Posts tagged with "London":

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A step too far? Vasily Klyukin’s “Sexy” leg tower fails to impress

When enjoying sustained periods of economic prosperity and growth, it's almost natural to want to flaunt, in untamed excess, the fruits of entrepreneurship through architectural means. Just look at the Pyramids of Giza, the Roman Colosseum and more recently, Trump Tower and areas of China. What's significant though, is that China, instead of growing out of this phase, has put a stop to the practice altogether. Russian billionaire and amateur architect Vasily Klyukin has other ideas. "This concept is very extravagant, even for the modern World," Klyukin wrote on his website, and he's not wrong. The tower design—centered on a "sexy leg"—has been met with fervent hostility, mostly due to its complete disregard for its Lower Manhattan context and subsequent intent on standing out like sore thumb—or toe, in this case. "Someone will be shocked by this idea, someone will find it beautiful and sexy, someone—vulgar, but everybody, without an exception, would want to observe such a tower or visit it at least once in a lifetime. If this building will become a hotel—it will always be crowded. I personally would like to live in this tower," Klyukin continued. Dubbed the "Russian-born Tony Stark," Klyukin dabbles in real estate, sci-fi literature, sculpture, and yacht design as well as apparently being a Doctor of Historical Sciences. One doubts whether he himself even sees these designs being realized, despite his desire to live in them one day. His book, Designing Legends (Klyukin referring to his own designs) is available on Amazon for only $54, and so far has only received five-star reviews. One fan comments: "Klyukin is indulging in a playful critique of contemporary architecture and the post-Modern [sic] city, but it’s really an 'artist’s book,' or in the parlance of the previous century, 'un livre d’artiste.'" As much as one tries to find any validation in his proposals, further probing reveals deep-rooted egotism. Such an ethos is highlighted by Klyukin's Cobra Tower design. There is no place for this snake, something he inadvertently points out himself by imagining the tower in a number of locations such as China, Japan, and London. From this we can see that Klyukin deems his surroundings irrelevant; all that matters is that his design dominates the skyline, regardless of its relationship to its vicinity. When a large enough proportion of designers subscribe to this approach, the result is a chaotic conglomeration of buildings attempting to shout louder than each other. Any identity within the vicinity is lost, the art of placemaking long forgotten and the world quickly becomes alienating. Beijing artist Cao Fei exemplified this journey into cultural obscurity with Shadow Plays by revealing the "hypothetical extremities to which China is susceptible as a product of growth and potential collapse."
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MIPIM Day Two: Modeling and mapping the Responsive City

MIPIM takes place in the most complicated, counterintuitive series of convention halls on the Mediterranean waterfront. In trying to find the basement registration hall I ran into Ben Van Berkel who tried to help, but was having his own problems finding the ‘innovation forum’ that is the center of the architecture presentations. He claims he attends every other year because he can meet, in two days, 15 to 20 old and potential new clients. In the forum, we heard HOK present their Responsive Cities project that mines municipal data and then expresses it in maps that can be used by architects to drop future projects into and understand how they interact with the existing city. They showed a HOK sports stadium that might then become a useable bridge and public space during the day when it is not used for sports events. Speaking of models, MIPIM has a collection of the most fantastic scale models of cities like London and Istanbul that are enough of a reason for the design press to come to this event. This technical forum then morphed into a talk by Arik Levy, the Israeli/French designer who showed how to create value through the placements of art in projects and also bring culture to the places where working people spend their days. The forum was sponsored by Vitra, and they used their famous Swiss campus as an example of high design to super-charge daily life. We also met with Asudio, a young firm of ex-Foster employees who started up during an economic downturn and were able to get a series of schools projects that taught them to work efficiently and on-budget to produce impressive low-budget public work. They have also just started a new venture '63,000 Homes' that they hope can steer clients into creating work with innovative plans, uses, and architecture Asudio showed a new project that was meant to be a single commercial building, but they convinced the client to create two buildings that used a heat exchanger to transfer the daytime heat generated for the commercial space to heat the residential spaces when they needed the warmth during the day. There seem to be no end of the high technological solutions to everyday urban problems here at MIPIM. More tomorrow.
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What a difference 400 years makes: Modern and medieval London contrasted in hand-drawn cityscapes

[beforeafter]London Bridge and Southwark Cathedral (Courtesy London Metropolitan Archives)(Courtesy Robin Reynolds)[/beforeafter] What would a young William Penn, prolific planner and founder of Pennsylvania—and London native of the 1600s—make of his home town today? He would probably admire how the chaotic life of trade, slums and hackney carriage horses had been reigned in, but chances are, he wouldn't recognise a thing. On view now at London's Guildhall Galleries is Visscher Redrawn, an exhibition offering a view through Penn's eyes thanks to two panoramic views of London taken 400 years apart—from 1616 to 2016. [beforeafter](Courtesy London Metropolitan Archives)(Courtesy Robin Reynolds)[/beforeafter] Dutch artist Claes Jansz Visscher's staggering 6.5-foot-long depiction is taken from an elevated viewpoint in the city and sheds light on the how London looked prior to the Great Fire of 1666 which destroyed much of what is depicted. The image is even more impressive considering Visscher never set foot in Britain. Emulating Visscher, artist Robin Reynolds—who has actually visited London—has completed his own view of London, using the same vantage point as Visscher. London Bridge, for example, has changed dramatically. It's hard to think that it was once a bridge that was a lively place with shops and houses hovering over the Thames. In the foreground of the top view, just left of London Bridge (at the bottom of the picture), is Southwark Cathedral, which was spared by the 17th century conflagration. The cathedral might be the only recognizable architectural element that can be seen in the two views. St. Paul's Cathedral, below, had no such luck. A dominant gothic feature in the 1616 skyline, it was burned to the ground. Poking out, in the same location in Reynold's drawing, is Sir Christopher Wren's variant. [beforeafter]St. Paul's Cathedral (Courtesy London Metropolitan Archives)St. Paul's Cathedral (Courtesy Robin Reynolds)[/beforeafter] Interestingly, after the Great Fire of London, Wren and the incumbent King Charles II had great plans for the capital. Wren drew on his experiences of Paris, envisioning wide boulevards to replace the narrow streets, though this was never realised as businesses were eager to remain in the same location. [beforeafter]The Glove Theater (Courtesy London Metropolitan Archives)Glove Thearer is barely visible today (Courtesy Robin Reynolds)[/beforeafter]
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KPF architect Shawn Duffy examines trends in London facade design

A specialist in large-scale projects with over 20 years of experience, Kohn Pedersen Fox principal Shawn Duffy is a keen observer of trends in London's commercial and residential building markets. Next month, Duffy—who served as managing principal on Aykon Nine Elms and One Nine Elms—joins BuroHappold Engineering's Jonathan Sakula in a panel on "London Calling: The Bold New Face of the UK" at the Facades+ NYC conference. With respect to commercial developments, observed Duffy, one contemporary preoccupation is how to improve the adaptability of the facade by the occupants. "Most often the outer layer of skin simply wraps a traditional sealed curtain wall with no operable panels," he said. "The control of the blinds in the ventilated cavity is done by a central computer system concerned mainly with reducing heat gain, leaving little or no individual control over daylighting and glare." Duffy anticipates an increased focus on how to enhance the comfort of individual users without sacrificing overall sustainability goals. "The challenge will be balancing the conflicting issues of natural ventilation and noise, daylighting and glare, fresh air and reduction in mechanical loads," he said. On London's residential construction scene, meanwhile, one challenge is the fact that "facades in both tower and low rise construction require solid building materials—aesthetically, so they don't look like office buildings, and in increasing percentages, technically, in order to meet the stringent facade performance requirements," explained Duffy. Because materials including brick and stone are so expensive, architects are often left few options for cladding other than metal or concrete-composite panels. The situation may soon change for the better, however. "The use of prefabricated, fully glazed facade panels is increasing," said Duffy. "The benefits of improved quality control in finishes and reduced fabrication/construction time is offsetting the increased cost of quality materials, creating better looking and performing residential facades." High performance building envelopes have the potential to help mitigate some of London's most pressing concerns, including energy waste. At present, London's commercial market  remains fixated on floor to ceiling glass. "The value of extensive glass facades to office developers and occupiers looks likely to continue as a main driver of office facade design," said Duffy. But a growing emphasis on environmental performance will eventually privilege more solid surfaces, he predicted. "We will then see more commercial buildings turning the amount and type of glazing to the orientation of the facades, the existing and future context, and the types of spaces within." Learn more about the cutting edge in facade design and fabrication in London, New York, and beyond at Facades+ NYC April 21-22. For a full agenda and to register, see the conference website.
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“Ornament is crime” is crime: In London, the debate over architectural ornamentation settled over beer and shot of vodka

There are six clear reasons why Turncoats, a new architectural debating format, is continuing to ruffle more than just a few feathers in Hoxton, East London. 1) It is free. 2) You are given a bottle of craft beer upon entry. 3) A musical comedy act featuring a game of "Hitler or Ham" introduces the evening. 4) The audience must do a shot of vodka before the debate. 5) An intellectual debate on whether ornament is crime proceeds and 6) everyone cheers at the end and goes home smiling. All very well, but what was the result of all this? As tempting as it is to go into detail over the "Hitler or ham" debacle, the real issue in Hoxton Hall on the 27th January was the debate on whether the statement "ornament is crime" is a crime itself. In order to solve this, three panels were put in place with two arguing for and against and the other an independent adjudicator dubbed "Switzerland." And so Adam Nathaniel Furman, architect, furniture designer and founder of the Postmodern Society, stepped forward with the first of what would be four prewritten arguments. Here, he compared ornament to wearing clothes, inferring that dressing our buildings is no different. Further still, ornament evokes a sense of freedom, liberality and identity. "If form was really so pure, we should all walk round naked!" Furman exclaimed. We dress up to represent our ideals and what we stand for and architecture should do the same he concluded. To counter this, Studio Weave co-founder Jane Hall retorted that ornament hides a building's true identity and distracts us from the faults and failings of reality within the built environment. A window decoration, for example, guides our gaze from the cracks in the pavement and potholes in the street. Money is hence more willingly spent on splendor rather than maintenance of our everyday basic needs when the opposite should enforced. Now, the debate was in full swing, and up stepped fashion satirist Bertie Brandes who wasted no time in slating those against decoration. “Minimalists are basic b*****s to the highest degree.” Interestingly, Brandes pointed out that ornament is literally a crime in rented accommodation whereby nailing a picture in to the wall can break the tenancy agreement. From this we can take solace in the fact that implementing decoration is indeed part of the great struggle against the "facist" orthodoxy. “Why should we let architectural class dictate the aesthetic of our cities?” Brandes questioned, suggesting that ornament can help aesthetically democratise our built environment. Finally, Rory Hyde, curator of Contemporary Architecture and Urbanism at the V&A Museum in London, came forward. Like Brandes, he was quick to make an equally sweeping statement: “Ornament is just s**t smearing” he said. Hyde went on to say how Donald Trump's home/palace is rather heavily decorated, posing the question (albeit not so seriously) that to endorse ornament essentially means that one also endorses his policies. However, Hyde later went on to say that the the thing about real palaces is that they do have power and indeed are the pinnacle of ornamentation. With real monarchial palaces, you are always born into them and hence ornamentation is inherently classist. After some light-hearted exchanges, somehow moderated by Charles Holland (co-founder of Ordinary Architecture), the debate eventually boiled down to fascism versus democracy. AN also weighed in on the debate, posing the following dilemma: “In which of the two scenarios is the most powerful ornamental statement made? Scenario One, a street full of flamboyant, heavily decorated structures juxtaposed by one minimalist building, or Scenario Two, a street full of minimalist structures, all uniform in style juxtaposed by one flamboyant, heavily decorated building?” Furman was quick to respond. “I like this idea, in a sense you think of it being similar school uniforms as we dress our buildings. On school days, we all have to look the same, but on the weekends we get to wear what we want.” Hence, freedom only becomes liberating when one is oppressed or when one has the knowledge that one will be oppressed in the future (like on Monday, once the weekend is over). As the evening progressed, the case for ornamentation became stronger. Ornament can be useful for way-finding, it was said using the example that taxi drivers use ornamentation on buildings to guide them around London. Hyde pointed out that while Aravena despises ornamentation, he lets the occupants of his buildings dictate their own ornamental style. Decoration from the user symbolizes pride of place and lets the place become their own. Hyde continued, noting that on the flip side of this, how much choice or freedom do we really have to make it our own? Most look to IKEA to furnish their dwellings. To be truly democratic or liberated would be to make the furniture ourself. Furman essentially closed the lid on the debate. “We pretend that modernism is the pioneer of neutrality, looking at everyone as equal. It may do this, but in doing so just perpetuates a power struggle within this society. Instead, let’s celebrate our differences.” At the end of the evening, with many of the audience drunk on well-presented architectural arguments on ornament (and slightly tipsy from the alcohol) the statement “ornament is not crime” got the biggest cheer. Democracy had triumphed and we were all architecturally liberated.
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HOK’s “Flower Tower” get’s the go-ahead in East London

Dubbed the "Flower Tower" and officially known as Hertsmere House, this new residential tower by HOK will be London's tallest residential building, reaching 771 feet. The petal-shaped tower was awarded planning permission last week to be constructed in East London's Dockland area. The 67-story building will offer 861 flats, of which 96 will be "affordable." Also included are shops, a pool, a cinema, and gym, though it's advised that you don't drive there, as only nine parking spaces will be available, all for disabled users. Another plot on Dalgleish Street in Limehouse adds 60 more “affordable” homes. Shanghai developer Greenland Group has hailed the design as a "vertical city" as it looks for tenants for the scheme. Despite its flowery nickname, all has not been rosy for the "Flower Tower," which has be been subject to criticism from heritage group Historic England. While the structure will offer views of West India Quay and the Isle of Dogs, Historic England worries that the building will disrupt views of these historic landmark areas as well as in Greenwich. Meanwhile, 15 local residents have written letters of complaint arguing that their homes will be cast in permanent shadow when the tower goes up. Jumping on board, Credit Suisse bank (whose voice is likely to carry more clout) argues that their nearby offices will be subject to noise disruption, vibration as well as dust and air pollution during the construction phases of the project, which should take a few years. In reply to this, council’s director of development and renewal, Aman Dalvi, said that "The site is highly suitable for a tall building." “The tower would be of a high architectural quality, providing a marker at the end of the dock," he added. "[It] would also form part of an established cluster of tall buildings.” Greenland says the project is its "most important project in Europe," and is reportedly paying Tower Hamlets Council $27.2 million, allocated solely for the affordable housing program. Meanwhile, an additional, $31.1 million will be contributed via "Community Infrastructure Levy and section 106 contributions." Construction of the tower also controversially involves temporarily removing the Grade II–listed West India Docks gateway and wall, a former port for all the West Indian cargo shipped in under the Imperial rule. Once the tower is built, the wall and gateway will be reconstructed brick by brick. Construction on both the Dockland and Limehouse sites will break ground later in the year with the tower projected to be complete by 2020.
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Bjarke Ingels and four others unveil designs for the 2016 Serpentine Pavilion and adjacent summer houses

Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) is unveiling high-profile projects at an unprecedented rate. The Copenhagen- and New York–based firm today released the rendering for its Serpentine Pavilion in London’s Kensington Gardens. The “un-zipped wall” features fiberglass, brick-like elements that pull apart to form space for visitors to stroll through. The design is more linear than most past Serpentines. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wb_zuxSzQE "As you can see from the architect's renders, Bjarke Ingels has responded to the brief for a multipurpose pavilion with a supremely elegant structure that is both curvaceous wall and soaring spire, that will surely serve as a beacon – drawing visitors across Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens to visit the pavilion, the summerhouses and our major exhibitions by Alex Katz and Etel Adnan," said gallery directors Julia Peyton-Jones and Hans Ulrich Obrist in a statement. Four the first time, the pavilion will be complemented by four summer houses. Those will be designed by Berlin architects Barkow Leibinger, Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi, Paris-based architect Yona Friedman and English architect Asif Khan. All of the designs play off of Queen Caroline's Temple, a nearby 18th-century Neo-Classical garden folly. Khan’s design is a series of undulating timber spikes, while Yona Friedman has put forth a modular design meant to reference how cities grow, a reference to his La Ville Spatiale. Barkow Leibinger’s design references a now-demolished building that once sat on the site. Adeyemi references the folly in a void-like negative impression.
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Leon Krier’s classical alternative proposal for London concert hall causes a stir

Pioneer of Poundbury—a traditional British town built in South West England in 1993—Leon Krier is once again rebelling against the architectural orthodoxy. This time, Krier is attacking the latest proposal for London's concert hall, the new home for the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) by Regent's Park, with his own scheme composed with traditional design. As a counter to relocation of the hall, set to cost $500 million, Krier has put forward his own plan that would see the concert hall be part of a new public square. His scheme would lay near and compliment the architectural style of John Nash's Park Crescent. Writing in Future Symphony, Krier was far from complimentary of the current state of affairs regarding contemporary theatre and concert hall architecture. An as "attendant of innumerable classical concerts, it is not the ravishing beauty of the music but the ghastliness of the Southbank and Barbican concert halls and surroundings which leaves the most enduring, albeit painful, imprint on my mind," he seethed. Neither was he favorable of the current planned location for new concert hall, the (soon former) Museum of London designed by Powell & Moya adjacent to the Barbican. Krier, a former associate of James Stirling and friend of HRH Prince Charles, said London was at risk of more post-war “soul-crushing, inhumane... loathsome aliens.” He advised planners should "take a step back and consider just what were the mistakes of the halls we now need to replace" and "what should be done differently" to form "a truly accessible and enduring home for the London Symphony.” In Krier's eyes, a homage to the past would be both respectful to classical music, giving it the grandeur and classical physical presence it deserves. “John Nash’s laconic and elegant crescent buildings make a quiet urban backdrop for a grand architectural ‘cymbal stroke’ to resonate around London and the musical world: The London Music Forum, an inviting campus for everyone,” he went on to say. His scheme would replicate the Vienna Musikverein and Amsterdam Concertgebouw halls in terms of both size and proportion. He also argued that "the architecture of the new forum’s buildings and paving should speak the elemental classical language with which John Nash so brilliantly set the stage in character and color. Any required 21st century technology can be elegantly embedded in the design." Krier's retaliation comes amid the launching of a competition prompting proposals that would see Smithfield General Market turned into the new home for the Museum of London. Conductor Simon Rattle also proposed the idea of a new venue for the LSO, an idea which, according to BD, has seen many "politicians and cultural figures" jump on the idea of creating a "cultural quarter in the City." Last May, the Conservative Party pledged to support a "modern world class concert hall for London" and provided $7.9 million to fund a business case for the project.
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Indian proposal for the world’s tallest free-standing clock tower would replicate London’s Big Ben

India appear to be copying China's predilection for, well, copying iconic architecture from around the world. The Indian city of Mysore will see a record-breaking clock tower that has a remarkable resemblance to London’s Big Ben constructed next year. “Clock towers symbolize perfection, discipline, and the way we do our work," Ramadas Kamath, executive vice president at Infosys, the company behind the proposal, told the BBC. Based on Infosys’ plans for its clock tower in Mysore, Kamath, it seems, is paying a big compliment to the neo-gothic work from Augustus Pugin who created the Westminster clock tower. Known by pretty much everyone as “Big Ben” (which is actually the name of the ringing bell, not the clock or tower), Infosys' proposed design appears to take much inspirations from Pugin’s work. At a glance, the two structures look almost identical. Only upon closer inspection do they begin to bare any differences, as can be seen with the intricate detailing on the tower’s shaft. Regardless of the similarities with its Western counterparts, the Mysore clock tower will be unique in one respect: size. Soaring to 443 feet, it will trump “Old Joe” in Birmingham, U.K., by 82 feet. In doing so, it would become the tallest free standing clock tower in the world. Big Ben will pushed down to third in the pecking order, standing at 316 feet, followed by the Campanile Tower at UC Berkeley rising to 307 feet. The tallest clock tower in the world, albeit not free standing, is the King Al Ahli on in Saudi Arabia. Construction is set to take around 20 months, with much of the tower being prefabricated in the adjacent state of Tamil Nadu.
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This pavilion at London’s V&A Museum will be built by robots to resemble construction patterns of beetles

As part of the Victoria & Albert Museum's Engineering Season in London, a pavilion constructed by robots is set to steal the show. The installation, titled Elytra Filament Pavilion, was designed by German foursome Achim Menges, Thomas Auer, Moritz Dörstelmann, and Jan Knippers. It will be the group's first ever public commission in the U.K. The Engineering Season, in its inaugural year, will include a major exhibition for the esteemed Danish-British engineer, Ove Arup. The pavilion will kickstart the season and will look at the emergence of robotics being used in architecture, engineering, and construction. The structure will be constructed by robots and resemble construction principles found in nature—in particular, the forewing shells of flying beetles known as elytra. As a result, an undulating canopy will be formed from a compact carbon fiber cell structure. During the season, the pavilion will demonstrate its adaptivity, responding to data on structural behavior and circulatory patterns within the V&A's John Madejski Garden. This will be made possible by the implementation of real-time sensors in the carbon fibers themselves. The V&A Engineering Season will highlight the importance of engineering in our daily lives and consider engineers as the "unsung heroes" of design, who play a vital and creative role in the creation of our built environment. Visitors to the exhibition, can see the pavilion on display beginning May 18th while some may be lucky enough to witness the pavilion's cells being fabricated by a Kuka robot (pictured) during the season at select moments. In a press release, Achim Menges, said: “Remember the impact that the first industrial revolution here in England had on architecture, as strikingly expressed in the Victorian Greenhouse? With Elytra: Filament Pavilion, we aim to offer a glimpse of the transformative power of the fourth industrial revolution currently underway, and the way it again challenges established modes of design, engineering and making." The pavilion will be on show until November 6, 2016, with admission to the garden being free. Meanwhile, the exhibition Engineering the World: Ove Arup and the Philosophy of Total Design runs from June 18 through November 6, 2016. Tickets will go on sale in April 2016 and admission will be £7.
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The 16th Serpentine Pavilion will be designed by Bjarke Ingels, with four accompanying Summer Houses

Bjarke Ingels has come a long way since he designed the Denmark Pavilion, pictured above, for the Shanghai Expo 2010. His eponymous Copenhagen- and New York–based firm BIG, the Bjarke Ingels Group, today deals with skyscrapers and other large-scale projects in major cities around the world. But this summer, the firm will take a step back to design the 16th Serpentine Pavilion in Kensington Gardens, London. Each year since 2000, the Serpentine Gallery's Pavilion Commission selects an architect known "for consistently extending the boundaries of architecture practice," according to a press release. The selection is intended to introduce "contemporary artists and architects to a wider audience." Whether Bjarke Ingels needed an introduction is a matter for debate, but he joins other notable architects including Frank Gehry (2008), Zaha Hadid (2010), Peter Zumthor (2011), Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei (2012), Sou Fujimoto (2013), among others, to have the distinction of building a pavilion. Last year's pavilion was designed by selgascano. The 3,230-square-foot pavilion will be built and displayed for four months on the Serpentine Gallery's lawn in Kensington Gardens, London. The structure is used as a café during the day and "a forum for learning, debate and entertainment" in the evening. The Gallery claims the pavilion is "one of the top-ten most visited architectural and design exhibitions in the world." There is no budget for the project, which, this year, will be paid for with the deep pockets of lead sponsor Goldman Sachs and eventual sale of the pavilion structure itself. “After 15 years, the Pavilion programme has expanded," Julia Peyton-Jones, director of the Serpentine Galleries, said in a statement. "It now comprises five structures, each designed by an architect of international renown, aged between 36 and 93." This year, the Serpentine also announced that four 270-square-foot Summer Houses will be designed by firms from Amsterdam/Lagos, Berlin/New York, Paris, and London. Like Ingels, each Summer House winner works across architectural scales, from pavilions to skyscrapers. "The Pavilion, which will be situated on the lawn of the Serpentine Gallery, as usual, will be joined by four 25sqm Summer Houses designed in response to Queen Caroline’s Temple, a classical-style summer house built in 1734," Peyton-Jones continued. "All projects have been thrilling to commission and will be equally exciting to realise. We cannot wait to unveil them all this summer.” The four winning firms for the Summer House program are: Kunlé Adeyemi – NLÉ, Barkow Leibinger, Yona Friedman, and Asif Khan. "The four Summer Houses are inspired by the nearby Queen Caroline’s Temple, a classical style summer house, built in 1734 and a stone’s throw from the Serpentine Gallery," a press release about the Summer Houses reads. "In line with the criteria for the selection of the Pavilion architect, each architect chosen by the Serpentine has yet to build a permanent building in England." The Summer House program will be submitted to Westminster City Council Planning Office and District Surveyor’s Office this month for review. View examples of the winning firms' pavilion-scale work below. According to the Serpentine Gallery:

Kunlé Adeyemi (born 7 April 1976) is a Nigerian architect, urbanist and creative researcher. His recent work includes 'Makoko Floating School', an innovative, prototype, floating structure located on the lagoon heart of Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos. This acclaimed project is part of an extensive research project - 'African Water Cities' - being developed by NLÉ, an architecture, design and urbanism practice founded by Adeyemi in 2010 with a focus on developing cities and communities. NLÉ is currently developing a number of urban, research and architectural projects, including Rock - Chicago Lakefront Kiosk; Chicoco Radio Media Centre; Port Harcourt and Black Rhino Academy in Tanzania. Born and raised in Nigeria, Adeyemi studied architecture at the University of Lagos where he began his early practice, before joining Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) in 2002. At OMA he led the design, development and execution of several large prestigious projects around the world. Adeyemi is a juror for RIBA’s 2016 International Prize and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University, New York.

According to the Serpentine Gallery:

Barkow Leibinger is an American/German architectural practice based in Berlin and New York, founded in 1993 by Frank Barkow (born 1957, Kansas City) and Regine Leibinger (born 1963, Stuttgart). Both taught at the Architectural Association in London and Harvard GSD, among other instutions. Regine Leibinger is Professor for Building Construction and Design at the Technische Universität Berlin. Barkow Leibinger’s work is wide ranging in scale and building types, including building for the work place (industry, office and master-planning), cultural, housing, exhibitions and installations. Important milestones are the Biosphere in Potsdam, Germany; the Gate House and the Campus Restaurant in Ditzingen; Germany, the Trutec Building in Seoul, Korea, and the Tour Total office high-rise in Berlin. Recently completed is the Fellows Pavilion for the American Academy in Berlin. Their work has been shown at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2008 and 2014, the Marrakech Biennale 2012 and is included in the collections of MoMA, New York and other museums. They have won numerous awards such as the Marcus Prize for Architecture; three National AIA Honor Awards for Architecture; the DAM Prize for Architecture and a Global Holcim Innovation Award for sustainability.

According to the Serpentine Gallery:

Yona Friedman (born 1923) is a Hungarian-born French architect. His theory and manifesto L'Architecture Mobile, published in 1958, champions the inhabitant as designer and conceptor of his own living space within spaceframe structures. Friedman’s work, developed to facilitate improvisation, influenced avant-garde groups such the Metabolists and Archigram. His projects have included the College Bergson in Angers, France; the Museum for Simple Technology in Madras, India, for which he received the Scroll of Honour for Habitat from the UN; and other projects for which he received the Architecture Award of the Berlin Academy, the Grand Prize for design of the Prime Minister of Japan and many other international honours. Universities where he has taught include Harvard, Columbia, MIT, Princeton and Berkeley. He has participated in the Venice Biennale three times (2003, 2005, 2009) and the Shanghai Biennale in 2004, among others. He has been, and continues to be, the subject of international exhibitions,  the latest of which took place in 2015 at the Power Station Museum of Art in Shanghai. Hundreds of articles and more than forty books have been published about him. Most recently he was voted by Blueprint Magazine readers as the winner of the 2015 Blueprint Magazine Award for Critical Thinking.

According to the Serpentine Gallery:

Asif Khan (born 1979, London) founded his architecture practice in 2007. The studio works internationally on projects ranging from cultural buildings to houses, temporary pavilions, exhibitions and installations. Notable projects include the ‘MegaFaces’ pavilion at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Coca-Cola Beatbox Pavilion at London 2012 Olympics and most recently he was a finalist in the competition for the Helsinki Guggenheim Museum and the British Pavilion at Milan Expo 2015. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Red Dot award for Design, Cannes Lion Grand Prix for Innovation, a D&AD award, Special citation in Young Architect Programme 2011 MAXXI + MoMA/PS1, Design Miami Designer of the Future in 2011 and Design Museum Designer in Residence 2010. Khan lectures globally on his work, sits on the board of Trustees of the Design Museum and teaches MA Architecture at the Royal College of Art.

 
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Pedal Power: London could soon have more cyclists than motorists on its streets

Since the turn of the century, the number of motorists in London more than halved from 137,000 to 64,000. In the same period, cyclist numbers trebled from 12,000 to 36,000, showing that more commuters are increasingly choosing two wheels over four to get to work. Britain now boasts over two million weekly cyclists—an all-time high, according to British Cycling, a governing body in the UK. Sales of U.K. manufactured bikes subsequently grew 69 percent in 2014 and the effect of this is most evidently seen in the capital. "You can probably trace it back to the bombing attacks in London in 2005," points out Simon Mottram, founder of cycling clothing firm Rapha, in a BBC report. "The day after, the tube lines were all still closed, and suddenly there were lots of people on bikes to get to work.” "Not to forget the government's Cycle To Work scheme [introduced back in 1999 and which allows people to buy a bike tax-free]. And the underlying increased focus on health and fitness” he added. Transport for London has described the shift in transport method as "a feat unprecedented in any major city.” However, change is not happening fast enough for some as London lags behind other European capitals. Such is the case with Madrid, which placed restrictions on vehicle types entering the city center. Oslo is banning all cars entering by 2019 along with large parts of the River Seine being pedestrianised in Paris. Dublin, too, will have pedestrianized areas by 2017. Cyclist safety is also hot on the agenda. In 2012, 14 cyclists died on London’s roads and a staggering 671 were severely injured. A year later, six more died in the space of three days. That period in late 2013 marked a turning point for changing attitudes towards cyclist safety in the capital. Campaigners prior to then had been calling for separate bike lanes for years, though only now are their efforts coming to fruition. Cycle “superhighways” have been introduced by Mayor Boris Johnson during his tenure, though many argue that while these are a step forward, they still fail to provide a physical barrier between cyclists and drivers. Changes, though, are still being made. Already, lower traffic lights for cyclists are being trialled across the city and new solutions are still yet to be implemented. These include a two-stage right turn system and early release for cyclists ahead of cars at traffic lights. Both can be seen in the video below. http://touchcast.files.bbci.co.uk/performances/6172b9e8049da6f6fa73b30a0ccd4f0c/A540765C-1265-4B0A-9F55-D947ACD20E0E.m4v “I think it is a lot safer for new cyclists, it will give them more confidence to cycle round London” said one commuter speaking to the BBC. According to city authorities, most superhighways should be completed by the summer. A map of all current superhighways can be seen below.