After my recent interview with Gensler’s Director Harry Ibbs on Leveraging Technological Advancements to Bring Workers Back to Office I decided to cover the topic of a post-covid practice workplace culture from a completely different angle. In search of a more intimate approach, I looked into AL_A, a RIBA 2009 Stirling Prize-winning studio founded by Amanda Levete with directors Ho-Yin Ng, Alice Dietsch and Maximiliano Arrocet. The diversity of the leadership team and their 30+ person workforce brings a richness of thinking and possibility that’s played out in their culture, practice and through their designs.
AL_A: The Latest Architecture and News
UK-based architecture firm AL_A has collaborated with Canadian energy firm General Fusion to develop the world's first magnetized target fusion facility on the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) campus in Culham, United Kingdom. The energy firm wanted to "transform how the world is energized by replicating the process that powers the sun and stars". AL_A's design proposes a first-of-its-kind facility with open spaces and see-through partitions that provides innovative carbon-free energy solutions.
Architecture practice AL_A has released its proposal to transform the Paisley Museum in Scotland. The museum is undergoing the transformation to accommodate visitors from Scotland, the UK and abroad. Led by Stirling Prize winn, the team plans to restore and reinvigorate the existing museum. The new design is made to showcase the stories of a Scottish town whose influence has reached around the globe.
In the 12 months since 2018 International Women’s Day, we have seen many female architects come to fore of the design discourse. From Shelley McNamara and Yvonne Farrell’s curation of the 2018 Venice Biennale to Frida Escobedo's celebrated design for the Serpentine Pavilion, the architectural newsfeeds from the past twelve months have played host to many signs of change in a traditionally male-dominated profession.
ArchDaily has also been busy over the past year, publishing stories such as twelve prominent women in architectural photography, seven influential women of the Bauhaus, and the women redefining success in architecture. Beyond news and editorials, the honorary lists and award ceremonies of prominent architectural institutions from around the world have also paid tribute to some of the world’s leading and emerging female architects.
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced the 49 winners of the 2018 RIBA National Awards. From skyline-altering buildings to sensitive small-scale sculptures, this year’s top projects showcase a wide-ranging selection of scales, featuring designs from Foster + Partners, Hawkins\Brown, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, and Niall McLaughlin Architects.
Completed last year, AL_A's porcelain public courtyard at London's V&A Museum is the largest architectural intervention and restoration of the site in more than 100 years. AL_A also designed a new colonnade and a column-free exhibition gallery. The design connects the space with the neighboring buildings on site, giving the museum a more streamlined sequence between gallery spaces.
London-based AL_A has been appointed for their first Scottish commission: the $55million (£42million) transformation of the Paisley Museum. The brief calls for the revitalization of the home of Paisley’s textile heritage, natural history and art and science collections.
The museum’s transformation is a flagship project for a $135million (£100million) investment in cultural venues by the council governing the city of Paisley, in preparation for a UK City of Culture 2021 bid legacy.
Amanda Levete is among one of four teams to be shortlisted for a competition to reimagine the visitor experience for the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris. The four teams, chosen from 42 entries, will be tasked with rethinking the ways in which people discover and interact with the tower, working in collaboration with the City of Paris government.
Titled “Discover, Approach, Visit,” the competition site covers 54 hectares of land on both sides of the River Seine, with the Eiffel Tower site located at the center. In preparation for Paris’ hosting of the 2024 Olympic Games, the competition asks teams to spend 10 months exploring how to enhance the visitor experience at the base of the tower, strengthen existing connections across the site, reconfigure public transport routes.
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 week we have prepared a special selection of 20 images of architecture as seen from the sky. This style of image, made possible by the emergence of drones, is increasingly used in architectural photography. It makes it possible to understand, in a single image, the totality of a project, and to see how the project interacts with the context in which it is immersed. Read on to see a selection of renowned photographers such as Hufton + Crow, Fernando Guerra, NAARO, and Jesús Granada.
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.
AL_A, DS+R, Selldorf Among 6 Teams Shortlisted for Renovation of 18th Century Palladian House in Surrey
Six teams have been shortlisted in a competition to restore and renovate the historic Clandon Park mansion in the county of Surrey, England, after the National Park property received heavy damage from a fire in 2015.
Organized by Malcolm Reading Consultants, the competition tasked teams with restoring and updating the interiors of the 18th-century Palladian house, as well as designing new flexible event spaces and visitor facilities within the existing building footprint.
What is the relationship between art and architecture? What makes a great space for art? How do buildings inform what and how we see? Leading architects will be in conversation with museum directors, gallerists and artists to discuss major international projects and the role of architecture in shaping the cultural landscape.
Six internationally-acclaimed teams have been selected as finalists in a competition to design a new home for London Symphony Orchestra and Guildhall School of Music & Drama to be known as the Centre for Music London.
Planned to contain a world-class concert hall, education, training and digital spaces, top-grade facilities for audiences and performers, and a number of supporting commercial areas, the Centre for Music building will become a new landmark within the heart of London, aimed at becoming “a place of welcome, participation, discovery and learning fit for the digital age.”
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.
After a study of Madrid’s exuberantly geometric architecture, Digital Designer and Creative Director Joel Filipe continues his formal exploration in a series of photos of the MAAT by AL_A that celebrates the delicate impression of its undulating white tile facade against the bright Lisbon sky. Situated on the Tagus River, architect Amanda Levete creates a reunion between the river and the city with MAAT’s walkable rooftop terrace that draws visitors from the nearby streets of Belem, and with the promenade which steps down to meet the water. The roof provides a gathering space during the day and a place to screen films at night. The low-lying gentle arch of the building allows for a clever play of shadows and light, along with a nod to rippling water.
Designing a museum is always an exciting architectural challenge. Museums often come with their own unique needs and constraints--from the art museum that needs specialist spaces for preserving works, to the huge collection that requires extensive archive space, and even the respected institution whose existing heritage building presents a challenge for any new extension. In honor of International Museum Day, we’ve selected 23 stand-out museums from our database, with each ArchDaily editor explaining what makes these buildings some of the best examples of museum architecture out there.