Posts tagged with "London":

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Rare Architecture’s Perforated Skin Design

A bespoke aluminum building skin transforms an abandoned war bunker into a high-performing boutique hotel.

Restoration hotelier Unlisted Collection recently acquired a historically listed, vacant municipal building in London’s East End that served as a set favorite for film luminaries like David Lynch. The 1910 Edwardian fore building and its utilitarian 1937 addition had served as the town hall of Bethnal Green before World War II. In order to convert the complex into a boutique hotel, Unlisted hired London-based architecture practice Rare and tasked the firm with designing an addition to the existing buildings to add space for more guest rooms and amenities, while unifying the three disparate elements into a single entity. Rare directors and founders Nathalie Rozencwajg and Michel da Costa Gonçalves answered this last charge with an ornamental screen facade that visually ties together the historic and modern buildings while also improving user comfort and environmental performance. “The yellow brick facade of the 1937 building wasn’t finished due to the outbreak of the Second World War, when it was repurposed as a bunker,” Rozencwajg recently told AN. Since the building had suffered no major damage during the war, the designers had to move forward while abiding by the English heritage guidelines for preserving historical structures, including the decorative Eduardian facade along the street front. To expand square footage and enable the building’s function as a hotel, the team designed a fourth-level add-on for additional guest rooms. The addition is enclosed in a double-glazed curtain wall that is screened by a parametrically designed ornamental skin.
  • Facade Manufacturer Schüco, EuroClad, DuPont
  • Architects/Consultants Rare Architecture
  • Location London
  • Date of Completion 2012
  • System double glazed curtain wall with parametric ornamental skin
Working in a custom-scripted plugin for Rhino, the team designed a pattern for the screen wall derived from an old ventilation grill that they found in the 1937 extension. In developing the pattern, the designers divided the project into three major zones. The uppermost level functions as a brise soleil with a tightly defined pattern that blocks most of the southern sunlight that impacts this part of the building. Toward the center, the pattern is varied, more open in some places and more closed in others to accommodate interior programming—guest rooms feature smaller apertures for greater privacy while the public spaces are clad in a more open screen. At the bottom level, apertures are kept small to provide privacy from street-level passersby. Approximately 980 feet of the building’s surface is wrapped in this screen, fabricated from laser-cut, 4-mm-thick aluminum sheets. Eight 7-by-4-foot panels in varying pattern densities are bolted into a frame that hangs from the curtain wall. At the roof level, the panels were designed to conceal the building’s elevator towers, plenum, and pitched roof profiles. Rozencwajg estimated that unique panel shapes make up 30 percent of the screen system. Each panel was numbered for efficient installation and bolts in each of the panels’ four corners prevent damage from wind and other environmental factors. The modularity of the panel system also provides for future design flexibility. “If you rearrange the space internally and want to reconfigure the facade, you can change out the panels for more or less opacity,” said Rozencwajg. The panels are finished with a metallic powdercoat that changes hue based on the sun’s angle. Since the historical listing prohibited the architects from altering the existing building—including the old sash windows—the new curtain wall had to improve overall building performance. The south elevation features double glazing to minimize heat gain and natural ventilation is enhanced with trickle vents and energy-efficient windows on the new level. The combined efforts resulted in a BREAM rating of Very Good.
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HOK to Restore London’s Palace of Westminister

Palace of Westminister, courtesy Jeremy McKnight, Flickr The renewal project of one of Britain's most monumental buildings, and home to its two houses of parliament, has been entrusted to the team at HOK. The restoration of the Palace of Westminster will involve the short and long term repair and replacement strategies of existing building fabric and systems, as well as the scheduling of works while parliamentary activities are temporarily relocated. HOK will provide architecture and heritage conservation advice, in conjunction with Deloitte Real Estate and AECOM for real estate and engineering services respectively. ( Photo: Jeremy McKnight / Flickr)
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London Firm Wants Swimming Pools in the Thames

London-based firm Studio Octopi has a vision for a system of swimming pools that would make use of water redirected from the Thames.  The proposal comes on the heels of Thames Water's controversial plan to revamp the city's Victorian sewerage system in order to prevent the flow of excess sewage into the river. Octopi developed the project in collaboration with fellow locals Civic Engineers and Jonathan Cook Landscape Architects. What has come to be known as the Super Sewer, the Thames Water initiative involves the construction of massive new tunnel that would reduce by 96 percent the amount of raw sewage currently being ferried into the river on the back of overflow storm drainage. The nearly $7 billion price-tag attached to the project remains a major sticking point. The Octopi proposal places pools at the high water mark at two Sewer construction sites, Shadwell and Blackfriars Bridge.  The positioning of the pools would allow them to be refreshed periodically by tidal flows. Though the fate of the pools is not explicitly linked to that of the Thames Water project, the plan is contingent on a drastic improvement in the river's sub-par water quality. This pair is complemented by a third pool designed to float upon the surface of the river. Concrete decks provide shelter from surrounding tidal currents while also providing seating for swimmers. are also collaborators on the project, contributing the idea to dot the fringes of the structure with vegetation, a step that would theoretically facilitate the eventual incorporation of indigenous aquatic vegetation. The proposal was generated as part of London As It Could Be, a call for new visions for architectural interventions in selected sites bordering the Thames sponsored by The Architecture Foundation and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners.
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Going Soft: Norman Foster’s London Skyscraper’s Unexpected Cameo

foster-soft-gherkin Lord Norman Foster’s pickle-shaped 30 St. Mary Axe building in London, widely known as “the gherkin,” has been featured in an advertisement for a UK chemist that sells erectile dysfunction pills at £6 a pop. The print ad for Lloyds Pharmacy features the interrogative headline “Lost the perk-in your gherkin,” illustrated with a photo-shopped image of a drooping 30 St Mary Axe. The ad goes on to exhort readers not to “let a hard day stop a hard night.”
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Bikers Go Airborne: Foster + Partners’ SkyCycle Would Wind Through London

Foster + Partners have collaborated with London landscape architecture firm Exterior Architecture and urban planners Space Syntax in developing a proposal for an extensive system of elevated-bike paths in London. The project entails the construction of over 130 miles of pathways along routes that parallel those of an existing system of rail lines that already weaves in and around the city. Suspended above the train tracks, cyclists would access SkyCycle through the over 200 hydraulic platforms and ramps that would act as entry points. While somewhat evocative of New York's own High Line, the precedent for the project actually goes back much further. As illustrated in the accompanying promotional video, the project would essentially segregate cyclists from their fellow residents navigating London in cars or by foot. The move comes on the heels of a spate of cycling-related deaths that plagued the city last year. Foster himself is an avid cyclist and the current president of Britain's National Byway Trust. London bikers will have to bide their time before taking to the air, however. If the proposal is to be realized, there are many hoops to jump through, including fundraising. SkyCycle would likely be completed sometime after 2030. While the use of the rail corridors has been framed as a cost-saving measure, estimates for an upcoming 4 mile trial route place costs at £220 million.
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Herzog & de Meuron Design for London’s Canary Wharf Towers Revealed

British architects Allies and Morrison have submitted their planning applications for the 22-acre mixed-use development for London's Canary Wharf. Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron has designed a 56-story tower that will account for some of the 3,100 residential units planned for the project. London-based Stanton-Williams is responsible for the other two apartment buildings to be included in the new neighborhood, known as "Wood Wharf." The master-plan also incorporates extensive office space, over 100 shops, and some 39,000 square feet of public space. The Stanton-Williams contributions to the development are dwarfed by Herzog & de Meuron's tall, cylindrical structure. Staggered balconies wrap the facade in a pattern that shifts repeatedly as it progresses vertically.  The buildings are situated among curvaceous green expanses that butt up against surrounding waterways. The office buildings, designed by Allies and Morrison themselves, will attempt to court creative media, technology, and telecommunications companies to the newly minted neighborhood. This unveiling only constitutes phase one of the development. A two-form entry primary school, multipurpose sports hall, and a healthcare facility  are all meant to be incorporated into the neighborhood as the project advances.  Efforts will be made to ensure ease of connectivity to the city's public transportation system for Wood Wharf inhabitants. Bus routes have been added and the installation of ever-popular bike rental stations is expected. Pending approval, construction on the plan will begin next year with a tentative completion date of 2017. In doing so it will join their latest addition to the Tate Modern as Herzog & de Meuron projects underway in the capital city.
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Theis and Khan to design RIBA’s New Headquarters

RIBA (COURTESY NICK GARROD/ VIA FLICKR) Sawing off competition from five other shortlisted firms, British architects Theis and Khan have been selected to design the Royal Institute of British Architects' new headquarters in London. Located only a few buildings away at 76 Portland Place in downtown London, RIBA’s new premises are to be located inside the current Institute of Physics building, which will be entirely renovated. The existing RIBA offices will be freed up for new exhibition and events space. Construction will begin in March 2014 and is expected to last a year. (Photo: NICK GARROD/ FLICKR)
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ARUP Unveils Plans for London’s Kings Cross Square Transit Hub

Engineering firm Arup has been at the heart of a massive regeneration project to transform the historic Kings Cross Station in London into a thriving civic space and major transportation interchange. The most recent phase of the project was the opening of Kings Cross Square in September 2013. The new public realm comprises of a 75,000-square-f00t space which will provide passengers exceptional views of the original station facade, access to the newly improved station, and an area for public art installations. The first stage of this £550 million redevelopment project began with the replacement of the 1970's concourse with a new elegant roof structure. Designed by John McAslan + Partners, Arup, and Vinci, the diagrid shell structure spans 492 feet without a single visible bolt, and is supported by 16 smaller columns. King’s Cross Square has been designed to accommodate up to 140,000 commuters, visitors, and residents every day. The new Southern Facade canopy provides passengers with an additional sheltered space, and the project as a whole has breathed much needed life into an essential transport hub that has suffered considerable neglect and deterioration. “As engineers we have re-defined, re-shaped and created value in rejuvenating this part of London and, as a result, the area has witnessed radical change over the last two decades," Arup Project Director Mike Byrne said in a statement. "It is a testimony to the use of 21st Century engineering technology to sympathetically restore the Grade I listed building that has culminated in the graceful new roof over the Western Concourse, and also brought back into public view the magnificent Southern Facade.”
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Gehry Gets Another Like: Architect Hired to Design Two International Facebook Offices

Facebook has chosen architect Frank Gehry to design the interiors of its relocated and expanded international offices in London and Dublin. This commission comes just a few weeks after Gehry was hired with Foster + Partners for the London Battersea Power Station redevelopment, his first project in the United Kingdom capital. The new Gehry-designed offices in the Irish and UK capital cities will provide current staff with double the square footage and allow for an increase in hired employees. Facebook London will move its headquarters to occupy three floors of 10 Brock Street. The Regent’s Place building gives Gehry 86,000 square feet of space for office design. This move will also situate the company in the same building as social media rival Twitter and only a short distance away from Google’s headquarters at King’s Cross. In Dublin, Facebook’s new digs will provide up to 1,000 employees with 114,000 square feet of office space in Grand Canal Square. Gehry began designing for the social media company last year when he was hired to create a new Menlo Park campus in California's Silicon Valley. More recently, he continued work for the brand in a redesign of engineering team offices in New York City's Astor Place.
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Wilkinson Eyre Repurpose the Battersea Power Station with Residences, Observation Tower

Last month, AN reported that the long-abandoned Battersea Power Station in London is moving forward with plans for architectural reuse and expansion. Frank Gehry and Foster + Partners are in on the plan for the surrounding residential neighborhood in London. Now, Wilkinson Eyre Architects, who have been chosen to repurpose the iconic power station building, has released official renderings of their vision for the Thames landmark. The architects’ plan calls for the redesigned Battersea Power Station building to become a modern mixed-use complex housed inside the structure's historic shell. Renderings reveal restoration of the plants' four iconic chimneys and minor changes to the exterior shape of the structure. However, a completely gutted and modernized interior will make way for retail stores and event space in the turbine hall and 170,600 square feet of offices and 248 residential flats in new upper floors, Building Design details. One of the restored chimneys will be converted into an all-glass, circular elevator, rising above the structure to offer views of the London skyline, and a green roof will cover the turbine hall creating “garden squares in the sky” for apartments. The $1.2 billion redevelopment sets an official opening for the mixed-use Battersea Power Station building in 2019.
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Power Couple: Gehry & Foster to Build at London’s Battersea Station

Frank Gehry and Foster + Partners have been selected to design the third phase of the mixed-use Battersea Power Station development in London, which includes a retail pedestrian street that serves as the entryway to the complex. Gehry and Foster will collaborate on the High Street section, and each firm will design residential buildings on the east and west sides, respectively. This will be Gehry’s first building in London. He will approach the project with the “goal to help create a neighborhood and a place for people to live that respects the iconic Battersea Power Station while connecting it into the broader fabric of the city.” The iconic Battersea Power Station  has captured the imagination of everyone from furniture designers to rock stars. Take a look below at AN's roundup of 12 of the most amazing Battersea Power Station photos.
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After 200 Years, London’s Old Vic Theatre Considers a Facelift With Help From Kevin Spacey

Venerable old institutions in England are looking for a fresh look these days. The nearly 200-year-old Old Vic Theatre in London is the latest to make plans for a much-needed facelift. The institutions artistic director, actor Kevin Spacey, is committed to bringing the structure into the 21st century through refurbishment of the current building and expansion into a newly acquired adjacent space. The Guradian reported that the theater is working with architecture firm Bennetts Associates Architects to develop plans for the restoration, which will be submitted in an application to the local government this November. The new Old Vic will include an increase in front-of-house services, improved accessibility for disabled persons, and urgent repairs to the leaking roof. Spacey has often acknowledged the crumbling state of the theater, one of the oldest in London, especially the severe damage of its dribbling roofs and Victorian plumbing. The restoration plans to update the theater’s facilities and increase the amount available, create a public café and bar, an outdoor terrace, and a community event space. The improved theater will also provide step-free access and wheelchair spaces to allow for universal mobility within the building. Backstage, rehearsal rooms and green rooms will be improved. And the creation of an entirely new studio dedicated to the theater’s education and emerging talent program, Old Vic New Voices, will eliminate current reliance on rented space. Spacey has vowed to raise $33 million (£20M) for the project by the end of 2015, the year he plans to retire from his position. Although no timeline has been set, theater officials hope to begin construction in the next five years, but that date depends on fundraising.