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.
Posts tagged with "England":
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.
What better time to be immersed in the fairytale landscapes of renowned author Roald Dahl than as a child first experiencing his books. Children growing up in Great Missenden, England, Dahl's old neighborhood of 36 years, will have this colorful experience in a whimsical new school building designed set to begin construction in October. Located about 38 miles outside London, the Prestwood Infant School in Great Missenden asked PMR Architecture and London-based architecture firm De Rosee Sa to create a new multi-purpose dining hall. The new space takes its inspiration from the Grand Feast Hall in Dahl's classic Fantastic Mr. Fox. Clad in a colorful spectrum of timber logs, the cafeteria can be converted into space for extracurricular activities, according to BD Online. The building's form reflects existing buildings on the school's campus with a playful series of gables along its main facade facing a playground. Eventually, the colorful design could reach beyond the dining hall walls: "We also hope that the new hall will be the first stage in the process of regenerating the playground and outdoor spaces, and would like to continue the design outside to form interactive games, such as hopscotch," De Rosee Sa wrote on its website.
The husband-and-wife team behind the London Eye observation wheel plans to one-up themselves with an observation tower in Brighton, UK that's about 100 feet taller. For the seaside town, David Marks and Julia Barfield of Marks Barfield Architects have created Brighton i360, a 531-foot-tall, futuristic-structure that lifts visitors up high above the English Channel. The project—currently under construction and described as the first "vertical cable car"—is defined by its glass “observation pod” that rises up a main tower and accommodates up to 200 people. “We wanted to create a similar sort of visitor experience with a view that slowly unfolds as you gradually ascend, but with an enhanced more spacious pod enabling guests to walk around to enjoy the 360 degree views,” David Marks said in a statement on his firm's website. That glass pod also serves as a pretty slick party space as it is decked out with a sound and entertainment systems and a bar. At the base of the tower is a one-story glass podium and patio that includes a café, shops, restrooms, and an exhibition space for local artists. Brighton i360 is expected to open in 2016 and attract 7,000,000 visitors a year. [h/t Gizmag]
Inspired by Japanese paper-folding, Canary Wharf booths make a sculptural statement whether open or shut.Make Architects’ folding kiosks for Canary Wharf in London bring new meaning to the term “pop-up shop.” The bellows-like structures were inspired by Japanese paper folding. “[The kiosk] had to be solid, but lightweight, so then that led us to origami,” said Make lead project architect Sean Affleck. “[You] end up with something very flimsy; add a few folds and creases, and suddenly the strength appears. In the folds, the shape appears.” In addition to adding strength, the folds accomplish an important element of the kiosk program. The public officials who commissioned the design wanted the booths to be aesthetically pleasing whether open or shut. “What we didn’t want was to create a box that obviously had a shutter or door,” said Affleck. “We wanted to disguise the door—you weren’t quite sure which part of it was going to open.” When closed, the booths appear as futuristic sculptures, their matte grey exteriors evoking the steel and stone of the city. During operation, the upper folds compress to reveal a simple, customizable interior accented with reddish-orange strips of metal. Make modeled the design in 3ds Max and MicroStation, then unwrapped the facade to a flat piece of paper to build a physical model. “What we found was it was very easy to be seduced by the computer, very easy for the computer to be too clever, to start twisting or distorting the surfaces,” said Affleck. “It was only when we were making [physical] models that we suddenly realized something was jamming, and that was really interesting.” Later, the designers built a full-scale mock-up out of cardboard and foam board. “That way we could really understand how it works,” explained Affleck. “It was also very helpful for the client: here it is, touch it.” The kiosks were tested and prefabricated at Entech Environmental Technology before being trucked to the site. The opening section of each kiosk is made of 2-millimeter-thick aluminum plate, while the rest of the body is a stainless steel derivative developed in-house. The key to the fabrication process, explained Affleck, was folding, pressing, and rolling the metal to form an integral hinge at either side, into which a stainless steel rod was inserted. Though the kiosk door is light enough to open and close manually, the designers installed a remote-control electric winch to avoid undue stress on the structure. Make’s kiosks made their debut at the Ice Sculpting Festival at Canary Wharf in January. At future events, the kiosks will take on a variety of uses, from coffee points to a DJ booth. “The idea is it’s flexible,” said Affleck. “It’s a space you can use in a variety of ways.”
Foster + Partners have collaborated with London landscape architecture firm Exterior Architecture and urban planners Space Syntax in developing a proposal for an extensive system of elevated-bike paths in London. The project entails the construction of over 130 miles of pathways along routes that parallel those of an existing system of rail lines that already weaves in and around the city. Suspended above the train tracks, cyclists would access SkyCycle through the over 200 hydraulic platforms and ramps that would act as entry points. While somewhat evocative of New York's own High Line, the precedent for the project actually goes back much further. As illustrated in the accompanying promotional video, the project would essentially segregate cyclists from their fellow residents navigating London in cars or by foot. The move comes on the heels of a spate of cycling-related deaths that plagued the city last year. Foster himself is an avid cyclist and the current president of Britain's National Byway Trust. London bikers will have to bide their time before taking to the air, however. If the proposal is to be realized, there are many hoops to jump through, including fundraising. SkyCycle would likely be completed sometime after 2030. While the use of the rail corridors has been framed as a cost-saving measure, estimates for an upcoming 4 mile trial route place costs at £220 million.
Fifty-four years after Frank Lloyd Wright’s death, the village of Wraxall, England just killed plans to build one of the architect’s designs. Last August, Dr. Hugh Pratt, a local parish councillor, petitioned the planning board to build a Wright-inspired house on greenbelt land. Some area residents argued that the building would elevate the community’s aesthetics, but others worried that the house would set a precedent for further intrusions into the greenbelt. Opponents also expressed concern that Wright’s design is out of keeping with present-day sensibilities. “A design from the 1940s is not what a contemporary and innovative eco-friendly architect would propose. Even with some modern refinements, it’s a museum piece,” one commenter wrote online in response to Pratt’s planning application, which rejected in December 2013, according to the Bristol Post. Wraxall representative Bob Cook took offense at the the proposal and Wright's legacy, according to the Post. "I do not see why we should allow this odd American-designed house in our countryside," he told the newspaper. "Outside of the USA and Japan there is not one Frank Lloyd Wright–designed house. He can't be that influential if the rest of the world doesn't want them. It would be so wrong to allow this house to be built in our beautiful green belt." Like many of Wright’s houses, the Dr. Hugh & Mrs. Judith Pratt Residence is long and low, with horizontal courses of rough-hewn stone dominating the north elevation. The south side of the house is primarily glass. Drawings show the structure nestled into hillocks surrounding an artificial lake. In plan, the house is a series of overlapping circles. The largest circle embraces the building’s forecourt and main entry, plus a carport, an oblong living/dining space, and the circular kitchen. A semi-circular study projects off the end of the living/dining area closest to the kitchen. Off the opposite end of the open-plan space is a circular library. A hallway adjacent to the library leads to the private wing of the house, with three smaller bedrooms and, at the far end, a circular master suite. The Pratt Residence is unusual in several respects. The design on which it’s based, the House for Dr. & Mrs. O’Keeffe, was intended for a site in Santa Barbara, California—seemingly a far cry from Wraxall, England. If Pratt had been successful in securing permission to build, the house would have been the last of Wright’s posthumous works to be built with the blessing of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. The Foundation program through which Pratt acquired the rights to the design—as well as the assistance of a member of the Taliesin Fellowship—was discontinued in June 2010, over growing concerns about the program’s impact on Wright’s legacy. Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation President and CEO Sean Malone argued that the shift in site from Santa Barbara to England was not as radical as it seemed. Malone’s noted that Stephen Nemtin, the Wright-trained architect charged with transforming O’Keefe House into the Pratt Residence, was satisfied that Wraxall and the original site shared many key characteristics. “Stephen visited the proposed site at Tyntesfield Springs personally to assess if the site is suitable for this design,” Malone said. “He determined that the site has the desirable balance of water, mature trees, and open views which are essential for this design—and concluded that the site is entirely appropriate and will provide the right landscape setting for the building.” (Nemtin died in August 2013, after completing a full set of drawings for the Pratt Residence.) According to the Bristol Post, Dr. Pratt is considering an appeal to the decision. But no additional unbuilt projects will follow in the wake of the Pratt Residence, in part because the cutting edge of architecture today hardly resembles that of sixty years ago. “We believe projects built during Wright’s time maintain his legacy, but projects constructed after his death are different. They have to be different to meet contemporary building codes and in using contemporary materials and technologies,” Malone said. “Moreover, they are different because they can’t possibly reflect what Wright might have done during the important phase of taking the project from initial design to execution.” Wright’s first drafts were famously conceptual. With the pool of surviving Wright apprentices dwindling, predicting how the master architect would have completed a project becomes more a matter of guesswork than informed artistic interpretation. In addition, Malone said, the certification of designs as Wright-inspired can lead to misunderstanding. “We don’t want to suggest there are ‘new’ Frank Lloyd Wright buildings,” he explained. “It seems pretty obvious, but there can be confusion. So moving forward, we do not authorize, support, sponsor, or in any way encourage construction of unbuilt projects.”
Sound recordist Chris Watson has returned home for his most recent project: creating an aural map of the contemporary landscape of Sheffield, England. Two years ago, the Guardian reported, Museums Sheffield’s Millennium Gallery asked Watson to undertake the project, mapping the noises of a town he has not lived in for thirty years. Over the past 18 months, the audio artist made a series of ambisonic recordings of the natural and urban environments of the city. The result is a 36-minute sound journey, Inside the Circle of Fire: a Sheffield Sound Map, on current exhibition at the Gallery. Well-known for his wildlife recording work for the BBC and Touch, Watson cites inspiration for the project as the multiple rivers that run through the natural landscape of the city. “Rivers have not only created and channeled the habitat but they have charged both the industrial development and a lot of the leisure [in Sheffield],” he explains. The sound of these waterways, therefore, was “crucial” to the audio. But, like most modern cities, Sheffield’s natural aural landscape is polluted by the sounds of industry and traffic: the built environment and its occupants. Steel mills, airplanes, and the Megatron railway station are as much a part of Sheffield’s map as its forest wildlife and Yorkshire moorlands. Transporting listeners to each environment through the soundscape, Watson’s piece leads a virtual journey through contemporary Sheffield. “Hopefully [Inside the Circle of Fire] stimulates people’s imaginations and strikes them in quite a personal way,” Watson said, “Because a lot of the sounds will be familiar - whether it is the sounds of birdsong in the Ecclesall Woods or downtown Fargate on a Friday night.”
Architect Zaha Hadid is finally putting her stamp on the city she has called home for over 30 years with one of her signature curvaceous designs. The London-based architect has designed the new Serpentine Sackler Gallery in Kensington Gardens consisting of both a $14.5 million curvilinear extension and the renovation of the The Magazine, a brick building originally built as a Gunpowder Store in the early 19th century. The new tensile addition rolls up and over the historic structure and houses a new 120-seat restaurant and social space. The building is composed of tailored glass-fiber fabric, steel columns, and glass. This project is not only Hadid's first permanent building in London, but it is also her first permanent completed tensile structure to date. "The extension has been designed to complement the calm and solid classical building with a light, transparent, dynamic, and distinctly contemporary space of the 21st century," said Hadid in a statement. The Guardian reported that the firm designed the Serpentine's firm temporary installation in 2000, and then were commissioned to do another one, dubbed Lilas, in 2007 for "The Summer Party" fundraiser. "But what we have here now is absolutely Zaha's concept from day one. And it isn't just about galleries, it was about creating social space, and supporting the parkland setting," said Julia Peyton-Jones, director of the Serpentine, in a story featured in The Independent.