Posts tagged with "England":

The triumph of the one-liner in Venice

Traditionally, the one-liner is derided in architecture as something crude, unsophisticated, and anti-intellectual. It gets abuse from all angles, from conceptually-minded curators, traditional architecture critics, and even virtuosic architects who prefer “multiple readings” of objects, or “difficult wholes.” It seems the one-liner is the most isolated and hated syntactic metaphor in the architect’s tool bag; the last frontier of architectural bad taste. Even Patrik Schumacher complained on Facebook about the National Pavilions. “"Pavilions were...given over to one-liner installations, which could be absorbed by stepping in and out for 30 seconds." However, one-liners finally got their due at the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale, where simpler, conceptual installations took home the Golden Lion of National Participation as well as the special mention in the same category. The Swiss Pavilion, "Svizzera 240: House Tour" was a delightful funhouse where the everyday elements—doors, windows, handles, and kitchen appliances—of a typical new apartment were exaggerated to be too small and too big, creating a disorienting space that explored the banality of contemporary residential construction and the distortions of scale that are caused by photography in the real estate industry. It was a one-liner that executed one concept well enough to provoke not only happy visitors, but also allowed personal reflection on whatever the topic at hand. The actual pavilion avoided over-complication (which plagued many of the national pavilions), and provided a “freespace” for contemplation and reflection. Because after all, even the simplest pavilion cannot be fully understood in every single aspect, and the most complicated book-on-the-wall exhibition can’t fully explain anything anyway, even if you took the biennale's full six months to read it all. The winning pavilions avoided many of the problems faced by some of the other national participants. First, there is an increasing trend of pavilions getting overrun by curators who want to foreground curatorial practice pyrotechnics over smart delivery of content, obscuring the point of the exhibition. The one-liner doesn’t do this. Secondly, some pavilions looked to appropriate the headlines and buzzwords of the day, delivering incoherent and scattered exhibitions that paradoxically make arguments against the possibility of freespace today. And thirdly, the one-liners actually provide respite from the book-on-the-wall urbanism exhibitions, which ended up falling flat. One-liners, like deadpan humor, often do not have punchlines, and leave an open-ended silence at the end of the joke, as is the case for the special mention–winning British Pavilion, "Island," where Caruso St. John emptied the pavilion out and constructed a large plinth over the top. It is unclear what the point was, but the effects were spectacular, lifting the user over the Giardini, causing a certain estrangement from the Biennale itself, and forging a connection with the city beyond. Of course, one-liners always hint at more. They are short and seem simple, but with a little thought, can reveal the layers beneath, like a good Rodney Dangerfield or Norm Macdonald joke. Both the Swiss and British installations rearranged bodies in particular ways, which gave them not only multiple interpretations, but highly individualized experiences that could be taken with layers of meaning. One-liners are funnier than zero-liners. And one-liners can avoid many of the pitfalls of 15-liners, which end up being zero-liners anyway. The Belgian pavilion, "Eurotopie," also stood out as a one-liner: a simple concentric series of blue circles created a forum of sorts in the building; as did the Nordic, which simply featured inflatable sculptures. Instead of over-complicating things with over-curation, the one-liners produced this “freespace,” allowing the visitor to become part of the exhibition, but without sacrificing intellectual rigor or content.

British historian Gavin Stamp passes away at 69

Gavin Stamp, the English architecture historian, died on December 30, 2017 at 69. His Ph.D dissertation at Cambridge was a re-assessment of the career of George Gilbert Scott and he went on to become the leading spokesperson for British architecture. An architectural activist, he lectured, wrote and issued polemical tracts on preservation and was chairman of the Twentieth Century Society and active in the Victorian Society. An influential proponent for all things British he often appeared as a talking head on television and famously wrote the "Nooks & Corners" architecture criticism column in Private Eye under the pseudonym Piloti. Stamp was an influential lecturer at many schools in the U.K., especially the Mackintosh School of Architecture at the Glasgow School of Art from 1990 to 2003, where he lived in a restored 1861 classical house designed by Glaswegian Alexander Thompson. Stamp never worried about being out of step with his times and kept fervently focused on the past, particularly on those aspects that were influential to the present or were no longer thought to be of importance. His authored books include: Edwin Lutyens: Country Houses (2001), Telephone Boxes (1989), The Changing Metropolis: Earliest Photographs of London 1839–1879 (1984), Temples of Power: Architecture of Electricity in London (1979) and lastly, Gothic in the Steam Age (2015).

Sean Griffiths’ latest installation creates inhabitable drawings

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.

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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

Brutalist housing project, Europe’s largest protected building, to be renovated within five years

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

Peter Cook shares his hand drawings of the newly opened drawing studio at Bournemouth University

The new drawing studio at Bournemouth University, designed by CRAB (Cook Robotham Architectural Bureau), is the first of its kind to be built in the U.K. for 100 years. It aims to be accessible to all students form across the university “to share and observe others’ work and interact with those from other creative fields.” The building, as AN reported yesterday, is designed to reflect the central theme of light and as its architect Peter Cook claims “in the tradition of looking and drawing.” There is no better architect than Peter Cook to design this artists' space since he has been breaking down academic disciplines for decades and has deeply held and thoughtful ideas about the role of drawing in contemporary production. His book, Drawing: The Motive Force of Architecture, details the rapid change in drawing technique in the contemporary world due to “the increasing sophistication of available software and also the ways in which ‘hand drawing’ and the ‘digital’ are being eclipsed by new hybrids – injecting drawing with a fresh momentum.” He has thought a great deal about the act of drawing and CRAB has designed a building of simple construction that foregrounds in a simple and direct way this primal act of creativity. This is a building one wants (we have not yet) to see in the light of day. In the meantime, we have been sent a series of drawings by Peter Cook on display here.

Peter Cook’s first building in the U.K. celebrates hand drawing with a bright blue studio space

Archigrammer Peter Cook has returned to his childhood home, Bournemouth, on the South coast of England, to construct his first building in the United Kingdom. The building is a bright blue drawing studio—an addition to an existing complex at the Arts University of Bournemouth, Cook’s alma mater. Built at a time when digital drawing is in the ascendency, this building returns back to support the craft and art of hand drawing. It features both “a large north-light in the studio tradition, a rear clerestory that throws a softer light back from the rear wall, as well as softer lighting from the east and a graded wash of light that comes along the curve of the entrance.” The drawing studio was opened today in a ceremony that featured one of Cook’s best known students Dame Zaha Hadid who proclaimed “I simply love this building.”

Ancient Roman roads revealed in England with help from LIDAR technology

vindolanda_50cm_dsm_zoom_govuk LIDAR, an acronym for "Light and Radar," has helped the U.K.'s Environment Agency show changes in topography for almost two decades from its inception in 1998. Since then it has been used to determine the effects of flooding and coastal regression. Local amateur archaeologist, David Ratledge, has also used the tool to locate ancient Roman roads between Ribchester and Catterall (near Lancaster), shedding new light on Britain's undiscovered past and illuminating the arteries of the ancient Empire. The Romans were notorious innovators of infrastructure, pioneering concrete, aqueducts, drainage, and, of course, roads. The first Roman road stretched from Richborough on the southeast coast, to Canterbury, where it went on to London, St. Albans, and up to Chester. Even today, some 2,000 years after the route was established, it is still one of the U.K.'s main freight roadways now known as the A2 and the A5. Now, it is thought there are more Roman roads, particularly in northwest England, between Ribchester and Lancaster. “After only 45 years of searching, I have at long last found the Roman Road from Ribchester to Lancaster!” said Ratledge on his webpage. The discovery not only tells us about Roman trade routes, but also about where they thought troops would need to be deployed quickly. It's possible that the Romans were fearful of Celts near Lancaster, hence a road that could be used to send support or retreat as quickly as possible was very useful. A tell-tale sign of a Roman road is its linear form. The Romans didn't mess around when it came to road building and if they wanted to get somewhere, they took the most direct route possible. Staggeringly, they even managed to plot a straight line—even when they couldn't see the end destination. This can be seen in the London to Chichester route where vision is impaired due to the North and South Downs (a range of hills). The solution? The Romans placed beacons on high points, using their line of sight to determine the straightest possible route. To walk the route from Ribchester to Caterall, as the Roman troops did, would take over seven hours according to Google maps. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qTRRBEkesA

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.

Frank gehry replaced by Haworth Tompkins on massive waterfront project on Britain’s South Coast

Sports specialists LA Architects and former Stirling Prize winners, Haworth Tompkins Architects, are to replace Frank Gehry in designing a leisure center in Hove on Britain's South Coast. The complex will also feature residential towers up to 18 floors high. As romantic as "from Bilbao to Brighton" may sound, Gehry's scheme was not to be. The project had garnered mixed reviews from locals. Supporters hailed it as Britain's Guggenheim while others described it as "tin can alley." The audacious twin-tower scheme, designed in conjunction with HOK, would have brought 750 homes to the vicinity (compared to the concurrent 560). News of the project's abandonment prompted Brighton-born Piers Gough, Gehry's friend, to say: "It's a heartbreak, and a loss for Britain." Brighton and Hove Council chose to appoint the two new firms after the $422 million scheme, commonly known as, "wonky towers" was ditched 2008 after developer Karis failed to provide funding plans. Previously Dutch Bank ING had pledged to finance the project. "We are redeveloping the King Alfred site to create a modern new sports centre," said the council. "The current center no longer meets modern expectations and it is expensive to operate and maintain." Now the scheme will be seven times cheaper than Gehry's, costing around $58 million with $11.7 million coming from the council. The council has said those funds will come from the "improved financial performance of the new centre compared to the old centre." Haworth Tompkins will masterplan the project while LA Architects will finalize its sport center design. All in all, the scheme is set to include 560 dwellings, 120 of which will be affordable homes. Also included will be:
  • 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
  • Café
  • Public square
  • Communal art space
  • Crèche and soft play room
  • 200 space car park for sports centre users.
It's fair to say that the new design's towers certainly aren't wonky. However, that's not to say that they haven't come under scrutiny. Already it has been labeled by some as "bland and predictable" and "Croydon-esqeue" with one commenter remarking how the scheme is a dated '70s throwback. Haworth Tompkins spoke of their joy in being given the project: “We are delighted to have now been selected by the council to carry out that task, and along with The Starr Trust, Crest Nicholson and LA Architects we are very much looking forward to re-engaging with the Hove community as we prepare to submit a planning application later in the year.” When finalised, the project will plug the two-mile long gap along Brighton and Hove's seafront stretching from as far back as Brighton’s Palace Pier. Planning will be submitted next year. https://youtu.be/JoxJupDJxrU

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.

 

Foster & Partners, HOK among nine shortlisted for UK Houses of Parliament upgrades

Allies and Morrison, BDP, HOK and Foster+Partners have been shortlisted among a group of nine firms for the refurbishment project at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London. The commission is touted to be worth up to $31.5 million. The Palace of Westminster, where the U.K. House of Lords and Commons is situated, is currently falling apart, amassing hefty maintenance costs in tow. This year the annual maintenance bill totalled $73 million. Dating back to 1870, the palace is a UNESCO world heritage site as well as a Grade 1 listed Landmark building in the U.K. A plan to restore the building earlier in the year caused controversy when it was announced that it could take 40 years and cost over $10 billion to complete. There were even calls to relocate parliamentary affairs to Birmingham or Leeds, outside London, separating the political and cultural capitals, similar to Ankara in Turkey. Fire hazards, leaky roofs and outdated plumbing have slowly led to the building's decay, damaging the ornate interior design of Augustus Pugin. Pollution has also caused damage of the exterior masonry, and, to make things worse, there is asbestos littered throughout the structure. However, earlier in the year, a report earlier in the year commissioned by both the House of Lords essentially stated that renovation works would be carried out to ensure that the Palace of Westminster remains the home of parliamentary procedures. At the time this was a contentious move with projected prices soaring within an austerity government, especially when considering MPs were awarded a 10 percent pay rise only weeks prior. The report stipulates that modernization is essential. More elevators and air conditioning is needed, along with wheelchair access throughout the building. With regard to the nine firms shortlisted (full list below), a decision is expected to be made by mid-2016 with construction set to start by 2021. The Shortlist: Architectural and Building Design Services
  • Allies and Morrison
  • Building Design Partnership Limited
  • Foster & Partners Limited
  • HOK UK Limited
Program, Project and Cost Management Services
  • Aecom Limited & Mace Limited (Joint Venture)
  • Capita Property Infrastructure Limited & Gleeds Cost Management Limited (Joint Venture)
  • CH2M Hill UK Limited
  • EC Harris (ARCADIS LLP)
  • Turner & Townsend
The firms have until February 17 to submit their proposals.

Digital artist Miguel Chevalier syncs science and spirituality at King’s College Chapel, Cambridge

Paris-based digital projection artist Miguel Chevalier turned the University of Cambridge’s 16th century King’s College Chapel into an intellectual hypnosis chamber during the recent Dear World… Yours, Cambridge charity event. As each speaker presented, Chevalier illustrated their points with projected lights designed specifically to the chapel’s interior. For example, when hearing of Stephen Hawking’s research on black holes, the chapel became a sea of constellations. Professor Hawking told the invited audience, "When I arrived in Cambridge I was lucky. I was lucky to meet the brilliant minds that broadened my horizons. I was lucky to be given the space to think, and I chose to think about space." Chevalier is the first artist invited to make a spectacle in the 500 year old Perpendicular Gothic chapel. And his projections accompanied speeches of  renowned professors and alumni. According to Chevalier, the Cambridge project "imagines a number of different graphic universes, which are generated in real time and use their own ‘digital’ language to illustrate and interpret a wide variety of subjects including academic excellence, health, Africa, biology, neurosciences, physics, and biotechnologies." Previously, Chevalier created displays for the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona and Paris' Grand Palais.