Posts tagged with "UK":

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Foster + Partners leads new path for British architecture apprenticeships

Future British architects may not have to go through the same full-time education as their predecessors. Aspiring architects in the U.K. will now be able to participate in architecture apprenticeships to gain entry into the profession. New standards established by 20 “trailblazer” U.K.-based architecture practices, led by Foster + Partners and developed in conjunction with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), will offer students a new pathway to qualification as an architect. There are two stages: Part I accreditation, to become architectural assistants, followed by Part II and Part III qualifications which are the final stages before becoming an accredited architect. Both standards have also been approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships, an executive non-departmental public body. Apprenticeships combine practical experience in the profession alongside academic courses, which can be delivered by any U.K. university offering an Architects Registration Board (ARB) qualification. Those who participate will be exempt from tuition fees and receive a salary. The program is meant to encourage students of different socio-economic backgrounds to enter the profession and is a step forward towards a more socially inclusive architecture profession. “This vital initiative will help us to improve the diversity of our profession, to attract young people to study architecture and provide more accessible routes to qualification and employment opportunities,” said RIBA President Ben Derbyshire. “The new Apprenticeship Standards will help to encourage the widest talent pool and address the underrepresentation of architects from lower socio-economic backgrounds who, without parental support, face barriers to full-time education.” Universities are expected to be ready to deliver courses starting September 2018. The 20 participating architecture groups are:
  • Foster + Partners (Chair)
  • Lipscomb Jones Architects (Architectural Assistant standard sub-lead)
  • Hawkins/Brown (Architect standard sub-lead)
  • Seven Architecture (Architectural Assistant assessment sub-lead)
  • Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (Architectural Assistant assessment sub-lead)
  • Scott Brownrigg (Architect assessment sub-lead)
  • Pollard Thomas Edwards (Architecture Apprenticeships Guide sub-lead)
  • Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
  • ARUP
  • BDP
  • Grimshaw Architects
  • HLM Architects
  • HOK
  • HTA Design LLP
  • Perkins + Will
  • PLP Architecture
  • Purcell
  • Ryder
  • Stanton Williams
  • tp bennett
     
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IKEA now sells solar panels and home battery packs

IKEA, the Swedish furniture giant known for selling cheap, do-it-yourself furniture, is now offering solar energy systems (only these products aren't quite cheap and definitely aren't D.I.Y.).

IKEA has partnered with energy technology company Solarcentury to launch its Solar Battery Storage Solution, which features solar panels and home batteries, in the U.K. Solarcentury, one of the U.K.’s biggest solar panel providers, will produce the panels.

IKEA’s home storage battery works in the same way as Tesla’s Powerwall, storing energy generated from the solar panels instead of selling excess energy back to the grid. The home batteries are compatible with existing solar panels or as a part of a combined storage system.

There is a bit of a sticker shock for those used to IKEA’s affordable prices—the upfront cost for both panels and battery is £6,925 (about $9,034 in U.S. dollars)—but the company estimates customers will make their money back within 12 years and their electricity bills will be cut by up to 70 percent. 

Solar panels and home battery systems have been making big waves thanks to Tesla's recently-announced offering. While still expensive, IKEA's solar system has an advantage in that its starting price is much lower. Just the batteries will cost £3,000 (around $3,900) as opposed to Tesla's price of £5,900 (about $7,684). However, location, type of building, and size of roof, also affect the final cost.

“We believe IKEA and Solarcentury are bringing the most competitive package to the market yet so more people than ever before can profit financially and environmentally by producing their own energy,” Susannah Wood, head of residential solar at Solarcentury, said in a press release.

This news comes on the heels of two big announcements for the U.K.’s energy industry. Just last week, the U.K. government unveiled a plan that will allot £246m of funding (that's around $320.48 million) for battery technology research. British gas owner Centrica also revealed that it would be increasing its energy prices 12.5 percent, despite promises to lower costs.

If you live in the U.K., IKEA’s website offers a free estimate on how much installing its Solar Battery Solution will save you.

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Peter Cook shares his hand drawings of the newly opened drawing studio at Bournemouth University

The new drawing studio at Bournemouth University, designed by CRAB (Cook Robotham Architectural Bureau), is the first of its kind to be built in the U.K. for 100 years. It aims to be accessible to all students form across the university “to share and observe others’ work and interact with those from other creative fields.” The building, as AN reported yesterday, is designed to reflect the central theme of light and as its architect Peter Cook claims “in the tradition of looking and drawing.” There is no better architect than Peter Cook to design this artists' space since he has been breaking down academic disciplines for decades and has deeply held and thoughtful ideas about the role of drawing in contemporary production. His book, Drawing: The Motive Force of Architecture, details the rapid change in drawing technique in the contemporary world due to “the increasing sophistication of available software and also the ways in which ‘hand drawing’ and the ‘digital’ are being eclipsed by new hybrids – injecting drawing with a fresh momentum.” He has thought a great deal about the act of drawing and CRAB has designed a building of simple construction that foregrounds in a simple and direct way this primal act of creativity. This is a building one wants (we have not yet) to see in the light of day. In the meantime, we have been sent a series of drawings by Peter Cook on display here.
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Ancient Roman roads revealed in England with help from LIDAR technology

vindolanda_50cm_dsm_zoom_govuk LIDAR, an acronym for "Light and Radar," has helped the U.K.'s Environment Agency show changes in topography for almost two decades from its inception in 1998. Since then it has been used to determine the effects of flooding and coastal regression. Local amateur archaeologist, David Ratledge, has also used the tool to locate ancient Roman roads between Ribchester and Catterall (near Lancaster), shedding new light on Britain's undiscovered past and illuminating the arteries of the ancient Empire. The Romans were notorious innovators of infrastructure, pioneering concrete, aqueducts, drainage, and, of course, roads. The first Roman road stretched from Richborough on the southeast coast, to Canterbury, where it went on to London, St. Albans, and up to Chester. Even today, some 2,000 years after the route was established, it is still one of the U.K.'s main freight roadways now known as the A2 and the A5. Now, it is thought there are more Roman roads, particularly in northwest England, between Ribchester and Lancaster. “After only 45 years of searching, I have at long last found the Roman Road from Ribchester to Lancaster!” said Ratledge on his webpage. The discovery not only tells us about Roman trade routes, but also about where they thought troops would need to be deployed quickly. It's possible that the Romans were fearful of Celts near Lancaster, hence a road that could be used to send support or retreat as quickly as possible was very useful. A tell-tale sign of a Roman road is its linear form. The Romans didn't mess around when it came to road building and if they wanted to get somewhere, they took the most direct route possible. Staggeringly, they even managed to plot a straight line—even when they couldn't see the end destination. This can be seen in the London to Chichester route where vision is impaired due to the North and South Downs (a range of hills). The solution? The Romans placed beacons on high points, using their line of sight to determine the straightest possible route. To walk the route from Ribchester to Caterall, as the Roman troops did, would take over seven hours according to Google maps. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qTRRBEkesA
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Frank gehry replaced by Haworth Tompkins on massive waterfront project on Britain’s South Coast

Sports specialists LA Architects and former Stirling Prize winners, Haworth Tompkins Architects, are to replace Frank Gehry in designing a leisure center in Hove on Britain's South Coast. The complex will also feature residential towers up to 18 floors high. As romantic as "from Bilbao to Brighton" may sound, Gehry's scheme was not to be. The project had garnered mixed reviews from locals. Supporters hailed it as Britain's Guggenheim while others described it as "tin can alley." The audacious twin-tower scheme, designed in conjunction with HOK, would have brought 750 homes to the vicinity (compared to the concurrent 560). News of the project's abandonment prompted Brighton-born Piers Gough, Gehry's friend, to say: "It's a heartbreak, and a loss for Britain." Brighton and Hove Council chose to appoint the two new firms after the $422 million scheme, commonly known as, "wonky towers" was ditched 2008 after developer Karis failed to provide funding plans. Previously Dutch Bank ING had pledged to finance the project. "We are redeveloping the King Alfred site to create a modern new sports centre," said the council. "The current center no longer meets modern expectations and it is expensive to operate and maintain." Now the scheme will be seven times cheaper than Gehry's, costing around $58 million with $11.7 million coming from the council. The council has said those funds will come from the "improved financial performance of the new centre compared to the old centre." Haworth Tompkins will masterplan the project while LA Architects will finalize its sport center design. All in all, the scheme is set to include 560 dwellings, 120 of which will be affordable homes. Also included will be:
  • An eight lane (Olympic half-size) swimming pool with moveable floor and 352 spectator seats
  • Teaching pool with moveable floor and a 4,305 square-foot leisure pool
  • Sports hall, the size of eight badminton courts and multi-purpose hall
  • 120 station gym, bike spinning room, workout studio, quiet activity studio and a sauna suite
  • Gymnastics centre
  • 3 rink indoor bowls hall
  • Martial arts dojo
  • Café
  • Public square
  • Communal art space
  • Crèche and soft play room
  • 200 space car park for sports centre users.
It's fair to say that the new design's towers certainly aren't wonky. However, that's not to say that they haven't come under scrutiny. Already it has been labeled by some as "bland and predictable" and "Croydon-esqeue" with one commenter remarking how the scheme is a dated '70s throwback. Haworth Tompkins spoke of their joy in being given the project: “We are delighted to have now been selected by the council to carry out that task, and along with The Starr Trust, Crest Nicholson and LA Architects we are very much looking forward to re-engaging with the Hove community as we prepare to submit a planning application later in the year.” When finalised, the project will plug the two-mile long gap along Brighton and Hove's seafront stretching from as far back as Brighton’s Palace Pier. Planning will be submitted next year. https://youtu.be/JoxJupDJxrU
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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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OMA selected to design The Factory, a major arts complex in Manchester, England

After fending off  Rafael Viñoly, Zaha Hadid, Nicholas Grimshaw, Haworth Tompkins Limited and compatriots Mecanoo, OMA's design for "The Factory" will become Manchester's new art house. Lead by Rem Koolhaas, The Factory will be in the British city's center and is touted to cost $166 million with a further $13.5 million-a-year to run. Funding will not be an issue for Koolhaas' building as U.K. Chancellor George Osborne has pledged $117.5 million to the project with the view that The Factory will become the "Northern Powerhouse" showpiece. The project's name supposedly comes from the home-grown Factory Records, an indie record label launched in 1978 that produced notable bands such as Joy Division and Happy Mondays. Koolhaas has designed what essentially is an art-box that will host a wide range of artistic events in Manchester, with an aim for the facility to become the cultural focal point of the region. The venue is dedicated to theatre, music, dance, technology, film, TV, and scientific advancements and will have a combined capacity of 7,200—2,200 seated and 5,000 standing. This will be OMA's first major public development on British soil, aside from a few minor forays into London, Glasgow, and the south coast. “The importance of the Factory cannot be overstated," Manchester council leader, Sir Richard Leese, told the Guardian. "It will be of international significance, the cultural anchor for the next phase of economic and cultural regeneration in Manchester, Greater Manchester and beyond. It will help power Manchester and the wider region towards becoming a genuine cultural and economic counterbalance to London, as well as being a place where inspirational art is created.” Koolhaas' project in Manchester is set to break ground next year with the aim to finish by 2019. According to the Guardian, "Those behind the project have predicted that within a decade it will help create the equivalent of 2,500 jobs adding nearly $211 million to the local economy."
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Dead Mansion Walking: This zombie-proof cabin aims to keep you safe after the zombie apocalypse

As Halloween lurks around the corner, the need for protection from zombies has never been more urgent. So far, the survival technique of "grab Liz, go to the Winchester, have a nice cold pint, and wait for all of this to blow over" has sufficed for centuries, if not millennia, though contemporary Zombies pose a much more vicious threat. If the documentary series, The Walking Dead has taught us anything, it's that you don't want to pick a fight with the undead. Fear not, for all is not lost as society's savior appears to lie in Yorkshire (an area in England well known for its cases of the uprising undead). Based in Leeds, log cabin design firm Tiger Sheds plan to save us all with their proposal for the Kickstarter-funded Zombie Fortification Cabin (ZFC-1). The two-story shelter comes complete with its own kitchen, living area with television, xBox (to play zombie games, of course), sound system turntables, a secure vegetable garden, a toilet, a storage area surrounded by barbed wire (mostly for weaponry), two bedrooms, and a gym (you have to be fit to fight zombies). An escape hatch and reinforced slit windows are also planned. Tiger Sheds dutifully pledges a "10 Year Anti Zombie Guarantee." How's that for a slice of fried gold? [Editor's Note: Some viewers may find the harmless promotional video disturbing.] https://vimeo.com/110132423 While all of this appears to make for a zombie-free lifestyle, it's only the beginning of Tiger Sheds' plan. The ZFC-1 will also feature:
  • Interlocking planned and finished logs;
  • A specially designed 4-way chamfered notch-joint system ensuring a tight fit to all boards with little room for damp, wind or zombie penetration;
  • Square cut logs at the end to make it very difficult for zombies to climb onto the roof;
  • Factory fitted pressure treated weatherproof heavy duty floor joists;
  • Heavy duty green mineral roofing felt;
  • Extra secure doors and windows;
  • High quality glazing which is factory siliconed and internally beaded to all doors and windows.
The dream of a zombie-free cabin still requires funding. Upon reaching its Kickstarter goal of $183,962, the cabin will be constructed in one of the many abandoned factories in Sheffield or in Robin Hood's old stomping ground, Sherwood Forest in Nottingham. So far, however, only $297 has been pledged with 12 days remaining on the campaign. Stay up to date and away from zombies at the proposal's Kickstarter page. It is here that the cabin will be used as a prop for the company's "Zombie Infection" experience. https://d2pq0u4uni88oo.cloudfront.net/assets/004/683/347/4ba80649364654271f16c6c2d633a8fe_h264_high.mp4
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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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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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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.