The City of Westminster, England has announced the shortlist for its first People’s Choice Award for the city’s best building from the past decade.
In an effort to engage the public in a debate about what makes a great building, the Westminster City Council asked a panel of architects, developers, councilors, and planners to shortlist 12 designs to be voted on by people who live and work in the city, as well as by visitors. Buildings for the shortlist were chosen based on its use of materials, purpose, and impact on the surrounding space.
"Brilliant architectural design should be recognized for all the fantastic benefits it can have in terms of health and wellbeing, sustainability, and the simple pleasure we all take from having such striking buildings lining our routes home, to shop and to work," said Cllr Robert Davis MBE DL, Deputy Leader of Westminster City Council. "The best people to ask about the impact these buildings have are those who see them day in, day out, and so I am delighted that we have been able to engage the public in a debate about what makes a great building and to promote design excellence."
The great schools of architecture have been around since time immemorial, or at least that's how it can often feel. In London, a city particularly dense with institutions of this calibre, this is perhaps felt more acutely. How, then, do you develop an entirely new school in this tightly packed environment which has the potency and capacity to compete? Will Hunter, former executive editor of the London-based Architectural Review, began a process to do just this with an article in 2012. Following this, he set up the ARFA—Alternative Routes For Architecture—in order to explore different models for architectural education, calling upon professionals and academics to contribute to a series of informal discussions.
“When the tuition fees in the UK escalated to around £9000 per year in 2013, it got me thinking about different models for architectural education,” Hunter recalls. The casual meetings held around this time gradually become more serious until, “at a certain point, we decided to test them: to make a school.” The project gathered momentum from that point on and now, two years later, the London School of Architecture(LSA) are preparing to take in their first ‘trailblazing cohort’ of postgraduate students.