Posts tagged with "London":

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Experience fear and love in London’s new Design Museum, courtesy Sam Jacob Studio

When the new Design Museum in Kensington Gardens, London opened to the public on the November 24th, many aesthetically astute Brits flocked to the new "palace of culture." There they found the post-war (landmarked) relic, originally designed for the Commonwealth Institute by Robert Matthew Johnson-Marshall & Partners and opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1962, reincarnated and open once again. However, despite director of the museum Deyan Sudjic recruiting the likes of John Pawson and OMA for the renovation, the reaction to the $104 million museum has been mixed. The exhibitions inside, though, have enjoyed a much warmer reception. The inaugural exhibit, Fear And Love: Reactions to a Complex World features exhibition design by Sam Jacob Studio and eleven diverse installations from the likes of Andrés Jaque, Neri Oxman, and OMA/AMO.

“To design the first show at the new Design Museum was both an honor and a challenge—a way to mark a new era in London’s design culture," said Jacob. "The subject of Fear and Love was always more of a mood than a statement. Our design attempts to embody this ambivalence in a way that adds mystery and imagination.”

The London-based designer has employed a 623-foot-long pleated felt curtain that articulates the installation spaces and acts as a fluid circulatory device as it meanders through the rectangular exhibition area. With breaks interspersed throughout the curtain trail, views across and into each of the installations are created, opening up what would be tight corners to form a coherent space.

While this material carries warmth with it on its journey through Fear And Love, the use of gray translucent PVC bares the opposite (and perhaps even hints at love in another sense). Working with graphic designers OK-RM, signage within Fear And Love displays information on a series of freestanding, bent steel frames of which have been given a protective, passivated finish, giving a modern and iridescent look. This aesthetic is furthered through a neon two-way mirror totem that displays the words "FEAR" and "LOVE" to those passing by the exhibition inside the museum.

Justin McGuirk, curator of Fear And Love and chief curator at the Design Museum, said: “Sam Jacob Studio’s exhibition design was central to setting the mood of Fear and Love: it creates a dream-like space that, in the most elegant way, heightens the sense of uncertainty that the exhibition explores.”

Meanwhile, Chloë Leen, who spearheaded the project for Sam Jacob Studio commented: “It has been a great privilege to work with 11 designers at the forefront of shaping contemporary practice. Our design creates a unifying experience, choreographing these varied complex ideas and installations, while the spaces and moods of the exhibition design give each a distinct quality. This duality was at the heart of the de-sign challenge that the museum’s curatorial position presented.” Fear and Love runs through April 23, 2017.
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“Come out Patrik, come out from under that table!” cry protesters at Zaha Hadid Architects’ London office

After Patrik Schumacher voiced his desire for public and affordable housing to be abolished, protesters have today targeted the office of Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) in Clerkenwell, London. In Schumacher's speech, made earlier this month in Berlin, he argued that state regulations stifle architectural creativity and development while giving tenants of public housing unfair access to city centers. Schumacher also called for 80 percent of Hyde Park to be built upon and for the privatization of all public space, all of which was part of his "urban policy manifesto." This has not gone down well with activists from Class War and the London Anarchist Federation who protested at around midday (U.K. time) and into the late afternoon outside ZHA's Clerkenwell studio. According to The Architects' Journal (AJ), numbers swelled to around 20 and demonstrators accused Schumacher of "driving the working class out of London." The AJ also reported that shouts of: "Come out Patrik, come out from under that table" were heard. Schumacher, however, is believed to currently be out the country. Speaking to The Architect's Newspaper (AN), Jamie Wilson, an architecture student who works nearby ZHA's office recounted the affair: "Under police surveillance, a few representatives [from the London Anarchist Federation] were speaking on a megaphone. They commented on the ideas raised in P.S.'s World Architecture Festival keynote and their potential outcomes for citizens of London. Following this they addressed the office directly, pointing out that his views should not be taken lightly by his colleagues (who have since issued an open letter distancing themselves from the matter). Issues of their publication "RESISTANCE" were being handed out to passers by." "What Patrik Schumacher has said is social fascism. If it’s not opposed early on, it will grow and grow […] we as working class people want to stop it right at the beginning," told founder of Class War, Ian Bone (no relation to Ken Bone) to the AJ. "We hope Schumacher will retract his vile views, apologize and get out of the country."

A photo posted by Maarten Mutters (@mmutters) on

  The anger from the protesters is directed at Patrik Schumacher and already ZHA in an open letter rebuked his words, saying: "Patrik Schumacher’s ‘urban policy manifesto’ does not reflect Zaha Hadid Architects’ past—and will not be our future." Olly Wainwright also tweeted a screenshot of an email detailing Rana Hadid, Lord Palumbo, and Brian Clarke's essential disavowal of Schumacher's remarks. (The three are trustees of the Zaha Hadid Foundation and executors of Hadid's estate). Schumacher himself has also responded to the furore. "I was hoping to stir a discussion and got much more than what I had bargained for," he said on his Facebook page in an apologetic statement according to Dezeen. "The topics I touched upon turned out to be too touchy to touch at all in any direct or straightforward way, or so it seems." He continued, going on to say: "Like all of us, I dream of a caring, inclusive, diverse society where everybody can flourish and realise his/her potential and nobody is left behind. All I say is inspired by this longing."
Despite ZHA's open letter, according to CLAD Global, a ZHA spokesperson reaffirmed Schumacher's position in the company. They said: “Patrik’s position is certainly not under any threat; he remains our principal. Patrik is currently in Asia, along with other senior members of the practice, for a topping out ceremony.” Current London Mayor Sadiq Khan however, has not been impressed by Schumacher's comments. "One of our biggest strengths as a city is our diversity, with Londoners from different backgrounds living side by side," he said speaking in London newspaper, the Evening Standard. "So whether these out-of-touch comments were designed to shock or not, anyone who thinks abolishing affordable housing altogether, supporting 'buy-to-leave' empty properties, and building on Hyde Park is the answer to London's housing crisis doesn't understand the first thing about our great city."
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This artist sets the stage for nature vs. modernism (and nature is winning)

British artist Alex Hartley reflects on the power of nature in his latest work, A Gentle Collapsing II, as part of his After You Left exhibition at Victoria Miro in London. The work—set in the gallery's garden—features an abandoned modernist dwelling that has been engulfed by a jungle landscape, provoking thoughts on decay, the built environment, and nature itself. The aesthetically appealing juxtaposition of wild and the artificial goes hand-in-hand with Hartley's take on modernism: The International Style house embodies the architectural movement's ideals of form and structural purity, but all sense of order has been lost. The forest is the victor. With A Gentle Collapsing II, Hartley references Plato's notion of artifacts being in a "state of becoming." In this instance, by making the audience explicitly aware of the building's natural demise, viewers become all the more appreciative of its presence and its obviously finite existence. This too is a nod to another philosopher—Martin Heidegger—who said “mortals nurse and nurture things that grow and specifically construct things that do not grow.” Subsequently, audiences are afforded lines of thought relating to entropy: What happened before the dwelling entered this state of dereliction? What were the possible paths of destruction that lead to this? What will/can happen next? The unpredictability of nature versus the rigid lineage of the building plays out for the viewer. After You Left and A Gentle Collapsing II are available to see through December 16 this year.
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London keeps it cool: Pop-up igloos line the Thames riverbank by Tower Bridge

Although Pingu may have been well-accustomed to immaculately furnished igloos, it's fair to say that most humans are not. However, those strolling the banks of the River Thames this winter may find just that. Located a stone's throw from Tower Bridge, the Coppa Club in London has installed a series of PVC pop-up igloos for people to dine, drink and socialize in. At 11.5 feet in diameter, each of the eight igloos provides views onto the HMS Belfast warship, Tower Bridge, and the Shard as well as the sky above (though London isn't quite the place for stargazing). Heaters and sheepskin blankets keep the hemispheres cozy and aim to attract visitors to the area in the less busy winter months. "The terrace is so busy in summer," said the designer of igloos, Theresa Obermoser, speaking to The Architect's Newspaper (AN). "It was important to create a space where people can sit outside and enjoy the view even when it is cold. The igloos are great because guests can still enjoy the marvelous view while sitting in a nice warm igloo." Three of the igloos are fitted for dining purposes meanwhile the remaining five serve as lounge igloos. Capable of accommodating eight people, Thonet bentwood chairs with leather seat pads and sheepskin blankets, combined with oak wood tables topped with glass pendants, complete the classy urban/arctic dining experience. For the lounge igloos, Obermoser said it was "important to mix different fabrics" to "create a cozy feeling." Here, a mix of vintage rattan and Gubi chairs, with velvet sofas, linen cushions, and more sheepskin blankets can be found. Floor reading lamps and festoon lights illuminate the spaces while funk, soul, and jazz play out from the inbuilt speakers. Obermoser also said that planting was added to all the igloos to "soften the look." "With the amazing view given it was the biggest challenge to make the igloos feel as cozy as possible but not to block the view on tower bridge or the Shard with any of the furniture," she continued. The PVC hemispheres from Garden Igloo are fixed onto the heavy bases with wooden floor. "I had to design to make sure the igloos wouldn't be blown away." The igloos at the Coppa Club won't be by the Thames for long, though. All eight will be open until January next year.
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Herzog & de Meuron win commission to design Royal College of Art campus in south London

Swiss Pritzker Prize winning duo Herzog & de Meuron has been awarded commission to design the $136 million Battersea South campus at the Royal College of Arts (RCA) in London. The firm saw off proposals from Diller Scofidio + RenfroStudio Gang, and four other finalists to win the design competition that called for a "strategic design approach to a new centre for the world’s pre-eminent art and design university’s Battersea campus." The 161,460-square-foot scheme will accommodate design studios as well as space for engineering, science, and technology. The scheme aims to coalesce these disciplines as the RCA sets its sights on becoming a STEAM-focused graduate university (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths/Medicine). The school also wishes to turn its research and knowledge exchange centers into "the domains of computer and materials science, the impact of the digital economy, advanced manufacturing and intelligent mobility." Part of Herzog & De Meuron's design sees the inclusion of a "hangar" space, capable of housing large-scale works and projects as well as interior planting. Pierre de Meuron, co-founder of the Swiss studio, said the RCA had set a challenging brief. He added that the Battersea site in south London offered "an opportunity to rethink the RCA campus and establish the patterns of connectivity and organization that will make a successful building."
Chair of the Architectural Selection Panel (ASP) and RCA Rector Dr. Paul Thompson remarked that Herzog & de Meuron was the "clear choice of the competition jury." Before a final shortlist (listed below) was selected, the RCA had received interest from 97 studios across the globe. The RCA on their website said that Herzog & de Meuron's submission "demonstrated a deep understanding of the potential for Battersea, making new connections and foreseeing the possibilities for sustainable place-making." The six runners-up in the competition are listed alphabetically: Christian Kerez (Switzerland) Diller Scofidio + Renfro (USA) Lacaton & Vassal (France) Robbrecht en Daem (Belgium) Serie Architects (UK/Singapore) Studio Gang (USA)
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Six teams of top global architecture firms battle to light up London’s bridges

Six finalists from the U.K., U.S., and France are competing for a $24.8 million commission which will see their designs be used to illuminate all 17 bridges that span the River Thames in central London. Battling for the dazzling commission is David Adjaye, Amanda Levete Architects (AL_A), Sam Jacob Studio, and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands from London, along with New York firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Lyon-based practice Les Éclairagistes Associés. Initially, 105 teams had entered the Illuminated River competition run by Malcolm Reading Consultants. The winners will see their lighting proposals realized as a permanent installation that aims to "breath new life" into the Thames. Chair of the Illuminated River Foundation, Hannah Rothschild said on the competition's website:
Since the founding of London, the mighty Thames has been the city’s main artery, linking north and south, east and west, encouraging business, activity and recreation. But at night, the river becomes a ribbon of darkness, a place that few enjoy and at odds with the ambition to make London a 24 hour city. This project will bring light, energy, beauty and recreation to the river and at the flick of a switch, transform the city at night.
Despite waxing lyrical, Rothschild's words did not impress critic Oliver Wainwright of The Guardian. "[It’s] simply not true. The river already shines with a series of conflicting color schemes that speaks more of London’s chaotic character than a curated nightly show," he said. Wainwright also poured scorn on Adjaye's proposal, remarking that the 17 pavilions the architect proposes alongside each of the bridges adds "more clutter to the streetscape." The project will be privately funded. So far, though, $11.8 million is still required. It's also worth pointing out that the infamously costly (and not yet built) Garden Bridge by Thomas Heatherwick started life in a similar vein. The shortlisted six's videos can be found below meanwhile images are in the gallery above. Blurring Boundaries Adjaye Associates with Cai Guo-Qiang, Chris Ofili, Larry Bell, Jeremy Deller, Philippe Parreno, Richard Woods, Mariko Mori, Lorna Simpson, Teresita Fernández, Joana Vasconcelos, Angela Bulloch, Thukral & Tagra, Katharina Grosse, Glenn Ligon, Doug Aitken, Tomás Saraceno, onedotzero digital consultants, Plan A Consultants, DHA, Hurley Palmer Flatt, AKT II, AECOM, Arup, Sir Robert McAlpine, Tavernor Consultancy, DP9, Four Communications, Hayes Davidson digital visualizers, Bosch, and iGuzzini.
The Eternal Story of the River Thames AL_A, Asif Kapadia, Simon Stephens, SEAM Design, Arup, GROSS. MAX., Mark Filip, Soundings, and DP9.
Synchronizing the City: Its Natural and Urban Rhythms Diller Scofidio + Renfro with Oliver Beer, Arup, Copper Consultancy, L’Observatoire International, Penoyre & Prasad, Jennifer Tipton, and Transsolar.
Thames Nocturne Sam Jacob Studio and Simon Heijdens with Studio Dekka, Daisy Froud, Elliott Wood, Jackson Coles, and Professor John Tyrer.
A River Ain’t Too Much To Light Les Éclairagistes Associés (L.E.A.), ecqi ltd. and Federico Pietrella in association with GVA Lighting Europe Limited and ewo srl.
Current Leo Villareal with Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands and Future\Pace. Atelier Ten, Beckett Rankine, Bradley Hemmings, Core Five, Futurecity, Greenwich +Docklands International Festival, MBNA Thames Clippers, Montagu Evans, Pentagram, and Price & Myers.
Winners are due to be announced in early December with work on the 17 bridges being completed in phases between 2018 and 2020.
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Here’s what Apple’s headquarters in London’s Battersea Power Station will look like

With design courtesy of British firm Wilkinson Eyre, images of Apple's new London headquarters inside Battersea Power Station have been revealed. The decision by Apple to move into the vacant Giles Gilbert Scott–designed building was announced late last month but now Apple fans can get a glimpse of what the Californian tech giant will be moving into. As part of the move, 1,400 current Apple employees will start work inside Battersea Power Station. Occupying 40 percent of the interior space, Apple's offices will span six floors within the power station's central boiler house. The original architect of the structure, Gilbert Scott, was renowned for his use of brick and application of art deco styling to his power stations. Following a similar approach to that of Herzog & de Meuron, the Swiss duo who renovated Bankside Power Station (also by Scott and located eastward down the river Thames) into the Tate Modern, Wilkinson Eyre has paid homage to the original structure and its turbine halls. "Retaining the power station’s sense of scale and visual drama is key to the project," the firm said on their website. Battersea Power Station remains the largest brick structure in London since its construction in 1933. "Large volume spaces expose the historic fabric internally and juxtapose new and old construction... The turbine halls are the heroic interior spaces of the power station, and the vast walls of polished tiles in 'Turbine Hall A' were once likened to a Greek temple. The magnificent space is equal in size to the turbine hall at Tate Modern and many of the original finishes and features survive." Three floors of shopping outlets will occupy the turbine halls and central boiler house. Condos will be located above the retail space being housed in two low-level annexes that lay on the east and west wings of the building. In between this, a triple-height "leisure level" will offer space for events as well as a cinema and hotel. Offices, meanwhile, are due to be situated above this. Six stories of office space have been arranged by Wilkinson Eyre around a grand atrium. An icon of the London skyline, the power station's four white chimneys will frame a coterie of contemporary residential villas which surround a garden square on the roof. The chimneys will also include a glass elevator (it is unknown if all four will) which will climb to a viewing deck offering vistas across London. The project is set to cost $1.26 billion, due for completion in 2021.
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Your inner child (and adult designer) will love the new London Science Museum kids science gallery

Whether you're under ten or not, you're lying if you say that having a slide race to test friction doesn't sound fun—not that the word "fun" should detract from the seriousness of the task, which after all, is in the name of science. Like the idea? Well, that's what is now on offer at Wonderlab in the Satoil Gallery at the Science Museum in London, designed by London-based muf architecture/art. Three slides, each offering various friction coefficients, are one of 50 hands-on exhibits at the new gallery. As critic Rowan Moore points out, institutions in the U.K. have often gone too far with flamboyant displays when it comes to science. Exhibits have become overcrowded with gimmicks that obtrusively vie for visitors' attention, usually "displaying digital technology that had a knack of a) becoming obsolete and b) stopping working." At the Wonderlab, though, this isn't the case. Covering 25,000 square feet, the $7.3 million space informs fresh-faced youths on scientific concepts such as light, materials, sound, forces, mathematics, electricity, and magnetism. Each concept is represented by a single hanging object—a brass instrument for sound, a blown glass orb for materialVisitors are encouraged to find their own way around the gallery. A 120-seater theater, designed to emulate that of the scientist Michael Faraday, can be used for classes, meanwhile, 400 handmade oval samples showcasing different materials can be found by the slides. A cage for a Tesla coil also features a 26-feet inhabitable revolving orrery—reminiscent of George Wright of Derby’s painting—that teaches children about the solar system by displaying the sun, earth, and moon. On a smaller scale, the space features bespoke kid-proof furniture: A treasure trail of 25 crystals can be found in the benches and a 16-feet oak tree has been studded with magnets. "These details are a conscious reaction against the generic bright, wipe clean, panelled architecture of many schools and public spaces," said the firm. The gallery is also very spacious. muf described their work as "stripped back" in an email to The Architect's Newspaper. On school trips, the sight of kids tearing across the floor and falling through exhibits just so they can give their friend an electric shock is not uncommon. muf's decision then to remove layers of suspended ceiling and partitions to open up the space is perhaps wise, as it attempts to diffuse the drama and chaos that can erupt in such a space. By doing so, the firm also allows areas for waiting and eating packed lunches—timezones that are notorious for attention spans to waver—to be generously day lit. Teachers will also be thankful for the added openness that gives their watchful eyes wider scope for sniffing out mischief. 200,000 children are set to descend onto Wonderlab each year and muf's design looks set to be a fun, enriching, but stress-free experience for all those who visit.
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Apple to create new London home in Battersea Power Station

Tech giant Apple has its eyes set on moving into Battersea Power Station in south London. Currently vacant, the power station was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in 1929, completed 1935, and is a much-loved landmark of the capital. Apple plans to occupy 500,000 square feet of interior (40 percent of the space available) with offices, spanning six floors in the power station’s central boiler house. The building has stood empty after 1983 when it was decommissioned, however, its art deco brick decor and iconic quadrangle of chimneys have lived on to become a cultural icon. Gilbert Scott's work was used on the cover of Pink Floyd’s album “Animals” and also in the Batman film “The Dark Knight.” After many redevelopment attempts, including a hotel design by designer Ron Arad and a stadium proposition from Chelsea Football Club, the power station is being redeveloped by a Malaysian consortium. The group is well underway with a project that will see high-end luxury condos, offices, shops and restaurants fill the 42-acre vicinity. Apple plans to have moved in by 2021 by which time employees will have access to the site from the London Underground Northern Line's new extension, as well as from existing overground services from Battersea Park station. The U.K.'s recently appointed Chancellor to the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, commented on the deal, remarking how it is “another vote of confidence in the UK economy.” “Apple’s decision further strengthens London’s position as a global technology hub and demonstrates how the UK is at the forefront of the next steps in the tech revolution,” he said. A spokesman for Apple has said the move would mean "its entire team [could] work and collaborate in one location while supporting the renovation of a neighbourhood rich with history". "This is a great opportunity to have our entire team working and collaborating in one location, while supporting the renovation of a neighborhood with rich history," said Apple in a statement. Meanwhile, Battersea Power Station Development Company’s chief executive Rob Tincknell added: “We are delighted Apple chose to make this their home in 2021. It is a testament to not only the fantastic building but the wider regeneration of the 42-acre site, which offers a carefully curated mix of homes, businesses and leisure amid extraordinary open spaces and new transport links."
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Highlights from London’s first ever Design Biennale

“Utopia by Design” is the theme at this year’s inaugural London Design Biennial. On show at the three-week event are a series of installations from 37 countries, all located inside and around the grounds of Somerset House by the Thames. The show runs until September 27.

The Architect’s Newspaper was in attendance and we've collected some highlights below:

Mexico

The highlight of the Biennal, Border City was designed by Mexican architect Fernando Romero. Drawing on contemporary issues such as immigration, border control, and economic zoning, Romero’s masterplan coalesces employment, trade, and cultural dimensions into the "Border City." Here, the three states of New Mexico and Texas (U.S.) and Chihuahua (Mexico) would join as one singular hub.

Romero makes use of a topographical circular map and projection screens that wrap around the exhibition space. The visually intense installation submerges the audience into a wealth of information including population growth data, demographics, consumption, and resources for the U.S., Mexico, and the world. Phrases like “special economic zones” outline where trade areas would be in Romero’s binational “Border City” as further projections take you through renderings of the fictional city.

Lebanon

Located on the riverside, Lebanon’s installation provides a taste of Beirut for Londoners. While kebab shops are nothing new in the capital, Annabel Karim Kassar’s work immerses audiences into a typical Beirut street scene offering kebabs, Lebanese coffee, and even a wet shave. While the smell of spices waft through the vicinity and local music fills the air, a breeze running off the Thames brings you back home. Lebanon's piece won the London Design Biennale Medal 2016 for the most exceptional design contribution.

Chile

Inside, Chile’s “Counter Culture Room” offers an insight into the utopian dreams the country had under socialist President Allende of the 1970s and how they were very nearly realized. A short film relays how the country enlisted British cybernetics expert Stafford Beer for Project Cybersyn. Beer aimed to use cybernetics as a form of governance, whereby a central control room—one that could be mistaken for belonging to a 1970s sci-fi villain—would oversee the country. It was a cyber management system that would unite workers with the authorities through a flow of information. Though these plans never made it off the ground due to Pinochet's coup, Chilean studio Fab Lab Santiago made four chairs slicing a would-be control room in two. Interesting though the backstory is, visitors can’t feel empowered as the chairs are sadly unavailable for sitting in.

Austria

Austria’s installation symbolizes the fragility of utopias. The kinetic light sculpture comprises a complex arrangement of interconnected earbud-shaped lights. When left still, the whole structure is fully illuminated, however, when moved in any way, lights close to the source of movement dim and turn off. A slight nudge can rupture the delicate ambience that exists, meaning lights out in utopia.

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See what won the Carbuncle Cup for Britain’s ugliest building of the year

"The worst building amongst a swathe of mediocrity," read one. A "grotesque Jenga game of rabid, rectilinear blocks without the promise of collapse," read another. Compliments for BUJ Architects' Lincoln Plaza have been hard to come by. Today, the collection of housing units in east London's Docklands was dealt a hammer blow in being crowned the winner of this year's Carbuncle Cup, British architecture's least-wanted design award. Comprising two towers of dwellings with a cylindrical hotel mixed into the program, the ill-fated development has been the subject of severe scorn for the 2016 iteration of Building Design's (BD) Carbuncle Cup awards. It is the fifth London building in a row to claim the trophy in the awards' tenth successive year. Lincoln Plaza was selected from a shortlist of six projects built in the UK, three of which were in London. Last year, Rafael Viñoly’s car-melting 20 Fenchurch Sreet (a.k.a. The Walkie-Talkie Tower) took the prize. “When you look at the crazy patterns, pick and mix colors and gimmicky balconies you can see that it lacks poise, foundation or clarity of vision," lamented Julian Robinson of the awarding jury. "Its neighbors aren’t great but this is just an unmitigated mess.” Meanwhile, BD editor Thomas Lane was equally critical. “This is the worst building amongst a swathe of mediocrity," he said. "South Quay is rapidly turning into London’s Carbuncle Cluster.” The derision didn't end there either. One reader even went so far as to say that the building's balconies “are an open invitation to commit suicide.” Critic and member of the jury panel Ike Ijeh described Lincoln Plaza further: "31 stories of bilious cladding are piled one on top of the other to create an assortment of haphazardly assembled facades that are crude, jarring and shambolic." He went on to add:
Essentially, this building is the architectural embodiment of sea sickness, waves of nausea frozen in sheaths of glass and colored aluminum that, when stared at for too long, summon queasiness, discomfort and, if you’re really unlucky, a reappearance of lunch as inevitably as puddles after a rainstorm.
Incidentally, the much-maligned flats in question range from $1 million to $1.2 million. The developers behind the project, Galliard Homes, describe it as a "striking new landmark against Canary Wharf’s dazzling architecture." They go on to add: "Offering breathtaking views, first class facilities, and superlative living accommodation in a location of international status, Lincoln Plaza is set to provide one of the most prestigious and sophisticated new landmarks on Canary Wharf’s iconic skyline." Ijeh, though, was not impressed with this description.
Were anyone in any doubt as to the sheer level delusion and gall that has gripped London’s luxury housing market, then this asinine quotation should settle the matter once and for all. Lincoln Plaza is actually in South Quay and not Canary Wharf but what better way of showing contempt for your local context than by insinuating it is actually located in your flashier neighboring district that is more likely to be familiar to your target Malaysian investors? But, of course, this development does not show contextual contempt by words but by actions and it is these architectural actions and not the aforementioned “views” that are truly “breath-taking.” Lincoln Plaza is a putrid, pugilistic horror show that should never have been built. In its bilious cladding, chaotic form, adhesive balconies and frenzied facades, it exhibits the absolute worst in shambolic architectural design and cheap visual gimmickry. The only thing “sophisticated” about this scheme is the sheer level of artistry that must have been orchestrated in order to convince the local authority to award permission.
Paul Finch, editorial director of the Architects' Journal—a rival to the publication that runs the not-so-coveted trophy—called for the competition to be ended last month. He also wrongly predicted, as did many, that:
Those who control the [Carbuncle Cup] seem to know next to nothing about commercial architecture, hate it, campaign against it and only keep quiet when a self-evidently ‘good’ architect, like Eric Parry, wins a commission to design the tallest tower in the City of London, demolishing the rather good [Aviva] tower in the process. The predictable tone of the [Carbuncle Cup] nominations is echoed by the predictability of the results. The judges don’t get out much, so the focus is generally on London. If you can attack a big name, all the better, hence the ludicrous abuse poured on the Cutty Sark project by Grimshaw. Commercial uses are a red rag to a bull, hence the campaign against another ‘winner’, the Tesco store with apartments above at Woolwich, a brave and successful attempt to revive a benighted town centre,  which I supported while sitting on the design review panel which assessed the plan... My real objection to the [Cup] is that it is the product of mental idleness rather than genuine thought about the way in which architecture both absorbs and reflects culture, economics, fashion and the myriad other elements which inform the way we now live, work and play.
Catherine Slessor, also writing in the same publication, however, made the case for the Carbuncle Cup:
Some might regard it as a cheap exercise in tabloid trolling that takes no account of the complexities and contradictions of the design process, in which architects are merely hapless pawns, buffeted by bad clients, bad briefs and bad legislation. Yet who could argue against the guilty pleasure of witnessing the pomposity of the great and the good being pricked or the hubris of provincial nonentities witheringly exposed? After all, these purveyors of ordure are paid for what they do. And, unlike genuine ordure, bad buildings cannot be swept away.
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Herzog & de Meuron, Studio Gang, and DS+R among those shortlisted for new Royal College of Art campus in South London

The Royal College of Art (RCA) in London has a unveiled a shortlist of seven invited studios that will compete to design the school's new $140 million campus in Battersea, South London. The list features practices from Europe and the U.S. including Swiss duo Herzog & de Meuron, Chicago-based Studio Gang and Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DSR) from New York. Organized by Malcolm Reading Consultants, who claim that the college is set to "embark upon the most exciting phase of development" in its 179 year history, the RCA will align itself into being a primarily science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics-based institution. As a result, it aims to coalesce these disciplines to "create transformational impact in such areas as connected cities; robotics, the internet of things and intelligent mobility; sustainability, mass migration and city design." Specifically, this will include the expansion of the RCA's "research and knowledge exchange centers into the domains of computer and materials science, the impact of the digital economy, and intelligent mobility." The shortlisted practices are:
  • Christian Kerez (Switzerland)
  • Diller Scofidio + Renfro (U.S.)
  • Herzog & de Meuron (Switzerland)
  • Lacaton & Vassal (France)
  • Robbrecht en Daem architecten (Belgium)
  • Serie Architects (UK/Singapore)
  • Studio Gang (U.S.)
"At the centre of the Battersea South vision are the practices of artists and designers," said Dean of Architecture Dr. Adrian Lahoud. "The project should support and inspire their work, offering an incredible opportunity to explore new frontiers in learning and research in art and design." Malcolm Reading, competition director, added: "This is a dazzling list of architectural thought-leaders who have connected with a project that will create a renewed sense of place in this part of Battersea.  We very much look forward to the teams’ analyses of the brief at the second stage of the competition." The selection panel members include:
  • Dr. Paul Thompson (Chair)
  • Professor Naren Barfield
  • Richard Benson
  • Dr. Adrian Lahoud
  • Professor Judith Mottram
  • Baroness Gail Rebuck
  • Alan Leibowitz (lay member of Council)
  • Professor Ricky Burdett (lay member of Council)
  • Professor Rachel Cooper OBE (lay member of Council)
  • Paola Antonelli
  • Marcus Cole (student)