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.”
Posts tagged with "England":
Having successfully covered the world (or at least all 11 outposts of the global Gagosian empire) in colorful spots, Damien Hirst is turning his attention to architectural matters. The artist is planning to build more than 500 homes on the land he owns in Devon, England as part of a broader expansion of the glam seaside resort town of Ilfracombe. Mike Rundell of London-based MRJ Rundell+Associates is putting his undergrad degree in fine art to good use and working with Hirst on the project. “He has a horror of building anonymous, lifeless buildings,” said Rundell of his artist client. Pressed for details, Rundell described the houses as modern and possibly incorporating eco-friendly touches such as photovoltaic panels and wind turbines nestled in the roofs. Pickled sharks or spin art not included.
Cambridge, England is growing, but keeping hold of its urban pattern. A shortlist including some of the biggest names in European architecture has been released for a competition to design an urban extension of northwest quarter of the city. The University of Cambridge owns the 346 acre site, which was masterplanned by AECOM and contains seven individual project sites to be designed by different firms. Each block has different mix of programming, from apartments and community space to shops, a market, and a police station. A school, excluded from the competition and to be built in the future, is also part of the plan. Among the 35 shortlisted teams whittled down from 158 applicants were heavy-hitters like Bjarke Ingels Group, Grimshaw, Wilkinson Eyre Architects, David Chipperfield, and Mecanoo. A separate competition for landscape components includes teams from West 8, Vogt Landscape, and Latz+Partner. Winners for each of the parcels will announced at the end of the summer.
Pimp Our Ruins Formula for architectural mischief: Start with a fabulous ruin. Then add a public entity with oversight of fabulous ruins, which, in turn, summons a quirky arts organization to devise a competition to do something useful with said ruin in peril. Governors Island? Nope. Think England: The fabulous ruin is Sutton Scarsdale Hall, a dilapidated wreck of a structure in the countryside of Derbyshire. The public entity is English Heritage, which watches over Stonehenge among other oddities, and the arts organization is something called the Centre of Attention. The 1724 Georgian hall was stripped to its foundation in 1919, and some of the interior paneling ended up in the Hearst Castle and at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, although apparently there are still “traces of sumptuous plasterwork.” (Don’t miss the ha-ha ditch on the picturesquely wrecked grounds.) The Centre of Attention has called for proposals to transform the stone shell into “a pavilion of post-contemporary curating.” If that’s your cup of tea, dive right in. Saarinen’s Punch List In the exhibition Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future at the Museum of the City of New York, there is a peculiar document among the Finnish architect’s personal ephemera on display. It’s a marriage proposal to his second wife, Aline, in the form of a checklist in which he rates her and several other women on categories including beauty, sex, and support of her husband’s career. It’s not unlike the way some architects weigh the pros and cons of a number of possible building schemes. We assume that Aline—an accomplished art critic, author, and television reporter—was amused. The exhibition closes January 31. Color Me Opaque Color authority Pantone has selected 15-5519 Turquoise as the 2010 color of the year. Thank god that’s sorted out. But apparently, no decision has been made on which media company will be awarded the contract to be the AIA’s official publication. Will Architectural Record renew, or will it go to one of the other two competitors who made the shortlist? Now we hear that we won’t hear until the board meets again in February. Frankly, we’re feeling rather teal about the whole business. [Ed.: This was published in print prior to the decision in, uh, January. So much for those sources, Sarah.] Send paint chips and tea leaves to email@example.com.
As suspected, Will Alsop wasn't out of the game for long. The foul-mouthed StirlingPrize winner announced less than two months ago that he was leaving Archial, né SMC, the British architectural conglomerate that had bought up his smallish practice but three years earlier. Now BD reports that Alsop has teamed up with RMJM, and he will launch an atelier within the international powerhouse based in Battersea called Will Alsop at RMJM. “I like the overall vision they have for the future and the fact that it’s really global,” Allsp told BD. “In Archial, the only international bit was me.” Indeed, RMJM has been on a bit of a tear lately, including a big push stateside when it acquired Princeton-based Hillier in 2007. As BD notes, they have been teaming up with renowned architects of late, including a project with Frank Gehry for Glasgow Metropolitan College—that job was won by Atkins, though Archial was also bidding—and "a number of undisclosed projects" with Jean Nouvel. The strategy could backfire, however, as it might subordinate RMJM's generally successful work. Says a BD source: “I know they’ve been talking about working with a number of big names but it seems rather strange in that they have been pushing this notion that they are a number one design practice in their own right… a firm that can already compete with the Fosters of this world.”
Our compatriots across the Pond report today that Will Alsop, "British architecture’s most colourful personality," is leaving his eponymous firm.
Following 30 years of running a private practice, the 61-year-old has told BD that he will shortly hand over day-to-day management of Battersea-based Alsop to others, in order to devote more time to painting and teaching.The paper goes on to say that it's an amicable departure, with Alsop staying on as a consultant to the Archial-overseen firm (for an American referent, think WSP or Aedes), though there are also hints of a falling out, and even the suggestion the fanciful designer could start up his own independent firm should he so desire. “I’m delighted that Will has finally cut the knot with his slavemasters,” an architect from Rogers Stirk Harbour told BD. "I also can’t imagine a world without Will Alsop running a practice in some form or another." Alsop, however, defended himself, and rather colorfully--befitting his work?--we might add: “I started the fucking thing and it’s got my name on it. I want to make sure the work is still as challenging and exciting as it should be.” The Stirling Prize-winning architect sold ownership of the firm to SMC in 2006 (SMC changed its name to Archial last year) a move seen to give influence and resources to the heady architect's work but also fraught with the potential to undermine its inherent creativity. Known at home for work such as the Peckham Library, Palestra, and his North Greenwich Undeground station, the closest he has ever gotten to the states was the Sharp Centre for Design in Toronto, a stalled complex in Yonkers, and his work on the MAS' Coney Island counter-proposal. Here's hoping that's not the last we'll hear from him. Besides all the cussing, that is.
There's a feeling of drastic change this year at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, home to the Wimbledon tennis tournament. Don't worry, the players are still wearing all white and bowing and curtsying to the Queen. But when one looks upward from Centre Court they'll see a new translucent, retractable roof, meant to keep away the rain that inevitably delays the matches every year. Designed to close in about ten minutes, the new roof , designed by Populous (formerly HOK Sport; they switched names a few months ago) is constructed of tensile Tenara fabric, which unfolds, accordion-style, across the ceiling. Held up by roof trusses, the fabric has a 40% translucency that lets light penetrate and—vitally— reach the grass below. Working with a system that immediately removes humidity when the roof closes, it seems to be working well. But some wonder if it's really the same tournament without all the sogginess and with all the high-tech gimmickry. Especially at a place best known for its resistance to change. We don't know, but we'll be happy to check it out! Anyone? Anyone?