In a short film from Nowness, director Matthew Donaldson pulls us through Italian-born British architect Richard Rogers’ front door to explore his converted Georgian terrace in Chelsea, London, which he shares with his wife and restauranteur, Ruth Rogers, of the legendary River Café. With a stunning brick facade and symmetrical multi-pane windows, the vast and bold interior spaces are rarely seen, though could only befit Mr. Rogers himself, who is renowned for his modernist and functionalist designs. Bursting with works by Andy Warhol, Philip Guston and Cy Twombly, the townhouse’s main living area, which the Rogers refer to as a piazza, features a dramatic staircase and an extensive mezzanine library.
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The World Monuments Fund has announced its 2014 Watch List for cultural sites at risk by changes in economy, society, and politics within their respective countries and disrepair due to natural forces. For 2014, the Monument Watch List, compiled and released every two years since 1996, has cited 67 heritage risks in 41 countries and territories around the world. These sites range from Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1911-built Taliesin home in Wisconsin, submissive to elements of weathering, to the tree-lined Palisades cliffs in New York and New Jersey, jeopardized by corporate construction plans, to all of the cultural sites of Syria, risked by current war conflict. Taliesin, Spring Green, Wisconsin The World Monuments Fund explains:
The low-lying structures of Taliesin seem in harmony with the rugged landscape, neither feature imposing upon the other. But the forces of nature, including exposure to the elements over time, have put the complex at risk. Taliesin was included on the 2010 Watch to draw attention to these issues, and now the Hillside Theater, the most public of the spaces at Taliesin, is suffering from water infiltration, perimeter drainage issues, a failing roof, and other problems with the building envelope. Due to the experimental nature of the design and materials used to construct Taliesin, the structures face special conservation challenges requiring extensive research and innovative solutions.Cultural Heritage Sites of Syria The World Monuments Fund explains:
Escalating violence in Syria since 2011 has had devastating effects on the country’s cultural heritage. From the ancient souk, or marketplace, in Aleppo, to the iconic Crac des Chevaliers—two castles that were built between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries as regional fortifications during the Crusades—to Qal’at al-Mudiq, an archaeological tell that forms part of the classical city of Apamea, the destruction of Syria’s most significant and symbolic sites is of urgent and primary concern, with irreversible implications for the country’s architectural legacy.The Cloisters and the Palisades, New York and New Jersey The World Monuments Fund explains:
The Cloisters Museum itself houses the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection of European medieval art and incorporates monastic architectural elements in its design including stone and stained-glass panels for the doors, and windows. Since its opening in 1938, a defining feature of visiting the Cloisters is an extraordinary vista across the Hudson River to the Palisades. Plans are underway to construct a corporate headquarters and a residential complex on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River, modifying zoning legislation to accommodate towers that rise above the once protected tree line of the Palisades. ... An appeal is underway, and it is hoped that inclusion on the Watch will raise awareness about the loss to future generations posed by this development and others that may follow.East Japan Earthquake Heritage Sites After a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and related tsunami hit Japan on March 11, 2011, the World Monuments Fund set the heritage sites of the coastal regions of Tohoku and Kanto on its 2012 Watch List. Since then, the WMF collaborated with the Foundation for Cultural Heritage and Art Research to save over 700 national monuments affected by the disaster. Several historic architectural structures were damaged or destroyed by the power of the quake. Although progress has been made, the landmarks which are important to the tourism of the region, are still at risk, in need of grants for continued restoration. Güell Pavilions and Garden, Barcelona, Spain The World Monuments Fund explains:
After Güell's death the estate was converted into a palace for the Spanish Royal Family. The site was later acquired by the University of Barcelona during its expansion into this area in the 1950s, and it now forms part of the Avinguda Diagonal campus of the university. Public access to the garden has been limited, but a new master plan prepared by the university and the city's Municipal Institute of Urban Landscape and Quality of Life provides for improved access to the site by visitors and expanded use for university events. Repairs to the structures are necessary, and a project to rehabilitate the roof of the stable is already underway with funding from the Spanish Ministry of Education. More resources are needed to implement this well-conceived plan for the benefit of all citizens of Barcelona, and the millions who visit this enchanting city every year.Elevators of Valparaíso, Valparaíso, Chile The World Monuments Fund explains:
The Elevators of Valparaíso have been included on the 2014 Watch to emphasize the continuing need for the restoration of the city’s most picturesque feature and an important vehicle for social interaction. The elevators have served as the main method of transportation along the city’s steep topography and were fundamental to its urban development. They symbolize Valparaíso’s preeminence as a maritime center, a position it lost after the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914. Of the 31 original elevators, only 15 remain, of which just 7 are operational. The loss of these vital transit arteries has had negative impacts on the city. A plan unifying community, municipal, and private entities in a collective effort to protect and maintain the elevators is needed to ensure their long-term survival and the revitalization of important neighborhoods in Valparaíso.Cultural Heritage Sites of Mali Since armed conflicts began in Mali in 2012, the country’s heritage sites have been endangered and have suffered some damage. According to the WMF, “nine of the sixteen mausoleums within the World Heritage Site boundaries of Timbuktu were destroyed by rebel forces.” And now, troops are advancing to encroach on the Bandiagara Escarpment in Dogon country and the natural material architectural structures there. Christ Church at Zanzibar, Tanzania The World Monuments Fund explains:
Stone Town has a number of important sites that together have created a vibrant tourist industry, but sectarian conflict, lack of financial resources, and political issues pose ongoing challenges to implementing restoration projects on many of its sites. Nevertheless, plans are under development for formal training and capacity-building programs at Christ Church Cathedral, and there are strong networks in place for local stewardship of the site. Christ Church Cathedral and the Former Slave Market Site is included on the 2014 World Monuments Watch to promote its conservation and its role in a broader revitalization strategy for Stone Town; one that will be compelling to the international community but will also support Zanzibari citizens and their local economy.Battersea Power Station, London, United Kingdom The World Monuments Fund explains:
Since 1983, Battersea Power Station has been closed to the public, marking a thirty-year period of abandonment and lack of appropriate maintenance. The station was first listed on the Watch in 2004, and its impending demolition was averted. Ten years later, the Power Station’s future is once again in question. Located on prime London real estate, the site is slated for imminent redevelopment. There is concern that current plans do not adequately protect the iconic chimneys and the important viewsheds of the power station’s silhouette. The local community is engaged and vested in the future of their swathe of London, and the international community recognizes the cultural significance of this twentieth-century icon. Inclusion on the Watch seeks to reinvigorate and contribute to conversations regarding the long-term stewardship of Battersea Power Station.The complete list by country is as follows: Argentina · Church and Monastery of St. Catherine of Siena, Buenos Aires Armenia · Bardzrakash St. Gregory Monastery, Dsegh, Lori Province Belgium · Collegiale Sainte-Croix de Liege, Liege Brazil · Serra da Moeda, Minas Gerais Chile · Elevators of Alparaíso, Valparaíso · Palacio La Alhambra, Santiago China · Pokfulam Village, Hong Kong Colombia · Ancient Ridged Fields of the San Jorge River Floodplain, Córdoba and Sucre Departments Comoros · Funi Aziri Bangwe, Ikoni, Grande Comore Ecuador · Remigio Crespo Toral Museum, Cuenca, Azuay Province Egypt · Bayt-Al-Razzaz, Cairo Ethiopia · Yemrehanna Kristos, Amhara Region France · Churches of Saint-Merri and Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, Paris Germany · Gaslight and Gas Lamps of Berlin, Berlin Guatemala · Uaxactun, Petén Department Guyana · Georgetown City Hall, Georgetown India · Historic City of Bidar, Karnataka · House of Shaikh Salim Chishti, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, Uttar Pradesh · Juna Mahal, Dungarpur, Rajasthan Indonesia · Ngada Villages of Flores, Flores, Nusa Tenggara · Peceren and Dokan, Karo District, North Sumatra · Trowulan, Mojokerto, East Java Iraq · Khinnis Reliefs, Kurdistan Region Italy · Farnese Aviaries, Rome · Historic Center of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Abruzzo · Muro Dei Francesi, Ciampino, Province of Rome, Lazio · Venice, Venice, Veneto Japan · East Japan Earthquake Heritage Sites, Tohoku and Kanto Regions · Sanro-Den of Sukunahikona Shrine, Ozu, Ehime Prefecture, Shikoku Jordan · Damiya Dolmen Field, Damiya, Jordan Valley Kenya · Lamu Old Town, Lamu Macedonia · Monastery of Poloshko, Kavadarci Municipality Mali · Cultural Heritage Sites of Mali Mexico · Fundidora Park, Monterrey, Nuevo León · Retablos de los Altos de Chiapas, San Cristóbal de las Casas and Teopisca, Chiapas Mozambique · Island of Mozambique, Napula Province Myanbar · Yangon Historic City Center, Yangon Nigeria · Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove, Osogbo, Osun State Pakistan · Shikarpoor Historic City Center, Shikarpoor Municipality Palestinian Territory · Ancient Irrigated Terraces of Battir, Bethlehem Governorate, West Bank Peru · Capilla de la Virgen Concebida de Kuchuhuasi, Quispicanchi, Cusco · Cerro Sechín, Casma, Ancash · Chan Chan, Trujilli, La Libertad · Gran Pajatén, Mariscal Céceres, San Martín Portugal · Fort of Graça, Elvas, Alentjo · Joanine Library of the University of Coimbra, Coimbra Romania · Great Synagogue of Iasi, Iasi · Wooden Churches of Northern Oltenia and Southern Transylvania, Northern Oltenia and Southern Transylvania Singapore · Bukit Brown Spain · Güell Pavilions and Garden, Barcelona · Iglesia Parroquial San Pedro Apóstol, Buenache de Alarcón, Cuenca Syria · Cultural Heritage Sites of Syria Tanzania · Christ Church Cathedral, Zanzibar, Stone Town, Zanzibar · Dar es Salaam Historic Center, Dar es Salaam · House of Wonders and Palace Museum, Stone Town, Zanzibar Turkey · Cathedral of Mren, Digor, Kars United Kingdom · Battersea Power Station, London · Deptform Dockyard and Sayes Court Garden, London · Grimsby Ice Factory and Kasbah, Grimsby, Lincolnshire · Sulgrave Manor, Sulgrave, Northamptonshire United States · Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas · George Najashima House, Studio, and Workshop, Bucks County, Pennsylvania · Henry Klumb House, San Juan, Puerto Rico · Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, St. Louis, Missouri · Taliesin, Spring Green, Wisconsin · The Cloisters and Palisades, New York and New Jersey Venezuela · Ciudad Universitaria de Caracas, Caracas
The Guardian got up close and personal with Zaha Hadid in a recent, no-holds-barred interview where the Pritzker prize-winning architect gave her two cents on London’s “conservative” architecture climate and railed against rectangular buildings, revealing a nugget of wisdom that perhaps has eluded most designers: “The world is not a rectangle.” Beyond her dislike for conventional corner-oriented design, she also told the reporter that, at her firm, “we don’t make nice little buildings.” While quadrilaterals and “nice” architecture are out of the question, apparently designing in Syria isn’t. That is, unless it is an un-luxurious prison. “Well, I wouldn’t mind building in Syria,” Hadid told the paper. “I’m an Arab and if it helps people, if it’s an opera house or a parliament building, something for the masses, I would do it. But if someone asks me to build a prison, I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t build a prison, irrespective of where it is, even if it was very luxurious.” What population living in a war-ravaged country doesn’t need a first-rate opera house?
Plans have been revealed for the reconstruction of London’s famed Crystal Palace and its surrounding 180-acre public park after London's Mayor Boris Johnson, accepted an $800 million investment promise from Shanghai-based investors ZhongRong Group. Constructed in 1851 for the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park, a fire ravaged Joseph Paxton’s glass and cast iron structural innovation in 1936. Since then, the area has been mostly abandoned with even the sizable public green space around it largely unused except for temporary events. At the launch event last week, ZhongRong Group announced its funding plans and independent engineering firm, ARUP, revealed their renovation renderings and park design plans. Following the original Victorian design, plans for renovation will restore the Crystal Palace to its former glory with the intention that it become a cultural attraction for England’s capital city. Landscape proposals plan a 21st century update, yet are sensitive to Paxton’s style and the needs of local residents. The new green space will include Italian terraces, a tree-lined “Paxton Axis” boulevard connecting the palace and park to the city center, improved landscaping and lighting, a visitor center, a café, and a refurbishment of the existing concert bowl. The entire project is proposed for completion by 2018.
Architect Zaha Hadid is finally putting her stamp on the city she has called home for over 30 years with one of her signature curvaceous designs. The London-based architect has designed the new Serpentine Sackler Gallery in Kensington Gardens consisting of both a $14.5 million curvilinear extension and the renovation of the The Magazine, a brick building originally built as a Gunpowder Store in the early 19th century. The new tensile addition rolls up and over the historic structure and houses a new 120-seat restaurant and social space. The building is composed of tailored glass-fiber fabric, steel columns, and glass. This project is not only Hadid's first permanent building in London, but it is also her first permanent completed tensile structure to date. "The extension has been designed to complement the calm and solid classical building with a light, transparent, dynamic, and distinctly contemporary space of the 21st century," said Hadid in a statement. The Guardian reported that the firm designed the Serpentine's firm temporary installation in 2000, and then were commissioned to do another one, dubbed Lilas, in 2007 for "The Summer Party" fundraiser. "But what we have here now is absolutely Zaha's concept from day one. And it isn't just about galleries, it was about creating social space, and supporting the parkland setting," said Julia Peyton-Jones, director of the Serpentine, in a story featured in The Independent.
After reviewing over 60 entries from around the world, The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has selected this year’s winners of its annual Best Tall Buildings. Regional winners from Canada, China, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates have been announced, while an overall winner will be revealed at the CTBUH 12th Annual Ceremony in November. Projects are recognized for their impacts on the development of tall buildings and the urban environment, and for sustainability. For the Americas, the winner is The Bow (Calgary, Canada) by Foster + Partners, a 780-foot-tall curved commercial tower, which curves toward the sun to capture daylight and heat. The bow-shaped design maximizes views of the Rocky Mountains. According to Juror Antony Wood, the building functions well from an environmental urbanistic perspective. Category finalists include Devon Energy Center (Oklahoma City, USA) and Tree House Residence Hall (Boston, USA). The top tower in the Asia & Australasia region was OMA's whimsical CCTV (Beijing, China). The distorted form of the building, which operates as Beijing’s state television headquarters, is the result of complex programmatic, planning and seismic requirements. Category finalists include C&D International Tower (Xiamen, China), Park Royal on Pickering (Singapore), Pearl River Tower (Guangzhou, China), and Sliced Porosity Block (Chengdu, China). Europe's mixed-use The Shard (London, UK) by Renzo Piano Building Workshop is another winner. The “vertical city” involves 25 floors of office space, three floors of restaurants, a 17-story hotel, 13 floors of apartments, and four observation levels. The structure rests at the core of a revitalized commercial district. Category finalists include ADAC Headquarters (Munich, Germany), New Babylon (The Hague, Netherlands), and Tour Total (Berlin, Germany). In the Middle East & Africa, Sowwah Square (Abu Dhabi, UAE) captures a win. The complex, which encloses the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange with four office towers and a two-story retail podium, utlizes a sustainable design method. Category finalists include 6 Remez Tower (Tel Aviv, Israel) and Gate Towers (Abu Dhabi, UAE). This year the CTBUH Board of Trustees awarded the Lynn S. Beedle Lifetime Achievement Award to Henry Cobb, founding partner of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners and the Fazlur R. Khan Lifetime Achievement Medal to Clyde Baker, senior principal engineer at AECOM.
International architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) has several projects underway, such as One Hudson Yards and a new master plan for New York City's Port Authority. Most recently, in a reinvention of spaces, KPF has submitted plans to build 11 floors on top of Richard Seifert’s 1972 30-story King’s Reach Tower, which has been renamed South Bank Tower. Located on London’s South Bank, the tower will be transformed into a mixed-use building consisting of 191 high-rise luxury apartments. KPF and collaborating engineering firm Adams Kara Taylor (AKT II) have applied to Southwark Council to raise the tower an additional 144 feet. The offices no longer meet modern day requirements and have remained vacant for about six years. An extensive overhaul proposal to transform the building into a mixed-use space – including creation of retail space, pool and gym on the ground floor, and various extensions – was approved in October 2011, so the firm already has authorization to add six floors. In seeking approval for five additional floors, KPF wants to take the 364-foot structure to 508 feet, which will extend the tower by more than a third of its original height and will offer space for 36 additional residential units. The extended tower would become part of a new group of tall buildings on the southern bank of the River Thames, which includes the recently completed Shard by Renzo Piano and the impending One Blackfriars by Ian Simpson Architects. Extending South Bank Tower by a third is a world first, according to an AKT II project engineer. KPF has become a frontrunner in skyscraper development, but despite the fact that the tower is a different approach than the firm’s customary sky-high towers, sustainability remains a focal point of the plans.
The designers at New York-based Atopia Innovation, must have been stewing over the past year. Although the gag order imposed on all participating architects and designers by London’s Olympic Organizing Committee (a.k.a. LOCOG) was lifted in January, Atopia only stepped forward in late June to say that the Olympic Cauldron designed by Thomas Heatherwick and used in the 2012 opening ceremonies seems to have been directly inspired by studies Atopia delivered to LOCOG between 2006 and 2008. Check out the sketchbook that seems to prove the point at atopiainnovation.com. (Photo: Courtesy Thomas Heatherwick)
London-based Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) has applied for planning permission to build a 67-acre headquarters for Google in London’s King’s Cross, a swiftly evolving district. The firm’s designs incorporate a steel-framed structure with cross-laminated timber panels complemented by bold primary colored exposed steel elements. The plan integrates a rooftop garden along with shops, cafes, and restaurants on the ground level. Construction is set to begin early next year. The new £650 million command center will unite Google’s London operations by replacing its existing offices in Covent Garden and Victoria. The one million square foot structure will stretch 330 meters from Regent’s Canal towards King’s Cross Station. The building varies in height from seven stories at the south and 11 stories to the north. The new headquarters will consist of 725,000 square feet of office space and approximately 50,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. Taking inspiration from the area’s distinctive industrial heritage, the building will feature innovative technologies that will provide a sophisticated setting for Google’s staff, according to Simon Allford, Director of AHMM, in a statement. Google’s planned London headquarters has been designed to satisfy high environmental sustainability standards. Ensuring minimal energy consumption and integrating high-tech materials, the goal is to attain BREEAM Outstanding and LEED Platinum ratings and an overall carbon savings of 40%. The building is expected to be complete in 2017. [Via Dezeen.]
From the mid-17th to the mid-19th century, crowds of Londoners sought entertainment at the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, located on the south bank of the River Thames. The acres of greenery that made up the garden were once the site of numerous whimsical attractions, including tight-rope walkers, concerts, fireworks, and narrow winding walkways perfect for amorous adventures. Today the neighborhood of Vauxhall, located in the heart of Nine Elms, is mostly known for the railway arches that slice across the neighborhood, disconnecting it from the riverside and labeling it as the “missing link” between the New US Embassy Quarter and London’s South Bank. In an effort to revive and reconnect the historic neighborhood The Royal Institute for British Architects (RIBA) and Vauxhall One, an organization dedicated to making Vauxhall a safer, cleaner, and better place for business, created the Vauxhall Missing Link Competition. They invited registered architects, landscape designers, and urban designers to submit their ideas for “an outstanding new addition to the urban environment.” The new plans for Vauxhall, which aim to seamlessly merge a vibrant green environment within an urban setting, unmistakably mimic those of the New York City High Line. According to the competition brief, the intention behind the new scheme is to “Reconnect the disjointed parts of the neighborhood, to build a better visual perception of Vauxhall beyond its roundabouts and roads and to create an identifiable pathway and narrative through the area, linking the railway arches, green spaces and public art into a distinctive place once again.” Erect Architecture and J&L Gibbons won the international competition with their imaginative design titled “The Promenade of Curiosities.” Chris Law, Public Realm and Development Director for Vauxhall One, said in a statement, “Erect/ J&L Gibbons entry was really special. It has so many quirky and innovative features. We really want to make a difference by regenerating Vauxhall through green and sustainable measures and their entry was outstanding.” Inspired by the historic Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens and the New York City High Line, the firm designed a contemporary promenade that will feature a series of permanent and temporary art installations. It incorporates lush rain gardens, which will be equipped with sustainable drainage systems and will feature green pathways lined with curiously pruned trees and paved with different textures, creating a fanciful setting reminiscent of the historic gardens. The new project is part of a larger masterplan that involves the transformation of the Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Area (VNEB). The first phase of development, the Regeneration of the Rail Arches, is already underway. Vauxhall One commissioned a different architect to work on each individual arch so that the end result will be a series of distinct, uniquely designed arches that will no longer barrier the neighborhood from the riverfront, but hopefully create a safe and vivid walkway and bicycle path that will link visitors to it.
Heatherwick Studio has envisioned a refreshing way for Londoners to safely commute from the North to the South side of the city that doesn’t involve the hassle of waiting for a bus, squeezing onto the overcrowded "Tube," or sitting in mind-numbing traffic. The firm, which has been working closely with actress and campaigner Joanna Lumley to develop the design, proposed a pedestrian garden bridge that will extend across the River Thames, providing Londoners with a safe, green river crossing. The idea first blossomed in response to the Transport for London’s call for submissions for the design of a pedestrian link that would span the river. They selected Heatherwick Studio’s vibrant design, which features a lush garden walkway supported by two fluted piers that will be filled with flourishing wild flowers and thrive with abundant plant life. According to Design Boom, Lumley enthusiastically commented on the new plans for the walkway by saying, “This garden will be sensational in every way: a place with no noise or traffic where the only sounds will be birdsong and bees buzzing and the wind in the trees, and below the steady rush of water. It will be the slowest way to cross the river, as people will dawdle and lean on parapets and stare at the great cityscapes all around; but it will also be a safe and swift way for the weary commuter to make his way back over the Thames.” This lively new pedestrian river crossing, which is estimated to cost about $95 million, is to be built between the already-existing Blackfriars and Waterloo bridges, and would be the first bridge to be built over the River Thames since the Millenium Bridge in 2000. With green space covering almost 40 percent of the city, London is one of the greenest cities in the world. This new garden walkway will provide London with yet another, always welcome, peaceful green public space that is sure to attract visitors and locals looking to breathe in some fresh air and appreciate the pleasant riverside views.
The London 2012 Games may have ended over 10 months ago, but even without the 17,000 athletes that lived on the premises, the Olympic Village is still brimming with commotion. Construction has begun onsite to refurbish the still-nearly-new structures into a residential housing system, Get Living London, in a new neighborhood called East Village. The site's new owners, the sovereign wealth fund Qatari Diar and British property developer Delancey paid $870 million for the Village and development land close by, according to The National. Since the global financial recession in 2007 and exacerbated by a housing shortage, London residents have been struggling to adequately affordable and quality housing. Get Living London presents renting as a suitable option instead of buying a home. The Olympic Delivery Authority is eliminating temporary structures to supply shared dining facilities. As part of the refurbished East Village housing complex, 2,818 new kitchens will be installed and the site will include an education campus, a health center, and restaurants. Local housing association, Triathlon Homes, will offer 1,379 apartments to house low-income Londoners, and the remaining flats will be rented out on the open market.