Posts tagged with "London":

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Dormant for 70 years, South London’s war-time tunnels now open to the public for the first time

On the surface, Clapham South is your standard Northern Line tube station, complete with art deco decorum to boot. Situated in South London in what was once a gritty part of the capital, but now a typically gentrified area, there are more than just tube tunnels that run below the ground.  One hundred twenty feet and approximately 178 steps down, one can now find the place where many South Londoner's took refuge during World War II. The tunnels at Clapham, now open to the public for the first time, once catered for over 8,000 people. After a public protest for more deep level shelter protection, tunnels were dug by hand such was the desperation of the local population. As Londoners clamoured for beds, air raid tickets were issued with strict guidance on what shelter to go to and even what bed to use. After lying dormant for 70 years, the tunnels and beds left untouched have been reopened. The original signs remain and thanks to a few tactful inceptions courtesy of Transport for London (TfL) and The London Transport Museum, the tunnels offer an immersive view into the life of a Londoner during war time. TfL say that they hope the tunnels will also be a useful stream for revenue. After the war, the tunnels remained in use, acting as temporary homes for immigrants invited to Britain from the West Indies. Most of the beds were used by Jamaicans who had travelled across on the Empire Windrush in 1948. Clapham South wasn't the only station used for refuge. In fact many tube stations doubled up as shelters during the war. At the other end of the Northern Line, American talk show host Jerry Springer was born at Highgate tube station as his mother took shelter during an air raid in 1944.
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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.
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Definitely not a library: Herzog & De Meuron unveils new stadium for Chelsea soccer club in London

British soccer team Chelsea FC has submitted plans to the local authorities to construct a new 60,000-seat stadium at Stamford Bridge, their current home ground. The proposal, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, brings with it a price tag of $750 million. The Swiss duo are known for their stadia designs, notably with the Bird's Nest Stadium in Beijing, the Allianz Arena in Munich, and a wispy venue in Bordeaux.

As part of the application, the club will demolish the current playing arena along with the surrounding buildings which include a hotel and an array of restaurants. The submission will be reviewed by Hammersmith & Fulham Council who has have said they will accept comments regarding the new stadium up until 8 January, 2016.

According to the club website the development will create "an outstanding view of the stadium from every seat" and "an arena designed to create an exciting atmosphere," something Stamford Bridge is known for lacking. Away fans have regularly (and easily) been heard taunting, "Is this a library?" Aside from this, the new stadium will also offer "direct access to and from Fulham Broadway Station, making travel more efficient stadium facilities improved for every area."

Transport facilities will be boosted with excavation work and the addition of larger station entrances, along with new decking platforms over the District Line (underground) and the overground mainline railway services. During construction, Chelsea will either play at Wembley in North West London, or Twickenham rugby stadium which is much further West.

Capacity, however, is the club's main priority. Currently at 41,837, which is relatively meagre compared to the likes of competitive rivals Manchester United (75,731), Arsenal (60,362) and Manchester City (55,097), both the club and the fans want more. Even Newcastle United and Aston Villa who (at the time of writing) sit at the bottom of the table boast higher capacity stadia, holding 52,409 and 42,788 respectively.

Sixty thousand still seems relatively small, especially when you compare to 1935, when an attendance of 82,905 (standing) piled in to watch Chelsea vs. Arsenal. Space, though, is hard to come by in West London. Perhaps then, this will suffice, especially when you consider that Chelsea has already attempted previous avenues for expansion, notably with the Billion dollar Battersea Power Station proposal which they were pipped to by a Malaysian property developer.

Chelsea FC, so far, can claim the crown of being the only professional London club to have never relocated with Stamford Bridge being their home since 1905. Back then the prolific stadium architect, Archibald Leitch added Chelsea to his growing portfolio and later on, KSS Design group developed the stadium, essentially making it what it is today. Oddly West London neighbors and rivals Queens Park Rangers are the most nomadic football club in London, having relocated 16 times.

Other commentators have told AN that the decision is speculative one given Chelsea's recent demise in their domestic Premier League.

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Cone PWN: Video captures Brits dressed as traffic cones blocking streets in southwest London

In the southwest London borough of Kingston upon Thames, police officers were left giggling at the sight of walking traffic cones early last Sunday morning. The police file even read: "Males dressed as traffic cones, blocking the street like traffic cones." However, the Evening Standard has revealed that the act isn't just a drunken parade, rather a protest against Über car service. At 4:33a.m., Kingston police were called to investigate the peculiar sighting: five men in costume blocking a road. These are standard Saturday night antics in the hipster-ridden suburbs of London, however, what was odd was that the men were dressed up as traffic cones. It was Halloween, after all. Even more surprising is that the stunt wasn't even in the name of the "banter" (a timid excuse used by drunk Brits to do stupid, often distruptive things). Instead, it was a protest against the Über car service whose history of traffic-cone incidents is unknown. A vast array of traffic-cone outfits can, of course, be found on eBay. "They were just standing in front of the taxi and the bus not letting them get past and taking pictures of themselves," witness Dan Theocari said, speaking to the Evening Standard. "I didn't actually see the police, I was waiting for a taxi but I saw it and it made me laugh." https://twitter.com/MPSKingston/status/660751970907594752?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw Police have since described the incident as "very interesting." This isn't the first time such a stunt in the UK has happened. This Halloween, men dressed in similar traffic attire caused commotion on the streets of Glasgow in Scotland, a video of which can be seen below.
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Renzo Piano designs a tree-topped, cylindrical skyscraper for Paddington in London’s West End

Renzo Piano aims to punctuate London's skyline once again. The architect behind the Shard has now designed a cylinder of glass adjacent to Paddington Station. Contrasting his Southwark skyscraper, Piano has proposed a seemingly crystalline, uneven facade wrapping the cylinder that looks to reflect its surroundings with ripple-like qualities. Topping out at 734 feet and 65 floors, the building will rub shoulders with the Cheesegrater (The Leadenhall Building by Richard Rogers standing 738 feet high). Touted for a mixed-use program housing offices, shops, restaurants, cafes, roof garden, hotel, and 200 apartments in London's already pricey West End, residents will be in line for one of (if not the) best views over Hyde Park and maybe even catch a glimpse of the cricket over at Lord's Cricket Ground. Developer Sellar Property Group, which also worked with Piano on the Shard skyscraper, claims the cylindrical tower will change the way Paddington is viewed, with the public no longer seeing the area as a place to catch a train to the west country or visit someone at St. Mary's Hospital. “We believe this exciting proposal will tap into the potential of Paddington and will prove to be a major catalyst for the continuing enhancement of the area,” Sellar chairman Irvine Sellar told BDOnline. “This site shares much of the same DNA [as London Bridge] with its proximity to a major transport hub with tube, railway lines and bus routes, a neighbouring leading teaching hospital and the potential to provide much needed quality public realm.” Planning application is expected to be submitted by the end of the year with the building being complete by 2020. Meanwhile Pringle Richards Sharratt, BDP, TP Bennett, and MSMR have all been enlisted on the projects team. “The current public realm in Paddington is poor, with congestion in and around the entrance to the Bakerloo line leading to frequent closures," Piano told BD. "This scheme looks to remedy those issues, while creating a wonderful sense of place which Paddington greatly needs.”  
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London’s Frieze Art Fair opens a second pavilion by Universal Design Studio after successful 2014 show

image002 The Frieze Art Fair looks to capitalize on the 55,000 people who thronged a pavilion by Universal Design Studio (UDS) last year by commissioning another. The five-day festival is held in Regent’s Park, London every October. Starting in 2003, Frieze London has quickly grown to become one of the world’s foremost art fairs. A New York outpost began in 2012, held each May on Randall’s Island, Manhattan. For the 2015 pavilion, UDS has used the main construction components of Frieze—membrane, steel, board, and aluminum—to create an appropriate temporary structure. New to the fair this year is a Reading Room which offers a diverse selection of art publications and hosts live events. To entice people into the space, Frieze has collaborated with Petersham Nurseries Restaurant for a pop-up cafe and bar on the mezzanine level overlooking the fair. Aside from the gallery spaces, the design team has sought to give these areas purpose and identity, bringing the park into the surrounding vicinity. This was achieved with the help of careful planting by Hattie Fox of Shoreditch-based That Flower Shop. Clever uses of visual framing emphasize views and encourage people walking through the fair to enter various spaces. We were keen to find ways of bringing the park into the Fair," Jason Holley, a director at UDS, said in a statement. "We achieved this by creating an entrance experience which is in dialogue with the tree canopy, framing and drawing attention to the transition between the Park and Frieze, and through the creation of windows within the restaurant areas that offer glimpses into the park. We are also incorporating planters throughout the Fair which are carefully curated arrangements of plants that directly reference the type of planting found in the park. “Much of our focus in this respect has been on creating a logical flow around the Fair, with widened aisles, connections and turning points – punctuating the journey with the formation of pause points – moments of change," Hanna Carter-Owers, director at UDS, said in a statement. "The galleries are doing a huge volume of business at the Fair and there needs to be consideration to how people and galleries work within the space.”
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Burntwood School by AHMM wins 2015 RIBA Stirling Prize

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.  
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Neil Tomlinson Architects is creating a new Covent Garden Market in the heart of London

The now "Brand New" Covent Garden Market (once renamed as "New Covent Garden Market" in 1974) is now wrapping up its redesign. Starting in 1835, the market was the cultural heart of London up until the mid-20th century and has been a lively center of trade throughout its whole life. Now the market specializes in the trade of flowers and food, notably fruit and vegetables. London-based Neil Tomlinson Architects, the practice behind the project working in tandem with BDP and Vinci construction aim for completion to be around 2022 which is year that has been currently set for the flower trader unit to move in, though other units may be able to set up as early as 2016. The market is just a stones throw away from where the new U.S. Embassy is set to be constructed, also in the Nine Elms area. Maintaining an urban setting for the market was a crucial aspect to the practice who already have experience in extensive retail masterplanning. In 2008, Neil Tomlinson Architects prepared a masterplan for the Aviation Business Park at Wolverhampton Airport as well as other UK aviation facilities in Blackpool and Milton Keynes. Work outside the UK includes the Biella and Parma Airports in Italy. Housing around 200 businesses, the 'Brand New' market will be a source of employment for over 2,500 people, supplying over three quarters of London's florists. This isn't the main concern for Neil Tomlinson. For the firm, improving the technical aspect of the project is key to its success with trade on such a large scale having the potential to be a logistical nightmare. Due to early morning trading hours (fruit and vegetables trade from midnight to 6:00 a.m. and the flower market's core trading hours are 4:00 to 10:00 a.m. Monday to Saturday) the market will work with the development of the Northern Line underground network. Both Nine Elms and Battersea (a terminus) are planned new stations and should run 24 hours-a-day, despite this plan being met with hostility my current underground staff. "Our team has focussed on the design for the main market area south of the viaduct," Neil Tomlinson said said in a statement. "This includes a fresh produce wholesale and distributor market. We also proposed The Garden Heart component of the project which gives New Covent Garden Market a public face and identity with its cafes and potential for start-up spaces and facilities for training." "Our rigorous approach to the design was a driver in the concept, going deeply into the very component parts of the market design and its relationship to the surrounding residential areas," Tomlinson said in a statement. "This approach exemplifies how we look at projects in general be they large or small like some of the domestic schemes we have enjoyed working on over the years."
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Are floating houses the answer to London’s housing crisis? 100 ideas for affordable housing to be showcased

Affordable housing is a hot-topic in Europe and across the world right now. To look for solutions, New London Architecture (NLA) launched a competition prompting architects, planners and citizens to submit ideas for the current housing crisis in London—and the entries are in. The competition attracted over 200 submissions from over 16 countries and NLA has released a list of 100 of the submitted schemes which include radical concepts from NBBJ, Rogers Stirk Harbour+Partners, and Grimshaw Architects, among others. Seattle-based NBBJ has proposed taking up 9,000 miles of London road to make way for residential housing whereas London practice dRMM advocate the implementation of floating houses. Infact dRMM weren't the only firm to take advantage of London's waterways. Baca Architects and the appropriately named, Floating Homes Ltd. suggested installing 7,500 prefab floating homes along the canal routes of London, something they say could be done in under a year. Floating architecture, it appears, is a powerful force in captivating the imaginations of architects. The competition hasn't just attracted architects however, property consultants GL Hearn propose constructing a megacity by the M25 highway that travels London to improve housing, retail, workspaces, and infrastructure links by 2050.
Building firm WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff says 630,000 new homes would be created by building housing on top of government institutions such as hospitals, schools, and libraries.
The list of 100 will be whittled down by the NLA to a select group of 10 which will be considered in further depth before an eventual winner is chosen. The 100 projects will go on display in London on Saturday 17th October.
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David Adjaye given the go-ahead for mixed-use Piccadilly project in London

After beating Jean Nouvel, OMA and Frank Gehry to commission, David Adjaye Architects have been granted planning permission for its residential, hotel and retail development in Mayfair, London which will sit opposite the Ritz Hotel. Rising ten floors high, Adjaye's design for developer Crosstree Real Estate Partners will house street level retail while embedding a luxury hotel into the first and second floors. The rest of the building will be used for residential space and high-end condos. The 119,900 square foot complex brings natural light into the lower interior floors via the use of a large circular void. Meanwhile the external curved and "textured" facade makes use of Portland stone cladding and glazing to offer a "contextually sympathetic design", described David Adjaye Architects, that "draws on the shapes, forms and textures of the neighboring historic buildings." The building's proportionality and roofline emulate its counterparts on the street, including the Royal Academy and Burlington Arcade. "Referencing the classical arrangement of these iconic buildings, the facades of the new development are separated into three distinct sections with a central focal point" the architectural firm said in a statement on the project. The development has also made vast improvements to the Dover Yard and has integrated it into the site so that it acts as a pedestrianized throughway and public plaza. The feature is intended to be an "urban retreat at the heart of the development." "The treatment plays with the traditional sculpted silhouette of binary planes that curve, straighten and invert in a rhythmic sequence – reinterpreting and rearranging the traditional sequence to create a shifting plane of scalloped edges."
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Walk this way: Architecture firm NBBJ proposes a moving sidewalk to replace London Underground Circle line

Architectural firm NBBJ has proposed a new three-lane moving sidewalk (or for the Brits, a travelator) system to replace 17-miles of the London Underground in a bid to decrease travel times and transport more people around London. Earlier this year, a plans for a London underground bike complex was ridiculed by the Guardian in its attempt to reduce congestion despite it winning best conceptual project at the London Planning Awards. With that in mind, NBBJ have boldly chosen to submit their idea which would feature three moving walkways traveling at different speeds. The nearest walkway to an entry platform would travel at a leisurely three miles per hour, accelerating to 9mph in lit tunnels. The project's main advantage over the current rail-based system, designers claim, is that the walkway wouldn't have to stop at the station—the ever moving track being slow enough for people to hop on and hop off. The idea could have potential to be dangerous with the sheer mass of people it aims to take on, not to mention the cost implications this would have for Transport for London. Tearing up track and making the Circle line's dark and dingy tunnels safe (let alone nice) to walk down would be no mean (or cheap) feat. Moving walkways do already exist in the London Underground system, in fact they have been present at Bank station for 55 years. NBBJ's proposal can also be seen as following on from the Trottoir roulant rapide ("fast moving walkway") at the Métro station Montparnasse-Bienvenüe in Paris. Nicknamed the "TGV," the Parisian example failed to garner success in the French capital, as the the Paris metro has had to pay out injury compensation in several cases. According to the BBC, many users of the TGV quickly ran on the moving surface despite a loudspeaker barking orders of "keep your feet flat on the ground, keep your feet flat on the ground." The failed project was replaced by a more conventional walkway in 2009. The effectiveness of travelators is also up for debate. In 2009 (a bad year for travelators it seems) the Daily Telegraph reported that research about moving walkways in airports indicated they actually slowed people down and that the time advantage was minimal. NBBJ still advocates the health benefits of walking between stations that such a moving walkway system might provide.
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David Chipperfield beats Foster, KPF to convert US embassy in London to hotel

In London's high-end Mayfair neighborhood, the Brutalist United States embassy, originally designed by Eero Saarinen, has been keeping watch over Grosvenor Square for 55 years. Diplomats will soon be exiting the building, however, as developers prepare for a hotel conversion by David Chipperfield Architects. The Architects Journal reports that Chipperfield bested Foster+Partners and U.S. firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF) for the job. However, there is some uncertainty as to whether Chipperfield has actually been commissioned or not. A spokesman for Qatari Diar, the company that now owns the site, refused to confirm that Chipperfield won the competition, stating: "A range of options on the best use of this important site are currently being considered." Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment has secured the remaining 939 years on the Mayfair district building’s lease and will not be allowed to alter the embassy's design as it was awarded grade 2 listing status for its historical and architectural significance and its "dynamic facade" in 2009. According to the Department of Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), the concrete building was the "first purpose-built US embassy in Europe." The building's "dynamic facades, well-detailed stonework and consistency of detail and the innovative application of the exposed concrete diagrid" led to its protected status, the DCMS added. Occupying 225,000 square feet, the embassy takes up the entire west side of Grosvenor Square and currently has, according to Bloomberg, around 750 staff. Philadelphia-based KieranTimberlake has drawn up plans for the new U.S. embassy in Nine Elms, just south of the Thames, which is set to welcome occupants in 2017. The firm's winning design has been described by the Times as having a "moat" due to its semi-circular pond on one side. The new embassy resembles a crystalline cube and is surrounded by extensive public green spaces.