Posts tagged with "London":

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Bjarke Ingels joins Foster and Gehry for Battersea Power Station redevelopment

Bjarke Ingels is slated to join elder architectural statesmen Norman Foster and Frank Gehry at the Battersea Power Station in London. The multi-billion dollar, mixed-use redevelopment was originally master planned by, yes, another starchitect, Rafael Viñoly. Ingels' firm, BIG, joins the bunch after winning a competition to design a public space for the project called Malaysia Square. Why is it called Malaysia Square? Because, lest the Brits forget, the project is backed by a Malaysian development consortium. BIG's plan for Malaysia Square goes beyond the name; it takes its form and design from the caves of the country's Gunung Mulu National Park. The Battersea developers describe the space as a “two-level urban canyon.” To that end, Malaysia Square is clad in limestone, granite, marble, sandstone, gravel, and has dolomite striation. The square's natural materials are sculpted into a dramatic design, but don't necessarily make for the most comfortable place to stretch out. Before unveiling Malaysia Square, London Mayor Boris Johnson addressed criticism that the Battersea Power Station development has too few affordable units and will just be another investment opportunity for wealthy foreigners. (15 percent of the plan is currently "affordable.) “I think 600 affordable homes are better than no affordable homes," Johnson told the Guardian. "If you didn’t do a deal of this kind you couldn’t get either the transport or the affordable homes so that’s the reality." The mayor also said that the development comes with two new Tube stations and the first extension of the system in a quarter century [h/t Dezeen]    
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Spanish firm SelgasCano to design 15th Serpentine Pavilion in London

The Serpentine Galleries has announced that Spanish architecture firm SelgasCano has been selected to design its 15th Serpentine Pavilion in London's Kensington Gardens. While the pavilion plan won't be unveiled until February, here's what we know about the firm that won the coveted commission. "SelgasCano’s work is characterised by a use of synthetic materials and new technologies, often rarely applied to architecture," the Serpentine said in a statement. "Taking inspiration from Luis Barragan and Richard Rogers, the architects use distinctive colours and references to nature throughout their designs." SelgasCano was founded in Madrid in 1998 by José Selgas and Lucía Cano and has worked primarily in its home country. The firm teaches a class called "Nature and Climatology" at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and participated in the 2010 Venice Biennale. "This is an amazing and unique opportunity to work in a Royal Garden in the centre of London," SelgasCano said in a statement. "Both aspects, ‘Garden’ and ‘London’, are very important for us in the development of this project. We are in the middle of a garden, a ‘Royal’ garden indeed, once divided in two and separated by a Serpentine. That garden clings in the middle of London. Garden and London (which best defines London?) will be the elements to show and develop in the Pavilion. For that we are going to use only one material as a canvas for both: the Transparency. That ‘material’ has to be explored in all its structural possibilities, avoiding any other secondary material that supports it, and the most advanced technologies will be needed to be employed to accomplish that transparency. A good definition for the pavilion can be taken from J. M. Barrie: it aims to be as a ‘Betwixt-and-Between’." Previous pavilion designers include Frank GehryHerzog & de Meuron and Ai WeiweiRem Koolhaas and Cecil Balmond, Daniel Libeskind, and Zaha Hadid. Check out some of SelgasCano's work  in the gallery below.
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Drive-By Design: A billboard by Zaha Hadid proposed for London

09-zaha-billboard-london International outdoor advertising and street furnishings firm JCDecaux and Zaha Hadid Architects have proposed a new billboard design for a busy London intersection. The Paris-based JCDecaux has quite the history of collaborating with high-profile architects and designers—Peter Eisenman, Robert Stern, Gae Aulenti, Philippe Starck, and Lord Norman Foster among them. 06-zaha-billboard-london From an improbable aerial view, the project looks promising. But on the ground, its aesthetic traction is questionable. The design is a retread, both in its resemblance to defective tires and with regard to Hadid's canon of mobius-like creations. The pedestrian experience—no pun intended—doesn't look to be enhanced, either, even though the proposed structure is narrower than the existing advertising kiosk. 07-zaha-billboard-london Could a case be made that such eye-catching, animated structures might contribute to distracted driving? The answer to that question depends on who you ask. The U.S. Department of Transportation conducted a study that concluded digital billboards are no more distracting than stationary signage. But an investigation by the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute came to a very different finding, which led to the removal of all such advertisements.
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In London, Renzo Piano's so-called "Shardette" to rise next to so-called "Shard"

With his 1,016-foot-tall glassy skyscraper, aptly dubbed "The Shard", towering above London, and his 17-story office tower, nicknamed the "baby Shard" open nearby, it's only fitting that Renzo Piano wants to complete the Shardian Trilogy. This week, he came one step closer to accomplishing that with unanimous approval for a 26-story residential tower called "The Shardette." No, that is not at all the real name. For the record, it is called the Fielden House project. The UK-based Building magazine reported that the project was given the go-ahead after Piano's team updated its design. According to the publication, planners had flagged issues with cladding materials, rooftop design, public space components, and sightlines to the historic Southwark Cathedral. New renderings show that behind the tower's glassy, very Piano-style exterior, is masonry cladding which differentiates the structure from the superlative tower next door. At the street level is a public plaza and a two-story glass and steel podium that contains space for retail. “The proposed new public spaces and landscaping to be delivered by this mixed use development, were strongly supported and praised by the councillors in the meeting,” Renzo Piano Building Workshop said in a statement. “The public realm improvements will have a significant contribution to the area and when completed in 2018, together with the new London Bridge station, will complete the regeneration of London Bridge.” Construction is slated to start on the project by the end of next year with completion in 2018.
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Video> Knight Architects create folding fan-like bridge in London

The UK-based firm Knight Architects has created a pedestrian bridge in London that opens and closes like a Japanese folding fan. The Merchant Square Footbridge is comprised of five steel beams that sequentially open with the help of hydraulic jacks. The structure spans about 65 feet across the Grand Union Canal in the new mixed-use Merchant Square development in Paddington. Knight Architects, alongside structural engineering firm AKT II won a design competition for the bridge in 2012. In a statement, Knight explained that the individual beams together form the bridge's deck and that counterweights and a hydraulic system reduce the structure's energy use. Dezeen reported that the bridge opens up every Friday to accommodate passing ships. “A fixed structure wasn't viable at that site as the constraints wouldn’t allow for the ramps necessary to get above the shipping envelope,” project architect Bartlomiej Halaczek told Dezeen. “A moving structure however would have to be maintained, and as these are usually quite significant costs, we had to keep them low by not overcomplicating the structure and picking a relatively simple mechanical system.” Not far from Knight's fan-like bridge, is another impressive, canal-crossing structure: Heatherwick Studio's Rolling Bridge, which can curl up into a “circular sculpture.”
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Zaha Hadid to design mathematics wing at London's Science Museum

In an effort to make math appear exciting, London's Science Museum has tapped Zaha Hadid to design its new mathematics gallery. According to the museum, the new multi-million dollar, Hadid-ian space will "tell stories that place mathematics at the heart of our lives, exploring how mathematicians, their tools and ideas have helped to shape the world from the turn of the 17th century to the present." If that doesn't sound absolutely riveting to you, well maybe some math-themed architecture can help. Good news, that is exactly what Hadid has planned for the space. In a statement, she said, “the design explores the many influences of mathematics in our everyday lives; transforming seemingly abstract mathematical concepts into an exciting interactive experience for visitors of all ages." The centerpiece of Hadid's design is a 1920s-era Handley Page airplane that is surrounded by undulating forms that appear like visualized turbulence. "The gallery's design will bring this remarkable story of the Handley Page bi-plane to life by considering the entire gallery as a wind tunnel for the aircraft," explained the architect. The gallery is expected to open in 2016. [h/t bdonline]
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Zaha Hadid designs an elegant wave at the V&A Museum for the London Design Festival

London's Victoria & Albert Museum is preparing to construct an art installation by Zaha Hadid. Called Crest, the oval form takes its name from ocean waves and will appear in the museum’s John Madejski garden as part of the London Design Festival, which takes place later this month. The Crest, as Hadid’s team has named it, will hover over the pond within the V&A's Madejski garden, forming a swooping arc over the body of water. The futuristic pavilion will sport a metallic surface which will reflect the sky above and the water underneath it. The contrast between these two reflected images will play on the clear contrast of the ultramodern installation against the backdrop of the 19th century museum. Despite this contrast, Hadid designed the installation to create a sense that it had always been there. “We envisioned creating a piece that would emerge from the pool which is the centrepiece of the space, both visually and in terms of social interaction,” Hadid explained in a statement. “Crest is intended to offer an exciting new perspective with which visitors experience the courtyard. It will multiply the movements of the water and the historic backdrop within which it is sited. It will capture the attention of visitors as they enter the space and draw them towards exploring the new quality of space created within.” Hadid previously stated the installation would be comprised of a very thin aluminum material, making it light and easily transported. After the London Design Festival concludes, the Crest installation will be transported from the V&A Museum to Hadid's ultra-parametric ME Dubai hotel, where it will stand as a permanent sculpture. The hotel is expected to open in 2016.
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Look inside London's subterranean funhouse, The House of Vans

The house that Vans built is 30,000 square feet, cavernous, and deep underneath London. The iconic shoe and clothes retailer recently transformed the Old Vic Tunnels beneath Waterloo Station into "The House of Vans”—a multi-level, subterranean cultural venue complete with galleries, artist studios, a café, two bars, an 85-person music venue, a 160-person cinema, and, of course, a skate park. The space, which was designed by London-based design firm Hellicar & Lewis, had been used as an arts venue from 2009 to 2013. “The space is ready for both work and play; with a wide range of educational & learning activities on offer," said Vans in a statement on the venue's website. "Not forgetting, our cultural and sporting events that are attracting the best talent from across the globe…from skateboarding and beyond.” The venue is open five days a week and will host live events on the weekends. The project brings to mind elements of New York City's own proposed subterranean playground, The Lowline, which continues its efforts to repurpose tunnels under the Lower East Side. The House of Vans London is actually the company’s second outpost, the first House of Vans is in, predictably, a former warehouse in Brooklyn. This is where you would probably expect a reference to the HBO show “Girls,” but let’s just call it here. [h/t Creative Review UK]
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14th Annual Serpentine Pavilion Opens in Kensington Gardens, Designed by Smiljan Radic

On June 26, London's Serpentine Gallery opened its 14th annual Serpentine Pavilion in Kensington Gardens. Designed by Chilean architect Smiljan Radic, the pavilion is made up of an organically formed semi-transparent fiberglass shell structure perched atop giant boulders sourced from a local quarry. Over the next four months, visitors will be encouraged to interact with the 1,700-square-foot installation, which is occupied by a cafe and multi-purpose event space. On select Friday nights from July through September, the pavilion will serve as a stage for the gallery's Park Nights series of site-specific events, which combine art, poetry, music, film, and theory, including installations by emerging artists Lina Lapelyte, Hannah Perry, and Heather Phillipson. Radic's design follows Sou Fujimoto's cloud-like 2013 installation, which attracted nearly 200,000 visitors, the most of any Serpentine Pavilion to-date. For the second year in a row, global design services giant AECOM provided engineering services for the project. In previous years, such architectural luminaries as Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel, and Herzog & de Meuron with Ai Weiwei have designed the pavilion. Radic had this to say about his design in a statement:
The Serpentine Pavilion 2014 continues a history of small romantic constructions seen in parks or large gardens, the so-called follies that were popular from the late sixteenth century to the beginning of the nineteenth century. In general, follies appear as ruins or have been worn away by time, displaying an extravagant, surprising and often archaic form. These characteristics artificially dissolve the temporal and physical limits of the constructions into their natural surroundings. The 2014 Pavilion takes these principles and applies them using a contemporary architectural language. The unusual shape and sensual qualities of the Pavilion have a strong physical impact on the visitor, especially juxtaposed with the classical architecture of the Serpentine Gallery. From the outside, visitors see a fragile shell in the shape of a hoop suspended on large quarry stones. Appearing as if they had always been part of the landscape, these stones are used as supports, giving the pavilion both a physical weight and an outer structure characterised by lightness and fragility. The shell, which is white, translucent and made of fibreglass, contains an interior that is organised around an empty patio at ground level, creating the sensation that the entire volume is floating. The simultaneously enclosed and open volumes of the structure explore the relationship between the surrounding Kensington Gardens and the interior of the Pavilion. The floor is grey wooden decking, as if the interior were a terrace rather than a protected interior space. At night, the semi-transparency of the shell, together with a soft amber-tinted light, draws the attention of passers-by like lamps attracting moths.
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Eavesdrop> “Tourism” Now Pronounced “Voyeurism” in London

Peeping Toms, bust out the kazoos. Your field day has arrived—and it comes equipped with party favors. The Shard, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, is London’s tallest skyscraper and, as of last week, home to a new luxury hotel. The rooms include breathtaking views of the city—and, thanks to a design flaw, unscrupulous views of unsuspecting neighbors. Glass panels on the Shard’s exterior bestow the building with a crystalline front and its namesake. But at night, the city’s lights turn the glass into mirrors that fully reflect guest bedrooms into each other. Complementary binoculars (“for the view,” ahem) don’t help matters. Nor do puns about the naked eye. Masking a blush? Rest easy—susceptible rooms include shades for extra privacy.
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Blue Plate Special: Bjarke Ingles Reinterprets Walter Gropius With "Big Cities" Dinnerware

In 1969, Walter Gropius designed a collection of china for Rosenthal. Named after his atelier in Cambridge, The Architects Collaborative, TAC's elegant and curious forms are pristine in white porcelain. Embellishing Gropius' design would naturally be heresy to some purists. To others, it would reflect his belief in the collaborative process. In their update of the tableware, called TAC Big Cities, architect Bjarke Ingels of BIG and Danish industrial design studio Kilo teamed up to create an urban motif for the collection. The skylines of Paris, New York, Berlin, London, and Copenhagen have been delineated in dark blue with a sure hand (My guess it was wielding a 7B pencil). Not meandering doodles, not too-crisp or CAD-like. This is a friendly, confident line. When wrapping around serving vessels, pitchers, and bowls, the cities' silhouettes are easily recognizable, punctuated with unmistakable architectural icons as the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, and the Brandenburg Gate. But when projected onto the borders of plates and platters—comparatively flat surfaces—the lines distort, and read more like seismic activity graphs. It's a pleasantly unruly ornament. Dining on the town of your choice will cost about $50 for a 11-inch plate.
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World's largest solar bridge completed in London

Work was just finished on the Blackfriars Bridge in London, which is now the largest solar bridge in the world. The renovation of the Victorian-era bridge was part of the larger modernization project for the adjoining Blackfriar’s railway station. The station has been fitted with 4,400 photovoltaic panels, which are expected to reduce the station's CO2 emissions by an estimated 511 tons (563 tons) per year. Work began in spring 2009 and the station was operationally complete in time for the 2012 Olympics, with the solar array installation complete in March 2013. The full refurbishment of the station is now also complete. The nearly 20,000-square-feet of new panels are intended to offset about 50% of the station’s energy costs. The adding of solar panels was part of a redesign for the Southfriars Station which includes a new entrance on the south bank of the River Thames, four new platforms and a improved Underground station. The station is a key part of the £6.5 billion (US$10.72 billion) Thameslink Programme, which aims to increase train capacity on one of Europe's busiest stretches of railway running from north to south through central London. "Our work at Blackfriars demonstrates two key benefits of solar," says Frans van den Heuvel, CEO of Solarcentury told Gizmag. "First, it can be integrated into the architecture to create a stunning addition to London’s skyline. Second, it can be integrated into the most complex of engineering projects; in this case being built above a construction site, over a rail track over a river."