The term “mid-century modern” conjures up images of a sharp-suited Don Draper, slender teak cabinets, and suave chairs from Scandinavia. That is, at least, one perspective of the design movement and a view more of 1950s-era Manhattan offices than anything else. But in Britain, mid-century modernism manifested as something slightly different, coming in the form of schools, cathedrals, housing, and an era-defining festival, all eloquently described and illustrated by the prolific architectural historian Elain Harwood in Mid-Century Britain: Modern Architecture 1938-1963.
Britain: The Latest Architecture and News
From Festivals to Schools, Cathedrals, and Bomb Sites: The Story of Mid-Century Modernism in Britain
RIBA and Network Rail recently announced the winner of the Re-imagining Railways design competition, which invited architects, engineers and designers to rethink small and medium-sized train stations to improve the travel experience. The winning design, signed by Edinburgh-based architectural practice 7N Architects, features a reinterpreted clock tower serving as a local landmark and a modular station layout that can be adapted to a variety of sites.
Construction Works Begin on Hugh Broughton's Discovery Building at Rothera Research Station in Antarctica
A new building in Antarctica breaks ground at the Rothera Research Station. Designed by Hugh Broughton Architects, the project commissioned by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), aims to facilitate the British Antarctic Survey’s (BAS) ongoing climate-related research.
A collection of stones piled one on top of the other, dry stone is an iconic building method found just nearly everywhere in the world. Relying solely on an age-old craft to create sturdy, reliable structures and characterised by its rustic, interlocking shapes, the technique has deep roots that stretch back even before the invention of the wheel. Its principles are simple: stack the stones to create a unified, load-bearing wall. But the efficient, long-lasting results, coupled with the technique’s cultural significance, have lead to continued use and updated interpretations all the way to contemporary architecture today.
As part of our 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale coverage, we present the completed British Pavilion, which received an honorable mention in the Biennale awards. To read the initial proposal, refer to our previously published post, "Caruso St. John to Transform the British Pavilion Into a Politically Charged Meeting Space at 2018 Venice Biennale”
A joint venture from Caruso St John Architects and artist Marcus Taylor, "Island" creates an elevated public space, offering views of Venice and a unique place for both meeting and reflecting.
For those who want to become a citizen of the UK, they must fulfill all the citizenship process requirements which include passing the seemingly difficult Life in the UK Test. Many of the British population themselves would struggle with some of the questions posed despite living in the UK from birth as they demand historical, geographical and literary knowledge.
The test contains 24 multiple choice questions that can cover anything from the British political system all the way to Glastonbury and a roast beef dinner. As architecture and art take up a large part of British culture, knowledge of such topics is considered necessary for anyone who wants to become a UK citizen. Have a go yourself, and see how well you know British architecture:
The 2017 winner of the UK’s most prestigious architecture award, the Stirling Prize, will be announced on October 31. Leading up to the main event, The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has released its list of the six shortlisted buildings, a collection that has left many critics scratching their heads. What the list left out seems to be as noteworthy as what was included, and while critics’ opinions on individual buildings differ, they seem mostly united in finding the overall list uninspiring and underwhelming. Read on to find out what they had to say.
The Y-Cube, a £30,000 factory-built 26 square meter flat which can be easily transported and craned into place, has been prototyped and successfully tested in the UK. The YMCA asked Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners to create the Y-Cube, an affordable alternative for residents moving on from the non-profit’s hostels. And now, the YMCA wants more of these one-bedroom dwellings.
“The beauty is that the units can be moved off site as quickly as they are installed,” says Andy Redfearn of the YMCA, “as we operate on short-term leases – we expect people to stay [in the Y-Cube] for between three to five years, giving them time to skill up and save for a deposit.”
While many buildings try to go Green these days, few attempt to do so literally.
Last week, York Minster Abbey, one of the largest Gothic Cathedrals in Europe, was decked out with 1,500 square meters of – what else - grass.
The occasion for the makeover, the York Minster Rose Dinner to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee (which we marked with a post on Britain’s Built Legacy), hosted about 900 people to raise funds for the York Minster Fund. And with £150-a-head tickets, sold months in advance, perhaps we’ll start seeing other Gothic Cathedrals turn green too (and not just with envy).
Story via The Huffington Post UK. More photos after the break…
‘What is proposed is like a monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much loved and elegant friend.”
It’s easy to see why British Architects get their hackles raised when it comes to Prince Charles. The oft-quoted gem above, said in reference to a proposed extension to the National Gallery in 1984, is one of hundreds of such Architectural criticisms Prince Charles has made over the years. Which wouldn’t matter of course, if, like any average Architectural layman’s opinions, his words didn’t have much weight.
His do. They’ve resulted in the intervention, squelching, and/or redesign of at least 5 major plans over the last twenty years. But let’s not write off Charles just yet.
With the Queen’s Jubilee ceremoniously having finished yesterday, the conversation analyzing her legacy has begun. And while London’s towering, cutting-edge high rises (a la Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, and Zaha Hadid), will be the shining examples of Elizabeth’s reign – I’d like to suggest something, and raise a few hackles, myself…
Curious for more? Keep reading about Prince Charles’ unlikely influence on Architecture, after the break…