London-based AL_A, spearheaded by Amanda Levete, have revealed their design for two new buildings at the Wadham College site of the historic Oxford University in England. The Dr. Lee Shau Kee Building and William Doo Undergraduate Centre will provide much-needed space for undergraduate services to support the University's access programs as well as new gathering places for the student body. The firm has been developing the expansion since securing the project after an invited design competition in the summer of 2016.
British architect Amanda Levete has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 Jane Drew Prize, recognizing “an architectural designer who, through their work and commitment to design excellence, has raised the profile of women in architecture.”
Founder of London-based practice AL_A, Levete rose to promise as one half of Stirling Prize-winning practice Future Systems, which she ran with then-husband Jan Kaplický. Together, they completed paradigm-shifting and critically acclaimed works such as the Birmingham Selfridges and the Lord’s Media Centre, winner of the 1999 RIBA Stirling Prize.
Levete left Future Systems to form AL_A in 2009, where she found continued success designing cultural venues with bold materiality. Some of the firm’s best known works include the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT) in Lisbon, the Central Embassy Shopping Center in Bangkok, the 2015 MPavilion in Melbourne, and the recently-opened addition to the V&A museum in London.
This short essay was written by Elizabeth Darling and Lynne Walker, the curators of AA XX 100 – a multi-media project celebrating the centenary of women in London's Architectural Association (1917-2017).
Zaha Hadid, Amanda Levete, Patty Hopkins, Denise Scott Brown, and Minnette de Silva are familiar names of women who were products of the Architectural Association School of Architecture (AA). Less familiar are the women who paved the way for the global careers of these architecture superstars.
Established in 2013, the AA XX 100 project was initiated to tell the story of women at the AA, with the aim of commemorating the centenary (this year) of their admission to the school with an exhibition, book, and international conference. When the project began we didn't know the names of the first students but, four years on, we do, and in telling their story—and that of the generations of women who followed them—we see that their history is at once a history of the AA and architectural education, as well as a history of British and world architecture across the 20th and 21st Centuries.
For me architecture touches on so much of what it means to be human – it touches on society, on politics, on culture. And we need to negotiate all of those thresholds in order to design.
In this video for CNN Style, architect Amanda Levete, founder of London-based practice AL_A, discusses the importance of identifying and creating thresholds in design, in both the literal and abstract definitions of the term. Working at a wide variety of scales, AL_A strives to react to larger societal issues in their designs, creating points where perceptions and emotions can transform.
I really believe that the role of the museum is to go beyond the boundaries of the building and to engage in contemporary life, so by creating a new public outdoor space – a new courtyard, a new place – we’ve renegotiated the relationship between street and museum
In this video from CNN Style, director Matthew Donaldson takes us inside the just completed courtyard entrance and extension of London’s V&A Museum, the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design. Designed by AL_A, the newly completed space features 11,840 square feet of flexible gallery space and the world’s first public courtyard constructed entirely of porcelain, paved with 11,000 tiles in 15 different patterns handcrafted by Koninklijke Tichelaar Makkum, the Netherlands' oldest registered company.
Featuring narration by Amanda Levete, founder of AL_A, the video offers an intimate look at the project’s above- and below-ground spaces, including the entry pavilion, sleek new stair and skylight-lit galleries.
Architectural firm AL_A has unveiled its design for Pitch/Pitch, a series of 5-a-side soccer pitches designed for unused or temporarily vacant lots across London, as well as in other cities internationally.
Created as a response to shortage of sport space in inner cities, the project is meant to be fast and easy to construct, “meaning it could be set up for a fortnight to coincide with a World Cup tournament, or last for a year, bringing use to vacant sites that might otherwise lie dormant.”
After working with Arup, the practice developed a modular system that utilizes a lightweight carbon-fiber structure, a material generally associated with the aerospace industry, but that is emerging architecturally at larger scales.
Following the death of Zaha Hadid on March 31st of this year Section D, Monocle 24's weekly review of design, architecture and craft, hones in on the role of women in architecture and design. They discuss why, despite an almost 50:50 gender split in undergraduate architecture courses, women are still grossly underrepresented at senior levels within the profession by featuring conversations with two leading female architects, Angela Brady OBE and Amanda Levete. The episode also looks back over the lives of some of architecture's overlooked heroines.
The EDP Foundation has announced that MAAT, the Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology in Lisbon, will open to the public on October 4-5. The museum, with a new kunsthall building designed by AL_A, will “become the centerpiece of one of the Portuguese capital’s most popular cultural areas, the historic riverside district of Belém."
Pedro Gadanho, who previously held a role as a curator in the Department of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, has been appointed the first Director of MAAT.
UPDATE: AL_A has won planning permission for their Southampton Maggie's Center design. According to a report by the Architects' Journal, the 420 square-meter "disappearing" building will be the charity's 19th center. It is set to open in 2017.
Amanda Levete Architects (AL_A) has submitted plans for a new Maggie's Center in the English coastal city of Southampton. Sited at the Southampton General Hospital, the proposed center will provide free practical, emotional and social support for people with cancer and their family and friends. The new building aims to provide a warm and welcoming sanctuary within the built-up hospital environment.
"Bringing a bit of magic to the place, the building emerges from this wild naturalistic landscape with an almost ethereal clarity," described AL_A. "Subtle, understated and imbued with light, it is designed to lift the weight from the shoulders of all who visit and work there."
AL_A has completed Melbourne's second annual MPavilion. The temporary installation, initiated by Naomi Milgrom Foundation, was unveiled today in Queen Victoria Gardens. For the next four months, the public is welcome to populate the artificial "forest canopy," whose translucent petals were developed using aerospace technology to demonstrate how an ultra-lightweight structure that can "sit lightly on the landscape and gently respond to the climate." "Each petal is fitted with LED lights that are activated by the sunset to give a light performance synchronized with music," says the organizers.
Images have been released of Melbourne's second annual MPavilion. Designed by British architect Amanda Levete of AL_A, the temporary structure will use the latest technology in nautical engineering to stimulate a forest-like canopy within the city’s Queen Victoria Gardens. A series of three- and five-meter wide petals made from ultra-thin translucent composite and carbon fiber will "sway" on top slender columns, mimicking the tree line to the site's east.
After serving as curator for the past three years at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, Portuguese architect Pedro Gadanho will be leaving his position to become the first artist director of the new Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT) in Lisbon. Scheduled to open in the fall of 2016, the new MAAT museum will be responsible for the EDP Foundation's cultural program.
"Pedro Gadanho’s profile and international experience are essential to our ambitions for MAAT, making it a distinctive space of contemporary culture in Portugal", says António Mexia, CEO of EDP. Pedro Gadanho adds that "MAAT will be a cultural institution of the quality and breadth seen in major European cities, offering an exciting contemporary program at the intersection of art, architecture and technology."
British architect Amanda Levete of London-based studio AL_A has been selected to design Melbourne's second annual MPavilion. The temporary structure will be used to house talks, workshops, performances and installations in the "downtown oasis" of Queen Victoria Gardens starting this October.
"I’ve visited Australia three times in the past six years and without doubt Melbourne is my favorite city," said Levete, commenting on her commission. "It’s people that make a city creative – and that’s why I love Melbourne. The brief from the Naomi Milgrom Foundation is a great opportunity to design a structure that responds to its climate and landscape. I’m interested in exploiting the temporary nature of the pavilion form to produce a design that speaks in response to the weather."
Terence Conran asked nine of his friends in the design world "What have you always wanted in your home, but have never been able to find?" The result is The Wish List, a set of ten projects dreamed up by big name designers such as Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid and Richard Rogers, but designed and crafted in collaboration with emerging designers.
Sponsored by the American Hardwood Export Council, the only restriction was that the product had to be made of wood, leading to designs ranging from Foster's modest geometric pencil sharpeners to Paul Smith's dream garden shed.
ClientHayward Gallery, Southbank Centre
The form intends to compliment the 19th century gallery, yet still maintain its individuality as a separate element. The extension, then, becomes not “one building connected to another but as something more abstract: a gesture that merges landscape with building.” The urban gallery’s setting within Whitworth Park allows the building to merge with the landscape to “create a dynamic and inhabitable” space. “As the park becomes the folds of fabric, these folds are sliced, peeled, and pulled to house, expose, and articulate the new program of activities of that embodies the new Whitworth Gallery,” explained the architects. The park seems to be gathered together and drawn into the building, creating an extension that fosters a relationship between interior and exterior, object and landscape.
More images after the break.