Peeping Toms, bust out the kazoos. Your field day has arrived—and it comes equipped with party favors. The Shard, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, is London’s tallest skyscraper and, as of last week, home to a new luxury hotel. The rooms include breathtaking views of the city—and, thanks to a design flaw, unscrupulous views of unsuspecting neighbors. Glass panels on the Shard’s exterior bestow the building with a crystalline front and its namesake. But at night, the city’s lights turn the glass into mirrors that fully reflect guest bedrooms into each other. Complementary binoculars (“for the view,” ahem) don’t help matters. Nor do puns about the naked eye. Masking a blush? Rest easy—susceptible rooms include shades for extra privacy.
Posts tagged with "London":
In 1969, Walter Gropius designed a collection of china for Rosenthal. Named after his atelier in Cambridge, The Architects Collaborative, TAC's elegant and curious forms are pristine in white porcelain. Embellishing Gropius' design would naturally be heresy to some purists. To others, it would reflect his belief in the collaborative process. In their update of the tableware, called TAC Big Cities, architect Bjarke Ingels of BIG and Danish industrial design studio Kilo teamed up to create an urban motif for the collection. The skylines of Paris, New York, Berlin, London, and Copenhagen have been delineated in dark blue with a sure hand (My guess it was wielding a 7B pencil). Not meandering doodles, not too-crisp or CAD-like. This is a friendly, confident line. When wrapping around serving vessels, pitchers, and bowls, the cities' silhouettes are easily recognizable, punctuated with unmistakable architectural icons as the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, and the Brandenburg Gate. But when projected onto the borders of plates and platters—comparatively flat surfaces—the lines distort, and read more like seismic activity graphs. It's a pleasantly unruly ornament. Dining on the town of your choice will cost about $50 for a 11-inch plate.
Work was just finished on the Blackfriars Bridge in London, which is now the largest solar bridge in the world. The renovation of the Victorian-era bridge was part of the larger modernization project for the adjoining Blackfriar’s railway station. The station has been fitted with 4,400 photovoltaic panels, which are expected to reduce the station's CO2 emissions by an estimated 511 tons (563 tons) per year. Work began in spring 2009 and the station was operationally complete in time for the 2012 Olympics, with the solar array installation complete in March 2013. The full refurbishment of the station is now also complete. The nearly 20,000-square-feet of new panels are intended to offset about 50% of the station’s energy costs. The adding of solar panels was part of a redesign for the Southfriars Station which includes a new entrance on the south bank of the River Thames, four new platforms and a improved Underground station. The station is a key part of the £6.5 billion (US$10.72 billion) Thameslink Programme, which aims to increase train capacity on one of Europe's busiest stretches of railway running from north to south through central London. "Our work at Blackfriars demonstrates two key benefits of solar," says Frans van den Heuvel, CEO of Solarcentury told Gizmag. "First, it can be integrated into the architecture to create a stunning addition to London’s skyline. Second, it can be integrated into the most complex of engineering projects; in this case being built above a construction site, over a rail track over a river."
Building the Picture National Gallery London April 30 through September 2014 At the end of April, the National Gallery will present a new exhibit spotlighting the handling of architecture in various paintings by prominent Italian renaissance artists. Building The Picture will feature works by Duccio, Botticelli, Crivelli and others chosen from the museum's permanent collection along with paintings gathered from other institutions in the U.K. These 14th, 15th, and 16th century images will be complemented by a series of five films that offer contemporary ideas on the theme of real and imagined architecture from Peter Zumthor, filmmaker Martha Fiennes, art historian T. J. Clark, film historian John David Rhodes, and computer game cinematic director Peter Gornstein. The Renaissance bore witness to several breakthroughs in terms of realistic representation, particularly in the realm of architecture. Techniques like perspective enabled artists to depict increasingly life-like architectural compositions. Such skills were used towards the rendering of real structures or the creation of imagined and compelling architectural scenes that still maintained believable spatial qualities. Despite these developments, the period was still largely lacking in the concept of an architectural education, meaning that prominent figures like Brunelleschi and Michelangelo trained in other artistic fields before venturing into building design. Exhibit curators see a contemporary resurgence in these blurred boundaries between art and architecture, a fluidity that is reinforced by the diverse roster of figures contributing to the show's film program. Within Renaissance Art History, architectural compositions traditionally receive second billing to the human figures that populate them. Building the Picture hopes to show how in many cases, buildings acted as foundations for the resultant paintings, dictating the layout and direction of the remainder of the work. The exhibit opens in London on April 30. It will be accompanied by an online catalog permanently available on the National Gallery website.
Despite having first dibs on the project, Rafael Viñoly is being forced to hedge his vision for London's Battersea Power Station redevelopment under pressure from fellow power players Norman Foster and Frank Gehry. Responsible for guiding "Phase III" of the project, the latter pair have rejected the two large structures Mr. Viñoly had initially envisioned lining a raised pedestrian thoroughfare in favor of five smaller structures in an attempt to "humanize the scale." Viñoly's now-sullied initial vision for Battersea. The masterplan for the overhaul will now be populated by, among others inclusions, five residential towers of American origin. Assuming the moniker Prospect Place, the quintuplet is ostensibly Gehry's debut in the British capital. The centerpiece of this grouping comes in the form of "the flower," a titanium-tinted tower that resembles a series of more angular versions of the architect's Viennese designs crammed against each other. The rippling facades of the four surrounding structures complete Gehry's bouquet. The cluster is pierced by the Electric Boulevard, a two-tiered walkway that stretches to the original power plant. The western border of the site is parsed out by the Skyline, a curvaceous apartment block by Foster + Partners. Capped by trees and gardens, the wavy structure seems to slither uneasily past Gehry's design before doubling back upon encountering the smoke stacks of the Battersea. Another aspect of the Viñoly vision that has since been jettisoned is a large reflecting pool that once lay east of the projected location of Prospect Place. In its stead Gehry is calling for a public park that will have a lecture hall and playground in its southern and northern poles respectively. Along with its grounds, the plant itself will be subject to a major facelift as well. Local firm Wilkinson Eyre is responsible for sterilizing the industrial ruin, recasting the building as a shopping, office, residential and events complex. Instead of black clouds, a glass elevator will emerge from one of the refurbished chimneys as its converted into an elevator cum observation deck. The Wilkinson Eyre undertaking is not the first drastic transformation of the plant in recent years. All in all the roughly $13 billion project is set to provide 1,300 new homes to London, of which a meager 8 percent have been set aside for affordable housing. The percentage has been labeled derisory among wholly-warranted fears that the new development will be little more than the city's latest magnet for foreign investment.
Deeming them to be not "appropriate to a world-class institution nor effective in accommodating day-to-day use," trustees of London's Museum of Natural History put out a call for redesigns to the grounds surrounding the building. The competition has now reached its second stage, with five firms selected as finalists for the project, though who is responsible for which proposal has yet to be revealed. The winning selection will have to ease access for the museum's growing number of visitors and create a new civic ground for the city of London. The following teams have advanced to the second round of the competition:
- BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) with Martha Schwartz Partners
- Grant Associates with Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
- Niall McLaughlin Architects with Kim Wilkie
- Land Use Consultants (LUC) with Design Engine
- Stanton Williams Architects with Bradley-Hole Schoenaich Landscape Architects
A bespoke aluminum building skin transforms an abandoned war bunker into a high-performing boutique hotel.Restoration hotelier Unlisted Collection recently acquired a historically listed, vacant municipal building in London’s East End that served as a set favorite for film luminaries like David Lynch. The 1910 Edwardian fore building and its utilitarian 1937 addition had served as the town hall of Bethnal Green before World War II. In order to convert the complex into a boutique hotel, Unlisted hired London-based architecture practice Rare and tasked the firm with designing an addition to the existing buildings to add space for more guest rooms and amenities, while unifying the three disparate elements into a single entity. Rare directors and founders Nathalie Rozencwajg and Michel da Costa Gonçalves answered this last charge with an ornamental screen facade that visually ties together the historic and modern buildings while also improving user comfort and environmental performance. “The yellow brick facade of the 1937 building wasn’t finished due to the outbreak of the Second World War, when it was repurposed as a bunker,” Rozencwajg recently told AN. Since the building had suffered no major damage during the war, the designers had to move forward while abiding by the English heritage guidelines for preserving historical structures, including the decorative Eduardian facade along the street front. To expand square footage and enable the building’s function as a hotel, the team designed a fourth-level add-on for additional guest rooms. The addition is enclosed in a double-glazed curtain wall that is screened by a parametrically designed ornamental skin. Working in a custom-scripted plugin for Rhino, the team designed a pattern for the screen wall derived from an old ventilation grill that they found in the 1937 extension. In developing the pattern, the designers divided the project into three major zones. The uppermost level functions as a brise soleil with a tightly defined pattern that blocks most of the southern sunlight that impacts this part of the building. Toward the center, the pattern is varied, more open in some places and more closed in others to accommodate interior programming—guest rooms feature smaller apertures for greater privacy while the public spaces are clad in a more open screen. At the bottom level, apertures are kept small to provide privacy from street-level passersby. Approximately 980 feet of the building’s surface is wrapped in this screen, fabricated from laser-cut, 4-mm-thick aluminum sheets. Eight 7-by-4-foot panels in varying pattern densities are bolted into a frame that hangs from the curtain wall. At the roof level, the panels were designed to conceal the building’s elevator towers, plenum, and pitched roof profiles. Rozencwajg estimated that unique panel shapes make up 30 percent of the screen system. Each panel was numbered for efficient installation and bolts in each of the panels’ four corners prevent damage from wind and other environmental factors. The modularity of the panel system also provides for future design flexibility. “If you rearrange the space internally and want to reconfigure the facade, you can change out the panels for more or less opacity,” said Rozencwajg. The panels are finished with a metallic powdercoat that changes hue based on the sun’s angle. Since the historical listing prohibited the architects from altering the existing building—including the old sash windows—the new curtain wall had to improve overall building performance. The south elevation features double glazing to minimize heat gain and natural ventilation is enhanced with trickle vents and energy-efficient windows on the new level. The combined efforts resulted in a BREAM rating of Very Good.
The renewal project of one of Britain's most monumental buildings, and home to its two houses of parliament, has been entrusted to the team at HOK. The restoration of the Palace of Westminster will involve the short and long term repair and replacement strategies of existing building fabric and systems, as well as the scheduling of works while parliamentary activities are temporarily relocated. HOK will provide architecture and heritage conservation advice, in conjunction with Deloitte Real Estate and AECOM for real estate and engineering services respectively. ( Photo: Jeremy McKnight / Flickr)
London-based firm Studio Octopi has a vision for a system of swimming pools that would make use of water redirected from the Thames. The proposal comes on the heels of Thames Water's controversial plan to revamp the city's Victorian sewerage system in order to prevent the flow of excess sewage into the river. Octopi developed the project in collaboration with fellow locals Civic Engineers and Jonathan Cook Landscape Architects. What has come to be known as the Super Sewer, the Thames Water initiative involves the construction of massive new tunnel that would reduce by 96 percent the amount of raw sewage currently being ferried into the river on the back of overflow storm drainage. The nearly $7 billion price-tag attached to the project remains a major sticking point. The Octopi proposal places pools at the high water mark at two Sewer construction sites, Shadwell and Blackfriars Bridge. The positioning of the pools would allow them to be refreshed periodically by tidal flows. Though the fate of the pools is not explicitly linked to that of the Thames Water project, the plan is contingent on a drastic improvement in the river's sub-par water quality. This pair is complemented by a third pool designed to float upon the surface of the river. Concrete decks provide shelter from surrounding tidal currents while also providing seating for swimmers. are also collaborators on the project, contributing the idea to dot the fringes of the structure with vegetation, a step that would theoretically facilitate the eventual incorporation of indigenous aquatic vegetation. The proposal was generated as part of London As It Could Be, a call for new visions for architectural interventions in selected sites bordering the Thames sponsored by The Architecture Foundation and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners.
Lord Norman Foster’s pickle-shaped 30 St. Mary Axe building in London, widely known as “the gherkin,” has been featured in an advertisement for a UK chemist that sells erectile dysfunction pills at £6 a pop. The print ad for Lloyds Pharmacy features the interrogative headline “Lost the perk-in your gherkin,” illustrated with a photo-shopped image of a drooping 30 St Mary Axe. The ad goes on to exhort readers not to “let a hard day stop a hard night.”
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.
British architects Allies and Morrison have submitted their planning applications for the 22-acre mixed-use development for London's Canary Wharf. Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron has designed a 56-story tower that will account for some of the 3,100 residential units planned for the project. London-based Stanton-Williams is responsible for the other two apartment buildings to be included in the new neighborhood, known as "Wood Wharf." The master-plan also incorporates extensive office space, over 100 shops, and some 39,000 square feet of public space. The Stanton-Williams contributions to the development are dwarfed by Herzog & de Meuron's tall, cylindrical structure. Staggered balconies wrap the facade in a pattern that shifts repeatedly as it progresses vertically. The buildings are situated among curvaceous green expanses that butt up against surrounding waterways. The office buildings, designed by Allies and Morrison themselves, will attempt to court creative media, technology, and telecommunications companies to the newly minted neighborhood. This unveiling only constitutes phase one of the development. A two-form entry primary school, multipurpose sports hall, and a healthcare facility are all meant to be incorporated into the neighborhood as the project advances. Efforts will be made to ensure ease of connectivity to the city's public transportation system for Wood Wharf inhabitants. Bus routes have been added and the installation of ever-popular bike rental stations is expected. Pending approval, construction on the plan will begin next year with a tentative completion date of 2017. In doing so it will join their latest addition to the Tate Modern as Herzog & de Meuron projects underway in the capital city.