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.
Posts tagged with "England":
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.
The All England Club has unveiled its Grimshaw-designed Wimbledon Master Plan, which establishes a vision for the future of the site and a structure to direct the ongoing development and improvement of the Club. The Master Plan draws on existing assets and reflects the history of The Championships while resolving certain challenges that the site presents. Three new grass courts will be repositioned to ease overcrowding, No. 1 Court will be reworked and a fresh landscape scheme will enhance and define public areas. Key objectives include reinforcing Wimbledon as a world-class sporting venue of national and international significance, conserving the site’s exclusive legacy and guaranteeing that all new building is of first-class quality. To accomplish this, the Master Plan resolves chief operational concerns and develops effective transport solutions. Plans for the site incorporate a reduced-height Indoor Courts Building within an improved landscaped setting. The courts will sit atop basement areas for courtesy car operation, clay courts will be repositioned and a tunnel will ensure discreet access to the new building. A fixed and retractable roof is on the agenda for No. 1 Court, which will allow for continuous play, rain or shine. As for No. 2 and 3 Courts, each will offer more space for unreserved seating and access between the improved grass courts will be widened. Revamped landscaping will bolster the tree-lined boulevard leading to a new entrance plaza. The Master Plan calls for an additional plaza to the south and a press lawn. The southern entrance will also be extended. A new restaurant and public concessions will accompany a sustainable green roof. The plan aims to decrease carbon emissions from the grounds. The Master Plan emphasizes the ‘Tennis in an English Garden’ theme through a series of unique areas set within a cohesive landscape framework.
Jerry Tate Architects has revealed the design for a dynamic treehouse called the Biodiversity Nest to be built inside the Eden Project facility in Cornwall, UK. The London-based firm's design unites architecture and nature, much like the Eden Project's massive Grimshaw-designed overlapping geodesic domes comprising the world’s largest enclosed rainforest. The Biodiversity Nest, part of the new Rainforest Canopy Walkway project, will sit between two 52-foot-tall bridges in the Eden Project’s Humid Tropics Biome. The timber enclosure will provide a shady education space perched in the tree canopy. Due to a limited selection of materials that are able to handle such a challenging rainforest setting, the walkway and treehouse will be built of a galvanized steel superstructure and heat-treated softwoods as an alternative to unsustainable, though strong, tropical hardwoods, reported BD Online. The walkway will be constructed in several phases over three years with the first phase public launch set for June of this year. The Biome will continue to be open to visitors while the Nest is under construction. Further additions will consist of areas such as the “Weather Station,” the “Research Station,” and the “Waterfall Cave.” Architect Jerry Tate told BD that building the Biodiversity Nest for an incredibly humid environment "is an interesting technical challenge as we have to provide a spectacular education space which is comfortable for visitors in the rainforest environment, with a limited choice of materials that can cope with the aggressive environment." Tate is working with treehouse-builder, Blue Forest, a company known for building structures that echo the environment in which they are built.
500-cyclists and pedestrians an hour simultaneously traveling along the same route bordering the Regent's Canal in north London certainly makes for one congested—and with cyclists and pedestrians jockeying for limited space, a treacherous—commute. According to BD Online, landscape architect Anthony Nelson, director at Design International, has proposed a dramatic solution that could resolve the long-standing battle between fast-moving cyclists and slower pedestrians. The plan would elevate cyclists up to 13 feet into the air on a lightweight steel platform interspersed with cultural hubs, a sort of High Line for bikes, to completely detach the bicycle path from the pedestrian walkway. Nelson told BD challenges include raising the path to allow large boats to pass beneath and crossing other bridges where clearance won't allow the path to cross underneath. Nelson plans to gain additional feedback from waterway users this summer—during the months in which waterway congestion is at its highest—before presenting the project to politicians in the fall.
In a letter to Building Design magazine, the Architects Registration Board in London, aka ARB, has requested that BD no longer refer to Renzo Piano and Daniel Libeskind as “architects.” Apparently, neither are registered as architects with the all-knowing ARB, therefore “they are not entitled to be described as such,” states the letter. BD Editor-in-Chief Amanda Baillieu immediately called out ARB’s high-handed mandate in an online editorial, writing, “there is no other word to describe ARB’s ban on calling Renzo Piano an architect except bonkers.” The registration board's Alison Carr later apologized for the letter, "Do I think that this was a great example to bring to BD’s attention and help raise awareness? No I don’t. We should have been more cautious so that we get the right message across at the right time, and for that I apologise."
The famous clipper ship Cutty Sark was recently rehabilitated by Grimshaw Architects, who also built an exhibition hall around the vessel. The project, which opened in April, has just received the dubious distinction of winning Building Design’s 2012 Carbuncle (a.k.a. “ugliest building”) Cup award. Parked in Greenwich, England and categorized as a World Heritage site, the ship now floats on a blue glass base intended to suggest water. But the resulting effect is more bateau-en-gelée, prompting BD executive editor Ellis Woodman to write that the project had “the best of intentions and yet has tragically succeeded in defiling the very thing it set out to save.”