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Olympic cauldron How Heatherwick Studio set London alight  Piers Taylor’s Stillpoint centre in Bath

£4.95 THE ARCHITECTS’ JOURNAL THEAJ.CO.UK


The Architects’ Journal

COVER: HEATHERWICK STUDIO

LEFT: CARTWRIGHT PICKARD ARCHITECTS. RIGHT: PETER COOK

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Week in pictures Four Freedoms Park; Adjaye’s Liverpool pavilion Front page Call for mass resignations from ARB over fee hike UK news Bennetts pulls out of Southbank Centre Awards Winners of the AJ Retrofit Awards celebrate Competitions Worsley New Hall finalists unveiled Interview Piers Taylor on creating a new type of practice Building study Stillpoint centre in Bath by Invisible Studio Technical study Heathwick Studio’s Olympic cauldron Culture Joseph Rykwert dissects the role of the architecture critic This week online Sign up for the AJ daily email: the latest news, building studies and competitions arrive at 8.30am TheAJ.co.uk

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ABCOLINROWEDE RNSTGOMBRICHF GHIJOSEPHRYKW ERTKLMNIKOLAU SPEVSNEROPQRE YNERBANHAMST UVWXYZ AJ WRITING PRIZE IN ASSOCIATION WITH BERMAN GUEDES STRETTON ARCHITECTS The Brief The competition is for young architects or architecture graduates and students aged 35 or under. Entrants must write an essay that discusses the question ‘Do architects have a duty beyond satisfying the demands of the client?’ Specific references should be made to existing, unbuilt or historic projects. The piece should be written in lucid, jargon-free language. It should inspire, delight and inform AJ readers as well as those who have no design training.

The Prize , will be awarded to the winning writer. The winning piece will be published in full in the AJ and the writer of the piece will be commissioned to write a building study. At the judges’ discretion, a Highly Commended award may be given.

Terms & Conditions Entries should not exceed , words and must be emailed to ajwritingprize@emap.com no later than  October . Where relevant, supporting visual material may be supplied, though the emphasis is on the quality of the text. Authors should be aged  or under on  October . The competition is not open to professional writers or students of architectural history, theory or writing. Pieces should be wholly the work of the person submitting them. TheAJ.co.uk/writingprize

The Judges Alan Berman, David Partridge, Joseph Rykwert & Christine Murray

Deadline  October 

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From the editor

It’s amazing that Open House London has people queuing up for architecture, writes Christine Murray

Programmes like Open House promote architecture and the profession in friendly settings, creating new clients of design ..

by volunteering their time to give talks and tours. They have been rewarded with the opportunity to meet potential clients and promote their work in a friendly setting. Over 750 buildings and sites across London will open their doors this Saturday and Sunday – surely the largest architecture exhibition ever staged. The innovative yet simple idea of inviting people to freely explore buildings will have people queuing around the block to see architecture – something exhibitions rarely, if ever, manage.

ED REEVE

Open House London is a beautiful idea in an age of virtual space; an invitation to connect in real life and real time, and experience architecture. We tend to walk around looking at our iPhones, but this weekend, thousands will down tools and open their eyes to the city and its buildings. Whether or not we are paying attention, architecture and the built environment still have a profound impact on our lives. Victoria Thornton, founding director of Open House London, has often said, ‘We think it is strange that architecture, something we all experience every day, is the very thing we never learn or talk about.’ There is a growing body of research about how design affects us, for better or worse. It is required reading for architects who need to defend the value of their work. The RIBA’s white paper, Good design – it all adds up is a good primer. It describes how hospital patients with access to natural daylight and external spaces require less medication and recover faster; in work spaces, it shows how air quality, acoustics and lighting can make for a more productive workforce; and after students moved into Wilkinson Eyre’s Bristol Brunel Academy, there was a 50 per cent fall in vandalism. Danny Dorling’s book Fair Play is another worthy weapon, this time against Gove-ism, as it shows a correlation between increased spending on school building during the Labour years and improved GCSE results, as well as a higher university intake from poorer areas. The Design Council is also accumulating a growing body of research that shows the value of good design in sectors such as healthcare. Architects have made a significant contribution to Open House, not only through their work, but also

100% Design – AJ presents: Architects’ Question Time This weekend, I’ll be hosting an Architects’ Question Time at 100% Design. We’re inviting the public to bring questions about extending, renovating or increasing the value of their home or office to be answered by Joe Morris of Duggan Morris, Gabrielle Omar of Lolli & Square and David Howarth of DRDH architects. 22 September, 12:45 – 1:30pm, 100% Design, Earl’s Court christine.murray@emap.com 


Week in pictures

1

  Louis Kahn’s Four Freedoms Park will open next month, nearly four decades after it was designed. The 1.6ha park and granite memorial to FD Roosevelt was executed by Mitchell/Giurgola Architects and is 380mm higher than Kahn’s 1973 design due to climate change. TheAJ.co.uk/fourfreedoms 1

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 John Pardey with Ström Architects has completed this self-build house in the village of Bourne End. According to the architect, the £1 million home on the edge of the Chilterns area of Outstanding National Beauty, is ‘very close to being zero carbon’. TheAJ.co.uk/bourneend 2

 Ken Shuttleworth, Bill Dunster and TV presenter Jonathan Foyle were among nearly 50 artists, architects and designers who took to the streets of the West End to create artworks for Article 25’s 10 x 10 Drawing the City event. The charity will auction the works on 14 November at Somerset House 3

 Hopkins Architects’ £60 million Brent Civic Centre is officially the greenest public office building in the country. The scheme, which will house 2,000 Brent Council staff, a community hall, and library when it opens next summer, was awarded BREEAM Outstanding, with a score of 92.55 per cent 4

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 Architect David Adjaye has completed this pop-up pavilion as part of the Liverpool Biennial. Designed in collaboration with contemporary artist Doug Aitken, the circular structure sits in Mermaid Court outside Tate Liverpool and will remain open until 13 January 2013. TheAJ.co.uk/adjaye 5

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PICTURE CREDITS: 01 ROBERT WRIGHT / NYT / REDUX / EYEVINE 02 ANDY MATTHEWS 03 NG MEDIA 04 HOPKINS ARCHITECTS 05 DAVID ADJAYE

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Front page

all change for investigations

Allford calls for ARB boycott in wake of proposed 20 per cent fee hike AHMM director blasts regulator while architecture minister Vaizey says abolishing the ARB ‘is not a decision I can make alone’

20.09.12

has ever enquired if I am The board papers said: registered with the ARB.’ ‘Although ARB has held and then However, newly re-appointed reduced the fee since 2009, this is architecture minister Ed Vaizey, not sustainable and it is now when reminded of his pledge being increased to slightly under in 2010 to abolish the the level it would have been ARB, told the AJ: for 2013, had it kept up ‘It’s something I need with inflation.’ to look at again. It’s Alfred Annual ARB fee not a decision I can Munkenbeck of after proposed make alone.’ Munkenbeck + 20 per cent hike Further fee rises of Partners said: ‘[The £6.50 in 2014 and £50 ARB] has too many in 2015 are also proposed. staff and overly plush The retention fee remained at £86 offices. Consumers do not need between 2009 and 2010 before £3 million a year of protection being reduced to £80 in 2011 and from potential rogues.’ Stanhope remaining at that level until now. Gate, principal at Alireza The RIBA fees recently increased Sagharchi, described the hike as a by 3.5 per cent to £383. ‘modest increase’. Merlin Fulcher

£98.50

arb

fees A mass resignation from the ARB register has been mooted in response to a 20 per cent retention fee hike, expected to be ratified today (20 September). Simon Allford of triple Stirling Prize-shortlisted Allford Hall Monaghan Morris said he could ‘see no reason why we should pay anything, let alone more’, as it emerged the annual ARB fee was to increase from £80 to £98.50 amid cash crisis fears. He said: ‘Perhaps now is the time for a mass resignation and the promotion of the RIBA, which at least has an interest in the culture of architecture. For those who worry about protection of title I would note that no client

The ARB is set to hand over its investigations process to appointed officials who will replace elected board members. The organisation’s board will today vote on radical overhaul plans which will see board members excluded from decisions on whether to refer complaints against architects to the professional conduct committee. The new approach would see the ARB’s investigations committee – comprising three board members and two specialists – replaced with an investigations pool featuring appointed experts. An investigations oversight committee would be established to review the pool and file six-monthly reports to the ARB board. Expected to cost £2,500 a year, this committee would have no power to intervene in cases and would make recommendations only. In exceptional circumstances the ARB registrar could call for a case’s reconsideration. The reform comes more than a year after the committee was expanded from three to five members to speed up cases. Despite this, just 12.5 per cent of cases were dealt with on time in the first half of this year. RIBA vice-president of practice and profession Jane Duncan said: ‘The separation of powers between an investigations panel and oversight committee seems sensible and appropriate, subject to details.’ Former RIBA president Owen Luder suggested the committee should have the power to intervene if it considers a case is being handled without ‘correct transparency, fairness and impartiality’. 09


UK news

Bennetts quits Southbank contest

THIS WEEK ONLINE

 Bennetts Associates has withdrawn from the competition to redevelop London’s Southbank Centre as concern grows about a proposed ‘commercially-led’ overhaul. The practice had been shortlisted against Eric Parry Architects, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Grimshaw, Heneghan Peng, Van Heyningen and Haward, OMA and latecomers Allies and Morrison in the contest to rework the Brutalist 1960s Thameside complex. However, the firm told the AJ it had dropped out of the running partly because of capacity, having landed a major new job, and partly because of ‘reservations about the brief ’. The competition document is understood to be nearly 700 pages

RIBA LIBRARY PHOTOGRAPHS COLLECTION

‘Reservations about the brief ’ are part of the reason the firm has decided to wash its hands of the Brutalist Thameside redevelopment

long and, according to other sources, includes a raft of new shops and restaurants around the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery complex. A feasibility study in the brief even includes extra floors on top of the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Rowan Moore, writing in the Observer last month, attacked the plans. He said: ‘The plan seems to

be… to make the Southbank Centre resemble Terminal 5 or Canary Wharf or any moderately upmarket shopping mall you can think of, where steel and glass frame a predictable retail offer. [The] brief doesn’t need refining so much as tearing up and starting again.’ The Twentieth Century Society, which was ‘bitterly disappointed’ by the decision not to list the centre earlier this year, has also raised concerns about the overhaul, although it remains in the dark about the extent of it. A spokeswoman said: ‘We still haven’t been allowed to see the brief. The more we don’t hear the more we are concerned.’ Richard Waite TheAJ.co.uk/Southbank

Farrell to take over at Wood Wharf    Terry Farrell and Partners has been appointed to take over the masterplanning of Wood Wharf on the Isle of Dogs, east London from Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP). In January project backer, the Canary Wharf Group, bagged the full rights to develop the 8-hectare Docklands site from previous joint venture partners Canal and River Trust and Ballymore, and now wants to revise the plans in a bid to ‘attract a broader mix of future tenants’. RSHP’s initial proposals for a 454,000m² mixed-use, high-rise project featuring 1,400 homes hit the headlines in September 2008 after CABE claimed that the  ..

remains undeveloped. Terry development would create a Farrell and Partners were ‘ghetto’ due to the amount of appointed to work on the affordable housing planned masterplan following an for the eastern end of the international competition in early plot (AJ 30.09.2008). 2012 and more architects will be Richard Rogers’ practice hit commissioned for back, saying the comments individual buildings. were out of date and Consultation on the that the £2 billion new masterplan is to scheme, which it had Number of years begin this autumn, been working on RSHP had been with an application since 2005 (AJ working on scheme for new outline 15.07.2005), has permission expected to moved forward be submitted in spring considerably following 2013. The Canary Wharf detailed discussions with Group wants to develop the officers at the London Borough scheme over 10 to 12 years. of Tower Hamlets.’ Richard Waite However, although outline approval was secured, the plot TheAJ.co.uk/Woodwharf

Plan your route for Open House London this weekend with the Open House website – or download their new app. Don’t forget to enter the Open-City 2012 photo competition by 12 October. TheAJ.co.uk/culture/openhouse-2012 1

Think you can write? Enter the AJ Writing Prize for your chance to win £1,000 and have your work published in the AJ. TheAJ.co.uk/WritingPrize 2

Join AJ editor Christine Murray for Architects’ Question Time at 100% Design on 22 September – guests include the Apprentice’s Gabrielle Omar, Joe Morris of Duggan Morris and David Howarth of DRDH. 100percentdesign.co.uk 3

See images from the unveiling of 1104 Architects’ peace memorial in Mornington Crescent. Commemorating WWII prisoners of war in the Far East, the project is thought to be the first Forgotten Spaces competition entry to be built. TheAJ.co.uk/1104 4

Browse page-turning digital editions of every AJ and AJ Specification published in 2012. The AJ.co.uk/AJdigital 5

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Awards

Winners of AJ Retrofit Awards celebrate

This image Eric Parry’s Holburne Museum, Bath Top AJ editorial director Paul Finch Bottom Chris Jofeh, Arup and Christine Humphreys, Eric Parry Architects

 ..

HÉLÈNE BINET

Eric Parry’s Holburne Museum extension is crowned Retrofit Building of the Year, while schemes by McAslan, AHMM and Bennetts come top in individual categories, writes Merlin Fulcher

AWARDS PHOTOGRAPHY TOM HOWARD

 Eric Parry Architects’ extension to the historic Holburne Museum in Bath has been named the AJ 2012 Retrofit Building of the Year The £7.2 million museum was praised by AJ editorial director Paul Finch as ‘a transformative project for Bath’. The scheme also won top prize in the award’s museums and galleries category. Speaking at last Wednesday’s ceremony in London, Christine Humphreys, associate at Eric Parry Architects, said: ‘The Holburne really deserves this. Eric really persevered with this project and when it opened there was a flood of visitors.’ Among the other victors was Casper Mueller Kneer’s £8 million White Cube Bermondsey gallery project in south London, which won the cultural buildings category. Judges praised the scheme for enhancing Bermondsey’s growing status as a creative area.

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‘There’s no reason spaces shouldn’t be adapted. It can change the nature of a place’ Marie-Louise Dunk

cent, was highly commended. won the listed buildings prize Meanwhile, the large with Witherford Watson housing award went to Emrys Mann’s £1.3 million Astley Architects for its £6 million Castle overhaul receiving a conversion of an office building highly commended mention on Newman Street, London. in the same category. John McAslan + Partners’ Cartwright Pickard Architects £547 million overhaul of King’s won the public building prize Cross station in London topped for its £2.3 million Golden the transport category, while Lane Leisure Centre. Associated Architects Jestico + Whiles won won the post-war listed the schools category building category with its £15 million for its £21 million Shortlisted schemes extension to Clapton metallurgy and Girls’ Academy. in this year’s AJ materials building The event’s Retrofit awards for the University keynote speaker, of Birmingham. ex-director of planning Allford Hall Monaghan and development at English Morris’ £10 million Tea Building Heritage Steve Bee said: ‘keeping in London won the offices prize buildings in use is the best and was praised for avoiding an way to secure the long-term ‘over-designed, sterile approach.’ future of their significance.’ Bennetts Associates’ £4 million The 2012 Retrofit Awards Moray Council headquarters were sponsored by Arup, was highly commended. ISG, ZBP and the Brick Hudson Architects’ £850,000 Development Association. Feeringbury Barn Farm scheme TheAJ.co.uk/retrofitawards

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CARTWRIGHT PICKARD ARCHITECTS

Left Golden Lane Leisure Centre by Cartwright Pickard Top Steve Bee, Urban Counsel This image John McAslan + Partners’ King’s Cross station

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 

HUFTON + CROW

KKE Architects triumphed in the higher education buildings section for its Riverside building for the University of Worcester, while Reardon Smith Architects won the hotels award for its £120 million Four Seasons overhaul of a 1970s building on Park Lane, London. In residential, Paul Davis + Partners won the small housing category for its £178,000 conversion of a terraced house in Kensington and Chelsea; the UK’s first Passivhaus-certified refurbishment. Prewett Bizley’s £95,000 Midmoor Road retrofit, which reduced the building’s heating demands by 87 per

Government plans to ease the conversion of disused commercial space and offices into homes were the big talking point at last week’s AJ Retrofit Awards. Justin Bere of bere:architects blasted the proposed permitted development right as ‘completely wrong’ claiming small businesses, including architects and manufacturers, would be forced out of town centres. He said: ‘We mustn’t break up the mix. Ultimately, we will have a completely unsustainable city. No one is ever going to give up expensive residential space and give it to commercial. It’s a one-way journey.’ But Marie-Louise Dunk of Aberdeenshire-based JAM Studio said it was ‘a good idea’. She said: ‘There’s no reason spaces shouldn’t be adapted. It can change the nature of a place. For example, the City of London is a dull place at the weekend.’ Rare Architecture’s Nathalie Rozencwajg – who was commended in the AJ Women in Architecture Awards – said it was important to safeguard design standards in buildings originally intended for other uses. She said: ‘These buildings are not fit for purpose and therefore not easy to convert. It is essential that intelligent design is applied in these cases. Welldesigned conversions will set a precedent for future conversions and intelligent use of space in our dense European cities.’ ZBP-retained RIBA client adviser Paul Fletcher said: ‘BIM can show how a former office building can most effectively be retrofitted as housing through a clear understanding of what can be kept and reused, what needs to be remodelled and what new interventions are most suitable.’ 


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Competitions & wins

National Trust picks Knole House victor COMPETITIONS FILE Rodney Melville + Partners wins £2.5 million barn overhaul in Kent, but fellow competitor criticises ‘disproportionate’ procurement route

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CLEANSLATE

WINNER

Developer Cleanslate is seeking residential schemes for a site near Fort Albert on the Isle of Wight (above). Both established architects and ‘talented young teams’ are called for, with the winners to develop the scheme for planning upon fee agreement. It is hoped the winning proposal should balance ‘exemplary innovation’ against ‘commercial deliverability’. [Deadline for submission 14 October]

  + 

  

 

  

  

   

THE AJ DOES NOT ORGANISE, ENDORSE OR TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR COMPETITIONS

 Rodney Melville + Partners has won a National Trust competition for the £2.5 million overhaul of a medieval barn at Knole House in Kent. The Leamington Spa and Bristol-based studio beat Richard Griffiths Architects, Berman Guedes Stretton, Purcell, Cowper Griffith Architects, Thomas Ford & Partners, and Cambridge firm Caroe Architecture, to win the job. Planned to open in 2015, the project will transform a barn close to the 17th century calendar house into a conservation centre. Describing the scheme, National Trust project manager Richard Hill said: ‘We’re guided by spirit of place, the conservation management plan, and the visitor experience.’ However, finalist Richard Griffiths criticised the design competition as ‘totally and utterly disproportionate’ to the value of the work, claiming it had cost his practice around £10,000 to enter. Griffiths said the practices should have been asked to explain their design approach, rather than producing costly architectural designs that ‘only counted for 40 per cent of the assessment’. ‘You don’t have to interpret a two-stage OJEU in the way [National Trust] did to demonstrate compliance with OJEU,’ he said. Hill responded: ‘We have to follow OJEU procedure but for the benefits of applicants and ourselves, we would like to keep it simple.’ He said National Trust would review its procurement process to ensure it did not ask for more than was required in future. Merlin Fulcher

The Papa Gyro Nights Art Festival is inviting architects to design a combustible festival centrepiece. The Orkney Island of Papa Westray will host an international ‘bonfire’ competition challenging architects to respond to the festival and local history. [Register by 11 December] The Polytechnic University of Turin has opened an international student ideas contest to redesign the face of the Italian city. The ‘Tur(i)ntogreen’ competition will look at how urban farming can make use of the city’s neglected spaces. Mixed-use schemes featuring low-cost, low-carbon residential areas and local facilities are required. [Register by 21 November] Sean Kitchen TheAJ.co.uk/competitions ..


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Build for the world we live in

Facades- Architecture Journal - 0712.indd 1

30/07/2012 17:03:08


Statistics

66% Design Review ‘is important’

32% Design Review ‘not important’

Across the pond US housing starts fell 1 per cent in July but remained 22 per cent higher than a year ago. Starts on multi-family units were up 30 per cent on last year

Barratt Developments

Further findings from Broadway Malyan’s Caffeine Report: Developers’ views on Design Review

construction UK construction output grew by 2.2 per cent in June and July, marking that period’s first rise in three years. Despite the small increase, total output in July was 10 per cent below last year’s level, according to data from the Office for National Statistics. The three months to July saw new work fall 14.2 per cent and repair and maintenance work shrink 1.2 per cent. Infrastructure also dropped 23.9 per cent and new public housing fell 22.4 per cent.
However, private industrial work grew 1.5 per cent, while private non-housing repair and maintenance was up 0.7 per cent. TheAJ.co.uk/construction

105

Policy Exchange

June-July output rose for first time in three years

US housing starts (Source: Reuters) 40 30

crossrail

20

0 -10

£660k

Money spent by government promoting Right-to-Buy

Amount of greenbelt needed to provide 8 million homes

4.5m

Tonnes of Crossrail soil used to create Wallasea Island

159%

-20 -30 -40 -50 -60

2007

18 theaj.co.uk

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

source: HCA

3m/3m annual % change

10

Stalled schemes shortlisted for Get Britain Building’s £570 million fund

2% DCLG

housing Around 94 per cent of construction industry professionals fear poor access to mortgages will continue to stymie housing growth over the next year, according to new research. Broadway Malyan’s Caffeine Report found 86 per cent of respondents were worried about the lack of development finance and 80 per cent felt the planning regime could hamper schemes. Meanwhile, close to 75 per cent said they would like to see more revenue from refurbishment and 46 per cent believed the National Planning Policy Framework could drive growth. John Turner, director and head of the UK board at Broadway

Malyan, said: ‘Publicly-funded mechanisms should be created to pump prime housing and associated development on brownfield sites.’ TheAJ.co.uk/housing

Broadway malyan

Lack of finance will keep housing growth sluggish

UK house builder Barratt Developments’ pre-tax profits for the year to June 20.09.12


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Competitions

Worsley New Hall finalists unveiled Six designs are in the running to create a five-star hotel on the site of the demolished Gothic-style country house in Greater Manchester The AJ can reveal the designs by the six finalists in the RIBAbacked competition to design a five-star hotel on the site of the demolished Worsley New Hall in Greater Manchester. The concept schemes, which have been drawn up by Ian Simpson Architects, Hopkins, Edward Cullinan Architects, Allies & Morrison, Feilden

Clegg Bradley Studios and Copenhagen-based Henning Larsen Architects, went on display anonymously at the University of Salford. The winning proposal will sit on the site of the former Gothic-style country house, built in the 1840s to the designs of Edward Blore but flattened after the Second World War. Earlier

this year archaeology students from the University of Salford discovered ‘significant remains of the basement’ beneath the house, once described as ‘comparable with any of the mansions of the nobility in the north of England’. Project backer, developer Peel Holdings, will interview the teams and reveal the winner next month. Richard Waite

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News on TheAJ.co.uk

AHMM replaces Make on Camden project

Pert to head Down Under  Alan Pert, director of Glasgow and London-based Nord Architecture, is to take up a full-time position as director of the Melbourne School of Design. His Australia move comes less than six months after a highprofile switch from University of Strathclyde to join Christopher Platt at the Glasgow School of Art (GSA). Currently on a leave of absence from the GSA, Pert’s work there is expected to end in December. Pert told the AJ that the 11-strong practice is looking to set up a new office next year in Melbourne. With Pert on the other side of the world, ‘a group of longstanding senior architects’ is expected to take ‘on the role of associate directors’ in the UK and the firm is set to announce ‘an exciting new senior appointment in October’. The Glaswegian told the AJ: ‘There is a perception that the practice is just me, but there are people here with eight or nine years’ experience. So this is not the same as packing my suitcases and disappearing.

TIM SOAR

NORD boss to be director of Melbourne school after just six months at Mack

This is an opportunity to grow the practice with the support of the university.’ Pert will join Caroline Bos of UN Studio, John Wardell of John Wardell Architects and Donald Bates of LAB Architecture at the university. Due to start his four-year stint in October, Pert, who split acrimoniously with Nord co-founder Robin Lee in early 2011 (AJ 19.04.11), added: ‘It is going to be a challenge especially as I have a young family. But people do it all the time and it is not a stumbling block to the university.’ It is understood that Scottish Development International is supporting the plans. TheAJ.co.uk/Alanpert

NRAP submits outline plans for mega mosque

 NRAP Architects  Allford Hall Monaghan has submitted an outline Morris has replaced Make as lead planning application for a architect on the controversial 9,500-capacity mosque in West project to redevelop Hawley Ham, dubbed the ‘mega mosque’. Wharf in Camden Town. The Riverine Centre project – The pair worked together proposed for a former chemical on a previous scheme for the works site – features a 29,000m² north London canal-side plot mosque alongside a library, visitor which, despite officer approval, centre, eight apartments and a was rejected at committee sports pavilion. The Cambridgein March (AJ 16.03.12). based studio replaced Allies & Now AHMM, working on its Morrison on the scheme in own, has come back with a revised November 2011. A 2006 planning application which landmark vision for the includes ‘a new timberproject by Mangera screened design for Yvars Architects fell the market buildings Practices that have by the wayside in on the canal’ and worked on West 2007 when Allies & ‘a reduction in the Ham mosque Morrison took over height and massing as architect. NRAP of the buildings’. won the job following a The previous plans, competitive tender process. which featured eight buildings Mangera Yvars designed the between three and nine-storeys original concept in 2006, tall, had come in for heavy making NRAP the third practice criticism from Design Council on the scheme. CABE in November 2011. According to project TheAJ.co.uk/Nrap backer and developer Stanley Sidings, AHMM carried out a major community engagement programme to make sure that the new scheme responded ‘to previous issues and concerns raised’. TheAJ.co.uk/Hawleywharf

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International

Segal beats Chipperfield in Jerusalem Open competition entrant Rafi Segal sees off invited international heavyweights to win controversial National Library of Israel project  New York-based Rafi Segal has been appointed to design the new National Library of Israel in Jerusalem. Segal was one of four Israeli architects, along with Daniel Assayag, Gil Even-Tsur and David Zarhy, selected from 81 anonymous entries in an open competition to make it past the first hurdle. These four then joined eight already longlisted international and Israeli architects, including Japan’s Shigeru Ban, Moshe Safdie, David Chipperfield and Jerusalem-based Carlos Prus. The 12 proposals were assessed

by an international jury which chose a shortlist of three. Last week Segal was named as the preferred architect and will officially be declared winner once formal agreements have been signed. The architectural designs (pictured) are ‘being completed through intensive dialogue between the architect and client’. Jury chair Luis Fernandez Galiano said: ‘The [winning] proposal creates a positive dialogue with the Knesset, the Israel Museum and other public buildings in the vicinity. We found it to be modest yet original and

unique. The jury, whose members represent a range of cultures and disciplines, assessed each proposal thoroughly and engaged in thoughtful deliberations prior to reaching the decision.’ David Blumberg, chair of the National Library board, said:

‘The proposal reflects a deep understanding of the historical significance of the National Library and sensitivity to the special place of the library in Jerusalem. It will give expression to the needs of the library in an era of social and technological transformation.’ Segal’s winning design team included Yonatan Cohen, Matan Meyer and HyperBina. Contest organiser, the Rothschild-backed Yad Yanadiv foundation, provoked an outcry from local architects earlier this year for fast-tracking international studios to its second round (AJ 25.01.12). More than 140 architects signed an online petition demanding that the competition be relaunched, claiming the move was a ‘colossal humiliation’ to home-grown talent. Merlin Fulcher. TheAJ.co.uk/Israel

Hong Kong contest opens 3DReid wins Brazil airport   An international competition has been launched to design the new M+ Museum – the ‘largest and highest profile’ of 17 cultural venues planned for the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong. The 60,000m2 waterfront building, which will showcase ‘visual culture from the 20th and 21st century’, is being billed as a rival to New York’s Museum of Modern Art. The scheme will sit on the edge of a proposed 14-hectare park in Foster + Partners’ wider £1.7 billion masterplan for the site. Design teams will have to partner with a Hong Kong Institute of Architects-registered practice to enter the contest which will be judged by, among others, Pritzker Prize-winning ..

Spanish architect Rafael Moneo and Lars Nittve, former head of London’s Tate Modern and now M+ executive director. The deadline for expressions of entry is 15 October, following which four to six architects will be invited to a design competition stage. The project is set to complete in 2017. Meanwhile, the winner of the first cultural building in the new district – the Xiqu Centre – looks set to be announced in November. In July, Foster + Partners was named on an impressive fivestrong shortlist alongside Dutch stars Mecanoo, Safdie Architects, Vancouver’s Bing Thom Architects and Toronto’s Diamond Schmitt Architects. Richard Waite TheAJ.co.uk/Hongkong

 AJ100 practice 3DReid has unveiled its proposals for a new private airport in Brazil. The scheme (pictured) will sit on 7 million square metres of land reclaimed from a former paper mill on a hillside in the city of Sao Roque, 38 miles from São Paulo. More than 16 million cubic metres of earth will have to be moved to create the land for the two runways and surrounding apron. The first phase of the international business aviation airport looks set to open ahead of the Football World Cup which is being held in the country in June 2014. Working for Novo Aeroporto Executive, a joint venture between CFly Aviation and Brazilian developer JSHF, the practice has designed the VIP terminal, the air traffic control

tower, the fire safety facilities and the VVIP buildings. Last month the Brazilian government unveiled a £42 billion infrastructure investment which was hailed as a major boost for architects hoping to work in the country (AJ 30.08.12). The majority of the stimulus will be concessions to build roads and railways, with finance provided by Brazil’s state development bank. Richard Waite. TheAJ.co.uk/Brazil

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People & practice

‘Building on Olympic legacy’ NEW PRACTICES Richard Arnold, the client behind the London 2012 Velodrome and now head of Wrenbridge Sport, on life after the Olympic Games

What kind of schemes do you have on your books? We are development partners with Grosvenor on a new sporting village in Cambridge. Designed by Studio Egret West, the scheme combines elite sport with vital community facilities. Other projects include a cricket club in the Midlands developed with David Morley Architects and a community leisure village in Yorkshire with FaulknerBrowns. Following the London velodrome we’ve been working with Hopkins Architects and the track designer and builder to develop a concept that caters for velodromes ranging from 50 to 5,000 spectators. What are the company’s long-term aims? We’ve made a great start and want to grow the business with similar developments. We have funding and are always on the lookout for interesting projects. On the back of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games there is a tremendous buzz around sport and part of the legacy will be providing new amenities

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to increase sport participation which crosses into education and health and well-being. What do you look for in architects? We look for people with talent and the ability to inspire, but who will listen to you as a client and take the time to understand what is important to make the project work. How successful do you think the Olympic venues have been? We’ve just witnessed the greatest summer of sport and the venues have played a fantastic part in this, but the parklands were equally important. Obviously I’m biased and feel the velodrome was the star, but all the venues worked well. Would you have done anything differently on the velodrome? There’s inevitably a few things you might look to change but not a great deal. Some of the procedures and processes could be frustrating but for a public project of this scale, the level of scrutiny was enormous so this was inevitable. Other than Olympic schemes, what is your favourite building? San Nicola Stadium in Bari, Italy and London’s Natural History Museum. What is the best advice you have ever received? Surround yourself with good people who will bring different ideas and thinking – that will create a great team.

SOUP ARCHITECTS

What does Wrenbridge Sport do? Wrenbridge Sport is a new sister company to established developer Wrenbridge. Our focus is on stadia and sport and leisurerelated facilities. Our work spans both the private and public sectors.

SOUP Architects   (From top left) Max Babbé, Jamie Le Gallez, John Norman and Patrick Walls  London and Channel Islands  January 2012  souparchitects.com Where have you come from? Originally from London, Guernsey and Jersey, we forged our relationship working together at Mooarc London. The chance to set up on our own at the end of 2011 was too good to turn down. What work do you have and what kind of projects are you looking for? The majority of our work is private residential houses. We recently completed a major refurbishment of a Grade II listed building within Ham House, Richmond (pictured) and a new-build contemporary house in Thames Ditton, Surrey. We’ve projects on-site in London and Guernsey, and are about to start on a new-build house in Suffolk and a large renovation in France.

What are your ambitions? To produce buildings to the best of our collective ability. We pride ourselves on maintaining close contact with previous clients and building a portfolio of work that evolves on the successes of the past. We try to be adaptable, ingenious with the problem and take a few moments to enjoy what we produce. How optimistic are you as a start-up practice? We were fortunate to start 2012 with a busy workload. If our financial institutions cannot predict the end of the recession, we aren’t going to offer one. Setting up SOUP has been challenging for us, but taking control of our future has been uplifting. I guess that suggests we fall into the optimistic camp. ..


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Astragal

Neighbourly sentiment

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 Readers of the Daily Mail will have spotted Birds Portchmouth Russum’s ‘alien spaceship’ house in Highgate coming in for some stick amid the furore surrounding the government’s plans to relax planning laws. ‘Outraged’ neighbours were found openly ‘slamming’ the house – blaming the grey home for making the street look a ‘total and utter mess’ with its ‘fenced-off entrance, scattered traffic cones and blue tarpaulin’. Not only was it out of keeping, but the scheme, which won the £10,000 architecture prize at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition last year, was

still unfinished after six years. But whose fault was that? According to Mike Russum, mainly the complaining neighbours. As well as discovering injunctions that threaten to stop work, Russum claims an argument about a neighbours’ window also added months to the programme. The offending opening had apparently been added without permission, but after 12 years of adverse possession became legitimate, resulting in an agreed £4,000 pay-off. According to Russum, the neighbour then dallied over signing the agreed deal. Then the ‘high-grade’ joints failed between the lower part of the building and the hull-like ‘half-boat, halfmosquito aeroplane’ top half. Russum told the AJ that

despite the hostility, the practice had made the right moves and created something ‘all good and wondrous’.

Bought support   Terry Farrell’s £8 billion Earl’s Court masterplan won outline approval last week – one redesign and more than a year after it was first submitted for planning. However, the 28-hectare mixed-use scheme to replace both exhibition centres, two housing estates and a train depot with 7,500 homes is facing new trouble. Campaigners who fought vociferously against the relocation of 760 council homes that stand in the way

The Hellman Files #77 A trawl through Hellman’s archives, in which we uncover gems as relevant now as then. Hellman writes: As the ARB hikes its registration fee, will the RIBA and architects, as usual, demand the

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board be abolished, as it is too big and impinges on the institute’s role? This is from AJ 26.05.05, when the RIBA under Jack Pringle made similar attempts to savage its annoying relative.

of the bulldozers have passed a dossier to the Metropolitan Police alleging council officers enticed tenants to support the regeneration and may have breached the Housing Act and be guilty of Misconduct in a Public Office, according to a report in the Fulham Chronicle. The dossier claims council workers told residents supporting the scheme would guarantee them the best apartments.

The Wright price  A set of 12 original blueprints for Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater have turned up at an auction house in Guernsey. The drawings have travelled from where they were discovered in Long Island to the Channel Islands and have been put up for sale by PFC Auctions with the opening bid at £8,000 a week before the auction ends. The blueprints are accompanied by a letter from architect Arthur Hennighausen that reads: ‘The shop drawings of the Fallingwater steel sash were given to me as a professional courtesy at my architectural office in Waukegan, Illinois by JD Graff who, at that time, was sales representative for Hope Windows. No record was kept to further identify the time or place.’ Although the name FL Wright has been pencilled on the back of one of the blueprints, the auction house cannot confirm ‘if this is in the famous architect’s hand’. Any potential buyer will hope to avoid a bidding war and a hike in cost akin to that spent on the 1930s building itself. Rumour is that the house, which Wright initially estimated would cost $30,000 to build, went more than 500 per cent over budget – around £20 million in today’s money. ..


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Letter from London

A frustrating reminder that architecture is forever falling through the political gaps, says Paul Finch

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politicians or alternatively, that building anything at rock-bottom prices, irrespective of design quality, is evidence of an appropriately frugal mind achieving value for money. In turn this reflects the embarrassment of politicians, planners, project managers and others that their understanding of architecture – a subject that is both art and science, precise and intuitive, aesthetic and practical – is so limited. When the subject of design quality is raised, their response is all too often one of hostility, distrust or simply dismissal. They are not alone, however. Take the problem that schools of architecture have faced in relation to research assessment exercises, where the law department always excels because it is all-knowing about the past, whereas architecture is essentially about the future and therefore

We should be grateful that at least there is a chief planner at CLG, even if the Treasury thinks it knows more than he does

DCMS

The welcome news that Ed Vaizey has reassumed the post of architecture minister was a reminder of the curious position of architecture in relation to the political and administrative infrastructure of our great nation. For example, architecture can scarcely be separated from the construction industry since nothing is built without a design. Yet the government department responsible for construction – the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) – has no responsibility for architecture. That partly explains why modernisation of the industry is frequently discussed as though architecture and architects scarcely exist, or if they do they are merely a subset of the building industry. When it comes to planning and housing, the relevant department is Communities and Local Government (CLG). It has a good relationship with Design Council CABE, but its relationship with BIS is less clear, simply because the nature of the administrative machine is siloesque. Moreover, the relationship of BIS and CLG to other departments with respect to their role in procuring buildings is fragile even if it exists. When you think that every major department is responsible for millions of pounds of construction spending, it remains a mystery why we abandoned the Property Services Agency, a compendium of expertise which guaranteed that somewhere in Whitehall you could get an answer to what buildings cost and how they are built. I can only think of one architect in any position of influence in a government department. When I entered architectural journalism 40 years ago, departments that built things had chief architects. What happened to them? We are in a knowledge-free and experience-free zone in Whitehall and should be grateful that at least there is a chief planner at CLG, even if the Treasury thinks it knows more about the subject than he does. Is architecture so difficult to get a grip on? One suspects that the old image of the bow-tied aesthete getting in the way of the horny-handed realist from the building world still persists in the minds of some

insufficiently academic. It all gets too difficult for the tidy-minded who wish to pigeonhole architecture and design into a box marked ‘Not important enough to merit serious funding’. The problem of persuading education ministers that design is important is accentuated by their attitude to whether pupils should be taught in decent surroundings or depressing dumps. One of Vaizey’s challenges as architecture minister, therefore, will be to create a context for discussion, where prejudices about what architecture and design can contribute to the economy are challenged. That is an appropriate task for a department of culture. Meanwhile, will the new chairman of the Arts Council be interested in appointing an architecture officer? Or will we continue with a gap into which the mother of the arts inevitably stumbles? ..


Black box

Pop-up practice Pernilla & Asif brought PRchitecture to the masses, writes Rory Olcayto The future of architecture is in public relations. Soon, rather than actually designing the building, the architect will be hired to simply ‘front’ a project, speak for it, explain it, make sense of it for the masses. You could argue this is actually what a starchitect is today: the front of house spokesperson for a luxury products workshop. The profession has steadily been moving in this direction – towards PRrchitecture if you like – for the past 20 years. Technology has played a key role. Computer aided design has put a great distance between the originator of a design idea and its eventual execution. The lead architect need not have conceived of every nut and bolt. But they can tell you what the building means, why it looks the way it does, why it is of importance, and what change it will undoubtedly bring. Architects already embody this emerging paradigm. For the BBC’s new studio in Cardiff for example, no one took interest in Holder Mathias, even though it did the bulk of the work. Rather FAT, who conjured the project’s basic idea but had nothing to do on-site, was used by the developer to sell the bigger story. FOA’s skin wrap for Birmingham New Street, which Atkins are largely behind, is another such instance of PRchitecture today. Hollywood has long understood this more focused appeal. Creative, passionate, liberal, stylish and hardworking – these are the qualities writers and directors imagine when they place architects in lead roles. Think of Henry Fonda and his pursuit of the truth

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in 12 Angry Men. Or honest, upstanding – badly paid – Woody Harrelson in Indecent Proposal. Or more recently, Inception’s Ellen Page, who ‘designs’ the backdrop to people’s dreams in Christopher Nolan’s fantasy thriller. Younger firms understand this too. Take Pernilla & Asif (below); a kind of pop-up practice, in that despite a launch last November, they’ve already split up. Maybe they were never really a company at all: they parted ways as soon as the project that brought them together – the Coca-Cola Beatbox in the Olympic Park – was complete. Job done. Yet their rise has been a masterclass in architectural PR, and more important than their actual design. Since that first drinks reception ‘at the iconic venue of York Hall in Bethnal Green, London’, much has happened – in the press, at least, despite having no real architecture built in their name. There was an AJ New Practice profile. An Observer profile shortly after, in a section highlighting the best new talent in ‘the world of art and design’. Then, in February, a stint blogging for Vogue.com. Next, Asif ’s triumph in the Daily Telegraph’s Amazing Talent search, alongside Katie Franklin, cake-maker to the stars, (clients: Henry Holland, Zandra Rhodes). Asif won because he ‘creates truly amazing, award-winning architecture’. Guess what? He’s not even an architect. ‘I never got around to sitting my final exam,’ the paper reported. Readers never got round to finding out which of Asif ’s buildings was award-winning either. But there was another great moment for the Part II graduate in July: his shift as an Olympic torch bearer in the London Borough of Hillingdon. Every time these stories appeared in emails, videos and news Coke got a mention. The duo’s finest hour was during the Olympics. Visitors flocked to ‘interact’ with their Beatbox, An ‘architectural wonder’ said Branding Magazine. More amazing than the design, however, and you would have expected Branding to notice, was the large signboard in front of the pavilion. DESIGN: ASIF KHAN AND PERNILLA OHRSTEDT. Somehow they’d beaten the promotions ban. Not even Zaha managed that. ..


IWAN BAAN, ANDY STAGG, KEITH MORRIS, EDMUND SUMNER, CRISTOBAL PALMA & STEVE SPELLER

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Letters

Last issue AJ 13.09.12 Established 1895

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Low Quay

AJ Writing Prize 2011 winner Alan Miller on the subtle shape-making at Sydney’s MCA

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Letters should be received by 10am on the Monday before publication. The AJ reserves the right to edit letters. The letter of the week’s author will receive a bone china AJ mug. Post your letters to the address below or email letters@ architectsjournal.co.uk

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Pay RIBA presidents It’s long past the time when RIBA presidents should be reimbursed for what can be, and perhaps ought to be, a full-time role (‘RIBA president pay debate heats up’ AJ 06.09.12). I made a very similar proposal to the RIBA Council in 1998 – there was a close vote against. But it is not just about money. This is just one element in combating the reducing status, over many decades, of national institutions such as the RIBA and their presidents. A longer term – four years, say – would give time for presidents to effect change. The role is complex and wideranging and it is too easy to get enmeshed in the detail. The size of the RIBA, and its work, is not generally known: 220 staff and £34 million annual income, not to mention the staff and £19 million annual income of RIBA Enterprises. A longer presidential term would mean that the status of the role would rise in government and wider circles generally – and, importantly, among RIBA staff, who would be more likely to take on board the aims of a longer-

LETTER OFK THE WEE

Editor Christine Murray Deputy editor Rory Olcayto () Acting administrator Rakesh Ramchurn () Digital editor Simon Hogg () News editor Richard Waite ( ) Reporter Merlin Fulcher () Technical editor Felix Mara () Senior editor James Pallister () Group special projects editor Emily Booth Sustainability editor Hattie Hartman () Sustainability interns Hannah Wood, Angeles Hevia AJ Buildings Library editor Tom Ravenscroft () Art editor Brad Yendle () Designers Ella Mackinnon, Sosuke Sugiura Production editor Mary Douglas (on leave) Acting production editor Abigail Gliddon () Acting sub-editor Alan Gordon Asia correspondent Hyunjoo Lee Contributing editor Ian Martin Editorial director Paul Finch

term president than what they consider, subconsciously or not, to be one who is here today and gone tomorrow. Another way to add authority to the role would be to work more closely with other building institutes and the Construction Industry Council. The presidential experience of former incumbents might even be useful! David Rock, RIBA president 1997-99

Planning on the hoof Paul Finch is right to say politicians are deluded in thinking that ‘more consultation equals speedier planning’ (AJ 06.09.12). Politicians are talking as if the recent planning announcements have already fixed the problem. They should talk to their colleagues in local government. A recent application of ours was refused by committee, against an officer’s recommendation to grant, after more than a year of pre-application and public consultation. Committee members scrabble around for a reason to refuse and write policy on the hoof. It should be the rule in such circumstances that they must call for a specific

Chief executive officer Natasha Christie-Miller Managing director of architecture and media Conor Dignam () Group commercial director Alison Pitchford () Commercial director James MacLeod () Business development managers Nick Roberts (), Ceri Evans () Group advertising manager Amanda Pryde () Account managers Hannah Buckley (), Simon Collingwood (), Steph Atha () Classified and recruitment sales Mark Malone ()

amendment or condition there and then and so delegate the decision to an officer to enable construction to go ahead. Also, planning conditions should not require pre-commencement approval by planning authorities. Peter Baker, partner, Synergy, Hemel Hempstead

UNESCO safeguards Paul Finch appears to regard his own ‘moral authority’ as superior to UNESCO’s (AJ 30.08.12), with no more justification than the rest of his confused tirade. There is nothing ‘so-called’ about World Heritage Sites – that is their name. That city authorities around the world do care about what UNESCO thinks, rather undermines his idea of that body as ‘powerless’. And neither Paris nor Florence appear to have suffered greatly from an absence of tall buildings in their centres. English Heritage, also unelected and unaccountable, has made enough errors in the Great Tall Buildings Argument to make me glad another safeguard exists. Chris Rogers chrismrogers.net

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Interview

Visible man

Piers Taylor’s very public rebirth seems to be paying off – Invisible Studio has been busy from day one, says Rory Olcayto  ..

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wenty-first of December last year. One email among hundreds stands out. The subject line reads: ‘Yet more fucking corporate christmas greetings...’ It’s from Piers Taylor of the Mitchell Taylor Workshop. It reads: ‘...From the land of plenty where the sun never stops shining, where we are surrounded by water, where the pub is a table under a gum tree a boat ride up the river, where architects are gainfully employed, planning restrictions are lax, and from where the miserable world of pre-qualification questionnaires seems a million miles away... Have youse all a fantastic Christmas...’ His entire address book gets the message. Woah. Risky! I check previous emails. One from November says he’s off to Australia to hang out with Glen Murcutt for six weeks. What’s going on out there? Three weeks later we find out. Another email – subject line: invisible studio – and sent to everyone again, announces: ‘This is to let you know that after an incredibly productive six years I am splitting from Mitchell Taylor Workshop, the practice I co-founded.’ The email speaks of a new kind of practice ‘based everywhere and nowhere, which is a provocative and polemical vehicle for collaboration, experimentation, research and education [that] doesn’t try to squeeze itself into the tiny and narrow confines of a pre-qualification questionnaire… A studio that is an invisible studio’. It seemed to mirror a wider debate taking place over the nature of architectural practice itself. But it was an unusual way to court new business in what is a conservative deal-making environment. Saying you’re planning to collaborate with bicycle framers and magicians, for example, as Taylor did in his email, doesn’t sound like the best way to win work during a recession. Six months later, during a visit to Stillpoint in Bath, the final Mitchell Taylor Workshop project but in spirit the first Invisible Studio completion, Taylor

reflected on his very public rebirth. ‘At first I thought I’d committed career suicide,’ he says. ‘I thought, “I’m never going to work again!” But then people began to get in touch and I realised something was going on.’ Taylor says one industry figure rang him to say: ‘What you’re doing with Invisible Studio, that was us years ago.’ He explains that he was ashamed of how those ambitions had faded and that his firm had failed to reinvent itself. ‘Thank God you’re doing it,’ he confessed to Taylor, who in his studio manifesto railed against the ‘flatscreen monitors and associates and directors and buzzy rhetoric about itself ’ that characterises contemporary practice. Then Jill Smith, a partner at FCB Studios, called to say: ‘When we read your email in the office, we all let out an enormous cheer.’ Sarah

‘At first I thought I had committed career suicide, I would never work again’ Wigglesworth lent her support. But architects at Conran’s and Foster’s did too. Taylor explains: ‘They said to me, “You have touched a nerve here. You’re exposing the banality of a lot of contemporary architectural culture no one is questioning”.’ Taylor questions that culture everyday on Twitter, where he promotes his work and world view. ‘I’m an avid user,’ he says. One tweet (12 September) reads: ‘World is 2 full of anally retentive architects living out their neuroses producing arch that is sanitised, slick, celibate and over-controlled.’ So was it really those six weeks with Murcutt, who Piers calls ‘a solitary Johnny Cash-style soothsayer’, that brought about the sudden change? In truth, there were other factors, and firms, such as AOC, leading Taylor to question his approach. ‘Instead of just buildings, they also designed games, scenarios and ideas,’ he says

of the FAT-inspired Shoreditch-based ‘cultural interpreters’. ‘Instead of an office, they had a pop-up space with sofas and Russian books lying around.’ But it was the Architectural Association’s (AA) Design and Make programme at Hooke Park, for which he is studio master, that swung it. ‘It was there that I realised I could work with a group of extraordinary people as colleagues,’ says Taylor. ‘People like Martin Self, an aerospace engineer with great digital skills who worked for Zaha Hadid and ran the AA pavilion programme. He’s the engineer to my architect. And the carpenter Charlie Brentnall. He set up his timber framing business 30 years ago. He built the space frame for Fielden Clegg’s Earth Centre. He built the Big Shed in Hooke Park. He has an amazing brain for timber and connections.’ Both Bretnall and Self are set to be regular Invisible Studio collaborators. ‘I feel we can reinvent what architectural practice can be,’ says Taylor, who will form partnerships on a project by project basis. And despite gossip at the time that suggested Taylor had been foolish to be so bold, Invisible Studio is busy. It completed the Big Shed earlier this year. There’s the Caretaker’s House at Hooke Park, an Invisible Studio collaboration with students at the AA, and a gridshell structure in the Midlands being developed with Nozomi Nakabayashi, ex-SANAA and a former AA student. He’s busy enough to turn down work, including a £2 million house for a senior figure at Buro Happold. ‘It was too ostentatious,’ Taylor says. ‘I felt increasingly out of my depth and uncomfortable doing a project like that.’ Taylor knows this is the kind of thing that will wind up other architects. But he’s adamant. ‘My last practice wanted to say yes to everything. Clients and developers expect it. But we need freedom to make careful decisions.’ And take risks, of course. Remember those? Follow Piers on Twitter: @Piers_Taylor 


Building study

Between the cracks

Piers Taylor’s Stillpoint project in Bath is typical of good new architecture in the city – hidden from view, writes Rory Olcayto. Photography by Peter Cook

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Right View towards riverside homes from corner under first floor dojo window Bottom right View of Stillpoint from opposite riverbank with Paragon Crescent behind

townscape, Eric Parry’s creepy gothic extension around the back of the Holburne Museum suggests Bath has more to offer than Palladiophilia. Admittedly both buildings are on the fringes of their city centres and, in Parry’s case, hidden from the street. But this low-key presence is a clue for visitors, prodding them to look more closely at the place, dig a round a bit.

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tillpoint, Piers Taylor’s new cluster of riverside buildings in Bath, sits well above the waterline and from the bank opposite, the only place you can get a clear view of the whole scheme, its timber batten-lined facades and zinc roof appear sandwiched between thick layers of stone: the high embankment wall beneath it and the looming terrace of Thomas Warr Attwood’s Paragon Crescent behind it. To its left and right, however, and all along this stretch of river are yards, alleyways and lightweight industrial structures, some quite ornamental. It’s not what you’d expect of Bath. Just like Edinburgh, which it is often clubbed together with because of its UNESCO World Heritage status, Bath is written off as Modernistfree. That’s not really true. Just like EMBT’s sprawling, craggy blocks for the Scottish Parliament, which undermine the Scottish capital’s reputation as a frozen-in-amber

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Just like the Holburne extension, much that isn’t Georgian or stonebuilt in Bath tends to be shoved round the back of older keynote buildings. Robert Adams’ much messed around with Pultney Bridge is the best example. It’s north side is barnacled with cantilevered shop extensions added over 100 years ago. Stillpoint has something of those Pultney extensions – their opportunism – in its blood. And like them and Parry’s extension for Holburne, Stillpoint is invisible from the street. You have to wander down an alleyway to an old stone-breaker’s yard to find it. Unless you knew where it was, you’d never come across it. It’s typical of the good modern architecture in the city: hard to find, oddly expressive, between the cracks and a bit weird. Its function is odd too. Between them, the four buildings on the Avon-side plot provide a martial arts dojo, alternative therapy business and two homes on a plot overlooking the river. So how did it come about? Taylor’s previous firm, Mitchell Taylor Workshop, was commissioned in 2007 by established alternative therapy specialists Peter Cockhill and Adrian Baker, who wanted to make the most of a site they had bought in the Walcot area of Bath, on the northern fringes of the city centre, to expand their successful business. The site meant they could locate seven treatment rooms and support offices there, but to make the project stack up more function had to be added, hence the two homes and >>

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Stillpoint, Bath Mitchell Taylor Workshop/Invisible Studio

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the martial arts dojo and changing rooms. Getting started was tough. Taylor explains: ‘There were several years of negotiation before we were finally able to get on-site. At one stage, the Bath heritage lobby talked of it single-handedly being responsible for Bath’s World Heritage status being threatened.’ Discussions centred

Despite the diagrammatic feel of Stillpoint there is a real sense of place here  ..

on Stillpoint’s relationship to a listed building behind its plot, views, rights of light and height limits as well as access and parking. There was also the matter of a public sewer easement running through the site and a number of party wall awards to consider. It’s probably why when you first see Stillpoint, you might feel it looks more like a built diagram rather than a finished, fully thought through piece of architecture. That’s largely true of much of the interior too, especially in the business block, where the ground floor of treatment rooms is a little cramped and judging by the

aspects afforded, a bit dark in terms of natural light. Upstairs, however, in the dojo, these constraints have been more finely optimised and the result is an unusual, asymmetrical woodlined volume with a mirrored wall and decon-style rooflight. It’s quite unique and clearly crafted with love. Apparently it’s a big hit with the local judo choppers. It should prove popular too during the local Doors Open day. Back outside, and despite its diagrammatic feel, there is a real sense of place here. When you find yourself in among the buildings Taylor has wrought (perhaps overwrought –

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Clockwise from left Each home has a first floor terrace; Dojo corner window; South-facing lead-lined bay windows overlook the Avon; Steps leading to dojo and changing rooms

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something he admits himself ) from the trying conditions, you sense there is meaning here, that it is more than an speculative profit-led exercise. You can sense the can-do, handbuilt influence of Taylor’s hero Glen Murcutt here and there, but it also dabbles with a planner-friendly Cabeism aesthetic as well – in its use of a stone base for each of the four buildings, which Taylor says is a nod to the site’s original function. But there’s another influence at work. Taylor says the plan he created quotes heavily from Peter Salter and during the design of Stillpoint he ‘pored >> 


Stillpoint, Bath Mitchell Taylor Workshop/Invisible Studio

over everything [Salter] had done’. The homes are OK. They make the most of the river views, with upstairs living room bay windows that overlook the Avon (the bedrooms are downstairs). A terrace opens out on the first floor, marred a little by a heavy dividing fence which has supposedly helped let the properties. It seems shared outdoor space is still a step too far for the luxury rental market. Yet Taylor is pleased with this final project for the Mitchell Taylor Workshop and sees it as the springboard for his new Invisible Studio outfit. He says: ‘The main thing here is the creation of urban spaces with a series of buildings. It’s rare having an opportunity to do this – typically, one gets commissioned to design a singular building. In some ways it’s rather overwrought and overcomplicated, but it was one of those projects you design early on in your career where you overobsess over every tiny detail – I kind of like the complexity.’ Bath clearly doesn’t mind either – just as long as it remains mostly hidden from view. ■ Project data

start on site August 2010 date of completion April 2012 gross internal area 700m2 procurement Traditional JCT contract total cost £1.38 million cost per square metre £1,950 client Riverpoint structural engineer Hydrock Structures 1 m&e consultant Building Services Consultants quantity surveyor Mildred Howells cdm coordinator Alistair Bovey approved building inspector Oculus main contractor Pollards cad software used MicroStation estimated annual co2 emissions 22kg/m3

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Above First floor martial arts dojo Below Both the rental homes have mezzanines

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Stillpoint Mitchell Taylor Workshop/ Invisible Studio Martial arts dojo The site is incredibly tight. The brief comprised far more accommodation than seemed easy to fit on the site, given the constraints of a main sewer running through the middle and prohibiting development within 3m of it, the view corridors through the site that the local authority insisted stay open and the winter light penetration ..

to the houses behind the scheme that had to remain unaffected. Given this, the dojo cantilevers over the undevelopable sewer easement stealing space and has a cranked and skewed geometry to the roof to permit winter sun penetration to the neighbouring site. The space also needed high levels of natural light while retaining privacy internally for martial arts activities, hence rooflights and other window strategically placed to avoid being overlooked. There was also a planning constraint that the space had to be operable in mid-summer with minimal noise for

the sake of the neighbouring houses. Thus there are a series of passive ventilators in the walls, with grilles concealed behind the ribbed cladding which have internal acoustic baffles that ensure that with 20 people in the dojo and the windows shut, little sound is audible externally. The dojo is a steel frame with timber stud infill sitting on a cantilevered concrete slab – needed to ensure acoustic separation from the clinic below. Internally, the space is a womblike cigar box, lined in beech ply with a beech sprung floor. Piers Taylor, founder, Invisible Studio

1. Skyline standard patent glazing with fixed glazing 2. Steel tiles 3. Powder-coated pressed metal capping 4. Steel box section to support standard patent glazing 5. Metal box gutter 6. Steel beam 7. Internal face of sheathing as setting out plane for steel (AL(0)40) 8. 12mm ply lining on 12mm battens 9. 9mm structural ply sheathing on vapour barrier 10. 175 x 50mm timber stud wall 11. 175mm rockwool flexi insulation to west wall of dojo 12. 9mm structural ply sheathing 13. 25mm vertical SW cladding, stained black, on 35mm battens over breather membrane 14. 75 x 50mm SW fin stained black 15. Breather membrane lapped over lead flashing 16. Existing capstone retained in its position 17. Stainless steel channel with lead flashing tucked under existing coping stone and into channel 18. Foamglas Perinsul SL insulating block 19. 12.5mm plasterboard with skim on 20mm battens 20. Vapour barrier 21. 75mm celotex insulation 22. 215mm blockwork 23. RIW cavity drain 24. Existing stone retaining wall to old orchard cottages 25. Detail to bottom of tanking and blockwork wall

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Technical study

The flame game T

he quirky, narrative qualities of the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony were nicely balanced by moments of pure, abstract visual delight, in the design of the lighting and above all in Heatherwick Studio’s magnificent cauldron. Because the Olympic cauldron’s form appeared simple, it could be read on many different levels, but the essential message was that 204 nations, each represented by a unique copper petal with a flame where it meets its stem, had assembled in one spectacle. The spectacle’s emblem – and the ceremony’s climax – was the convergence of these petals and flames, arranged in concentric rings, as their stems slowly pivoted upwards to form a ball of fire. After the flames of the perimeter petals were lit by young torch-bearing

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Right Ignitions in the burners at the head of each stem regulated their gas supply, creating an illusion of the flame being relayed from one petal to another

athletes, they appeared to be relayed in circular and centripetal sequences from one ring to the next as they formed a cluster. This was offered up to the night sky by the cauldron’s copper hands in a sacrificial gesture that resonated with the rituals of the original games and with the ‘workshop of the world’ sequence earlier in the ceremony. The raising of the cauldron and its reverse replay at the closing ceremonies was as expertly choreographed as the event’s dance sequences; balletic, like a scene from Swan Lake with copper feathers. ‘We wanted to hear a continuous ‘Oh!’ of surprise as people in each part of the Olympic Stadium got it at different times,’ says Heatherwick Studio project architect Katerina Dionysopoulou who, together with architect Andrew Taylor, was >>

HEATHERWICK STUDIO

The visual spectacle of Heatherwick Studio’s Olympic cauldron was hand-crafted in the workshop and refined with digital modelling, writes Felix Mara

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London Olympic 2012 cauldron Heatherwick Studio

involved in the project from its inception in 2010. ‘The plan-form of the cauldron, which in its closed configuration reflected the elliptical geometry of the stadium, and the sequence of its rise and descent had to be fully integrated with the opening and closing ceremonies.’ Heatherwick Studio worked closely with the opening ceremony’s director, Danny Boyle, and Stage One, a scenery contractor with a very strong technical and engineering bias, to co-ordinate the sequence, ensuring that it was sufficiently short to retain spectators’ interest. ‘The process was unusually linear for a Heatherwick Studio project,’ says Dionysopoulou. ‘But we knew from the start that we wanted to find a way to represent each of the constituent nations and their convergence.’ The Olympic rings mandala informed the decision to have a five-stepped circular ziggurat at the cauldron’s base and in the early stages of the design there  ..

HEATHERWICK STUDIO

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The copper plates were polished using CNCd lasts as formers

were five concentric rings of petals, but this number increased to 10 as Heatherwick developed the distinctive ‘pin-cushion’ geometry of the cauldron’s open configuration, which was the optimum form for spectators viewing from all angles. Although Heatherwick initially relied on an instinct for what was buildable, the design developed empirically as Stage One and project manager Robbie Williams Productions tested the designers’ proposals. The form of the petals was difficult to replicate using physical models and Andrew Taylor built a Rhino 3D model which was then exported as solid geometry to be used in Stage One’s Autodesk Inventor software. This could then be used to model the cauldron’s mechanics, gas services and other components, as well as for CNC output. The form was not significantly modified in Inventor, but was repeatedly imported back into Heatherwick’s Rhino model >> ..


Elevation: closed

Plan: open. Petals form a single Olympic ring

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so that refinements could be made, for example to the pivots, which were originally more bulky. In Heatherwick’s ambitious design, the appearance and performance of the flame and the pivot mechanism were critical to the success of the Olympic cauldron, versions of which had faltered at the Vancouver and Sydney Games. In its closed configuration, the petals at the top of the cauldron formed a concave bowl, but Heatherwick wanted the flames to follow a convex profile which was highest at the centre, so more gas had to be supplied to the burners in the inner arrays of petals. The supply of gas was regulated by what Dionysopoulou describes as a ‘mother computer’ below the cauldron and was closely calibrated by Boyle and the designers in the two weeks of intensive undercover preparations in the stadium before the opening ceremony.  ..

Similarly, Robbie Williams had identified the pivots of the lifting mechanism as a potential risk and baulked when Heatherwick proposed to have 204 of them. The solution was to introduce mild steel ring beams, which were raised and lowered to operate the pivots using mechanical technology rather than hydraulics, thus spreading the risk. The other components of this mechanism were machined stainless steel and aluminium. ‘We wanted the stems to disappear,’ says Dionysopoulou. ‘They needed to be as thin as possible, but their diameter was restricted because they were conduits for gas and the electricity used to ignite the flames in the burners at their ends,’ adds Taylor. These ignitions created the illusion of flames spreading from one petal to another and enabled Boyle to fine-tune the sequence.

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HEATHERWICK STUDIO

Mechanical section

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‘Each stem comprises four different swaged circular section stainless steel tubes which were squeezed and spun to form tapers before being welded end-to-end,’ says Stage One project manager Neil Franklin. The smallest tapers to a diameter of 25mm. Discolouration by the welding process wasn’t a concern because the stems have a finish known as ‘bad black’, which makes them look thinner and, depending on their background and lighting, more invisible. Heatherwick considered various materials and finishes for the petals, seeking a precious quality but wanting to avoid the gold, silver and bronze used for Olympic medals, eventually settling on copper sheet, typically 0.9mm thick, partly because its orange glow combined well with the blueblack finish of the stems. Although the petals have similar shapes, each was intended to be slightly

different and had to interlock with its neighbours to create a satisfactory form in the cauldron’s opening and closing configurations. They also had to be easy to fix to the stems and to remove at the end of the ceremonies, when they were taken away by the competing nations as souvenirs. This was achieved by bayonet light bulbtype connections and notches in the petals that enabled them to be fitted around the burners, which gas safety regulations required to be pre-welded to the stems, thus keeping the petals’ funnels as narrow as possible. It took five hours to fabricate each petal. The fabricator used CNC wooden plugs, which were the negative of each petal, as formers and hardworked the sheet with hammers as much as possible before quenching it up to 30 times to achieve the final form. The copper was then washed with acid to remove tarnishing >> 


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from the anealing process, then polished and buffed using various grades of coarse paper. Each petal has the name of one of the competing nations inscribed on its rim. This was achieved by unfurling the top of each petal so that a template could be made for the rim which was then fitted, with the country’s name acid-etched on its surface. Taylor considered using Grasshopper parametric software and scripting to automate the modelling of the petals, but the form-finding process was particularly complex, especially in the case of the outer petals, so he relied heavily on what he describes as a manual process which involved manipulating digital meshes. Each petal took three hours to model. ‘The cauldron involved a nice mix of traditional craftsmanship and digital technology,’ says Taylor. ■

25mm

inception 2010 date of completion July 2012 client London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Locog) designer Heatherwick Studio specialist consultant Stage One form of contract CompeteFor (Portal for London 2012 Projects) total cost Not available structural and mechanical engineer Stage One flame engineer, burners and gas systems FCT gas consultant Atkins petal manufacturer Contour Autocraft gas line systems Fulcrum project manager pre-tender Robbie Williams Productions project manager post-tender Scott Buchanan cdm coordinator Brian Abbs (LOCOG CDMC) approved building inspector Gordon Roy, Joint Local Authority Building Control cad software used Rhino, AutoCAD, Inventor

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Practice

Best practice Olympic feel-good factor was a result of masterly design, says Games Maker Yasmin Shariff

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– everyone enjoys the thrill of the ride and the spectacle. Despite its scale, the stadium was not overpowering – it was welcoming and did not upstage the participants. It provided a perfect stage for the Games and the extravaganza of the opening and closing ceremonies when it pulsated to a son et lumière of grand proportions. Its success is a testimony to the skill and experience of Rod Sheard (Populous) and Paul Westbury (Buro Happold), and their experienced teams who have designed many sporting venues including the Sydney, Millennium and Emirates stadiums. It has been built with love and care. Every weld, mitre, bolt, nut and screw was in its place.

Like a fancy car – most are oblivious to what’s under the bonnet but everyone enjoys the ride

HANNA MELIN

A look of amazement would wash over people’s faces when they first entered the Olympic stadium. There would be a stunned silence while they took in its scale. Moments later they would recognise Thomas Heatherwick’s Cauldron (rather diminutive in real life) and have to be gently prompted to make their way to their seats. As a volunteer Games Maker, arriving at 5.30am to see the stadium in the dawn light surrounded by manicured lawns and a kaleidoscope of flowering meadows was a magical experience – the colours, the smells and the freshness of the air gave it a surreal quality. The silence was soon shattered by the buzz from the workforce check-in area where the volume of chatter increased day by day as friendships mushroomed. People from all walks of life exchanged notes on events and the latest ‘knitted’ (the unofficial army of knitted mascots with distinctive Games Maker uniforms in purple and red trim). Within an hour everyone would disperse to their positions. I was mainly charged with ticketing, crowd control at the bridges and ushering people to their seats. The stadium island was accessed over five bridges and it took less than five minutes to get to your seat from a bridge – there were hardly any queues. As a Games Maker it was easy to be welcoming to the crowds, smiling and pointing, knowing that they would be wowed by what they saw. Everything seemed to work – even the ladies toilets didn’t have queues. Teams running the stadium were responsive to any reported incidents from a lost child, a trip-up or a dirty loo. I was touched by how much thought had gone into providing facilities for the elderly and disabled. My only criticism was the stranglehold of the sponsors and concessions which restricted the number of drinking water facilities. The feel-good factor of the Games may have come as a surprise to many but the exuberance was a direct result of the masterly way the stadium was designed. Accommodating overwhelming numbers of people with different needs, stars, egos and athletes as well as meeting technical aspects of safety, acoustics and media was just part of the complex brief. Like a fancy car – most are oblivious to what is under the bonnet or who designed it

If you thought it was better on television, you’d be wrong. Seeing the athletes for real was a different experience. Watching my first race, I was captivated by the gazelle-like women athletes limbering up for an event they had trained for years for. The view from the stands was so good that you could feel the tension, confidence, frustration and sheer excitement of spectators and athletes. The Olympic Park transformed a wasteland into the most spectacular meadow and touched the hearts and minds of all who visited. There were all sorts of surprises in the park from waterfalls creating words under Stratford Bridge to the living willow sculptures filled with messages. Groups of performers danced through the throngs to the delight of children and adults alike. Now the excitement is over, if you find yourself suffering withdrawal symptoms you can find some solace in making your own knitted (patterns can be downloaded free at http://tinyurl.com/8swdayt). Yasmin Shariff is principal of Dennis Sharp Architects and a RIBA Council member 


£75 UK £75 USA £102 ROW

CRITICAL THINKING FOR CRITICAL TIMES

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LAND SECURITIES

Hoare Lea: 150 years

As leading mechanical, electrical and public health (MEP) consulting engineers, Hoare Lea is proud of its heritage, culture and people, and its commitment to excellence. Founded in 1862, Hoare Lea is the UK’s largest firm of MEP ..

Above One New Change, London

engineers with more than 600 people in 13 offices across the UK and abroad. In this, its 150th anniversary year, its work spans all market sectors and includes some of the highest-profile projects in the industry.

This feature provides a snapshot of Hoare Lea’s history, showcasing a small selection of its varied project portfolio and giving an insight into the company’s plans for continuing innovation in the future. www.hoarelea.com 


1886: Globe to enclose the incandescent lamp In 1882, Henry Lea completed the lighting of Birmingham Town Hall – the first large, public building electrically lit prior to there being a publicly available supply of electricity. He used the

then-revolutionary incandescent lamp, for which, in 1886, he patented a globe to enclose the lamp and improve the distribution of light.


Octopi to design Olympic kiosks  

The Past Henry Lea Hoare Lea’s founder, Henry Lea, (1839-1912), was a pioneering engineer whose talents spanned the civil, mechanical and electrical disciplines. After completing an engineering apprenticeship he entered the works of Walter Williams at Tipton, Staffordshire where he gained experience in rolling mill practice and bridge building. When he opened his office in Birmingham in 1862, he was the first person to refer to himself as a ‘consulting mechanical engineer’. While Lea’s early work as a mechanical engineer was centred around boiler and steam engines for a variety of applications, his work as an electrical engineer was perhaps more relevant to Hoare Lea’s work today. In 1882 he supervised one of the first electriclighting installations in a large public building at Birmingham Town Hall and, after other similar work, became electrification advisor to Birmingham City Council. He also oversaw the UK’s first public street-lighting system in the parish of Chelsea, and advised on the provisional order for presentation to parliament. In 1891, he designed a system to provide a sustainable, clean water supply to the rapidly growing city of Birmingham and, in 1898, was responsible for engineering the ventilation system in the first fully air-conditioned building, The Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. His talent for innovation was proven by his 21 patent registrations during the 45 years between 1866 and 1911, which included a counterpoise lamp and an anemometer indicating dial.

1862 Henry Lea establishes himself as a consultant mechanical engineer and opens an office in Birmingham 1882 Henry Lea works on public steet-lighting systems in London and Birmingham 1912 Henry Lea dies; Frederick M Lea, his son, takes over the practice 1939 The practice merges with Edwin S Hoare and Partners to form Hoare Lea and Partners 1945 During the post-war years, an increase in overseas work sees an early appointment to design a Rayon production facility in Travancore, India; a central London office opens 1976 Staff numbers reach 110, and turnover £0.5 million 1980 Offices open in Hong Kong 2008 Hoare Lea pioneers the use of Building Information Modelling at the BRI Ward Block; an Abu Dhabi office opens 2012 Office opens in Qatar

The war years When he died Lea left his practice to his son, Frederick M Lea. During

Top Henry Lea (left) and Edwin Hoare (right)

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the First World War, work was done with the War Office but, during the interwar recession, the firm continued to design for public buildings. In 1939 Donald Lea, Henry Lea’s grandson, who was only 26 when Frederick died, amalgamated the practice with Edwin S Hoare and Partners of Bristol to form Hoare Lea and Partners. During the Second World War the firm undertook key works, including airfield design, and in 1945 it opened its first office in London. The 1950s onwards Staffing levels and overseas work increased in the 1940s and 1950s and when Hoare died in 1957 he had greatly developed both the firm’s size and direction. In the 1960s, the firm worked extensively on large-scale public buildings and commercial and industrial projects. Its next major change of direction was in the mid-1970s. The new senior partners Stephen Edwards and Alan Knight recognised that the future success of Hoare Lea was dependent on graduate recruitment rather than the technician-level intake that was common at the time. An influx of graduates helped Hoare Lea to grow and be viewed as a progressive place to work, which offered challenging projects as well as a partnership structure where effort was recognised and rewarded. Many of the graduates

joined from Bath University School of Architecture and Building Engineering, where Stephen Edwards had worked with Ted Happold, to create an environment where building services engineers and structural engineers were taught alongside architects. In the 1980s and 90s Hoare Lea embraced a new ethos and culture. The practice cemented a reputation as having a collaborative approach with staff who could contribute effectively to the wider design team. New specialist groups were started including acoustics and lighting and, in particular, research and development which, under Terry Wyatt, was responsible for developing ground-breaking technologies such as chilled ceilings, chilled beams and displacement ventilation – which, until then, had not been used in the UK. The partnership structure, still in place today, offered fantastic career opportunities for people to flourish and progress. As the firm grew, it developed relationships with leading academic institutions and continued to attract some of the best talent in the industry. Today, in its 150th year, it still thrives, building on the foundations laid by Henry Lea and the previous generations of partners; Hoare Lea continues to bring forward new partners so as to secure the long-term future of the firm.  


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The Present Imperial Centre for Translational and Experimental Medicine

JCB Academy Architect – Lacey Hickie & Caley Architects

Architect – Sheppard Robson

MORLEY VON STERNBERG

This six-storey building on Imperial College’s Hammersmith campus integrates patient-centred research with translational science activity. More than 450 world-class researchers and clinicians in the new facilities will carry out clinical trials of new treatments and help to advance understanding of a wide range of health problems, such as heart and circulatory disease.

This award-winning scheme is located in a refurbished and restored Grade II-listed mill in Rocester, Staffordshire, built by industrial entrepreneur and engineer Richard Arkwright in the late 18th century. As the UK’s first university technical college specialising in engineering, the Academy was keen to include the latest technology in its approach to caring for the environment. The Archimedes Screw in the mill race generates enough electricity for 80 per cent of the building’s needs, while heating is produced by a biomass boiler.

ExCeL

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Originally completed and opened in 2001, the ExCeL exhibition centre, in London’s docklands, was extended in 2010, providing a total of a 93,000m2 of exhibition space. A 250-bed, four-star hotel opened in 2011. The centre includes the UK’s largest fullyflexible auditorium for 5,000 delegates and London’s largest banqueting hall for 3,000 guests. The venue has played a major role as the host for seven Olympic and six Paralympic events, and was the only venue to stage events on every single day of the Games.

MARK HUMPHRIES

WILL PRYCE

Architects – Moxley, Grimshaw Architects, Jestico + Whiles

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Octopi to design Olympic kiosks

The Cube

The Heron

Architect – Make

Architects – David Walker Architects, RHWL

FIRST HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY

This building forms the final phase of Birmingham’s Mailbox development, located in the centre of the city. Containing retail space, offices, residential apartments, a hotel, bar and restaurant this truly mixeduse building provides almost 50,000m2 of accommodation over 24 floors. The building pays homage to the city’s jewellery industry, inspired by a visually enchanting jewellery box. Internally the building twists upwards, creating an asymmetrical light well, and is topped by a rooftop restaurant and bar offering panoramic views across the city.

This 36-storey tower offers 285 luxury apartments in the heart of the City of London. The lower floors of The Heron will house new, state-of-the-art facilities for the world-renowned Guildhall School of Music and Drama. The custom-designed building will accommodate a 608-seat concert hall, a 227-seat theatre and a studio theatre in addition to space for teaching and support services. As far as possible, the development utilises the Citigen combined heat and power system for heating, cooling and hot water.

Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts

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This building encompasses Lancaster University’s teaching and research activities in Art, Design, Film Studies, Music and Theatre Studies. It also contains the Imagination Lancaster centre, a design-led research lab that conducts applied and theoretical research into people, products, places and their interactions. Sustainability was at the heart of the design and it is the first higher-education building to obtain a BREEAM Outstanding rating for its design and post-construction stages.

DAVID WALKER ARCHITECTS

SHEPPARD ROBSON

Architect – Sheppard Robson

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The Present Scarlet Hotel

The Scarlet is a luxury eco-hotel situated on an Atlantic clifftop in Cornwall. The name reflects the contrast of a rich, red colour with the client’s green ethos and the boldness of building a hotel that is ‘luxurious without costing the planet’. The award-winning hotel incorporates rainwater and greywater harvesting, solar thermal-panel water heating, a woodchip biomass boiler and a green roof populated by local plants. There was a high use of recycled materials and great emphasis was placed on air tightness and high levels of insulation.

CHRIS CYPERT

HENNING LARSON ARCHITECTS

Architect – Harrison Sutton Partnership

King Abdullah Financial District

Cabot Circus Architects – Chapman Taylor, Benoy

The most significant commercial real-estate development in Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah Financial District is a mix of commercial office, hotels and serviced apartments sitting alongside museums, educational and civic amenities. Crystal Towers, The Gem Building and Villas in the Sky, provide retail, office, hotel and residential accommodation in a series of mixed-use buildings up to 34 storeys high. This financial district is a modern sustainable city with its own monorail and elevated air-conditioned bridges linking the buildings.  ..

REDSHIFT

Architect – Henning Larson Architects

Occupying a 36-acre site in the centre of Bristol, Cabot Circus is one of the largest retail-led, mixed-use, citycentre urban regeneration projects in the UK. It contains shops, offices, a cinema, hotel and 250 apartments within almost 140,000m2 of accommodation. The innovative sculptured street coverings were carefully designed to ensure a comfortable retailing environment using natural ventilation only. The first retail project of its kind to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating, it has also won an impressive set of awards since opening in 2008. ..


a major centre for south London. Described as a ‘super library’, it houses 40,000 books, CDs and films as well as a 150-seat theatre and culture space, a café and learning spaces.

TIM CROCKER

Canada Water Library Architect – CZWG Canada Water Library in Southwark is part of a major regeneration project in Rotherhithe. Sitting at the centre of a new town plaza, the building is set to transform Canada Water into


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The Future Hoare Lea combines technical excellence and a reputation for delivery with a creative and progressive approach. Experts in engineering design for the built environment across all sectors, it works on projects of all sizes from modest individual buildings to the masterplanning and regeneration of major mixed-use schemes. Many of the projects undertaken are award winning – the firm’s projects won seven RIBA awards in 2012 alone. Collaboration is at the heart of everything Hoare Lea does and much of its success stems from its close working relationships with its clients – 80 per cent of its business is repeat, signifying a loyal following. Clients like working with Hoare Lea as its people offer honest opinions, informed by a vast amount of accumulated knowledge and expertise. Complemented by the most experienced specialists in the industry, its engineers are able to respond to every aspect of the building design brief. Hoare Lea has consistently been voted as one of the best engineers to work with by the world’s top architects. Moving forward There is increased pressure for developments to maximise their commercial potential, with an emphasis on efficiency and a much tougher environmental specification. Hoare Lea is meeting this challenge with innovative, cost-effective and

Zero-carbon buildings: Delivering zero-carbon buildings is a challenge. The difference between what is designed, and what is delivered, in terms of energy use results in a performance gap. It is not just the building owner or user who is at fault but, to deliver zero-carbon buildings, things must change. Analysis software must be improved and the assumptions fed into models must be better. In addition, the products specified must operate at the levels assumed, buildings need to be commissioned to operate efficiently across seasons, and users must be better educated on how buildings work and how control systems help that process. Building Information Modelling (BIM): The government’s commitment to BIM has stimulated the market, but there is much still to do with considerable investment required by manufacturers and the design community. Although the principal benefits will be in productivity across the design and construction supply chain, BIM offers the prospect of a virtual building, capable of being tested and interrogated ahead of physical or management changes. It also offers much to the facilities manager and can contribute to the development of zero-carbon buildings. Changing climate: We will experience hotter, dryer summers; wetter, warmer winters; and more extreme weather events. Buildings will become more prone to overheating, reaching a point where accepted industry norms for comfort cannot be achieved through passive measures alone. Ensuring buildings can accommodate alternative means of cooling will delay the onset of obsolescence. Rainfall changes point to a need to make buildings, infrastructure and streetscapes more flood resistant and, at the same time, to a need to increase water-storage capacity.

sustainable designs, and a commitment to remaining at the forefront of technological advancement without comprising architectural ambitions. Home and away While Hoare Lea has further strengthened its UK presence by opening new offices in strategic locations, the firm has also opened new offices in Abu Dhabi and Qatar and is planning to establish further offices in the Far East and Americas. Working on exciting projects around the globe, Hoare Lea has international expansion at the centre of its strategy for growth. Editor James Pallister Sub editor Cecilia Thom Art editor Brad Yendle Group special projects editor Emily Booth AJ Editor Christine Murray Acting production editor Abigail Gliddon

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Technology Hoare Lea is continuing to invest in technology to improve the high level of service for which it is known. It chairs the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers’ BIM panel and leads the way on the development and implementation of BIM. Adapting to the future Hoare Lea’s success is generated by its people. In the past year, more than 100 people have joined Hoare Lea and the firm continues to run a successful annual graduate recruitment campaign as well as Editorial director Paul Finch Commercial director James MacLeod Business development manager Ceri Evans Managing director of architecture and media Conor Dignam Chief executive officer Natasha Christie-Miller

a thriving exchange programme with leading architectural practices. As part of the firm’s ongoing commitment to creating the best working environment for its people, it has moved most of its offices into new accommodation and will be relocating its flagship London office to King’s Cross in early 2013. The increasing need to deliver high-quality, low-carbon, cost-effective design solutions and the importance of having the best people in the right places will drive Hoare Lea’s future as it looks towards the next 150 years. Issued with The Architects’ Journal. For reprints, call James MacLeod on 020 7728 4582. Published September 2012 by EMAP, powered by Top Right Group. Typeset in Akzidenz-Grotesk BQ.

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10/08/2012 12:46


Culture

DOES ARCHITECTURAL CRITICISM MATTER? Critics can establish a meaningful dialogue with all those who are creating the environment we live in, writes Joseph Rykwert, a judge of this year’s AJ Writing Prize

‘To the casual observer, the building may at first appear almost as a geological formation, a rock-like, random assembly of variegated blocks. That studied casualness is an essential element of the composition.’ 2 June 2011  ..

‘Restored, Astley is a graphic account of its own history. Even the woodwork of some window casings has been left in place. Witherford Watson Mann has been a gentle surgeon, saving the essential, eliminating the incidental.’ 5 July 2012 ..


Criticism may seem irrelevant to any talk about buildings at this high point of starchitecture. After all, the business of a critic is to discriminate: the better from the worse or, if you like, the more beautiful from the uglier, the more valuable from the less. Separate the wheat from the chaff, in short. But starchitecture can’t have much truck with such distinctions. It is content just to be. Celebrity seems to rise above the carping of discriminators. Criticising starchitects may be like making disparaging comments at a pop concert, however, unlike starchitecture, pop music does seem to have bred a culture of shrewd critics though their words, however sharp, seem unable to pierce even the most inflated bubble reputations. What is true of pop stars and star buildings is also true of more muted high-rises. What, after all, can be said in terms of architectural criticism of these sheer walls of standard glass and steel elements, enclosing floors of almost identical plans? Perhaps some comment on the foyer or on the finial of the skyscraper may count as such. But for the most part, any talk about such buildings is limited to fulsome commendations. It is even less relevant for buildings whose extravagant bulk now litter architectural publications, especially the advertising pages. Vastly inflated sails or giant coffee pots, gherkins and hedgehogs seem to present the critic with formal entities that challenge them to disentangle hopelessly matted strands. But even faced with such conundrums the perplexed critic must not doff his thinking cap, but press it firmly on his head and take stock of what may appear as banal features of seemingly overwhelming buildings. How, for instance, does the building meet the ground? How are pedestrian entries managed and how are they separated from vehicles; how, on entry, does the visitor proceed to upper floors and how are all these bits of circulation related to the declension from the public to semi-public spaces? A true architectural critic must be a dogged plan-reader. And again, how is the structure related to the materiality of the building and how does any fancy configuration relate to the way it sits in its environment? And what, if any, is the contribution it makes to the composite image of the city of which it is a constituent? The critic is further justified in enquiring about how building is perceived – both by its users and the public – since all such reactions form part of the critical arsenal. Perhaps my military metaphor is not quite apposite. In English we are not used to that idea, but the French respect what they call critique militante, which we might more gently translate as ‘engaged criticism’. It might almost qualify as an oxymoron since we often see the critic as detached, above the fray, calmly formulating judgements and not engaged in jousts or disputes. Yet dispassionate criticism does not seem to be the ..

From left Buildings and exhibitions reviewed by Joseph Rykwert for the AJ. David Chipperfield Stirling Prizeshortlisted Hepworth Wakefield; Witherford Watson Mann’s Astley Castle retrofit; Postmodernism show at the V&A

V&A MUSEUM

LEFT: IWAN BAAN. RIGHT: HÉLÈNE BINET

ENTER THE AJ/BGS WRITING PRIZE THEAJ.CO.UK/WRITINGPRIZE

Critics must have a clear notion of what society expects of its builders kind that really matters. I have always believed that the critic must be a fighter. To do so they must have a base from which to operate, not only the obvious one of a newspaper, periodical, radio or television programme or blog which will make their views public but, more intimately, a clearly articulated notion of what they >>

‘Now that we are in No-Mo, what does Po-Mo really look like? A bit bedraggled, truth be told. It certainly does not, as the styles of the past did, typify a period – too much else was going on at the time.’ 6 October 2011 


Culture Architectural criticism

Ward’s radical ideas appear pertinent amid this planning chaos, writes Charles Holland

It is no secret architects can be sensitive to critics’ words, even over-sensitive

It’s fair to say the government’s planning policy is a hopeless, contradictory mess. Recent statements have veered between so-called ‘muscular localism’ and centralised overriding of local planning decisions. Commitments to building affordable housing are likely to be torn up and there is to be a temporary relaxation of the need for planning approval of domestic extensions. I’ve been noting these announcements while reading Talking Houses, a collection of the late Colin Ward’s lectures on planning and the environment. This has been particularly interesting because there are aspects of planning deregulation he might have approved of. Ward was a lifelong anarchist and a sceptic when it came to centralised power. His writing career spanned the second half of the 20th century, taking in the local authority building programme of the 1950s and 60s, and the Right to Buy revolution of the 80s. Ward was equally critical of both. Although he was on the political left, he disagreed with what he saw as Labour’s embracement of ‘bureaucratic managerialism’, regarding it as an infringement of personal liberty. He also saw through the Tories’ libertarian cant. Instead, he argued in favour of ‘dweller control’ and the right for people to construct their own houses. He criticised legislation that limited this, suggesting that only a self-built environment would allow people to peacefully co-exist with the land and one another. The closest model we have for this are the ‘plotland’ developments (pictured) of south-east England – higgledy-piggledy landscapes of folk architecture intermingled with gardens, allotments and small holdings. Ward was not without faults – his rigid scepticism about the state’s role is questionable – but his thinking seems particularly pertinent when the government is intent on tearing up the planning rulebook for all the wrong reasons. While disagreeing with its motives, it’s worth reading someone with radical ideas on how to deliver homes for all. Charles Holland is a director of FAT. James Pallister is away

think society must expect of its builders. This does not mean only architects, but also developers, local and central government, and all those others who frame the programmes on which the architect must operate. Which is all fine, but why will it matter and to whom? In the short-term, the effect of a critic’s words may not be all that obvious, yet it is no secret that architects can be sensitive to them, sometimes even over-sensitive to the point of threatening libel action. Perhaps more important is the effect on those commissioning buildings, who tend to think of themselves as patrons or even as public benefactors and so find any carping at the products of their benevolence as impugning their good name. Such hazards do suggest that the engaged critic’s words are not at all vain and that beyond any resentment, they may promote reflection and may even lead participants in the building process to modify or turn their ways. More actively, critics increasingly sit on competition and prize juries which invite their involvement in design decisions. Considered at their lowest valuation, critics will certainly help form and reform public opinion which is the uneven but fertile ground from – or against which – all those involved in building inevitably operate. But of course at their highest, they may establish a fruitful dialogue with those involved in the creation of our environment. ■ Joseph Rykwert is on the jury of the AJ Writing Prize

AJ WRITING PRIZE To enter Visit TheAJ.co.uk/writingprize Sponsored by

 ..

CHARLES HOLLAND

IN ASSOCIATION WITH BERMAN GUEDES STRETTON ARCHITECTS

read Talking Houses, Colin Ward, published by Freedom Press (1990)

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www.kalzip.com

> Digital Mapping

Expertise and beauty in stone Cladding, flooring, treads, surfaces. www.kirkstone.com Head Office 015394 33296 London Showroom 020 7386 5600 info@kirkstone.com

> Daylighting

The architects toolbox for digital mapping. www.promap.co.uk > Single Ply Membrane Systems

BMW Wolverhampton reminds us why architects embrace Kalwall’s stunning ethereal glow at night, complementing its usual role as a highly insulating diffuse daylighting system for many different projects. Kalwall is also being widely specified for refurbishment of aged buildings, especially failed curtainwalls and skylighting. www.stoakes.co.uk

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Classified TENDER

The Architects’ Journal Emap Communications Greater London House Hampstead Road London nw1 7ej

The successful design team(s) will be part of one of London’s most exciting high street regeneration projects that will help build on an emerging restaurant quarter in South End and will contribute to growth and changing the perception of Croydon. For more information visit the LBC procurement portal at www.londontenders.org

Deadlines Bookings/copy 5pm Monday Artwork 12pm Tuesday

3D COMPUTER VISUALISATION

London Borough of Croydon is looking for designers to help deliver a transformational public realm project on South End High Street for approximately £2.8m. Croydon Council has secured multi-million pound investment for an exciting high street public realm project. This project is part of the Council’s wider Connected Croydon Programme, which is gearing up for delivery and will see significant enhancements of the Town Centres public realm over the coming years.

Display advertising 020 7728 3762 Careers advertising 020 7728 3823 Advertising fax number 020 7728 3888

www.glass-canvas.co.uk info@glass-canvas.co.uk

020 3117 2580 “Glass Canvas creates 3D images, animations, short films and VR applications. We’re able to take the most complex of narratives and communicate them simply and clearly through a variety of mixed media” Andrew Goodeve, MD

FOR SALE

3D Visualisation 020 7916 1111

www.architectsjournal.co.uk

Careers www.wilkinsoneyre.com Our London based, international award winning practice, is looking for an exceptionally talented and experienced Architect to join our Infrastructure Team, at a senior level. Applicants must be able to demonstrate relevant organisational, management and job running skills appropriate to bridge and infrastructure projects and special structures. A minimum 7 years post-RIBA Part 2 experience is required. 2D and 3D CAD capability in addition to advanced design and presentation skills (spoken, written and graphic) are essential. This is a full-time, permanent role with competitive salary and benefits offered including private medical care, pension contribution, gym membership and more. Please send a CV with portfolio examples to recruitment@wilkinsoneyre. com - including ‘Infrastructure Application’ in the heading - no later than 28 September 2012. Please note interviewing may begin earlier than this date. Wilkinson Eyre Architects is an equal opportunities employer and no candidate will be discriminated against on the basis of age, race, gender, sexuality or disability. No agencies at this time please.

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Careers

ARCHITECTURAL TECHNOLOGIST (ASSET MANAGEMENT, GORDON HOUSE, SOUTH SHIELDS) £15,725 to £38,042 pa (Career Grade) Fixed Term post for a period of 12 months

Our Design Team has recently been re-structured and this post offers an exciting opportunity to work in a supportive team environment and to play a role in the delivery of the Council’s Transformation Agenda for the Borough. We are a multi-disciplinary practice with a challenging and interesting workload. You will be a member of the Architectural Design Team which is responsible for providing customer focussed design, production information and a clerk of works service to the Council’s corporate clients. South Tyneside Council is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment. Successful applicants will be required to obtain an Enhanced Certificate of Disclosure from the Criminal Records Bureau. To request an Application pack and find out more about this role please visit www.southtyneside.info/jobs. Alternatively you can e-mail jobs@southtyneside.gov.uk or call (0191) 455 4968. BT Typetalkers welcome. Closing date: Noon, Wednesday 26 September 2012.

The Architects’ Journal Emap Communications Greater London House Hampstead Road London nw1 7ej

Display advertising 020 7728 3762 Careers advertising 020 7728 3823 Advertising fax number 020 7728 3888

Deadlines Bookings/copy 5pm Monday Artwork 12pm Tuesday

LONDON OFFICE, SMITHFIELD Urban Designer PRP is a large international multi-disciplinary practice providing Architecture and a range of complimentary design and consultancy services including Urban Design & Masterplanning. Candidates should have a minimum of 5 years architectural and urban design experience preferably both in the UK and China. The successful candidate is required to work at the interface of our London and Shanghai offices on large urban design, masterplanning and mixed use projects in China. They must also possess strong design, presentation and report writing skills and be able to read, write and speak Mandarin to a very good level.

Architecture Masterplanning Urban Design Landscape Interiors Planning Project Management Environmental

SALARY: £25,000 QUALIFICATIONS: Degrees in Architecture & Urban Design

If the above is of interest please send your CV, by email, to: recruitment@prparchitects.co.uk CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS: 10 October 2012 PRP is an equal opportunities employer. For further information visit our website:

www.prparchitects.co.uk LONDON

SURREY

MANCHESTER

CHINA

MOSCOW

Seeking a Chair and Panel Members for the Islington Design Panel Islington is world famous for its historic squares and terraces and we want future generations to be just as proud of the buildings that are being constructed today. Therefore we are setting up a Design Panel to advise us on major planning applications and other design issues. We are looking to recruit a Panel Chair and Panel Members in the fields of architecture, urban design and landscape design. We are seeking highly experienced professionals who are recognised as experts both within their field and within the development sector. Both the Chair and Panel Members will be paid appropriate hourly rates, please advise us of your rate within your application. If you are interested in applying please visit www.islington.gov.uk/designpanel Please apply by sending us your CV and a short letter detailing your expertise and stating why you are interested in chairing or attending the Design Panel. Your application should be sent to designpanel@islington.gov.uk by 5 October 2012.

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Ian Martin

You’ve got to socially network to notionally get work tailored jeans and antique T-shirts. I was expecting beer and sandwiches, but oh no: bloody juice and jelly beans. It’s so noisy too. Indie drivel bleating out and some weird film being shown on the two-storey-high wall. It looks like Norse gods clattering each other in some endless balletic death-battle. ‘A green roof would be kinda cool,’ murmurs some hyper-tanned geek to his Xbox. ‘Cool. Cool cool cool!’ says everyone in unison, absently miming a complicated handshake. ‘There could be a jogging trail on the roof and awesome platforms, and you pick up stars and…boom, sucker! Feel my MACE OF WRATH!’ Ah. That explains it. The wall screen is showing what’s on Teakgeek’s Xbox. ‘Modded Tekken with divinities. Elephant dude with the laser arms is like, whoa. Kick-ass!’ Hell is, specifically, these other people. Plus, there’s fucking nowhere to smoke as usual. After an hour’s immersion in a sustainable miasma of dork talk, I think I’ve grasped the brief. They want a 10acre long room that feels like a classic 8bit game, divided into zones, with an end-of-level boss (Spak) and rewards along the way such as magic jelly beans and bags of money. I pretend to take a call from Rupert Murdoch, awkwardly indicate a British high five to the unresponsive pricks and leave.

MONDAY. It’s absolutely heaving at London Military Building Fashion Week. Out: Anti-terrorist design. In: Retaliation-proof. TUESDAY. Redesign Hull, making it more meaningful and nostalgic with a Larkin retrospective and an Instagram slideshow.

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THURSDAY. On way home. Dream up new global reality show, City Swap, in which inhabitants of, say, London and San Francisco swap locations for a month, then consider problems with customs, e.g. gun ownership. FRIDAY. Have worked out my Facebook campus zones based on jetlagged over-sleep and a panicky mind-trawl of American culture: Urban Terror, Black Rural, New York Deli, Chic Shaker Prayer Hall, Jolly Hispanic, University of Buffy, Unoccupied Wall Street, Life-Affirming Prison, Porn Dungeon, Bling Crib, Post-Apocalyptic Pixar, Civil War Paintball, Graffiti Hangout, Pimped Ride (Interior), Wild West Platinum Lounge, Suburban Psychodrama. SATURDAY. Still no word from Facebook Spak. Poke him. Apparently now I am ‘de-friended’. HANNA MELIN

WEDNESDAY. To San Francisco, full of dread. I’ve been provisionally appointed ‘space stylist dude’ for Facebook’s new headquarters. The money’s fantastically good. Alas, the clients are punchable spindly millionaire dickbrats. OK, so I’ve flown in like some fat British seagull keening for someone’s discarded lunch, but don’t judge me. I am here to WORK. I am here to agree a PROJECT BRIEF so both sides know what everyone’s talking about in terms of space, style and dudity. Nailing the brief is essential. Let’s face it, Britain and America have a cultural disconnect. Admittedly, the phrase ‘cultural disconnect’ is understood, with resignation, on both sides of the same ocean. It’s a shared cultural disconnect, which makes it even worse. I say sausage roll, you say corndog, I’m not entirely sure what a corndog is, let’s call the whole thing off, I’ll email you. The clients want an extra 50,000m² of ‘cool, fluid space’ and so far all I have is a pdf of freestyle notes scribbled on the back of a Marvel comic by Facebook Head of Thinking, Spak Hungstrom: ‘Maybe it’s like the apartment in that movie Big? Starring Tom Hanks? But with 21st century games and shit. Altho… hey, would be WAY COOL to have, like, 1980s pinball machines etc from the movie on-site. In… booths. Retro chillin’. Right? RIGHT? So what do we call this new cool, fluid space? HQ’s a tad Old Europe. Should have COLLEGE feel. The Facebook… Campus? Boom, keep it LITE yo. Animal House! Is jockular a word? THINK JOCKULAR CAMPUS DUDE J.’ God Almighty. This gig already feels more creche than campus and I haven’t even got to the brief-setting meeting yet. I’m led through genuine medieval doors bearing the crayoned legend ‘THOUGHT JAM’, into a vast open-plan refectory space, all polished wood and cultured glass. Difficult to know which one is Spak. I never find out. ‘No names in the thought jam game, man,’ says someone behind my sofa and this sets the tone: a brisk churn of anonymous non-hierarchical hipster toddlers all wearing

SUNDAY. Attempt to reignite my trans-Atlantic excitement by drinking miniature bottles of scotch until I fall asleep in the recliner. ..


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Thomas Heatherwick's Olympic Cauldron (AJ20.09.12)  

Featuring Thomas Heatherwick's London Olympic Cauldron, the stunning design that featured in the London Olympics Opening Ceremony