Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates launched Sanctum, a 24-day performance in Bristol, England that will have continuous programming 24 hours a day. Gates set the performance in Temple Church, a 14th-century building that was bombed out during the Bristol Blitz in World War II. The temporary venue was constructed out of leftover building materials from all over the city: brick and doors from local homes, bricks from the demolished citadel in St. Paul’s, wood from the Prince Street bridge, and flooring from a former chocolate factory nearby. Produced by the art organization Situations, the performance line up will not be published so visitors will not know what they will hear until they enter the space. Sanctum will be open through November 21.
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As Halloween lurks around the corner, the need for protection from zombies has never been more urgent. So far, the survival technique of "grab Liz, go to the Winchester, have a nice cold pint, and wait for all of this to blow over" has sufficed for centuries, if not millennia, though contemporary Zombies pose a much more vicious threat. If the documentary series, The Walking Dead has taught us anything, it's that you don't want to pick a fight with the undead. Fear not, for all is not lost as society's savior appears to lie in Yorkshire (an area in England well known for its cases of the uprising undead). Based in Leeds, log cabin design firm Tiger Sheds plan to save us all with their proposal for the Kickstarter-funded Zombie Fortification Cabin (ZFC-1). The two-story shelter comes complete with its own kitchen, living area with television, xBox (to play zombie games, of course), sound system turntables, a secure vegetable garden, a toilet, a storage area surrounded by barbed wire (mostly for weaponry), two bedrooms, and a gym (you have to be fit to fight zombies). An escape hatch and reinforced slit windows are also planned. Tiger Sheds dutifully pledges a "10 Year Anti Zombie Guarantee." How's that for a slice of fried gold? [Editor's Note: Some viewers may find the harmless promotional video disturbing.] https://vimeo.com/110132423 While all of this appears to make for a zombie-free lifestyle, it's only the beginning of Tiger Sheds' plan. The ZFC-1 will also feature:
- Interlocking planned and finished logs;
- A specially designed 4-way chamfered notch-joint system ensuring a tight fit to all boards with little room for damp, wind or zombie penetration;
- Square cut logs at the end to make it very difficult for zombies to climb onto the roof;
- Factory fitted pressure treated weatherproof heavy duty floor joists;
- Heavy duty green mineral roofing felt;
- Extra secure doors and windows;
- High quality glazing which is factory siliconed and internally beaded to all doors and windows.
Burntwood School, a girls high school in Wandsworth, south London, has won the UK's most coveted architecture award—RIBA's Stirling Prize—with judges describing it as the "clear winner." The project by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) also collected the RIBA London 2015 award in the process. The concrete structure maybe a '50s throwback of sorts, but AHMM's school is by no means a concrete relic of the bygone era. In awarding the project the 2015 Stirling Prize, RIBA, which is seldom accused of playing politics, has also sent a strong message in the importance public education. The building was close to not being built as it was one of the last schools to be constructed under Tony Blair's "Building Schools for the Future scheme"—a policy ditched by current Prime Minister David Cameron in 2010. Education secretary at the time, Michael Gove, granted permission for the proposal even though the scheme had come to an end. RIBA President Jane Duncan spoke to the BBC about the school, noting how it "shows us how superb school design can be at the heart of raising our children's educational enjoyment and achievement." "Delightful, resourceful, and energy efficient buildings that will benefit the whole community in the long term," she continued. "With the UK facing a huge shortage of school places, it is vital we learn lessons from Burntwood." Judges continued that praise, describing AHMM's work as the "most accomplished of the six shortlisted buildings" and showed "the full range of the skills that architects can offer to society." They went on to add: "Burntwood sets a standard in school design that every child in Britain deserves... It is a culmination of many years of creative toil by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris in designing schools up and down the country. This is their masterpiece." Burntwood fought off competition from five other builds, three of which were also from London. Those included project by Richard Rogers, Niall Mcloughlin Architects, Reiach & Hall Architects, MUMA, and Heneghan Peng Architects. With the price tag just north of $63 million, Wandsworth Borough Council's investment appears to have made architectural dividends as members of the awarding jury showered the building in compliments. AHMM Director Paul Monaghan said schools should be "more than just practical, functional buildings," and good design "makes a difference to the way students value themselves and their education." "Staff and students have said on many occasions that the new buildings have greatly improved the quality of their day-to-day experiences at the school and students comment that their commitment to learning has been enhanced," Burntwood School Principal Helen Dorfman commented. The awarding jury consisted of Peter Clegg, senior partner at Field Clegg Bradley Studios; Rory Olcayto, editor at The Architects' Journal; Dame Theresa Sackler of DBE; Steve Tompkins, director of Haworth Tompkins and 2014 Stirling Prize Winner; and Jane Duncan, director of Jane Duncan Architects, RIBA president and chair.
John Puttick, a British architect currently practicing in New York City, has won an international competition to redesign and modernize an iconic Brutalist bus station in England. The landmark structure in the city of Preston, Lancashire, is described by The Twentieth Century Society as "one of the most significant Brutalist buildings in the UK." It was recently threatened with demolition but now will be saved. The structure was designed in 1968–1969 by Ove Arup & Partners with Keith Ingham and Charles Wilson of Building Design Partnership with E. H. Stazicker. John Puttick Associates was founded in 2014 and previously Puttick established and led MAKE Architects’ Beijing and Hong Kong offices and worked for David Chipperfield Architects. He also spent a year in Houston at Acumen design studio. The design for the station was selected by RIBA in an international competition and also won a local Preston poll of citizens selecting their favorite design.
There's something about those CGI scenes of Middle Earth in Peter Jackson's adaptation of The Lord of the Rings that really tickles the imagination. Apparently, they're inspirational enough to prod one group in Southern England to put together a campaign to build a real life version of J.R.R. Tolkien's hilled city of Minas Tirith. And they're asking the world to fund it. A determined group of architects and structural engineers launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign seek to recreate the fictional city in all its white-walled, mountainside glory—and it won't be cheap. The so-called Realise Minas Tirith project has already raised over $94,000 of the approximately $2.8 billion budget with 47 days left to reach its goal. The project won't receive any funds unless its entire budget is met by that deadline, so it's a pretty safe bet to chip in a few bucks. "We all share a love of Tolkien's work, and a desire to challenge the common perception of community and architecture," project leader Jonathan Wilson said on his Indiegogo page. "We believe that, in realising Minas Tirith, we can create not only the most remarkable tourist attraction on the planet, but also a wonderfully unique place to live and work.We're fully aware of the scale of our ambition, but we hope you realise just how special this project could be." If the funds are raised in time, the group plans to break ground in 2016 and open their gleaming new city in 2023. There is precedent for such a monumental hill-city building campaign. Take, for instance, Le Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, France, pictured below.
The Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) announced that its designs for a joint Sports and Sciences department for the UK's Brighton College have been approved. The Rem Koolhaas–owned architecture practice won an invited competition in 2013, and the project was further developed and submitted for planning approval in 2015. The unveiled designs envision a linear building at the edge of the college’s playing field that combines the two departments for a “lively and animated circulation” inside. The primary sporting spaces will be at the same level as the playing field, with the sports hall opening directly onto it. A rooftop running track and basement-level swimming pool are among other expected amenities. Meanwhile, the science department spans over the sporting spaces like a “skeletal” bridge. The facade of the three-story building is inspired by the terraced housing adjacent to the building. As the biggest construction project in the school’s 170-year history, it will form an unexpected interplay between the two academic disciplines. The privately-owned, co-ed boarding and day school, one of Britain’s finest, is composed of two areas: a historical quadrangle hosting Grade II–listed gothic-revival buildings designed by Sir Gilbert Scott and Sir Thomas Jackson in the 19th century, and the playing field bordered by buildings from the 1970s and 1980s, the site of OMA’s new construction. Before building can commence, however, the 1970s sports hall, classroom block, maintenance building, and two-story pavilion must be demolished first. The project forms the final phase of a more than $62 million masterplan, which includes two other new buildings—a boarding house and amenities building by Allies & Morrison.
Richard Rogers to lead parliamentary inquiry into how design of the built environment affects behavior
Riding on a wave of psychographic research indicating positive correlations between productivity and the work environment, architect Richard Rogers has launched an ambitious parliamentary inquiry into how design overall affects behavior. The founder of Rogers Stirk Harbor + Partners kicked off the eight-month Design Commission inquiry this June before the Houses of Parliament in London. The cross-party investigation led by Rogers will explore how design in planning of the built environment creates a tendency towards positive behaviors within local communities. The inquiry was lodged the same week as newly-released research which supports the long-held view that cities which promote physical activity benefit from economic productivity gains. “The commission believes that in designing and constructing environments in which people live and work, architects and planners are necessarily involved in influencing human behavior,” Rogers said in a statement. The All Party Parliamentary Design & Innovation Group calls for examples of how infrastructure can incorporate “design for good behaviors.” The APDIG is also seeking case studies where design-led planning has positively affected communities. The deadline to submit evidence to the inquiry is July 3. The final report will produce a series of recommendations designed to stimulate new thinking in planning policy across local and central government. “While we welcome recent government use of nudge theory principles in policy-making decisions, the commission identifies a need to further develop and reinvigorate thinking in the field,” said Rogers, who, in a recent editorial for The Standard, called London's below-capacity housing market "dysfunctional" as the result of poor planning. In pondering how the built environment affects our attitudes, outlook and behaviors, the inquiry attempts to address the three following questions:
- Does the built environment affect the behavior of individuals or communities? Is there evidence to suggest that it does or does not?
- Are there examples of changes in behavior on the part of people in the UK in relation to any aspect of the built environment?
- Are there any examples where people have changed their behavior as a result of some aspect of the built environment?
The 2015 Serpentine Pavilion has opened to the public in London's Kensington Gardens. The psychedelic, worm-like structure was designed by SelgasCano, a husband-and-wife team based in Madrid, and features translucent ETFE panels that are wrapped and woven like webbing. The architects said the pavilion's design is partially inspired by the chaos of passing through the London Underground. "We sought a way to allow the public to experience architecture through simple elements: structure, light, transparency, shadows, lightness, form, sensitivity, change, surprise, color, and materials," said the firm in a statement. "We have therefore designed a Pavilion which incorporates all of these elements. The spatial qualities of the pavilion only unfold when accessing the structure and being immersed within it. Each entrance allows for a specific journey through the space, characterized by color, light, and irregular shapes with surprising volumes. " If you're not going to make it to see the pavilion before it closes on October 18, be sure to check out the gallery below.
Starchitect Renzo Piano has vowed to soldier on with mega-sized plans for a Jurassica Resort on England's island of Portland in the English Channel, despite being denied a $24.5 million bid for Heritage Lottery Funding (HLF). “The project is now continuing into development without an HLF development grant,” a spokesman for the project told Architect’s Journal. Jurassica’s backers said they will re-apply for the grant and are not acquiescing to appeals for a downsize. The brainchild of science journalist Mike Hanion, Jurassica Resort will be the world’s largest immersive prehistoric environment. Although designed with a museum’s vital organs, the facility itself is essentially a limestone quarry 132 feet-deep beneath a translucent glass roof supported by the quarry walls. The building itself is designed to be “more or less invisible.” Beneath the glass is a Jurassic-period coastal cove, where visitors will walk beneath towering cliffs, sea-stacks and arches covered in exotic trees, past a living reef festooned with corals and patrolled by sharks and stingray. Those with the tenacity can venture into a forested ravine where the “dinosaurs” rove. Animatronic dinosaur displays, an aquarium, and swimming plesiosaurs are just a few of the promised wonders. The subterranean dinosaur museum will be located on Dorset’s Jurassic coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site comprising a 95-mile stretch of cliff distilling 180 million years of geological history. “We will pick a specific period in prehistory and everything you see will be both realistic and an accurate representation of the plants and animals that were alive during that time,” said David Lazenby, Creative Director of Azureus Design, on board for the exhibit design. “The Jurassic Cove will not be a theme park display but a spectacular and precise snapshot in time that will bring the heritage of the Jurassic Coast to life.” Hanion believes the park could draw 800,000 visitors regularly and employ approximately 200 people. Yearly revenue of $30.3 million for the local economy has also been estimated. Project managers are intent on securing alternative funding, with the goal of opening Jurassica Resort by 2019 or 2020. “At £16 million ($24.5 million), public funds from HLF were always only part of our funding strategy for a project costing some £80 million (around $122.6 million),” said the spokesman. “We have applied to and will apply to scientific trusts and other grant-giving bodies both in the UK and overseas, and have already attracted financial support from business and HNWI based locally and nationally.”
If there was ever a perfect curatorial pairing, Alain de Botton made it when he selected artist Grayson Perry to work with English architects Fashion Architecture Taste (FAT). Architecturally speaking, their so-called House for Essex is a “built story”—a shrine to an Essex woman named Julie who led a life as a rock chick and later a social worker, along the way marrying twice and finding happiness before being tragically killed by a curry delivery moped. https://youtu.be/qQ1hbD28KDY The dynamic duo of Perry and FAT's Charles Holland collaborated for almost four years on the artwork and its integration into building form. Perry wrote a long poem about Julie and her life, and how her second husband, Rob, promised to build a Taj Mahal for her if she were to die before him. This is that shrine to her life. Perry had the dream of making a secular shrine, and he first started by sketching his visions of the precious, small temple-like house. “My first ideas looked a bit Hobbity, or like something from Game of Thrones: ramshackle with lots of turrets.” FAT helped make his design, well, less "Hobbity," and incorporate the narrative imagery of Julie’s life and death into the building. They decided on green and white tiles, hand crafted for the building, each of which has an iconographic reference to Julie’s life. While practically every surface is adorned with some of FAT’s most intense detailing, there is a subtle touch that allows the more ordinary features to shine through as a spatial enactment of the narrative. Arched clerestory windows are carved out of a richly painted ceiling; their curved voids contrast, Aalto-like, with the surface of the ceiling. Mustard- and ketchup-colored built-in furnishings are detailed with a level of precision that only FAT could make work without going way over the top. The proportions of the telescoping volumes make the outside like a Russian nesting doll, but inside, the interiors are intensely proportioned to keep up with the visual narrative. The cozy, cathedral-like main space soars above, giving way to a chandelier made from the moped that killed Julie. The bedroom features a 15-foot high tapestry by Perry that looks over visitors, and, depending on one’s own reading, gives approval, disapproval, a cheeky glance, jealous yearning, comforting presence, or complete indifference. Every aspect of the home is meant to have multiple layers meaning, like all of FAT’s projects. This one just takes the notion a step further than other projects. The house is the sixth installation of de Botton’s Living Architecture program, “a social enterprise…dedicated to the promotion and enjoyment of world-class architecture. It has produced outstanding houses such as MVRDV’s Balancing Barn and the Room for London, a boat by David Kohn and artist Fiona Banner, with Artangel that sits on top of Queen Elizabeth Hall and gives stunning views of central London. The building is the last project for FAT, which disbanded in 2013. The House for Essex has had wide-ranging coverage in the UK, including an hour-long special on Channel 4, which got good reviews. More information is available at the Guardian. Perry also gave an interactive tour of the house here, and it is a must-watch.
Conceptualized as a “cross-functional village” built entirely from shipping containers, the POP Brixton project by Carl Turner Architects offers fertile ground for entrepreneurial endeavors. Aesthetic appeal or lack thereof aside, the interconnected containers will collectively serve as “a community campus for startups, small businesses and entrepreneurs.” Think coworking spaces where creatives commingle and cross-fertilize—only with cultural and educational activities such as workshops, live events, film screenings, and performance arts. Meanwhile, public spaces such as retail outlets, cafés, kiosks, and a speculative hotel are also included in the plan to attract traffic and revenue streams to the South London district of Brixton. The low-cost, low-energy containers are available in 20 foot and 40 foot dimensions, each one tricked out with high-speed internet access, power points, insulated walls and double-glazed windows. As a self-touted coworking space, POP Brixton will, above all, be a platform for training, business, and employment more than a retail haven, but the containers will be configured around a public square and various planted walkways, and the hosting of events open to all promises to foster community spirit. Integral to the transfer-of-knowledge-and-skills concept is the requirement that tenants partake in a one-hour training program per week for startups, managed by Lambeth College and Brixton Pound. POP Brixton will serve as a pilot project of sorts for its upcoming larger-scale Future Brixton Project. Though not involving shipping containers, it is a community revitalization and job creation initiative that extends to the surrounding Somerleyton Road, Brixton Central, Town Center, and the building of a new Town Hall. Construction of the POP Brixton commenced in January 2015 and is scheduled to open this year.
London's Victoria & Albert Museum is preparing to construct an art installation by Zaha Hadid. Called Crest, the oval form takes its name from ocean waves and will appear in the museum’s John Madejski garden as part of the London Design Festival, which takes place later this month. The Crest, as Hadid’s team has named it, will hover over the pond within the V&A's Madejski garden, forming a swooping arc over the body of water. The futuristic pavilion will sport a metallic surface which will reflect the sky above and the water underneath it. The contrast between these two reflected images will play on the clear contrast of the ultramodern installation against the backdrop of the 19th century museum. Despite this contrast, Hadid designed the installation to create a sense that it had always been there. “We envisioned creating a piece that would emerge from the pool which is the centrepiece of the space, both visually and in terms of social interaction,” Hadid explained in a statement. “Crest is intended to offer an exciting new perspective with which visitors experience the courtyard. It will multiply the movements of the water and the historic backdrop within which it is sited. It will capture the attention of visitors as they enter the space and draw them towards exploring the new quality of space created within.” Hadid previously stated the installation would be comprised of a very thin aluminum material, making it light and easily transported. After the London Design Festival concludes, the Crest installation will be transported from the V&A Museum to Hadid's ultra-parametric ME Dubai hotel, where it will stand as a permanent sculpture. The hotel is expected to open in 2016.