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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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.”
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.
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.
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)
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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