Posts tagged with "England":
In 2014, Sean Griffiths exhibited My Dreams of Levitation at RoomArtSpace in London. His first piece since the closure of architecture practice FAT, the installation inhabited a series of first floor rooms of a Georgian house and saw wooden copies of the existing skirting boards and architraves displaced and hanging from the ceiling. My Dreams of Levitation forced visitors to duck and weave, taking unexpected journeys through the otherwise empty space. It also reflected moving property boundaries in the capital. Ultimately, though, the exhibition was Griffiths first foray into exploring the minimum requirement to make architecture.
This journey, perhaps, might be what Tim Ingold defines as a “line.” To the British anthropologist, life is not lived in places, but along paths.
“By habitation I do not mean taking one’s place in a world that has been prepared in advance for the populations that arrive to reside there,” he argues in his book, Lines: a Brief History. “The inhabitant is rather one who participates from within in the very process of the world’s continual coming into being and who, in laying a trail of life, contributes to its weave and texture.”
Furthermore, Ingold eschews the “pervasive metaphor” of building blocks—for life, thought, and the universe—instead adopting notions of weaving, threading, twisting and knotting, a theory Gottfried Semper was also on board with. And like Semper (who drew from Marc-Antoine Laugier), Griffiths too has his eyes set on architectural reduction.
In his latest exhibit, Griffiths continues this exploration. Entering Tontine Street in Southeast England by walking from Folkestone Central railway station, it’s easy to miss Levitation I, a 3-D cube painted on the façade of HOP Projects’ gallery. The narrow pavement means you really have to crane your neck to see the distorted cube, which is best viewed from an island in the middle of a junction not meant for pedestrians. Other than that, you can see it across the street, but this results in an arduous journey to get back to the gallery itself.
Colored three shades of green to indicate light and shadow, Levitation I conflicts with the building’s rudimentary window arrangement. It serves as a preamble for the even more incongruous Levitation II.
Deliberately disorientating, Levitation II inhabits the gallery space inside. The area in spatial terms, if you ignore the art, is by all means weird. This is the result of various forms of usage before Tomás Poblete and Nina Shen-Poblete of HOP Projects took over in July this year. It can only truly be understood in plan and section, but visitors do not have access to these drawings and so Griffiths’ laconic interventions continue to disrupt visitors’ perceptions.
On the floor is a grid made from pebbles from the nearby beach. The grid has been rotated so not to align with the room’s geometry, failing to run parallel with any walls and sending viewers equally off-kilter. The pebbles are loose and could easily be kicked, but the overriding instinct is to walk with trepidation and avoid disrupting the order, which is ironic given the spatial purpose. Evidently, others have thought the same. Despite the gallery being open and apparently unstaffed (I later found out they reside above) the pebbled grid appears untouched.
More lines can be found on the walls and ceiling, this time found in the form of colored masking tape. These, though, are not as connected. Inside the gallery they vary in thickness and in length, spanning the white surface in a warped perspective like the experience of looking up at Levitation I. As you move around inside, some lines match up and the shapes can be read as more traditional, orthogonal forms. Some perspectives require you to step outside the gallery altogether for this view to come into alignment. It can be a fun game to shuffle left and right to make this happen as you stand there with a camera, but expect some odd looks.
The game of illusory perspective has, admittedly, been done before. But in the context of the façade, the pebbles on the floor, and the bizarre gallery space itself, its effect is amplified. The real trick, however, is at a much finer scale. Up close, so close your nose almost touches the wall, the masking-taped lines are revealed to be curved. Again, this behavior may result in glances cast in your direction.
Does all of this manifest as an inhabitable drawing? Griffiths hopes so; he’s certainly on the right path.Levitation I + II HOP Projects 73 Tontine Street, Folkestone Through December 2
The Park Hill housing project in Sheffield, U.K. has suffered a turbulent, roller-coaster ride since its completion in 1961. Now a listed building—the largest protected building in Europe in fact—Park Hill has been subject to scorn and adoration from politicians, architects, artists, musicians and residents. Park Hill is currently being renovated by developers, Urban Splash, who this month, announced that the project will finally be completed by 2022.
In 1945, British architects Jack Lynn and Ivor Smith began designing Park Hill; they drew from on Le Corbusier's Unité d'Habitation and Peter and Alison Smithson's unbuilt 'streets in the sky' concepts. Upon completion, Park Hill had a warm reception, receiving praise from the likes of Reyner Banham along with positive articles in national newspapers such as The Telegraph, The Times and The Economist.
Writing for the Architectural Review in December, 1961, Banham said:
Park Hill seems to represent one of those rare occasions when the intention to create a certain kind of architecture happens to encounter a programme and a site that can hardly be dealt ‘with in any other way, and the result has the clarity that only arises when - as in the Villa Rotonda - aesthetic programme and functional opportunity meet and are instantly fused. But what Park Hill abundantly demonstrates is that there are other kinds of architectural clarity besides the Classical.
By the 1980s, however, the area had become notorious for attracting trouble. Flats had become rundown and Park Hill was synonymous with drugs and crime with this being down to a number of complex reasons including "poor management, deindustrialisation and better council housing stock in other areas of the city." Sheffield City Council then decided to award the estate—as public housing projects are known in the U.K.—protective Grade II Listing status in 1997. The move proved controversial among locals and the general public alike.
Four years later, a bridge within the complex was infamously vandalized by a man only known as Jason (not this author.) His painted message of "I LOVE YOU WILL U MARRY ME,"* scrawled in white and visible for miles, stirred journalist Frances Byrnes to eulogize it as "love yelling at the top of its voice in an estate thought to be desolate." Upon first sight of the message in 2001, estate caretaker Grenville Squires remarked: "How are we going to get that off?" Squires never found a way. Unbeknown to Jason, his work was later showcased at the 2006 Venice Biennale. Now, the vandalism-cum-artwork has found permanency through British architecture firms Hawkins\Brown and Studio Egret West. They're working with Urban Splash to trace and illuminate the text with neon lighting.
Cut to today: Urban Splash said that, after agreeing on a timeline with city officials, their ongoing work on Park Hill is due for completion in 2022. The work will continue with the gutting of the concrete structure and with the installation of new apartments. "This is great news for us and for Sheffield, we can now fulfill our ambitions for the project," said Simon Gawthorpe, managing director of Urban Splash, who later added how the recession had caused delays to the project.
In 2013, work on Park Hill was one of six projects up for the RIBA Stirling Prize. Approximately 600 people now live and work in renovated Park Hill units and, by the project's conclusion, the it will contain 210 apartments and 330 student housing units. Also funding the scheme are the Sheffield City Council, Great Places Housing Group, and national conservancy group Heritage England.
Despite Park Hill's success, the Robin Hood Gardens estate in south east London has not enjoyed a similar fate. Designed by the Smithsons and built in 1972, the project saw the realization of the Smithson's streets in the sky project (on their own terms). The building, however, even after campaign work from Zaha Hadid and Richard Rogers, is due for demolition having been refused Listed status by Heritage England.
*For the record: Jason's then lover, Clare Middleton, said yes but the couple didn't marry, splitting a month later. More on the story can be found here.
- An eight lane (Olympic half-size) swimming pool with moveable floor and 352 spectator seats
- Teaching pool with moveable floor and a 4,305 square-foot leisure pool
- Sports hall, the size of eight badminton courts and multi-purpose hall
- 120 station gym, bike spinning room, workout studio, quiet activity studio and a sauna suite
- Gymnastics centre
- 3 rink indoor bowls hall
- Martial arts dojo
- Public square
- Communal art space
- Crèche and soft play room
- 200 space car park for sports centre users.
The 16th Serpentine Pavilion will be designed by Bjarke Ingels, with four accompanying Summer Houses
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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