Posts tagged with "London":
“Utopia by Design” is the theme at this year’s inaugural London Design Biennial. On show at the three-week event are a series of installations from 37 countries, all located inside and around the grounds of Somerset House by the Thames. The show runs until September 27.
The Architect’s Newspaper was in attendance and we've collected some highlights below:
The highlight of the Biennal, Border City was designed by Mexican architect Fernando Romero. Drawing on contemporary issues such as immigration, border control, and economic zoning, Romero’s masterplan coalesces employment, trade, and cultural dimensions into the "Border City." Here, the three states of New Mexico and Texas (U.S.) and Chihuahua (Mexico) would join as one singular hub.
Romero makes use of a topographical circular map and projection screens that wrap around the exhibition space. The visually intense installation submerges the audience into a wealth of information including population growth data, demographics, consumption, and resources for the U.S., Mexico, and the world. Phrases like “special economic zones” outline where trade areas would be in Romero’s binational “Border City” as further projections take you through renderings of the fictional city.
Located on the riverside, Lebanon’s installation provides a taste of Beirut for Londoners. While kebab shops are nothing new in the capital, Annabel Karim Kassar’s work immerses audiences into a typical Beirut street scene offering kebabs, Lebanese coffee, and even a wet shave. While the smell of spices waft through the vicinity and local music fills the air, a breeze running off the Thames brings you back home. Lebanon's piece won the London Design Biennale Medal 2016 for the most exceptional design contribution.
Inside, Chile’s “Counter Culture Room” offers an insight into the utopian dreams the country had under socialist President Allende of the 1970s and how they were very nearly realized. A short film relays how the country enlisted British cybernetics expert Stafford Beer for Project Cybersyn. Beer aimed to use cybernetics as a form of governance, whereby a central control room—one that could be mistaken for belonging to a 1970s sci-fi villain—would oversee the country. It was a cyber management system that would unite workers with the authorities through a flow of information. Though these plans never made it off the ground due to Pinochet's coup, Chilean studio Fab Lab Santiago made four chairs slicing a would-be control room in two. Interesting though the backstory is, visitors can’t feel empowered as the chairs are sadly unavailable for sitting in.
Austria’s installation symbolizes the fragility of utopias. The kinetic light sculpture comprises a complex arrangement of interconnected earbud-shaped lights. When left still, the whole structure is fully illuminated, however, when moved in any way, lights close to the source of movement dim and turn off. A slight nudge can rupture the delicate ambience that exists, meaning lights out in utopia.
Essentially, this building is the architectural embodiment of sea sickness, waves of nausea frozen in sheaths of glass and colored aluminum that, when stared at for too long, summon queasiness, discomfort and, if you’re really unlucky, a reappearance of lunch as inevitably as puddles after a rainstorm.Incidentally, the much-maligned flats in question range from $1 million to $1.2 million. The developers behind the project, Galliard Homes, describe it as a "striking new landmark against Canary Wharf’s dazzling architecture." They go on to add: "Offering breathtaking views, first class facilities, and superlative living accommodation in a location of international status, Lincoln Plaza is set to provide one of the most prestigious and sophisticated new landmarks on Canary Wharf’s iconic skyline." Ijeh, though, was not impressed with this description.
Were anyone in any doubt as to the sheer level delusion and gall that has gripped London’s luxury housing market, then this asinine quotation should settle the matter once and for all. Lincoln Plaza is actually in South Quay and not Canary Wharf but what better way of showing contempt for your local context than by insinuating it is actually located in your flashier neighboring district that is more likely to be familiar to your target Malaysian investors? But, of course, this development does not show contextual contempt by words but by actions and it is these architectural actions and not the aforementioned “views” that are truly “breath-taking.” Lincoln Plaza is a putrid, pugilistic horror show that should never have been built. In its bilious cladding, chaotic form, adhesive balconies and frenzied facades, it exhibits the absolute worst in shambolic architectural design and cheap visual gimmickry. The only thing “sophisticated” about this scheme is the sheer level of artistry that must have been orchestrated in order to convince the local authority to award permission.Paul Finch, editorial director of the Architects' Journal—a rival to the publication that runs the not-so-coveted trophy—called for the competition to be ended last month. He also wrongly predicted, as did many, that:
Those who control the [Carbuncle Cup] seem to know next to nothing about commercial architecture, hate it, campaign against it and only keep quiet when a self-evidently ‘good’ architect, like Eric Parry, wins a commission to design the tallest tower in the City of London, demolishing the rather good [Aviva] tower in the process. The predictable tone of the [Carbuncle Cup] nominations is echoed by the predictability of the results. The judges don’t get out much, so the focus is generally on London. If you can attack a big name, all the better, hence the ludicrous abuse poured on the Cutty Sark project by Grimshaw. Commercial uses are a red rag to a bull, hence the campaign against another ‘winner’, the Tesco store with apartments above at Woolwich, a brave and successful attempt to revive a benighted town centre, which I supported while sitting on the design review panel which assessed the plan... My real objection to the [Cup] is that it is the product of mental idleness rather than genuine thought about the way in which architecture both absorbs and reflects culture, economics, fashion and the myriad other elements which inform the way we now live, work and play.Catherine Slessor, also writing in the same publication, however, made the case for the Carbuncle Cup:
Some might regard it as a cheap exercise in tabloid trolling that takes no account of the complexities and contradictions of the design process, in which architects are merely hapless pawns, buffeted by bad clients, bad briefs and bad legislation. Yet who could argue against the guilty pleasure of witnessing the pomposity of the great and the good being pricked or the hubris of provincial nonentities witheringly exposed? After all, these purveyors of ordure are paid for what they do. And, unlike genuine ordure, bad buildings cannot be swept away.
Herzog & de Meuron, Studio Gang, and DS+R among those shortlisted for new Royal College of Art campus in South London
- Christian Kerez (Switzerland)
- Diller Scofidio + Renfro (U.S.)
- Herzog & de Meuron (Switzerland)
- Lacaton & Vassal (France)
- Robbrecht en Daem architecten (Belgium)
- Serie Architects (UK/Singapore)
- Studio Gang (U.S.)
- Dr. Paul Thompson (Chair)
- Professor Naren Barfield
- Richard Benson
- Dr. Adrian Lahoud
- Professor Judith Mottram
- Baroness Gail Rebuck
- Alan Leibowitz (lay member of Council)
- Professor Ricky Burdett (lay member of Council)
- Professor Rachel Cooper OBE (lay member of Council)
- Paola Antonelli
- Marcus Cole (student)
The Palace of Westminster, which was rebuilt following the destruction of the original medieval building in 1834, is home to the U.K.’s parliamentary proceedings in London. A UNESCO world heritage site, the palace is in a constant state of renovation and preservation. As one can guess, cleaning the premises is a quite a task, though much of the dirt, grime, and dust amassed over the decades has either been long since been swept away, forgotten, or left dormant.
In light of this, Spanish artist, architect, and conservationist Jorge Otero-Pailos has his eyes set on retaining some of Westminster's dirty history (interpret that metaphorically as you please). Open until September 1st at the Houses of Parliament is The Ethics of Dust. A nod to John Ruskin’s 1866 publication by the same name, the site-specific installation is located in Westminster Hall, the oldest part of the complex. An admirer of Gothic architecture, Ruskin pioneered the movement for architecture conservation and warned of the damage pollution could do, but also the damage that could be done if cleaning was to be carried out.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqv5_pCCS-U
Now, however, more sophisticated cleaning tools are available, and Otero-Pailos has been able to carry out his work. Latex was sprayed onto the building's wall then delicately peeled off to lift the dirt finally cleaning the wall that Ruskin had coined, “that golden stain of time.” A translucent recreation of the hall's internal east wall, the 164-foot-long sheet holds hundreds of years of surface pollution and dust with remnants from the Great Stink of 1858 to WWII; the smog of 1952 and beyond.
The project was commissioned by art U.K. producers Artangel and hangs from a hammerbeam roof 91 feet above. Backlighting and natural illumination from the Palace's grand windows allows visitors to inspect all the dirt that has been collected from the wall in fine detail. During this process, Otero-Pailos worked alongside Parliament’s official restoration and stone cleaning project for more than five years, such was the extent of the dirt residue.
Late last year, The Architect's Newspaper reported that Allies and Morrison, BDP, HOK and Foster+Partners had been shortlisted among a group of nine firms for a major refurbishment project at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London. You can read more about The Ethics of Dust here.
It takes something of considerable magnitude to shift the global limelight from the U.S. presidential election. However, it appears Britain has done just that. The U.K. voted to leave the European Union and the largest trading bloc in the world, of which it has been a member for nearly half a century.
Economists and financial traders have frantically responded; The Architect’s Newspaper surveyed firms for their reactions and examined the outlook for the U.K. and Europe's architecture scene. Before the vote, many of the leading U.K. architecture practices—including Thomas Heatherwick, David Adjaye and David Chipperfield, among others—all pledged their support for remaining in the European Union.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tItgGcWVHw
In terms of pure economics, share price fluctuation—notably of construction firms and developers—is one good indicator of industry confidence. When the market opened for the first time post-referendum, shares of Barratt Developments PLC, the biggest U.K. house builder by sales, fell as much as 32 percent, while shares of Persimmon PLC, which is the largest builder by market capitalization, dropped by 40 percent. Developers too were also wounded, with Derwent London dropping by 18 percent while British Land and Great Portland Estates saw share prices drop by 16 percent.
About a month prior to the referendum, architects and industry leaders held a panel discussion and came to the resounding conclusion that a "Brexit" would not be beneficial to the industry. David Green, director of Belsize Architects and former head of the European Division of the Bank of England, spoke of how procurement of labor and materials would be hindered by being outside the E.U., thereby inflating pricing.
He also added how the recognition of professional qualifications is “critical"; more decisions post-Brexit will be needed to set a common standard. The same quandary of materials standards would also apply. Jason Prior, chief executive of building and places at AECOM, commented that "Whether it be an Italian facade system or German tiles, those components can be used across the E.U. without any hinderance.”
As for now, the U.K. is still in the European Union, and the referendum was only advisory. Still, to reject the result would be politically challenging, if not impossible. The next step is to invoke Article 50, which essentially presses the red button on leaving the E.U. The process gives the U.K. two years to negotiate an exit deal. Provided that many of those who voted to leave cited immigration as their motivation, the free movement of people and labor may be tricky to maintain.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BMRq96sAwk
The British construction industry relies on Eastern European builders and tradesmen, coming most notably from Poland and Lithuania. David Thomas, chief executive of Barratt Developments, said “If you ask any house-builder what their main challenge is, they say it’s labor availability.” That labor supply, of course, could be maintained if Britain negotiates access to the single market (the European Economic Area) in an approach similar to Norway, whereby freedom of movement is still permitted.
Currently embroiled in the midst of a housing crisis, the U.K. government has been urged by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) "to not turn off the free-flowing tap of European migrant workers;" the FMB added that twelve percent of British construction workers are of non-U.K. origin. "They have helped the construction industry bounce back from the economic downturn, when 400,000 skilled workers left the industry," the FMB said.
Another complication of Britain's impending withdrawal is that Scotland now has a strong mandate for a repeat referendum on their own independence. In 2014, 55 percent of voters from an 85 percent turnout chose not to leave. For the E.U. referendum, only 67 percent of the electorate turned out to vote, but should Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's calls for independence be successful, England would lose a wealth of timber stock, notably Scots Pine, which could make meeting England's housing demand even more tricky.
Former London Mayor and leading protagonist of the Leave campaign, Boris Johnson, has said that Article 50's enactment “will not come in any great rush." Johnson, who is the bookmaker's favorite to be the next Prime Minister, also added that his only aim is for Britain to "extricate itself from the E.U.’s extraordinary and opaque system of legislation.” However, this notion was recently rebuffed by an E.U. diplomat who said “You cannot have your cake and eat it.”
Meanwhile, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) spoke of how architects bidding for public contracts in the E.U. would probably not be hindered. "For architects bidding for public contracts in the EU, no immediate changes are likely," they said. "E.U. law expressly forbids any weight in a procurement decision being given to the country of origin of a bid for a public contract. As such, access to public contracts for U.K. bids is not dependent on the U.K.’s membership of the E.U."
Here's what some of the leading figures in Britain and Europe had to say on the referendum result:
Rogers, Stirk Harbour and Partners
“Where do we go from here?" Richard Rogers' practice has asked. "We now face a difficult period of great uncertainty. All those questions left hanging by those leading the drive towards leaving the EU will now have to be answered. This will take time (years) and in the interim requires great adaptability and resilience from us all."
Renier de Graaf has said in a statement: "In a world where the most pressing issues inevitably exceed the size of nations, interdependence between nations is a fact. When problems escalate, so must inevitably the arena in which they are addressed. An institution like the E.U. is born out of the knowledge that in the face of the bigger issues we are all minorities. Countries in Europe have a choice: they can either realize or ignore the fact they are small. Yet small they are. All. Including Britain."Allies & Morrison
In a statement to The Architect's Newspaper the firm said: "More than a quarter of our staff come from other E.U. countries. Over the course of our careers, we have enjoyed, been stimulated by and come to rely on their intelligence, broad education and warm experience. We remain committed to employing the best people from around the world."Co-founder Graham Morrisson said: “Over the course of our careers, we have enjoyed, been stimulated by and come to rely on the intelligence, broad education and warm experience of the many architects from the E.U. that we have had the privilege to employ." Fellow co-founder Bob Allies, added: “More than a quarter of our staff come from the EU and the thought of losing that easy access to such a rich seam of talent is a consequence of the vote that will take a long time to adjust to.” David Adjaye Associates “We are truly disappointed with the outcome of the referendum," said Adjaye's office in a statement. As an increasingly international business, which benefits from a global pool of talent (and in particular from within the E.U.), we were hoping to remain."
3D Reid“I fail to see how the Leave vote can be a good thing, certainly in the short term, but the truth is we simply don’t know what this means in the long term," said Graham Hickson-Smith, Director, 3D Reid. “The impact on sterling says it all. An out vote is bad for business." Skanska
Swedish construction firm Skanska issued a statement to AN: "Skanska acknowledges the choice made by the people of the U.K. to leave the European Union. Now the result is known, there will inevitably be a period of uncertainty as the country adjusts to the outcome of this very important decision. We will continue to assess the longer-term implications of the result on our business. However, we do not envisage any significant changes in the near future.”
Man About The House Playing at numerous venues of architectural significance across the capital, Australian comedian Tim Ross and musician Kit Warhurst's performances will to showcase the value of interacting with architectural heritage. Locations vary from Ernö Goldfinger's Modernist dwelling in Hampstead Heath (James Bond writer Ian Fleming loathed the house so much he based a villain on the architect) to Australia House on the Strand. Best to hurry as tickets for this are selling out fast but can be purchased here. Homes Not Houses: Putting Wellbeing First June 9 Public think tank The Legatum Institute's Architecture of Prosperity program will inaugurate their Housing the Mind publication with a panel discussion. The discussion will address: "How do we design new homes or regenerate in a way that maximizes individual prosperity? Are the economics of new housing developments trumping community wellbeing?" Urban housing study group Create Streets will also be in attendance to launch their latest piece of research that analysis the connection between specific components of the built environment and measurable wellbeing. More details can be found here. Futuro: 1960s Design Principles Today June 9 Visit Finnish architect Matti Suuronen's space-age dwelling, The Futuro House, faithfully restored and located on Central St. Martins' rooftop. A discussion will look at the innovative principles of '60s spatial design and what relevancy they have today in a world dominated by technology. More details can be found here. The Great Architectural Bake-off June 11 Local architects, engineers, and designers are invited to join in the festival fun by constructing distinctive, edible recreations of iconic buildings in The Great Architectural Bake-Off. Proof, that this event is worthwhile will be in the pudding. More details can be found here. Papers: Festival of the Art & Architecture of the Refugee Crisis June 12 A diverse array of people including refugee artists, musicians, poets, chefs and builders will engage in talks on the creative and urban culture which born out of Europe's refugee camps taking place at the Barbican throughout the day. More details can be found here. Nairn's Journeys + Interview with Jonathan Meades June 13 Screenings of some of British architecture critic Ian Nairn's documentaries showcase unique critique and advocacy of placemaking within the built environment. The films will be followed by a discussion between Jonathan Meades and Douglas Murphy on architecture and television. More details can be found here. Affordable for Whom? Role of the Architect in the Housing Crisis June 14 In line with the Royal Institute of Architects' (RIBA) exhibition At Home in Britain: Designing the House of Tomorrow Dick van Gameren of Mecanoo, Jamie Fobert and Ken Baikie of Peabody discuss what can be learnt Europe in relation to the British obsession with homeownership. More details can be found here. Creative Discipline June 17 How is new housing made and paid for? Should we aspire to own it, or is there another way? Bored of events tackling tough questions on the housing crisis? Fear not, this drop-in session run by London architecture firm SCABAL will feature a board game to help those in need. Participants will contribute to the game's creation and be able to spend the day asking and answering questions. More details can be found here. Open Garden Estates June 18-19 Take a tour of the social housing estates across London that are currently endangered by developers, local authorities and housing associations. The weekend-long event offers a rare glimpse into the public and private gardens of residents while providing insight into how the estates's have impacted their lives. Talks from architects gardeners and residents will also be on offer. Best to take this chance before the Housing and Planning Bill comes to fruition.... More details can be found here. The Hive June 18 - November 30 Rising 55 feet, The Hive will be glowing with a myriad of LED lights that respond to changes in its environment. The multi-sensory aluminum structure will plunge visitors into chaotic life of bees using lighting and soundscapes that react to sensors placed inside a real bee hive. The Hive is an award-winning design by British artist Wolfgang Buttress, which was the creative interpretation of the theme ‘feeding the planet, energy for life’ for the World Expo 2015 in Milan (1 May to 31 October). From June 2016, it will be re-imagined in the setting of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. More details can be found here. The House June 24 This specially-commissioned spectacle marking the 400th anniversary of The Queen's House, and its forthcoming reopening this year featuring dance, digital projection, music, narration and pyrotechnics. The production will bring together the talents of BAFTA award-winning video artist Tal Rosner, Olivier award-winner Sharon D. Clarke, multi award-winning composer Dan Jones, boundary breaking Avant Garde Dance, and German outdoor theatre company Pan. More details can be found here. The People Build June 25 Courtesy of French artist Olivier Grossetête, audiences will be able to watch and take part as temporary structures are erected from the ground through the power of the people at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Watch a time-lapse of how the event panned out in Norwich two years ago. More details can be found here. Concrete at the Crossroads June 26 With an introduction from Joseph Watson, London Creative Director of the National Trust, Britain’s post-war townscapes are explored in three films featuring Basil Spence, Patrick Nuttgens and Jonathan Meades More details can be found here. Architecture: You Ask the Questions June 27 Razia Iqbal of the BBC chairs the headline panel discussion for this years festival. The discussion will address housing, infrastructure and heritage, to the pressures shaping London’s skyline and the city’s development over the next few years. More details can be found here. Knoc'd 'em in the Old Kent Road June 28 Frowned upon for being the cheapest street on the Monopoly Board, Old Kent Road has now been declared an opportunity area, but for whom and for what? If a talk on Peckham's possibilities doesn't entice you enough, then a "spontaneous" kazoo choir playing the classic music hall song “knock’d ‘em in the Old Kent Road" most definitely will. More details can be found here. Solid Timber House / Vertical Timber City June 28 The Solid Timber House / Vertical Timber City conference looks beyond the various individual tall timber structures emerging around the globe to the next logical development in the application of advanced timber technology: that of whole urban districts built to increasing heights & density in which engineered timber products are utilised to create truly sustainable autarkic (energy self-sufficient) communities. More details can be found here. Open City and the London Housing Crisis June 30 How can London build the homes required to house its ever-growing population? Should we be thinking of homes in terms of volume rather than floor area? Does every apartment really need a balcony? In short, how can we accommodate the spatial needs of London's residents without compromising quality of life? More details can be found here.
"In the proto-Blair era they were considered minimal, rarely straying from straight lines and right angles," writes Moore, though the Switch House instead relies on an oblique style showcased on a scale reminiscent to the likes of Claude Parent. Rising 213 feet to counter the iconic Bankside chimney and accommodating 11 floors, the angular structure will utilize a perforated brick lattice to match the existing structure.
- Unlike with Scott's former power station, where Herzog and de Meuron made use of vertical fenestration, their new addition to the Tate will employ horizontal windows that partially wrap round the structure. The aspect of reuse however, will be maintained. Oil tanks that were originally used for the power station prior to its decommission in 1981 will become "closely associated with the new building" to preserve and further the rugged rough-edged charm that its sister structure has.
A "vertical boulevard" will also be included in the extension. Coined as such by de Meuron, the space is essentially an oversized staircase that provides circulation to the new galleries embedded in the original power station. Larger space for temporary exhibits has also been catered for meanwhile the inclusion of the "Tate Exchange" will facilitate group discussion in seminar spaces and a Media Lab. “High attendance is fantastic for a museum but not always for you as a visitor,” said de Meuron. “Sometimes you need to be more quiet and peaceful. You need different experiences and different speeds, a variety of activity. The stairs are wider than we need them; we want to invite people to have a different kind of experience than to rush from one gallery to another. I am curious to see how people walk about it.”
Alternative circulation is a prominent them within the extension's design. New galleries will incorporate dead ends and others will be solo spaces all to prompt, as Moore explains, "random patterns of exploration, and unpredictable combinations of eddies and stillness." http://players.brightcove.net/e2d28453-3b98-45ec-a753-6574d2b2e050.mp4 Rising up through the building, a Members Room, Level 10 restaurant, and public terrace on the top floor will act as social hubs while offering expansive views over the thames, and as fellow critic Oliver Wainwright points out, into the pricey flats of Richard Rogers' Neo Bankside residences.
Tate extension makes a good vantage point for spying on the £20m flats of Neo Bankside 👀 pic.twitter.com/QsW5A2xIEY — Olly Wainwright (@ollywainwright) May 12, 2016
The project meanwhile states that: "It is one of the few opportunities to use this prime location for cultural activity, and we are confident that there will be enough people who share Paul Smith and the London Design Festival's enthusiasm to enable its success."