sitting beautifully within the expansive landscape, the team had skillfully incorporated elements of the traditional Fenland building typology within an exciting contemporary visitor center design. The silvery and bog-oak black exterior, shimmering with the play of Fenland light, would contrast markedly with, and complement, its spacious, light-filled interiors and panoramic views onto the surrounding landscape. More images and architects’ description after the break.

‘The Great Sky’: Great Fen Visitor Center Competition Entry / Nicholas Hare Architects

Courtesy of

The ‘Great Sky Visitor Center’ is a shimmering mirrored disc floating above the flat horizon of the Great Fen atop a shallow cone of fenland planting – a dramatic profile and marker in the landscape, but also one camouflaged when seen from the air. Designed by Nicholas Hare Architects, the silvered surface, that seen from within, dematerializes its edge against a reflected sky, intends to patinate and change over time in sympathy with the landscape it reflects. More images and architects’ description after the break.