Posts tagged with "London":

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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.
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World’s tallest tunnel slide to wind five times around the 2012 London Olympics Orbit Tower

What better way to prolong the relevance of a pricey sculpture commissioned for the 2012 Olympics than to tack the world’s longest tunnel slide onto it? Nearly 376-feet tall, the ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower designed by Turner Prize–winner Anish Kapoor and structural designer Cecil Balmond is the UK’s tallest public art piece - a helter-skelter eight-strand lattice of distinctive red metalwork modeled after an “electron cloud,” according to Balmond. Wrought from 2,000 tons of steel, the commemorative Orbit Tower lords over London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as a hallmark of the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics hosted in the city. Suspended 264 feet above ground, the tunnel slide will snake around the tower five times, ending in a straight 164-foot stretch to the ground. Speed of descent peaks at a dizzying 15 mph, with the vertigo-inducing ride lasting about 40 seconds. On the way down, visitors can glimpse snatches of East London views through the transparent sections of the slide. Currently, adrenaline junkies will be one day abseil down the tower for $134, or $205 for GroPro footage of the descent and a commemorative T-shirt. “What more exciting way to descend the ArcelorMittal Orbit than on the world’s longest and tallest tunnel slide,” said Peter Tudor, the park’s director of visitor relations. “We are committed to ensuring our visitors have the best possible day out every time they visit Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and as with all our venues, we are constantly exploring ways to ensure we lead the way with the latest visitor experience. This slide really will give a different perspective of Britain’s tallest sculpture.”  If heights don’t intimidate you, plan to be in London in Spring 2016 to catch a ride on the world’s tallest slide.  
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Open data from Transport for London spurs 3D axonometric plans of the Tube so passengers can mentally map their next trip

Now you can strategize your next rush-hour skedaddle through the labyrinthine London Underground ahead of time—and choose all the right shortcuts. Transport for London (TfL) has released a series of 3D axonometric maps of the world’s oldest tube network, following a Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) request by Londoner Georges Vehres. While revealing the sheer intricacy of the Underground’s tunnels and the country’s longest escalator at north London’s Angel station, the set of 124 maps documenting stations A through W are not to scale, as becomes obvious by the unrealistically steep stairwells. Passengers can now devise a mental map of their most frequently-used stations. TfL’s release of a trove of public transport data following the FoIA spurred London-based visual developer Bruno Imbrizi to create 3D maps of his own that display the movements of all trains in the London Underground in real-time in brilliant color. Technically, the data is real-time accurate only from the moment you load the map, as it represents a prediction from TfL for the next 30 minutes of activity. Trains take the shape of shifting rectangles along a lace-like lattice of tunnels, disappearing and reappearing behind orbs representing each station to the tune of a soothing underground soundtrack.
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Wine supplier to the British royal family unveils enchanting new cellar by MJP Architects and Short & Associates

Britain’s oldest wine merchant, Berry Bros. & Rudd, has unveiled its new subterranean Sussex Cellar, an enchanting juxtaposition of classic and modern by Short & Associates and MJP Architects. Wine suppliers to the British royal family since the reign of King George III in the early 19th century, the brand named its new cellar after the duke of Sussex, one of seven royal dukes who were regular customers during that era. Inspired by a Spanish bodega with a tiled fan vaulted soffit, the two-story cellar is an expanse of terra cotta archways and columns clad in handmade London tiles. These extend through the mezzanine and sub-basement level. The dining room retains a light and airy feel, despite being underground, by dint of a circular aperture that connects it to the mezzanine above. Over 800 wine events are held annually in the company’s existing Napoleon and Pickering Cellars and its townhouse on Pickering Place. The new cellar was built to accommodate the uptick in demand for the brand’s well-known ‘Cellar Series’ – intimate 40-cover dinners presented in collaboration with London’s most popular restaurants. “Our new Sussex Cellar affords us much-needed extra capacity in bringing wine education and entertainment to our clients,” said Demetri Walters, sales manager at Private Wine Events, a part of Berry Bros. & Rudd. “This latest venue is of a completely novel design that combines the feel of one of our traditional wine cellars with the existing architecture, convenience, and state-of-the-art gadgetry of a purpose-built venue.” Sited beneath the historic St. Jame’s shop, the cellar is accessible via a secret door in one of Berry Bros. & Rudd’s 17th century townhouses on Pickering Place, with an interior styled by Nicola Crawley of the celebrated decorators Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler. The space accommodates up to 40 for a reception and lunch or dinner, or 36 for a reception, tutored tasting, and lunch or dinner.
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London skyline as battleground: Designers render 3D-printed chess pieces in the shape of iconic architecture

City skylines can seem at times like battlegrounds, with architects vying for superlatives of tallest, grandest, and bizarrest. Skyline Chess, founded by London-based designers Chris Prosser and Ian Flood, reimagines chess pieces as miniature models of the city’s landmark buildings. The ubiquitous terraced house, oft seen in indistinguishable cookie-cutter rows, is recast as the humble pawn, while the iconic Big Ben plays the rook, the London Eye Ferris wheel stands in for the Knight, and the Bishop is supplanted with The Gherkin. Meanwhile, Renzo Piano’s 87-story Shard in Southwark, London, presides as Queen, while the reigning honor of King-dom is bestowed upon the 4.5 inch-tall Canary Wharf, one of the UK’s two main financial centers. “In developing the idea we thought long and hard about suitable alternatives for the chessmen, both in terms of their architecture and symbolic value as well as their value on the chessboard,” the designers wrote on their website. “We believe that as individual objects they are beautiful and when arranged across the board represent something unique.” Lovers of architecture, Prosser and Flood developed their idea over a series of chess matches, modeled the pieces in 3D, and then 3D-printed them in injection-molded acrylic. Each piece is double-weighted and has a felt base. In 2013, the designers launched a campaign on popular crowdfunding site Kickstarter, but won just over $14,000 in pledges of the approximately $39,000 requested to fund their startup. While crowdfunding fell through, seeing as the site operates on an all-or-nothing funding model, Prosser and Flood secured investment elsewhere. In addition to trotting out its first architecture-influenced edition, Skyline Chess creates bespoke chess sets for lovers of the strategic board game, and has its eye on developing sets based on the architectural icons of Rome, New York, Dubai, and Shanghai.
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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:
  1. Does the built environment affect the behavior of individuals or communities? Is there evidence to suggest that it does or does not?
  2. Are there examples of changes in behavior on the part of people in the UK in relation to any aspect of the built environment?
  3. Are there any examples where people have changed their behavior as a result of some aspect of the built environment?
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Pictorial> Step inside Selgascano’s psychedelic Serpentine Pavilion

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.  
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Richard Rogers Calls on the Architecture Community to Save the Robin Hood Gardens

The clock is ticking yet again for East London’s Robin Hood Gardens, the 1972 Brutalist public housing complex designed by Alison and Peter Smithson. In a call to arms, Lord Richard Rogers and Simon Smithson, the son of the architects, have written a letter to over 300 members of the architecture and construction industries in support of the 20th Century Society’s campaign to protect the iconic “streets in the sky” buildings from being demolished.   The future of the seminal social housing estate has been in limbo since former Culture Secretary Andy Burnham granted it a listing certificate of immunity six years ago, essentially foiling any landmark designations that would ensure the buildings’ survival and preservation. Now that the certificate has expired, 20th Century Society, a conservation organization for modern architecture, is urging the new Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage to add the buildings to the statutory list of buildings of special architectural and historical interest. “The Smithsons were clearly great architects: the Economist Building, completed in 1964 and Grade I-listed in 1988, is without a doubt the best modern building in the historic centre of London. Robin Hood Gardens, which pioneered ‘streets in the air’ to preserve the public life of the East End terraces that it replaced, was the next large-scale job that the Smithsons embarked upon. It was architecturally and intellectually innovative. In my opinion, it is the most important social housing development from the post-war era in Britain,” wrote Lord Richard Rogers in the letter. RHG - model Composed of two long concrete blocks, the 7-story buildings in Poplar, London feature balconies that face a rolling, man-made green. Curbed reported that the goal was to “create a modern, bustling city in the sky,” but it has fallen into disrepair, beset with problems including crime and graffiti. Architects, including Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster, Richard Meier, and Rogers, stand behind the controversial postwar complex, lauding its architectural significance as an exemplar of the Smithsons’ New Brutalism—characterized by exposed materials, contextual design, and the marriage of regional styles and modernism. Below is the full letter from Lord Richard Rogers and Simon Smithson:   Dear Friends, I am writing to ask you to support listing Robin Hood Gardens as a building of special architectural interest, in order to protect one of Britain’s most important post-war housing projects, designed by Alison and Peter Smithson, from demolition. Previous efforts in 2009 to have the building listed failed, but the case has now been re-opened and we understand that the new Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage will be reviewing the arguments at the end of this week.  The buildings, which offer generously-sized flats that could be refurbished, are of outstanding architectural quality and significant historic interest, and public appreciation and understanding of the value of modernist architecture has grown over the past five years, making the case for listing stronger than ever. The UK's 20th Century Society has submitted a paper setting out why they believe Robin Hood Gardens should be listed (i.e. added it to the statutory list of buildings of special architectural and historical interest). Two further assessments are set out below: “Alison and Peter Smithson were the inventors of the New Brutalism in the 1950s and as such they were the ‘bellwethers of the young' as Reyner Banham called them. In many ways [Robin Hood Gardens] epitomizes the Smithsons’ ideas of housing and city building. Two sculptural slabs of affordable housing create the calm and stress free place amidst the ongoing modernization of the London cityscape. The façades of precast concrete elements act as screens that negotiate between the private sphere of the individual flats and the collective space of the inner garden and beyond. The rhythmic composition of vertical fins and horizontal ’streets-in-the-air' articulates the Smithsons’ unique proposition of an architectural language that combines social values with modern technology and material expression. Despite the current state of neglect and abuse Robin Hood Gardens comprises a rare, majestic gesture, both radical and generous in its aspiration for an architecture of human association. As such it still sets an example for architects around the world.” Dr Dirk van den Heuvel, Delft University, Holland. “The Smithsons were clearly great architects: the Economist Building, completed in 1964 and Grade I-listed in 1988, is without a doubt the best modern building in the historic centre of London. Robin Hood Gardens, which pioneered ‘streets in the air’ to preserve the public life of the East End terraces that it replaced, was the next large-scale job that the Smithsons embarked upon. It was architecturally and intellectually innovative.  In my opinion, it is the most important social housing development from the post-war era in Britain.” Lord Richard Rogers Last time listing was considered the views of the architectural community were ignored but we believe there is now a real chance of saving the building for posterity but only if the Minister hears, first hand, the views of the profession on the architectural merits of these exceptional buildings. Can we ask you to support the efforts of the 20th Century Society by writing right now to the Minster to support listing and saying why you believe Robin Hood Gardens should be saved? Click here to open an e-mail to the relevant Minister at the Department for Culture Media and Sport, Tracey Crouch MP: Minister-sportsandtourism@culture.gov.uk. For more information on the building click here, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robin_Hood_Gardens, and for details of the 20th Century Society case, please click here, http://www.c20society.org.uk/casework/robin-hood-gardens/ For Tweets: #SaveRobinHoodGardens Also, can we ask you to forward this e-mail to anyone else you know who might be willing to help save these important buildings? Yours sincerely, Richard Rogers and Simon Smithson