Posts tagged with "United Kingdom":

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The Brexit promises instability and challenges for Europe’s architecture industry

It takes something of considerable magnitude to shift the global limelight from the U.S. presidential election. However, it appears Britain has done just that. The U.K. voted to leave the European Union and the largest trading bloc in the world, of which it has been a member for nearly half a century.

Economists and financial traders have frantically responded; The Architect’s Newspaper surveyed firms for their reactions and examined the outlook for the U.K. and Europe's architecture scene. Before the vote, many of the leading U.K. architecture practices—including Thomas Heatherwick, David Adjaye and David Chipperfield, among others—all pledged their support for remaining in the European Union. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tItgGcWVHw

In terms of pure economics, share price fluctuation—notably of construction firms and developers—is one good indicator of industry confidence. When the market opened for the first time post-referendum, shares of Barratt Developments PLC, the biggest U.K. house builder by sales, fell as much as 32 percent, while shares of Persimmon PLC, which is the largest builder by market capitalization, dropped by 40 percent. Developers too were also wounded, with Derwent London dropping by 18 percent while British Land and Great Portland Estates saw share prices drop by 16 percent.

About a month prior to the referendum, architects and industry leaders held a panel discussion and came to the resounding conclusion that a "Brexit" would not be beneficial to the industry. David Green, director of Belsize Architects and former head of the European Division of the Bank of England, spoke of how procurement of labor and materials would be hindered by being outside the E.U., thereby inflating pricing.

He also added how the recognition of professional qualifications is “critical"; more decisions post-Brexit will be needed to set a common standard. The same quandary of materials standards would also apply. Jason Prior, chief executive of building and places at AECOM, commented that "Whether it be an Italian facade system or German tiles, those components can be used across the E.U. without any hinderance.”

As for now, the U.K. is still in the European Union, and the referendum was only advisory. Still, to reject the result would be politically challenging, if not impossible. The next step is to invoke Article 50, which essentially presses the red button on leaving the E.U. The process gives the U.K. two years to negotiate an exit deal. Provided that many of those who voted to leave cited immigration as their motivation, the free movement of people and labor may be tricky to maintain.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BMRq96sAwk

The British construction industry relies on Eastern European builders and tradesmen, coming most notably from Poland and Lithuania. David Thomas, chief executive of Barratt Developments, said “If you ask any house-builder what their main challenge is, they say it’s labor availability.” That labor supply, of course, could be maintained if Britain negotiates access to the single market (the European Economic Area) in an approach similar to Norway, whereby freedom of movement is still permitted.

Currently embroiled in the midst of a housing crisis, the U.K. government has been urged by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) "to not turn off the free-flowing tap of European migrant workers;" the FMB added that twelve percent of British construction workers are of non-U.K. origin. "They have helped the construction industry bounce back from the economic downturn, when 400,000 skilled workers left the industry," the FMB said.

Another complication of Britain's impending withdrawal is that Scotland now has a strong mandate for a repeat referendum on their own independence. In 2014, 55 percent of voters from an 85 percent turnout chose not to leave. For the E.U. referendum, only 67 percent of the electorate turned out to vote, but should Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's calls for independence be successful, England would lose a wealth of timber stock, notably Scots Pine, which could make meeting England's housing demand even more tricky.

Former London Mayor and leading protagonist of the Leave campaign, Boris Johnson, has said that Article 50's enactment “will not come in any great rush." Johnson, who is the bookmaker's favorite to be the next Prime Minister, also added that his only aim is for Britain to "extricate itself from the E.U.’s extraordinary and opaque system of legislation.” However, this notion was recently rebuffed by an E.U. diplomat who said “You cannot have your cake and eat it.”

Meanwhile, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) spoke of how architects bidding for public contracts in the E.U. would probably not be hindered. "For architects bidding for public contracts in the EU, no immediate changes are likely," they said. "E.U. law expressly forbids any weight in a procurement decision being given to the country of origin of a bid for a public contract. As such, access to public contracts for U.K. bids is not dependent on the U.K.’s membership of the E.U."

Here's what some of the leading figures in Britain and Europe had to say on the referendum result:

Rogers, Stirk Harbour and Partners

“Where do we go from here?" Richard Rogers' practice has asked. "We now face a difficult period of great uncertainty. All those questions left hanging by those leading the drive towards leaving the EU will now have to be answered. This will take time (years) and in the interim requires great adaptability and resilience from us all."

OMA

Renier de Graaf has said in a statement: "In a world where the most pressing issues inevitably exceed the size of nations, interdependence between nations is a fact. When problems escalate, so must inevitably the arena in which they are addressed. An institution like the E.U. is born out of the knowledge that in the face of the bigger issues we are all minorities. Countries in Europe have a choice: they can either realize or ignore the fact they are small. Yet small they are. All. Including Britain."

Allies & Morrison

In a statement to The Architect's Newspaper the firm said: "More than a quarter of our staff come from other E.U. countries. Over the course of our careers, we have enjoyed, been stimulated by and come to rely on their intelligence, broad education and warm experience. We remain committed to employing the best people from around the world."

Co-founder Graham Morrisson said: “Over the course of our careers, we have enjoyed, been stimulated by and come to rely on the intelligence, broad education and warm experience of the many architects from the E.U. that we have had the privilege to employ." Fellow co-founder Bob Allies, added: “More than a quarter of our staff come from the EU and the thought of losing that easy access to such a rich seam of talent is a consequence of the vote that will take a long time to adjust to.” David Adjaye Associates “We are truly disappointed with the outcome of the referendum," said Adjaye's office in a statement. As an increasingly international business, which benefits from a global pool of talent (and in particular from within the E.U.), we were hoping to remain."

3D Reid

“I fail to see how the Leave vote can be a good thing, certainly in the short term, but the truth is we simply don’t know what this means in the long term," said Graham Hickson-Smith, Director, 3D Reid. “The impact on sterling says it all. An out vote is bad for business." Skanska

Swedish construction firm Skanska issued a statement to AN: "Skanska acknowledges the choice made by the people of the U.K. to leave the European Union. Now the result is known, there will inevitably be a period of uncertainty as the country adjusts to the outcome of this very important decision. We will continue to assess the longer-term implications of the result on our business. However, we do not envisage any significant changes in the near future.”

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Peter Cook’s first building in the U.K. celebrates hand drawing with a bright blue studio space

Archigrammer Peter Cook has returned to his childhood home, Bournemouth, on the South coast of England, to construct his first building in the United Kingdom. The building is a bright blue drawing studio—an addition to an existing complex at the Arts University of Bournemouth, Cook’s alma mater. Built at a time when digital drawing is in the ascendency, this building returns back to support the craft and art of hand drawing. It features both “a large north-light in the studio tradition, a rear clerestory that throws a softer light back from the rear wall, as well as softer lighting from the east and a graded wash of light that comes along the curve of the entrance.” The drawing studio was opened today in a ceremony that featured one of Cook’s best known students Dame Zaha Hadid who proclaimed “I simply love this building.”
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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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Leon Krier’s classical alternative proposal for London concert hall causes a stir

Pioneer of Poundbury—a traditional British town built in South West England in 1993—Leon Krier is once again rebelling against the architectural orthodoxy. This time, Krier is attacking the latest proposal for London's concert hall, the new home for the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) by Regent's Park, with his own scheme composed with traditional design. As a counter to relocation of the hall, set to cost $500 million, Krier has put forward his own plan that would see the concert hall be part of a new public square. His scheme would lay near and compliment the architectural style of John Nash's Park Crescent. Writing in Future Symphony, Krier was far from complimentary of the current state of affairs regarding contemporary theatre and concert hall architecture. An as "attendant of innumerable classical concerts, it is not the ravishing beauty of the music but the ghastliness of the Southbank and Barbican concert halls and surroundings which leaves the most enduring, albeit painful, imprint on my mind," he seethed. Neither was he favorable of the current planned location for new concert hall, the (soon former) Museum of London designed by Powell & Moya adjacent to the Barbican. Krier, a former associate of James Stirling and friend of HRH Prince Charles, said London was at risk of more post-war “soul-crushing, inhumane... loathsome aliens.” He advised planners should "take a step back and consider just what were the mistakes of the halls we now need to replace" and "what should be done differently" to form "a truly accessible and enduring home for the London Symphony.” In Krier's eyes, a homage to the past would be both respectful to classical music, giving it the grandeur and classical physical presence it deserves. “John Nash’s laconic and elegant crescent buildings make a quiet urban backdrop for a grand architectural ‘cymbal stroke’ to resonate around London and the musical world: The London Music Forum, an inviting campus for everyone,” he went on to say. His scheme would replicate the Vienna Musikverein and Amsterdam Concertgebouw halls in terms of both size and proportion. He also argued that "the architecture of the new forum’s buildings and paving should speak the elemental classical language with which John Nash so brilliantly set the stage in character and color. Any required 21st century technology can be elegantly embedded in the design." Krier's retaliation comes amid the launching of a competition prompting proposals that would see Smithfield General Market turned into the new home for the Museum of London. Conductor Simon Rattle also proposed the idea of a new venue for the LSO, an idea which, according to BD, has seen many "politicians and cultural figures" jump on the idea of creating a "cultural quarter in the City." Last May, the Conservative Party pledged to support a "modern world class concert hall for London" and provided $7.9 million to fund a business case for the project.
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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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Mecanoo tapped for $500 million Engineering Campus in Manchester, UK

The Dutch firm from Delft has already made a significant impact in the UK when they unveiled Europe's largest library in Birmingham. In what will be its third development in the city, the University of Manchester has announced plans for a new 839,000 square foot engineering campus designed by Mecanoo. In the words of Mecanoo, the campus "will transform the way in which the University educates future engineers in response to the needs of the fast-changing global economy." Set to open in 2020, the development is part of the University's scheme "to create a world-leading teaching, learning and research campus to develop the engineers and innovators of tomorrow." The site will be the University's fourth School for Engineering under the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences. In addition to this it will also become a base for 1,300 academics, researchers and support staff as well as 6,750 students. Instead of designing a group of buildings for the school, Mecanoo went with a single holistic building that employs an expressed structural steel frame. Professor Martin Schröder, Vice-President and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University, said: “This outstanding new campus development will build upon our proud heritage of innovation and discovery across engineering and science that began with the establishment of the Manchester Mechanics’ Institute in 1824. MECD will inspire engineers to continue our pioneering spirit and to apply their knowledge and help modern industry overcome global challenges, such as climate change, finite natural resources and changing world markets.” Mecanoo is also designing the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington D.C., the Delft Municipal Offices and Train Station, and La Llotja Theatre and Conference Centre in Lleida, Spain. The firm also completed its first project in Boston earlier this year.
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British street artist Banksy’s morbid amusement park Dismaland opens in the UK, drips with sarcasm

Anonymous street artist Banksy’s top-secret amusement park has opened at an abandoned British seaside resort at Weston-super-Mare, UK. Billed a “bemusement park,” and designed to drip with irony, the pop-up exhibition is built by a lido that has been derelict since 2000. https://youtu.be/V2NG-MgHqEk An austere, weatherbeaten castle straddles a green, overgrown moat, from which emerges a half-sunken police car transformed into a children’s slide. The glum employees wear hot pink jackets stamped with ‘Dismal’ on the back, with apathetic – even insolent – attitudes to match. “Dismaland is a festival of art, amusement, and entry-level anarchism,” declares the website, which bears a strikingly Disney-like logo. The 10,200 square foot park features the work of 58 artists handpicked for their black humor by Banksy himself.   The artist’s customary anti-consumerist and anti-authoritarian jibes run throughout the artwork, from the Grim Reaper steering a too-small bumper car to a terrifying carousel featuring skinned horses. A masked butcher in bloodied work clothes wields a machete while sitting on cardboard boxes marked ‘Lasagne.’ Most bone-chilling is Cinderella’s overturned chariot surrounded by flashbulb-wielding paparazzi, a scene recalling Princess Diana’s death by car crash. Contrary to speculation, Banksy insists that the amusement park is not a lampooning of Disneyland. “I banned any imagery of Mickey Mouse from the site,” he told The Guardian. “It’s a showcase for the best artists I could imagine, apart from the two who turned me down.” Nevertheless, all staff are kitted in Mickey Mouse ears. A mural suspended precariously above the polluted lagoon features a corpulent man sitting at one end of a heaving banquet table, a poor family at the other. Meanwhile, a smiley face-bearing loan office lends money to children at a 5000 percent interest rate. A gallery showcases more of this sarcastic morosity, such as a depiction of Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster aboard a car full of insurgents brandishing guns. A bad-tempered Star Wars storm trooper skulks around the exhibitions. Meanwhile, a cloud sculpture with a rope ladder presents an intriguing commentary on mortality.  With admissions priced at just £3 ($4.73), Dismaland, on view until September 27, promises to be “cheaper” than “the average family day out." https://instagram.com/p/6nEw_5iLNK/?taken-by=dismaland_park https://instagram.com/p/6m2Vc5CLO_/?taken-by=dismaland_park UPDATE:  Dismaland has since been dismantled and sent to Calais in the wake of the ongoing European refugee crisis. Currently 100's of migrants are stuck at the border of Calais as they hope to get into England. In its brief tenure, Dismaland attracted 150,000 visitors, selling out each day, to the run down site of Weston Super-Mare despite Banksy himself describing it as "crap". “It’s ambitious, but it’s also crap. I think there’s something very poetic and British about all that.” Banksy said speaking to the Sunday Times.
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Guy Hollaway Architects announces world’s first multi-story indoor skate park in UK seaside town; calls it “controlled adrenaline facility”

In a bid to keep restless youth from fleeing the sleepy seaside town of Folkestone, UK, for more hedonistic pastures, Guy Holloway Architects has conceptualized what is allegedly the “world’s first” multi-story indoor skatepark. The concept aims to create a larger skateable area without increasing the building footprint, and opening up new stunt possibilities by combining different floor heights. Those who dabble in trial cycling, boxing, and wall climbing are covered, too. guy-hollaway-architects-multi-storey-skatepark-folkestone-designboom-04 Although the architects concede that installing continuous graded floors will be “an engineer’s nightmare,” with adequate planning, the facility can become not only an exemplary urban sports center but also an architecturally impressive edifice. guy-hollaway-architects-multi-storey-skatepark-folkestone-designboom-03 Four stories will stand above ground. Below grade will be a subterranean boxing ring—the soon-to-be domicile of a local boxing club. Two undulating floor plates create a series of giant skateable bowls on the upper floors, whose sculptural form is visible from below. Brave skaters and bikers can plunge 16 feet to the level below. Meanwhile, the building’s outer skin will be transparent to communicate the hive of activity within. For the less adrenaline-inclined, ramps and industrial lifts are provided. The building, according to Hollaway, is a “controlled adrenaline facility.” The undulating surfaces provide ramps, moguls, and ledges for executing nosegrinds and tailslides, resulting in a cave-like entrance hall supported by curving concrete columns. “As you come in you’ll see the belly of the blow above you and hear the wheels of skaters above your head as well,” Hollaway told Dezeen. Collaborating with skatepark designers and “famous skaters,” the British architect is designing the building to lure beginners as well as top-notch talent. The team has bandied about ideas to replicate the best parts of the world’s skateparks and transplant them indoors.“We see this as an opportunity to put Folkestone on the map. To the best of our knowledge, this has never been done anywhere else in the world,” said Hollaway. The skatepark will occupy the site of a former bingo hall in the center of Folkestone, which is currently undergoing regeneration plans after its popularity spiked last year by dint of the Folkestone Triennial arts festival. Of the role his skatepark could play in this goal, Hollaway explained to Dezeen: “If you make childhood more meaningful through education, sport, and recreation, then it’s more likely they’ll invest in their town in the future and stay and maybe bring up their children in that town—that is what true regeneration is about.” If designs are approved, construction is set to begin in September this year and finish in 2016.
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Spanish architects unveil a colorful, tangled web for the 15th Serpentine Pavilion in London

The Serpentine Galleries has unveiled renderings for its 15th summer pavilion which it described as an "amorphous, double-skinned, polygonal structure." The interactive and certainly bright installation is designed by the Madrid-based SelgasCano and comprises translucent, rainbow-colored panels woven into a webbing system. Visitors are encouraged to enter the pavilion and explore its "secret corridor" and "stained glass-effect interior." "We sought a way to allow the public to experience architecture through simple elements: structure, light, transparency, shadows, lightness, form, sensitivity, change, surprise, colour and materials," SelgasCano said 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, characterised by colour, light and irregular shapes with surprising volumes. This is accomplished by creating a double-layered shell, made of opaque and translucent fluorine-based plastic (ETFE) in a variety of colours." After people have explored the colorful space, they will find an open space cafe sited at its center. Over the summer months, SelgasCano's pavilion will become the stage and centerpiece of Serpentine’s Park Nights—a cultural event held every Friday evening. Previous pavilion designers include Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Jean Nouvel, Oscar Niemeyer, Peter Zumthor, SANAA, and Toyo Ito with Cecil Balmond. Architectural Digest recently reported that last year's pavilion by Chilean architect Smiljan Radic has been moved to the gardens of Hauser & Wirth Somerset a few hours outside of London.
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London to invest $140 million to boost cycling in the ‘burbs

As we've been reporting, there are some pretty big urbanism proposals being pushed in London right now. Next month, the city is expected to break ground on a massive cycle superhighway that will give cyclists about 20 miles of new protected bike lanes. Mayor Johnson is also supporting a plan to bury parts of major thoroughfares to boost walkability and development. But now, something even bigger is brewing in the London suburbs. People for Bikes reported that the city's regional government is investing $140 million into cycling, which could be "the biggest municipal bicycling investment in the history of Europe." This amount, which represents 10 percent of Transport for London's (TfL) ten-year bicycle infrastructure budget, will be used to turn three suburbs into what the agency calls "mini-Hollands." The goal in each of these three 'burbs (Kingston, Enfield, Waltham Forest) is to get people out of their cars and onto bikes—especially for short trips. To bring Holland to outer London, TfL is proposing to redesign town centers, build new suburban Cycle Superhighways, and create "Dutch-style roundabouts and rail superhubs." The TfL sees huge potential for bike transit growth in these areas where mass transit tends to be less convenient than what is offered in denser urban environments. "More than half of potential cycle journeys in London are in the suburbs," said the agency on its website. "This programme will aim to target these journeys, moving significant numbers of short car trips to bike." The agency said the boroughs are currently working on detailed designs and timelines for their plans.
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Bjarke Ingels joins Foster and Gehry for Battersea Power Station redevelopment

Bjarke Ingels is slated to join elder architectural statesmen Norman Foster and Frank Gehry at the Battersea Power Station in London. The multi-billion dollar, mixed-use redevelopment was originally master planned by, yes, another starchitect, Rafael Viñoly. Ingels' firm, BIG, joins the bunch after winning a competition to design a public space for the project called Malaysia Square. Why is it called Malaysia Square? Because, lest the Brits forget, the project is backed by a Malaysian development consortium. BIG's plan for Malaysia Square goes beyond the name; it takes its form and design from the caves of the country's Gunung Mulu National Park. The Battersea developers describe the space as a “two-level urban canyon.” To that end, Malaysia Square is clad in limestone, granite, marble, sandstone, gravel, and has dolomite striation. The square's natural materials are sculpted into a dramatic design, but don't necessarily make for the most comfortable place to stretch out. Before unveiling Malaysia Square, London Mayor Boris Johnson addressed criticism that the Battersea Power Station development has too few affordable units and will just be another investment opportunity for wealthy foreigners. (15 percent of the plan is currently "affordable.) “I think 600 affordable homes are better than no affordable homes," Johnson told the Guardian. "If you didn’t do a deal of this kind you couldn’t get either the transport or the affordable homes so that’s the reality." The mayor also said that the development comes with two new Tube stations and the first extension of the system in a quarter century [h/t Dezeen]    
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Spanish firm SelgasCano to design 15th Serpentine Pavilion in London

The Serpentine Galleries has announced that Spanish architecture firm SelgasCano has been selected to design its 15th Serpentine Pavilion in London's Kensington Gardens. While the pavilion plan won't be unveiled until February, here's what we know about the firm that won the coveted commission. "SelgasCano’s work is characterised by a use of synthetic materials and new technologies, often rarely applied to architecture," the Serpentine said in a statement. "Taking inspiration from Luis Barragan and Richard Rogers, the architects use distinctive colours and references to nature throughout their designs." SelgasCano was founded in Madrid in 1998 by José Selgas and Lucía Cano and has worked primarily in its home country. The firm teaches a class called "Nature and Climatology" at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and participated in the 2010 Venice Biennale. "This is an amazing and unique opportunity to work in a Royal Garden in the centre of London," SelgasCano said in a statement. "Both aspects, ‘Garden’ and ‘London’, are very important for us in the development of this project. We are in the middle of a garden, a ‘Royal’ garden indeed, once divided in two and separated by a Serpentine. That garden clings in the middle of London. Garden and London (which best defines London?) will be the elements to show and develop in the Pavilion. For that we are going to use only one material as a canvas for both: the Transparency. That ‘material’ has to be explored in all its structural possibilities, avoiding any other secondary material that supports it, and the most advanced technologies will be needed to be employed to accomplish that transparency. A good definition for the pavilion can be taken from J. M. Barrie: it aims to be as a ‘Betwixt-and-Between’." Previous pavilion designers include Frank GehryHerzog & de Meuron and Ai WeiweiRem Koolhaas and Cecil Balmond, Daniel Libeskind, and Zaha Hadid. Check out some of SelgasCano's work  in the gallery below.