Posts tagged with "London":

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Quick Clicks> Cathedral Restoration, Haunted, Deserted and Isolated Cities

Restored London. Building Design reports that after 15 years, St. Paul’s Cathedral in London is scaffolding-free. The £40 million project restored Christopher Wren’s masterpiece to its original glory in time for the cathedral’s 30oth anniversary. St. Paul’s will host a photography competition and display the winning selections in the cathedral crypt to celebrate its complete renovation. Artificial England. While China continues to be a hot spot for architectural and economic development, its many ghost towns lack permanent residents. The Infrastructurist exposes one of China’s English-inspired uninhabited cities, Thames Town, built in 2006 as part of Shanghai’s “One City, Nine Town” initiative at decentralization. The state-of-the-art $9 billion design draws tourists, but not residents. Trucks, not Tanks. At the United States Conference of Mayors, local government representatives vote to reallocate federal funds directed toward the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for the improvement of American cities. The municipal leaders assert that the conflicts’ $126 billion per year budget would be better spend building urban infrastructure, employing civil servants, and supporting educational and family institutions. Mall City. City Watch LA evaluates Rick Caruso’s latest business proposition: running for public office. The billionaire developer envisions a new Los Angeles comprised of isolated communities each with its own shopping mall, a potential reality if Caruso wins the 2013 mayoral seat.
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Quick Clicks> Lifted Forts, A New Leaf, Walking the Line, and LA Light Rail

Guy Maunsell's Sea Forts. Standing above the sea, these Maunsell fortifications were originally built as British defenses during World War II. They remain lifted as a symbol of protection. As industrial creatures, the towers take expressive portraits. Oh, Pentagram. New York City paired with Paula Scher of Pentagram to create a new symbol for the iconic NYC Parks Department leaf. Although excellent in traditional green, the paired down logo can also be used as an elegant silhouette for programming and public events. Or perhaps wrapping paper. Parasol Unit in red, in public. New York-based performance artist Kate Gilmore and the Parasol unit foundation collaborated to start a new program entitled parasol public. Gilmore's red structure is the centerpiece of  Walk the Line, a small two story space designed upstairs for pacing and downstairs as a passageway within Exchange Square, London. Downtown to Santa Monica. The new Los Angeles county Expo Line light rail system expects to bring a bit of green speed to transportation across the city. With a plan to partially open in the fall and to unveil completely in 2015, the rail line is already underway. Just about everybody is looking forward to the new light rail, especially those who will benefit directly as part of their commute to work.
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Quick Clicks> Sprawl, Prize, Endangered, Bids

Tightening the Greenbelt. Per Square Mile explores why greenbelts fail to hold back city sprawl. Using London and San Francisco as examples, Tim De Chant writes that perimeter actually parks attract suburbs to form outside their borders. Role of a lifetime. The AIA has awarded Portland U's Sergio Palleroni the Latrobe Prize for his research on the role of architects in future public interest projects. A Portland Architecture interview plays well with De Chant's article above, as Palleroni casts a critical eye on Portland's sprawl. Going, Going. The list of the top seven endangered buildings in Chicago was today released by Preservation Chicago. Curbed Chicago pounced on list an hour after it went online. At the very top is a relative youngin': the 1975 Prentice Tower (by Mies student Bertrand Goldberg), whose uncertain fate AN's Julie Iovine covered in a recent issue. Bids 4 Bush... Bids for yet another NYC waterfront property are begin accepted by the New  York Economic Development Corporation Crain's reports, and this one comes with a 99-year ground lease. The 130,000 square-foot property sits on Gowanus Bay at Bush Terminal in Sunset Park Brooklyn.    
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Quick Clicks> Wren, Denver, Pike, & Livability

Wren's Dome. Some 300 years ago, Christopher Wren completed St. Paul's Cathedral in London. Now with today's modern icons transforming the city's skyline, the Telegraph pays homage to his lasting landmark amongst the new "Shards, Gherkins and distorted walkie-talkie-shaped skyscrapers." Green Mile High. The Editor-at-Large brings news that the USGBC has named Denver the "greenest" city in the United States with about 230 LEED registered or certified buildings. Two have earned LEED Platinum since 2010. Pike Park. StreetsBlog reports that construction has begun on permanent Pike Street pedestrian improvements to be completed this fall in Manhattan. The project replaces temporary materials DOT installed in 2009 to calm traffic along Pike and Allen streets. Shut Out. Reuter's has the list of the world's most (and least) livable cities ranked by the Economist Intelligence Unit. Vancouver topped the list (Harare, Zimbabwe came in last). No city in the United States managed to break into the top ten.
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Quick Clicks> Scanning, Aedas, Retro, Epic Growth

Vox populi. Complaining just got easier for neighborhood watchdogs in NYC. This week Mayor Bloomberg announced that building permits posted at construction sites will soon have QR (Quick Response) codes that can be scanned by smart phones. A wave of the wrist will bring up all the particulars of the construction site online and allow passers-by to report anything amiss or just find out more about project. More details about digitization of the buildings department on the mayor's website. Gardens grows. The Architect's Journal reports that Aedas, Glenn Howells, and Jestico + Whiles have been selected to design the replacement for Robin Hood Gardens housing complex in east London. The plan for the £500 million development includes the demolition of the early 1970s buildings designed by Alison and Peter Smithson. Midlife crisis. Owners of mid-century modern homes in Massachusetts are retrofitting aging residences designed by TAC and other firms, equipping them for the future and saving them from the wrecking ball in the process, writes Kathleen Burge in the Boston Globe. Before and after, epic version. Web Urbanist presents the rise of the modern metropolis through a series of eye-popping images. (Shenzen, China wins for most dramatic transformation, while New York 1954 and New York 2009 look eerily similar.)
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Quick Clicks> Drawing, Green, Aerial, Plans

Block by Block. Brooklyn-based illustrator James Gulliver Hancock is attempting to draw All the Buildings in New York in quite beautiful pen and ink sketches like the one above. Watch a video of the artist explaining his inspirations, style, and how a chained up wheelchair is architecture after the jump. (via Gothamist.) Leeders. Blair Kamin discusses the competitive race to build green among major cities today. Chicago is still number one for the most LEED-certified buildings, but the self-proclaimed "greenest city in America" faces some stiff competition. Aerial. Building Design is running a new series of aerial photos showing progress at the 2012 Olympics site in London. 12,000 workers are reportedly on site working on the main stadium, aquatics center, and arena. Master Plan. Now that South Sudan's national independence has been approved, Sudan Votes reports that the government has revealed a model of a planned new capital city to replace the chaotic regional capital Juba, but not everyone is happy with the move.  (via Planetizen.)
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John Pawson Crafts New Show, Museum for London

British architect John Pawson was in town recently, conferring with a client about their new apartment in one of Richard Meier’s Perry Street towers and supporting another whose film was premiering at the Museum of Modern Art. He took time out for a coffee to talk about the upcoming show of his work at the London Design Museum opening on September 22, as well as his new home for the museum—announced last month—within the repurposed Commonwealth Institute, aka the Parabola Building, a swoopy 1962 white elephant designed by RMJM in West London. (Also going on the site is a controversial Rem Koolhaas-designed apartment building.) Pawson beat out a list that included British familiars David Chipperfield, Haworth Tompkins, Caruso St. John Architects, Stanton Williams, Tony Fretton, and the Dutch firm Claus En Kaan Architecten. Director Deyan Sudjic, the author of several books on Pawson and a close friend (the architecture circle in the UK is pretty small and tight) said that in choosing Pawson he was sure to have an architect “who will bring out the best of this remarkable building.” From Pawson’s description, the show Plain Space promises to be an architect’s architecture show that’s not academic, focusing on materials—no surprise considering the man favors four-inch-thick marble slabs for his kitchen counter and 45-foot single-plank floorboards in the parlor—and process. Plain Space will avoid show and tell through models and pre-occupancy photography in favor of a more immersive experience. “At my age, I had to ask myself, Why an exhibition now?” said Pawson. “Ten years ago, the reasons would have been more obvious, now it’s more like, What’s the point? For me, the answer was to make it something people will learn from, to make it something about space, to make it feel like you are walking into architecture, and to make it get across how architecture gets done.” So there’s going to be a 1:1 scale installation. Pawson has done this before at an ill-fated Marks & Spencer department store in Gateshead, where he installed a two-story house imaginatively occupied by a celebrity footballer and avid M&S consumer. This time, he said, would be quite different, a room instead of a structure. He contemplated creating a chapel in the spirit of the monastery he has designed at Novy Dvur in the Czech Republic but rejected that as too prescriptive. “It will not necessarily be residential but it will be of that scale, almost like a ballet set. It’s not meant to be heavy or permanent,” he said, noting that he would reject any client request to duplicate the space. He also toyed with the idea of making it entirely of chalk—one of a collection of materials along with pumice and cast aluminum that he keeps on his desk for inspiration—that he admires for its depth and consistency, but in compressed blocks, as it’s used in places like Kent and Dover, it would be too heavy for the museum floors. The search continues. The “room” will sit at the center of the exhibition where people can stop and take a break before proceeding to a section of gigantic commissioned portraits of four completed projects—a cricket pavilion in Oxford; creative director Fabien Baron’s house in rural Sweden, the Sackler crossing bridge in Kew Gardens, and Pawson’s own Notting Hill townhouse. Each photo-mural will measure ten feet by six feet and comprise 24 smaller images with the purpose of providing context, in some cases miles of it, and showcasing the building as part and parcel of its landscape. This minimalist architect is a complete lush when it comes to sumptuous materials, and so an important part of the show will feature large chunks of them arrayed on five-foot square palettes. Recalling the famous materials show that Rem Koolhaas and Herzog & de Meuron did for the Prada Foundation, there will be no mock-ups, however, because Pawson’s are so exacting that they are usually incorporated into the buildings themselves. Thirty process models and drawings (none made just for the show) will be on display along with correspondence from clients, among them Karl Lagerfeld and Bruce Chatwin, but the most fascinating will no doubt be the letters from the monks headed for the Czech monastery describing their design needs and desires. A super-sustainable 5,000 square foot house in Treviso, Italy, gets the most complete treatment with a series of commissioned photographs—no grab shots here, just the highest-rez joints and details—documenting the house built of Marmorino plaster walls and white concrete roof panels from the first day of construction through the most current. The clients are an old established family accustomed to quality: Their forefathers commissioned not only Carlo Scarpa, but Palladio. “It’s not an everyday house,” admitted Pawson. Nor does it sound like it will be  an ordinary show. Plain Space runs through January 30, 2011;  John Pawson: Plain Space by Allison Morris will be published by Phaidon in September.
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Routemaster 2.0

The City of London unveiled a new version of its iconic red doubledecker bus today, replacing the Routemasters everyone knows and loves. Which was a little surprising, as we thought Transit London had already selected the ever-so-British team of Norman Foster and Aston Martin 17 months ago. But apparently that was just an ideas competition while this, as the video above shows, is the real deal. Set to hit the road by 2012—just in time for the Olympics, no less—the new buses are the work of Thomas Heatherwick and Wrightbus. In addition to being super sleek, the new buses are super sustainable hybrids. Get on board after the jump.
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To the Ramparts

With all the notice being paid to the new U.S. embassy this week, an even bigger (physically if not psychically) project just next door was overshadowed as it won a key approval yesterday. Rafael Viñoly's massive Battersea development, which will turn the iconic Battersea Power Station and 40 surrounding acres (once on the cover of a Pink Floyd album) into a huge mixed-use community, won approval from the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment. According to our colleagues at BD, the CABE found the 5.5 billion pound project to be "intelligent and well-resolved." It includes more than 3,700 apartment units, 1.5 million feet of office space, 500,000 of retail, and community facilities, though an ecodome and other expensive features have been ditched on account of the bad economy. It wasn't all good news for Viñoly this week, though, as his similarly post-industrial New Domino project in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, took a lashing from the local community board. We'll have a full report on that when there's a final vote next month.
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Take a Whiff of This!

But please, only in moderation. Inhaling too deeply at a new London bar may leave you, well….drunk. 2 Ganton Street, once an unused storefront, has reopened as a self-contained, walk-in gin and tonic. Imbibers at Alcoholic Architecture simply slip into provided plastic jumpsuits, breathe, and enjoy the buzz. The creators of the bar, Bompas and Parr, have effectively revolutionized the bar experience by removing the traditional, and oh so painstakingly boring, order and sip protocol.

Self-proclaimed as operating “in the space between food and architecture,” Bompas and Parr are allowing lucky ticket holders, the event is now sold out, up to 40 booze breathing minutes in the space. Alcoholic Architecture is continuously filled with a steady mist of both gin and tonic by industrial strength humidifiers engineered by JS Humidifiers.  And of course the drink is served with a twist: The crucial hint of lime comes in the form of a small green light. All safety concerns have been taken into account and there is an ambulance on standby, just in case. Don’t worry about work the next day either; so far the only reported hangover has been overly greasy hair and ringing ears from the booming music. Bompas & Par have previously gained notoriety for their artistic endeavors into the world of jelly. As they see it, “jelly is the perfect site for an examination of food and architecture due to its uniquely plastic form and the historic role it has played in exploring notions of taste.” You can check out more of their work here.
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He Sure Knew How To Say Goodbye

When Jan Kaplicky passed away last week, we couldn't help but think that there was some odd symmetry to what it seemed would be his final work, an Oscar Mayer-inspired London Routemaster. After all, it was to England that Kaplicky fled when he left Communist Czechoslavakia, and he practice there all his life. But AJ reports today that Kaplicky's real, final, realized work, will be in his nation of origin. For the Czech town of České Budějovice, Kaplicky has designed one last work of swooping, languid genius. And best of all, as AJ points out, "Unlike his controversial library in Prague, which looks set to remain on the drawing board, the two-theatre 'stingray-shaped' building for the South Society of Friends of Music is due to start construction in 2010 and could open in 2013." Here's hoping it becomes a reality. (h/t Archinect)
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Bus Stopped

Architects don’t have a great track record designing vehicles that make it to the marketplace. LeCorbusier, Gropius, Zaha, and, of course, Buckminster Fuller have all tried "streamlining" their buildings and putting wheels on them but their efforts never made it past the prototype stage. Now you can add Future Systems to the list of those who have tried and failed.

Last month, we featured the winning entry from Lord Norman Foster and Capoco Design, as well as some of the runners up. Given that there were over 700 entries, some never caught the attention of the wider public, even if they should have. Case in point: Future Systems' out-of-this-world proposal. More UFO than bus, it turned up today on BD. And while Transport for London might not have liked FS's design, it certainly is exemplary of their other blobtacular work. Maybe London's loss can be New York's gain: Start petitioning City Sights immediately.