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THANKS TO ALL THE PHOTOGRAPHERS THAT CONTRIBUTED TO THIS WEEK’S 12 COVERS: DANIEL HOPKINSON, PETER GUENZEL, RINO GROPPUZZO, BEN BLOSSOM, CHARLES HOSEA, GARETH GARDNER, ANDY MATTHEWS, IOANA MARINESCU, ROBIN CHANDA, VALERIE BENNETT & KILBURN NIGHTINGALE ARCHITECTS
The Architects’ Journal
rojects AJ Small P starts exhibition 31 on January 2013 ..
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Part two of this year’s shortlist: Design ACB
Part two of this year’s shortlist: Invisible Studio
Part two of this year’s shortlist: Kilburn Nightingale Architects
Part two of this year’s shortlist: Synthesis Design + Architecture
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Part two of this year’s shortlist: Studio Zoppini Associati
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Part two of this year’s shortlist: Studio BAAD
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Week in pictures The Scalpel: KPF’s 35-storey City tower design Front page Struck-off architect reinstated after appeal victory Regional feature Scotland approaches its historical choice Competitions & wins Ex-MBLA team wins Brunswick PFI job People & practice Emerging developer Bernard Construction AJ Small projects 2013 Part 2 of this year’s shortlist of contenders for the best project with a total cost under £250,000 60 Housing roundtable More Homes, Better Homes calls to action 68 Culture Robert Adam’s The Globalisation of Modern Architecture This week online See photographs, drawings and details for all 229 Small Projects 2013 entries at AJBuildingsLibrary.co.uk
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From the editor
The AJ More Homes, Better Homes campaign continues with three calls to action, says Christine Murray
Just before Christmas, the AJ put together a housing think tank to generate ideas on how to encourage mass house building while preserving design quality. The roundtable discussion is part of the AJ More Homes, Better Homes campaign, which continues into 2013 in the lead-up to the recommendations that will be presented to government this spring. Sponsored by the Rooflight Company, the panel met over lunch at the Groucho Club, where they thrashed out firm action points to enshrine design quality without inhibiting investment and growth. From taxation to property valuations, planning reform to prefabrication, their views are presented in a special eight-page feature on pages 60-67. We are seeking completed projects that We couldn’t have asked for a better panel. The exemplify good-quality housing design across cast was diverse and high-profile – from developers to architects to politicians – and included PRP typologies to be published in the AJ in March chair Andy von Bradsky, a key member of the three-strong panel appointed by the government and government with inspiration and aspiration. to review housing codes and regulations. A special thanks to the attendees, who included Three very clear calls to action emerged former housing minister Nick Raynsford MP, Sherin from the wide-ranging discussion. Aminossehe from the Cabinet Office, Matt Bell 1) A call for technical standards for housing to be of the Berkeley Group, Claire Bennie of Peabody, consolidated and simplified into a single document. Roger Zogolovitch of SolidSpace, John Slaughter 2) A call for a national housing design guide, which, from the Home Builders Federation, Alex Ely like the London Housing Design Guide, of Mae Architects (author of the London would include minimum space standards. Housing Design Guide), Alison Brooks of 3) A call for the promotion and celebration of MORE HOMES ABA, Paul Karakusevic of Karakusevic good housing design to highlight exemplars. BETTER HOMES Carson, Gerard Maccreanor of Maccreanor We are interested in your feedback on Lavington, Paul Monaghan of AHMM, these three calls to action as we prepare to Building Regulations expert Geoff Wilkinson, make our recommendations to the government and our discussion chair, Paul Finch. taskforce pending its review. And, to tackle the third For more information on our ongoing campaign point – the promotion of exemplars – we are currently and coverage to date, and to leave a comment with seeking completed projects that exemplify goodyour feedback on the campaign and its direction, quality housing design across typologies – for example visit theaj.co.uk/morehomes, or email richard. self-build, affordable, and so on – to be published in a email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. special AJ housing issue in March. This pattern book email@example.com of the UK’s best homes will aim to enthuse planners ..
Week in pictures
PICTURE CREDITS: 01 JOHN NICHOLLS PHOTOGRAPHY 02 KPF 03 BDP 04 JOHN ROBERTSON ARCHITECTS 05 ZAP ARCHITECTURE
Studio Egret West has completed this £20 million, brass-clad housing development in Sidcup in the London borough of Bexley, Kent. The nine-storey ‘Fold’ project for developer United House, on a site adjacent to Sidcup railway station, includes 98 homes, a restaurant, office and a shop. 1
KPF has won 2 planning for a 35-storey tower in the City of London. Officially known as 52-54 Lime Street, the 190m-tall ‘scalpel-shaped’ tower will become the new home for US insurance firm WR Berkley. The 58,000m² scheme is scheduled to complete in 2017 ..
- The Twentieth Century Society has made a fresh bid to list Preston’s 1969 bus station, which is again threatened with demolition. The move follows Preston City Council’s controversial decision last month to bulldoze the BDPdesigned Brutalist icon 3
John Robertson 4 Architects has seen off Paris-based LAN Architecture and Thom Mayne’s Morphosis to win the competition to design a 16,400m HQ for BankMed in Beirut, Lebanon. The winning concept features three blocks stepping up in height from nine to 19 storeys
Emerging 5 London-based practice ZAP Architecture has won an RIAI-backed competition to design a new entrance at Dublin City University. The second place went to Dublinbased practice de Blacam and Meagher Architects and third to Maguire McBrien
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The owners of Battersea Power Station are claiming a ‘watershed moment’ in the long-running saga surrounding the redevelopment of the Grade II*-listed south London landmark. Battersea Power Station Development Company confirmed that 600 of the 800 homes within the Ian Simpson-designed Phase One of the scheme had been reserved in the first week of going on sale. A spokesperson said: ‘None of the previous attempts [over the past 30 years] to regenerate Battersea Power Station have had off-plan purchasers. This is by far the furthest anyone has ever come, and we’re confident of seeing the project through.’
Struck-off architect reinstated onto ARB register after appeal success Manchester architect wins rare overturn after Architects Registration Board admits to flaw in Professional Conduct Committee proceedings - A Manchesterbased architect has been re-instated to the architects’ register after winning a rare appeal victory against a decision by the Architects Registration Board’s professional complaints committee (PCC). The ARB admitted there had been a blunder in the proceedings concerning one of five allegations against Faheem Aftab, who was struck off last July after being found guilty of dishonesty. ..
Ahead of a hearing in Manchester High Court scheduled for this week, the board conceded to having made an error in the conduct of the original investigation and will now have to restart its enquiry procedure on that allegation. The case related to a domestic project Aftab undertook through his firm, A-Cube Architects, which is now in liquidation. According to the client there had been numerous problems with the
works, including inappropriate behaviour by workmen, damage to a neighbouring property, breaches of Building Regulations, sub-standard work, incorrect specification and a general lack of progress. Aftab admitted four allegations but always denied that he had ‘dishonestly misrepresented’ the true position of his professional indemnity insurance cover. He was found guilty by the committee,
erased from the register and he subsequently appealed. A spokesman for the ARB said: ‘Following an appeal received in relation to a Professional Conduct Committee decision of July 2012 in the case of Faheem Aftab, the ARB has consented to restore Aftab’s name to the Register and refer four of the five allegations found proved back to the PCC for a reconsideration on what penalty should be imposed. ‘These four allegations were found proved at the original hearing and have not been subject of any appeal. ‘The remaining allegation was the subject of appeal because of a technical flaw in the proceedings, and will be the subject of further investigation.’ Aftab was unavailable for comment. Richard Waite
Battersea off-plan buyer boost
retendering to get a competitive price of work for the next stage.’ Paul Monaghan of AHMM criticised the general approach, claiming the decision to swap ‘trophy architects’ for cheaper alternatives was ‘becoming more and more common’ and should be blocked where possible. ‘When you use good architects their hallmarks are in the detailed design they do,’ he said. Monaghan suggested up to 50 per cent of a practice’s expected workload could be lost if a project went to an executive architect for bargain-hunting reasons. ‘It’s really frustrating and something planning authorities should be doing something about,’ he said, blaming the problem on an increase in practices providing ‘cheaper detailing’. But a source close to the project said: ‘They have been reasonable on fees to date and I would be really surprised if they took the cheap route.’ Merlin Fulcher
Shell Centre architects to retender Shell Centre developer Braeburn Estates has retendered the design team on the high-profile South Bank scheme ‘to get a competitive price’
new public spaces and shops. Braeburn Estates, the joint venture developer comprising Qatari Diar with Canary Wharf Group, retendered all disciplines apart from Squire and Partners’ masterplanning role. The appointments were initially only up to planning stage and negotiations are expected
to conclude by the end of the month. Architects must tender for both design architecture and working drawings contracts. Incumbent teams must compete against a shortlist of ‘selected architects’ to guarantee taking their individual buildings through working drawings. Braeburn Estates said: ‘We appointed people up to planning because we didn’t know the scheme we would ultimately arrive at in terms of what we would be submitting for planning and getting consent for.’ Asked whether the current architects’ performance was to blame, he said: ‘We are delighted with all of our architects. They are doing incredibly well. We are
Sorrow at Strathclyde school move The decision by the University of Strathclyde to move its school of architecture out of its much-loved 1960s home has been slammed by former tutors and students. Completed in 1967, the building by Frank Fielden & Associates was the UK’s first purposebuilt architecture school to be built in more than three decades. But its life as a school of architecture looks set to be over, as the Glasgow university has proposed to move the architecture department into an engineering hub in the nearby James Weir building. A ‘disappointed’ Paul Stallan, a former student and tutor at the ..
school, and director of Glasgowbased Stallan Brand, said: ‘I’m at a total loss to understand why the move is being considered. The existing building is infinitely flexible and robust and has the potential to adapt to a wide range of curriculum delivery requirements.’ Kieran Gaffney, of Edinburghbased Konishi Gaffney Architects, who has taught at the school, said the proposed relocation was ‘a shame’. He said: ‘The building was a delight to study in. It had amazing studio spaces, well lit with north light and high ceilings and very clear circulation. ‘Although the move to the James Weir building will con-
solidate the connection to the engineering department, it is disappointing. The new building is a less successful 1960s block, grey, dull and much more like an office than an architecture department.’ Writing on the C20th Society website, current Strathclyde student Ruairidh Campbell Moir said: ‘As a student of the school since 2007, I greatly admire the building and have developed an affinity to it. Individual identities as students, and the collective identity of the school, are nurtured and shaped by this building more than, perhaps, other departments of the university housed in nondescript buildings.
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The developer of London’s iconic Shell Centre has retendered its entire design team. The move casts into doubt the detailed design roles of five high-profile architects working on the scheme. Squire and Partners, KPF, Patel Taylor, GRID and Stirling Prize-winner Stanton Williams have been pitted against executive architects in a bid to achieve ‘competitive’ prices for working drawings. The decision comes less than a month after plans were submitted for the 2.15 hectare London riverside plot, featuring landmark towers with 790 apartments alongside 48,300m of office space together with
Defending the move, executive dean of the faculty of engineering, Scott MacGregor said: ‘The relocation of the Department of Architecture is part of a major £35million investment programme which will bring together four of the Faculty departments, forming part of an integral engineering hub in and around the James Weir building in the northeast area of the campus.’ Laura Mark ..
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Competitions & wins
Ex-MBLA team wins in Manchester
£113 million Brunswick housing scheme in Manchester goes to design started at MBLA and taken over to Buttress Fuller Alsop Williams community facilities and shops. The team beat a consortium featuring PRP Architects with Harvest Housing and builder Gleeson to land the job. Ian Beaumont, a founding director of MBLA and now design director at BFAW, said: ‘This is the culmination of five years’ work that was started at MBLA Architects and that we are now carrying forward with BFAW.’ Richard Waite
London’s Tricycle Theatre (pictured) is seeking a design team for a £2.4 million refurbishment and remodelling project. An architect is sought to lead the design team which will include engineers and a theatre consultant which are to be separately appointed. The team will take the project from RIBA stage C through to completion, which is due in April 2015. [Requests to participate by 6 February]
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- A team from preferred bidder for the huge now-defunct MBLA Architects project south of the city centre. has won the £113 million Restarted in late 2010 housing-led Brunswick after a review by PFI regeneration the Homes and scheme in Manchester. MORE HOMES Communities Agency, The architects, who the much-delayed BETTER HOMES scheme recently found a new will provide home at Buttress Fuller more than 500 new Alsop Williams, were homes, refurbish part of the S4B consortium another 653 houses, flats with Gallifords and Mears, and maisonettes from the 1960s which was announced as the and 1970s and create new
Islington Council is seeking architects for a four year framework covering council buildings including housing and health facilities. The £400,000 contract is aimed at small to medium-sized businesses. PQQs will be required. [Expressions of interest are due 30 January] Applications are now being received to the 2013 RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship. The prize is open to UK and international students and the winner will receive a £6,000 grant to fund ‘research on a topic related to the survival of our towns and cities.’ [Submissions must be received by 26 April] Sean Kitchen TheAJ.co.uk/competitions ..
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What would independence mean for Scottish architects?
KEITH HUNTER / ARCAID
The first of a series of topical news features focused on the regions
In two years’ time Scotland will face a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to decide its future as an independent state. The date coincides with the 700th anniversary of Robert Bruce’s victory over Edward II at Bannockburn in the First War of Scottish Independence. Although he has always denied any link, this coincidence won’t have been lost on proindependence referendumpusher and current first minister, Alex Salmond. When the polls open in 2014, Salmond and his SNP party will dangle in front of voters freedom from Whitehall’s austerity push and a surge of investment in housing, health, education and infrastructure. For Scottish architects, a decision to go it alone could create longer-term opportunities for Scotland to enshrine its own architectural education and regulation system based on the protection of function. It could also boost the development of a strong, distinctively Scottish architectural culture. As Scotland already has its own building regulations, planning and legal systems, jobbing architects are unlikely to be affected on a day-to-day basis, meaning few big practices working north of the border would be left scrabbling to adapt. Oliver Chapman, of Edinburghbased Oliver Chapman Architects, said: ‘It’s only the un-devolved powers, such as foreign policy, tax and defence which could make a difference.’ Yet concern over how these currently unresolved issues will play out has already created uncertainty in the run-up to the referendum. ‘Even just asking about independence we worry it would put people off ..
investing,’ warns Chapman. Scotland’s wider business community has blamed confusion over independence for creating short-term uncertainty. Key questions, they say, remain unanswered, including: would Scotland automatically become a member of the European Union? Would it join the euro or retain the pound? Would passport control be needed on the English border? John Boxall, of quantity surveyor Jackson Coles, says the costly requirement for a new bureaucracy for Scotland’s membership of the EU could ‘make life difficult and create more uncertainty in the long run’ for businesses. Furthermore, if Scotland retains the pound, as the SNP says it prefers, its interest rates could increase. Boxall says higher rates would be bad for business because ‘anyone with any debt is paying more for the debt, so people involved in the property industry, which we all feed off, will see increased costs.’ He adds that passport control could make crossborder work in Scotland ‘more awkward’, and suggested these impacts combined could see many Scotland-headquartered companies ‘considering if that would be the right place for them to remain.’ CBI Scotland assistant director David Lonsdale said: ‘Firms tell us that they value greatly the existing UK-wide single market for goods and services and the level playing field on the laws, regulations and taxes that apply to business, and that the fragmentation that would apply as a result of independence would not be risk or cost free. ‘There are significant gaps in knowledge about what Scottish independence would mean for >>
Malcolm Fraser of Malcolm Fraser Architects I’m a greedy Federalist, happy to be all Scottish national-pride while aspiring to a UK stage, when there’s the chance. But what’s the best size for the basic nation state? More specifically, while a big one is ideal if you want to invade Iraq, or encourage a reckless banking bubble, what’s best for architecture? Here the experience of devolution has not been entirely-positive. If, throughout Britain, the architect’s lead role is being usurped by a culture of compliance and consultation, Scotland has embraced this with extra-enthusiasm. And if we worry about the commodification of creativity, the Scottish Futures Trust’s large, banker-led monopolies (that are to deliver most public contracts) are chilling, describing our art and craft as a ‘supply-chain component’. The architectural institutions of Scotland, with their passionate architects, have the right to be heard, in a way that is inconceivable in a UK-wide context. I’m an optimist and as I believe in the power and necessity of good architecture, I’m full of hope that we have an audience in government and the opportunity, in a nation with increasing self-government, of creating the positive architectural culture we need.
Alan Dickson, Rural Design Scotland has a strong identity, regardless of our theoretical national status. From an architectural perspective our architecture is defined by our climate, landscape and available resources. These won’t change. The current debate is as exciting as a rebranding exercise. Scotland has major issues to sort out, such as long-term poverty, poor health and social inequity, to name but a few, and the navel-gazing independence debate is not helping any of these issues at the moment. The SNP is selling off our natural resources to private companies. Nothing has been learned from past experience, for example when hydro electricity was developed after the war as a colossal social enterprise – reinvesting the profits in bringing electricity and roads infrastructure throughout the highlands. Nowadays, all we get for a wind farm on our doorstep is a new football strip for the local team. The debate is too narrow. We should be thinking about what kind of country we want to be in 20-50 years’ time, rather than two years’ time. No real issue can be resolved in a few years. While it is clear that there are some areas that we could have further autonomy, I would think that will be a natural evolution of devolution, rather than having to adopt an altogether different national status.
the economy and for firms, which is why far greater clarity and certainty is needed well in advance of the referendum, in order to inform a productive debate and also to allow firms to assess the merits of what is being proposed and plan ahead accordingly.’ The potential impact on the land, property and construction sector is currently being investigated by the RICS. A profession divided Unsurprisingly, Scotland’s architectural community remains divided over whether independence would be good for the country. Among Scotland’s more established architects, Malcolm Fraser openly supports independence (see ‘For’, page 17) but others remain undecided and some are strongly against. Glasgow-based AJ100 practice 3DReid’s managing director Calum MacDonald argues ‘now is not the time’ for the nation to go its own way. He said: ‘The ongoing financial challenges we face as a nation and an industry means now is the time for us all to be working together.’ Chris Bowes, of Doolan Prize-shortlisted small practice McGregor Bowes, suggests the electoral victory of proindependence SNP was a protest vote against the Liberal Democrats and Labour but there was actually ‘very little support’ for independence in the country. ‘Most construction professionals
‘Most construction professional are not preparing contingency plans for independence’ ..
are not preparing contingency plans for independence,’ he says. Others criticise the terms of the referendum and ask whether the country is really being offered what it needs. Ballot papers are expected to ask voters if they support independence and potentially also if they would like greater devolution, known as ‘devomax’. AJ Emerging Woman in Architecture finalist 2012 Jude Barber, of Collective Architecture, said greater economic and decision-making autonomy for Scotland was an ‘exciting prospect’ but questioned whether critical issues relating to absentee landowners, multinational corporations, the monarchy and NATO membership would be addressed. She said: ‘The simple question of whether to be “for” or “against” the Scottish Independence referendum is not really the issue, but rather “what are the terms?” and “what kind of country might we be?” As libraries and sports facilities close and social mobility decreases throughout the UK perhaps many in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are asking themselves the same question.’ Alan Dickson, of Isle of Skye-based Rural Design, similarly criticised the debate for distracting attention from ‘long-term poverty, poor health, and social inequity’ and called for ‘natural evolution of devolution’ instead. Offering a more radical viewpoint, Part II graduate Ruairidh Campbell Moir – who masterminded the campaign against the Scottish Parliament’s latest controversial security ‘enhancements’ – claimed he would emigrate to Ireland or Catalonia if independence were rejected. He said: ‘I would be very
Gordon Gibb, recently vicechair of ARB and now a RIAS practices services consultant, reckons an act of parliament protecting architects’ function is a ‘strong possibility’ in an independent Scotland. He said: ‘Scotland has a very strong tradition of legislation. There is eal potential consumer benefit with a protection of function. And, if it is seen to work in Scotland, as has happened with other law, England could follow suit.’ Gibb said this was because Scotland’s size and politics were similar to other states willing to safeguard architects’ unique role in the construction process, whereas England’s innate conservatism saw the policy shot down in the 1990s. He added: ‘At the other end of the spectrum the ARB’s functions could be subsumed into a small body like the RIAS, but I don’t think this is likely, because this is not the
way Scotland does business.’ It was meanwhile ‘sensible’ the ARB would administer Scotland’s relationship with the European Union Commission during any transition to independence, he said. The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS), which has long campaigned for protection of function, has already started debating such ‘possible scenarios’ for political change. Treasurer and secretary Neil Baxter supported a high level review of professional safeguards but admitted it was unlikely to be top priority in government. ‘If the opportunity arose to have an open discussion towards a better recognition of the value of the profession we would welcome it.’ Baxter insisted RIAS was a ‘broad church’ with no pro nor anti stance on independence, despite claims the membership organisation had promoted a strong nationalist agenda under his stewardship.
disappointed if my kinsmen didn’t have the confidence to run their own affairs as Scotland. If we don’t take this once in a lifetime opportunity, I don’t know if I would consider Scotland a place I would like to live in.’
independence campaigner and co-founder of Glasgow and Isle of Skye-based Dualchas, suggested freedom from ‘London-centric RIBA’ would allow Scotland to transform and improve architectural education. He said: ‘With independence our imaginations will be released, our confidence restored and Scotland can have its own international architectural reputation to build.’ Gordon Murray, head of architecture at the University of Strathclyde, said the costly business of RIBA validation and the ‘light touch’ relationship between the two bodies meant
Education The potential for Scotland to set its own standards of architectural education distinct from RIBA and ARB and with possibly greater flexibility and routes to entry is one potential outcome currently being debated by the RIAS. Alasdair Stephen, pro-
the RIAS was ‘more than capable’ of validating the country’s five architecture schools. He said: ‘Since devolution in 1997 that subject has frequently been discussed within RIAS. Furthermore with the Architects Professional Examination Authority Scotland recognised by ARB, RIBA and RIAS as an independent body administering the Part III examination, such a regulatory organisation could be developed out of both.’ But would a RIAS branded course carry the same weight internationally? Campbell Moir argued Scottish architecture schools’ high academic standing would perpetuate their international appeal. He said: ‘Holding a RIAS stamp would not be a bad thing in the long run, because it would be internationally realised as good or better than RIBA.’ Architecture Independence could well dissuade practices and architects from relocating south. Influential architects who have flown the nest include Bennetts Associates, Ushida Findlay and Benson + Forsyth. Jonathan Charley, of the University of Strathclyde, who curated last year’s Scottish pavilion at the Venice Biennale, said a ‘sea change’ in the cultural climate had challenged the southerly migration of architects. He said: ‘In the past 20 years there has been a resurgence of self-confidence in Scotland and the development of a distinctive sense of architectural culture, which reflects on its distinct landscape, not looking down to England but to Denmark, Catalonia and Norway. There has been a real sea change; a lot of people who would have gone to London are now quite happy ..
to stay and reinvigorate Scottish architecture.’ Charley points to Rural Design, Gareth Hoskins and Malcom Fraser as examples of successful architects who chose to forsake potentially richer pickings elsewhere to engage with Scotland’s architectural debate. He said: ‘If you went back 25 years ago practices like these would have probably gone south.’ Another viewpoint says architects themselves have been a driver for independence. Cultural commentator Pat Kane, author of The Play Ethic, argues that architecture was ‘part of the general cultural renaissance,’ saying major building projects like Gareth Hoskins’ Museum of Scotland, Page\Park’s Scottish National Portrait Gallery and the Scottish Parliament by Enric Miralles had ‘influenced the independence debate’. He said: ‘The very idea of Scotland having a conversation with the world is symbolised by Enric Miralles’ parliament. It has always looked to me like a state building in waiting.’ He suggests architects’ role in a refreshed debate over ‘how we use rural land to generate urban renewal’ could be the ‘real underpinning for an architectural renaissance in Scotland.’ Architecture and Design Scotland chair Karen Anderson confirmed that successive Scottish administrations had supported architecture and urban design as a ‘key and important part’ of Scottish identity. She also praised the all-party support for cultural secretary Fiona Hyslop’s parliamentary debate on architecture and the built environment and Scotland’s new architecture policy, which is being expanded to recognise ‘place’. Scotland remains the only UK country with its own architecture policy.
We moved to Scotland from Japan in 2007 as a result of wanting to be part of a flowering body of work here following devolution. While devolution was widely popular, full independence looks to be fighting a losing battle. My view is that, although at first a desire for independence in the 21st century might suggest a narrow outlook, the opposite might actually be the result. Instead of looking south for validation, independence might mean Scotland needs to look further afield for inspiration and to learn from a new set of competitors. Scotland has a poor record,
with low levels of entrepreneurship that suggests either a lack of ambition or lack of confidence. While a big question for many is the economic implications of independence, I think independence would by default require innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit, therefore for me the bigger question is: what would be the implications for cultural confidence? I admire the easy confidence of nations like Japan and Denmark, whose architects are liberated from having to ‘position’ themselves in ‘place’ as a starting point. If it could be demonstrated that independence would result in this liberation and a newfound confidence, then they might get my vote.
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Legal row hits Israeli National Library Israeli architect fights back after being ousted from prestigious national scheme and attacked over design copyright and for ‘leftist’ political views Israeli architect Rafi Segal has launched a legal challenge after being ousted from the high-profile job to design a national library in Jerusalem. Segal hopes the court will reinstate him as winner of the competition following a copyright row and an attack by local politicians on Segal’s political views. Organisers of the international competition – whose longlist included Chipperfield and Shigeru Ban – terminated Segal’s appointment in December just months after he was trumpeted as ‘preferred architect’ for the National Library. The National Library Construction Company claimed Segal was ‘unable to create conditions which
would enable concluding an agreement with him’, announcing the process of selecting an architect had been resumed. The surprise disqualification came after one of Segal’s former colleagues at the Harvard School of Design, Bing Wang, whose company also worked on the competition entry, challenged the architects’ ownership of the
winning design (pictured). Segal said: ‘The organisers said there were doubts as to my authorship and rights to the design and I was not able to remove that doubt. So they decided not to proceed with the project.’ Planning lecturer Wang complained that the announcement about the winner failed to credit her company, HyperBina, for its
role in the bid. Wang argued her company’s staff worked on the competition entry and, therefore, under American law the company owned the work they produced. Segal said that the official announcement omitted HyperBina and he intended to credit the full design team when he had permission to publicise the win himself. ‘Wang was part of the team but not the creative author of the scheme,’ said Segal. ‘I wasn’t given the chance to prove I own the copyright. That’s why I have to go to court to prove I own it.’ The project’s design fee was worth $2.5 million. Writing in Haaretz, Esther Zandberg argued Segal was booted off because of his ‘leftist’ opinions. Prior to his disqualification, Yair Gabbay of the Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee threatened to block the scheme because an essay by Segal 10 years ago criticised Israeli settlement on the West Bank. Merlin Fulcher
US workloads recover Hadid in battle over Iraq registered growth of 56.3 (a score Architecture workloads of 50 represents the same level in the US have grown at their as the previous month) followed fastest rate in five years. by the Midwest at 54.4, and The American Institute of the South with 51.1. The West Architects’ Architecture Billrecorded a minor fall in billings ings Index hit 53.2 in Noat 49.6. Housing remains vember 2012, the fourth the place to be for USconsecutive month of based architects, with increased workloads the residential sector for designers across November 2012 hitting 55.9 on the the Atlantic and the billings index score index in November. highest single readfor US housing AIA chief econoing since late 2007. sector mist Kermit Baker said: It means the US ‘2012 turned out to be architecture sector is growfinancially challenging. Average ing at pre-recession levels after revenue growth is estimated at a sustained period of intense 2.9 per cent for the year. This difficulty. Recovery is stronger coming year is expected to be in the East than in the West. only modestly better.’ Greg Pitcher The North-Eastern region
The winner of the competition to design the £620 million Iraqi Parliament complex has described the confusion over who will get the contract as ‘bad news for architecture’. Peter Besley, director at London-based practice Assemblage, told the AJ it feared losing the project despite officially landing the contest, judged by the likes of CZWG’s Piers Gough and exRIBA president, Sunand Prasad. It has emerged that Zaha Hadid Architects – also shortlisted but third on points – is still in talks with organisers. Baghdadborn starchitect Hadid is designing the flagship Central Bank of Iraq headquarters and was seen
by many as the natural choice for the Parliament complex. Besley said: ‘Our scheme won on merit. We’ve been paid the prize money and awarded first place. If the contract is snatched, that is a big problem. It is disappointing for us but it is bad news for architecture.’ A spokesman for ZHA said: ‘[We were] invited to Baghdad on 29 August 2012 to answer specific technical queries related to ZHA’s competition design submission. All discussions [...] have been initiated by and are in response to the committee’s technical queries. To our knowledge, no decision has been made [about the winner].’ Greg Pitcher ..
place_ Leading recruiters for the London and International design community Set up by Architects for Architects Congratulations to all those shortlisted for the Architects Journal Small Projects Awards www.placecareers.co.uk
People & practice
‘Character inspires me’
What is your background? I arrived in London from Mauritius in 1966 aged seven, speaking no English. London life was very different. My parents and six siblings lived in two rooms in a three-storey terrace house with a family on each floor. Our weekly treat was going to the Clapham public baths. This is where my inspiration started – I wanted to own my own house. What do you do? The company focuses on buying, converting and selling. I specialise in Victorian school conversions. Finding this gap in the market led to our big break. I’ve completed five ‘school-to-loft’ conversions. What kind of schemes are you currently working on? We’ve branched out into newbuild apartments and have four projects on the go. It’s exhilarating as it’s a totally different domain. The last few years have been good, partly due to a major project in East London, which platformed off the back of the London 2012 Olympics. Before that, though, I had a major project in Clapham, South London that was badly hit by the recession. Despite the highs and lows, I am excited about the future. What do you want from an architect? Fresh concepts about how to maximise units in an allocated ..
space. In our development in Tulse Hill, Groves Natcheva has created a residential building with the robustness for our urban [railway-side] site. Black and white glazed bricks, together with large crittall windows overlooking the train station square, form an envelope; externally, this takes the pattern and massing of the terraced houses in the area. Externally, the building is intended to be a landmark; I want the people living there to be proud to say: ‘This is my building.’ Internally, the layouts are free from a literal relationship with the exterior. Views in different directions catch the sun at different times, while internal courtyard gardens and large open-plan rooms with high ceilings make for exciting, playful, generous and enjoyable living spaces, which I hope will create happy homes. When do you see the end of the recession? The housing market always yo-yos. Luckily I’ve always developed in inner London, where demand beats supply. Which of your projects is your favourite and why? I enjoy school conversions – it is our forté after all. If a building has character, this inspires me. Working in East London [with Michael Sierens Associates] was exciting – the whole area was alive. The building was an old police station and the Krays had been kept in the cells – a great selling point.
Mario Bernard of emerging developer Bernard Construction talks about his roots, branching out and the importance of Ronnie and Reggie Kray
Studio TILT Dermot Egan, Oliver Marlow East London December 2010 studiotilt.com What work do you have? We’ve just completed two new spaces for Club Workspace, a London based network of co-working spaces. Co-design underpins our ability to design collaborative spaces, and has been key to the success of our projects with the NHS, the Design Council and The Southbank Centre. What are your ambitions? To become known for shifting the paradigm of how space is designed and implemented, transforming the way people interact with each other and the spaces around them. What are the biggest challenges you face? The recession has been positive for us. We’re growing and increasing our project base. Hard
times force people to rethink the old ways and plan constructively for the future and we’ve benefited from that, bringing an innovative yet cost effective way to deliver great design. We see our codesign approach gaining greater recognition as codesign itself becomes seen as an integral part of designing space in the future. It’s very exciting to be a part of a movement that places users at the heart of design and we hope that we can develop upon our initial success. How are you marketing yourself? Currently via word of mouth, as clients continue to recommend us. Which recent scheme has inspired you most? Hôtel Fouquet’s Barrière in Paris, by Edouard Francois. ..
Sliding scale Readers will have spotted the seemingly good news this week that the legal wrangle surrounding the future of KPF’s Helter Skelter tower was resolved. Project backers The Pinnacle No 1 came to an agreement with contractor Brookfield Multiplex, which will hopefully see the stalled city of London skyscraper restarted. Worryingly, however, this statement emerged a few days later: ‘The Pinnacle No 1 Limited will initiate a review of the scheme with Brookfield Multiplex and will make a further statement following
the completion of this review.’ Insiders claim cost-cutting is inevitable. Could the Helter Skelter become more of a Slide?
Making a Splash Urban Splash’s troubles will not have gone unnoticed by many. Nor will the high-profile administration of high street camera specialist Jessops. The connection? ‘Freelance’ financial troubleshooter Martyn Everett. The 54-year-old, who has held 95 company directorship or secretary appointments, was drafted in as executive chairman of Jessops last February. In June he also took up a director’s role at debt-
riddled Urban Splash. Let’s hope there is a happier ending for the pioneering property developer.
Big it up for Zaha Pritzker Prize winner Zaha Hadid has done her street cred no harm at all with news that she is collaborating with hip-hop artiste Pharrell (known to most AJ readers as Pharrell Williams, the lead vocalist and drummer of band N.E.R.D). Explaining the project to web magazine Hypebeast, the singer said ‘We’re touring around with the idea of a prefab for a house.’ Apparently this was a vision
that was touched on in his book, Pharrell: The Places and Spaces I’ve Been. Cars and boats for art dealer Kenny Schacter. Space age homes for Naomi Campbell. Top secret HQs for Airbus in Toulouse. What can’t this woman do? Answers on a postcard.
Margate magnet Architect-aboutKent Guy Hollaway is busy in Margate, not only developing proposals for a hotel next to David Chipperfield’s Turner Contemporary, which is proving itself a cultural magnet despite its creator’s initial refusal to proclaim it as such, but also collaborating with Red or Dead founder Wayne Hemingway on proposals to resuscitate its Coney Islandinspired Dreamland amusement park. Locals feared the site would be developed as flats after it fell victim to arson, but it is now poised to re-open as a £10 million heritage park in 2014, which culture vultures can pop into after visiting the Turner and Margate’s drag of amusement arcades.
Put that in your pipe
The Hellman Files #87 Harking back to 1970 (AJ 04.02.70), this was my first cartoon looking at the topic of a certain type of architectural photography, in which buildings are often shown as isolated ..
objects, devoid of people and out of their immediate context, with gratuitously Photoshopped sunny skies. A fantasy world; or, in other words, archiporn.
Planning officers at Hammersmith and Fulham Council have dealt a blow to Thames Water’s ‘super sewer’ plans by approving a housing scheme on the utility’s preferred site for one of its foul air shafts. The final decision on the riverside plot rests with the DCLG. Councillor Nicholas Botterill, Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council, admitted he would be gutted if the approval were overturned. He said: ‘The last thing any of us want is for all our hard work to be flushed down Thames Water’s unnecessary stink-pipe.’
Letter from London
There is much we should learn from decades of successful British architecture, writes Paul Finch
Festival from Barcelona to Singapore. Rather than discouraging UK architects from attending because of time/cost, there was a real appetite to join us in the move, either because of existing client relationships in Asia or the desire to develop them. In short, the traditional British attitude to overseas markets, which is to be internationalist rather than narrowly European, is alive and well. It is the attitude of free spirits – exactly the opposite of the pettifogging bureaucracy that the EU, at its worst, has come to represent. Architects don’t need EU permission to trade across the globe. (Incidentally, ‘access’ to EU markets does not require EU membership, as the activities of Japan and the US make clear.) Those free spirits are replicated in the sense that many organisations in the UK exist
The traditional British attitude to overseas markets, which is to be internationalist, is alive and well
Has the worldwide success story of British architecture over the past four decades taken place as a result of conditions in this country, or despite them? At first glance one might assume the latter. After all, we have: a relatively non-visual culture; a hostile planning environment; political mindlessness (eg Michael Gove); Royal opprobrium, since 1984; relatively little export support; a boom-and-bust economic context; a media that is, at best, neutral and still obsessed with Prince Charles; and a building-of-the-year award that is no longer regarded as suitable for television. The profession looks generally weaker now than it did in 1973, subjected as it is to competition from contractors, planning consultants, cost consultants, project managers and other flotsam and jetsam who claim to be able to do everything except actually design buildings – that being a minor technical matter, which can be tendered out on the basis that the lowest-fee bid will represent the best value. And yet… the reputation of British architects across the globe can never have been higher, thanks to the likes of Foster, Rogers, Farrell, Grimshaw, Hopkins, Chipperfield, Hadid, Alsop, plus the more corporate firms like Aecom (London office), Aedas, Benoy and UK-based multi-disciplinaries such as Arup and Buro Happold. If you look at the AJ100 and count the number of UK firms that generate more than £1 million in fee income each year from overseas work generated from this country, you will see that we have architectural success in depth as well as breadth. Is there something Darwinian about the flourishing of UK practice despite all the difficulties? It is tempting to think so, especially as we approach the anniversary of the oil price crisis of late 1973, which put paid to construction prospects in the UK as fuel prices went through the roof. Smart firms started looking abroad – particularly to the Middle East, which was suddenly the source of extraordinary new riches. It is not so different from what is happening in Asia today, as we discovered last year when we moved the World Architecture
free of government control, standing for independence, knowledge, expertise and ethics. I don’t say these institutions have necessarily created the circumstances in which British architecture has flourished and grown, but they have contributed to a culture of freedom and enterprise unconnected to state subsidies. So, whatever problems they may have, and however imperfect their behaviour on occasion, we should salute bodies like the RIBA, Royal Academy, Royal Society of Arts, Architecture Foundation, Architectural Association and Design Council CABE (charityowned). Each keeps the architectural flag flying, representing a contribution to British public life that deserves, at least, tacit government support – partly for export reasons but, more importantly, because of architecture’s signficance to society at large. ..
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These tales of Chinese piracy amount to great PR for Zaha Hadid’s architectural brand, says Rory Olcayto
ZAHA HADID ARCHITECTS
It’s the biggest story of the year so far. Granted, 2013 has hardly begun, but news that Zaha Hadid’s Wangjing SOHO complex for property magnate Zhang Xin is being ‘copied’ by a rival developer, has captured the imagination of the international press. The Telegraph, Dezeen, The Guardian, The LA Times and Wired are only the better known of the organisations that picked up the original story, which emerged on 28 December last year in Der Spiegel, but has since gone viral. Kevin Holden Platt’s ‘Zaha Hadid vs the Pirates’ feature for the German news giant says: ‘A contingent of pirate architects and construction teams in southern China is now building a carbon copy of one of Hadid’s Beijing projects.’ The report shows the Hadid design (pictured), three pebble-like blobs, and the ‘copy’ by developer Meiquan 22nd Century, which is formed of just two pebble-like blobs. What the story doesn’t report, however, is that the ground floor plans are far from similar and there are other clear differences between the two projects. Meiquan’s scheme is not as tall, for example, and the floorplates and banded glazing aesthetic that defines its look is quite a bit chunkier than Hadid’s design. ‘Carbon copy’ it is not, despite project architect Satoshi Ohashi suggesting the possibility that ‘the Chongqing pirates got hold of some digital files or renderings of the project’ and reverse engineered the design. Der
Spiegel’s story hangs on the tension this situation has created, with Holden Platt reporting that both teams are now vying to complete their version first, the implication being that the ‘pirates’ are pulling ahead. Der Spiegel’s story goes on to explain that ‘China can copy anything … and piracy is pervasive … counterfeit iPods, iPhones and iPads are sold openly, and even entire fake Apple stores have proliferated’. It also says Hadid’s developer is planning to sue its rival and developments in the past week have seen the London-based practice promise to do the same. What it doesn’t regale its readers with is a little background on the culture of shanzhai – ‘copycat’ design – and how it drives innovation in western companies supposedly stung by the East. Apple, for example, is at the centre of rumours which suggest it is developing a cheaper iPhone for the Chinese market, primarily because of shanzai spoilers. Yet a cheaper iPhone will be good for Western consumers, too (I’m sure you will agree). What’s going on here? Remember how we sneered at toys – or anything else – with the ‘Made in Hong Kong’ tag? Remember our fear of Japan’s ability to copy and better our own products? Well, that dreaded fear is back. Even architectural criticism is not immune. When a mediocre high-rise is planned for London, we read tweets and headlines, by those who should know better, of gaudy Shanghai coming to dear old London town. On closer inspection, ‘Zaha Hadid vs the Pirates’ and the countless, rehashed versions of it across the web have less to do with intellectual property rights. But it is clever PR for the Iraqi-born, but firmly western architect, designed to fuel the fever for her architectural couture. Few would argue now that Hadid has replaced Norman Foster as the most famous architect in the world. It’s also fresh evidence of the ‘Yellow Peril’ racism that now wholeheartedly pervades the western press. But that’s not all: the story, repeated without fresh inquiry, also serves to further commodify the art of designing buildings: A ‘Zaha’ today, is now thought of like a Rolex, a Ferrari or a Gucci. Just don’t blame the Chinese. ..
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Last issue AJ 10.01.13 Established 1895
The ’70s were brill
Post your letters to the address below or email letters@ architectsjournal.co.uk
One word: wonderful. That applies both to your article (Black box, AJ 20.12.12) and to the 1970s. I was 20 years old in that magic year of 1976 and it was as you describe. I seem to spend half my time defending the 1970s in the comments column of The Guardian against ignorant attacks from 20-year-olds who only read the dark side of history. Dominic Sandbrook was too young to have made his recent programme about the 1970s, and it showed. If you want to know where we’re headed, read Stuart Hall (‘Amenities like libraries, parks, swimming baths, sports facilities, youth clubs, community centres will either be privatised or disappear.’) Or watch this telling cartoon: http://tinyurl.com/ay3bku8. Both Stuart Hall and the maker of that cartoon agree on what will be lost as the cuts bite and the neo-liberal agenda rolls on. The present generation will never know what it was like
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AJ Small Projects
Part one of this year’s shortlist: Mole Architects
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LETTER OFK THE WEE
in the 1970s. Thank you for remembering a great decade. Paul Bird, Cambridge
A welcome shake-up It is most encouraging at the start of a new year to see that the government has acted swiftly to bring in changes (simplifying outline applications and making sure that authorities keep their ‘local lists’ for all application requirements under review) resulting from last September’s consultation on streamlining planning application information requirements. Further changes to simplify design and access statements are also promised. The ACA’s Planning Action Group always makes a point of sending responses to the Government’s consultation documents and it is good to see these being acted upon. Since 2006 we have found that many of our ‘planning manifesto’ recommendations have been implemented. In this case the average percentage of responses in support of simplification was 68 per cent. Not overwhelming, to be sure, but then one might guess
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that local planning authorities are generally against such change. Terry Brown, president, Association of Consultant Architects
Local benefits The RIBA welcomes the actions by the government to remove the national requirement for details of layout and scale to be provided at the outline stage, where both matters are ‘reserved’. It would be more appropriate for decisions about information requirements of this nature to be made locally. We believe this could speed up planning, encourage growth and reduce the bureaucracy that leads to architects spending significant resources on projects that will never come to fruition. Ruth Reed, RIBA past president and chair, RIBA Planning Group
Correction On page 9 of AJ 10.01.13 we said Urban Splash chairman Tom Bloxham was in talks with asset management company BlackRock. This should have read Blackstone.
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AJ Small Projects 2013
AJ Small Projects
A concern for sustainability shines through in a greater number of submissions this year and, encouragingly, not just in temporary structures, writes Hattie Hartman RIGHT: KILBURN NIGHTINGALE ARCHITECTS
AJ SMALL PROJECTS
LEFT: CHARLES HOSEA
T Paul Reed, sales and marketing director at Marley Eternit, comments: ‘ Marley Eternit is proud to sponsor the awards for the third consecutive year. AJ Small Projects is an excellent vehicle for architects to promote their practices. We want to support architectural practices, be it through technical support, offering sustainable solutions, or helping them promote their projects. ..
his second AJ Small Projects issue presents 12 projects, the balance of the shortlist for this year’s AJ Small Projects awards, supported by Marley Eternit. Also featured are three projects in the running for the Sustainability Award, now in its third year. While ingenious temporary structures – Köbberling & Kaltwasser’s Jellyfish Theatre and Nex’s Times Eureka Pavilion at Kew – scooped this award in previous years, all three shortlisted projects this year are permanent buildings, distinguished by their light footprint on the planet. Diverse in geographical location, they include an all-timber residence in Dorset commissioned by the Architectural Association, a reception building for a sculpture foundation in Uganda ..
and an artist’s studio in Norfolk. The Caretaker’s House by Invisible Studio (concept design by AA students) is one of a series of experimental timber buildings at Hooke Parke, a 300-acre estate in Dorset, which is home to the AA’s Design and Make postgraduate degree programme. The brief stipulated that all timber be sourced from the site and the architect deployed the limited stock of each species to its most appropriate use: Douglas fir for exposed ground beams and posts, spruce for studwork and protected cladding under the verandah, and cedar for exposed cladding. A remarkable airtightness level of 0.92 m3/hr/m2 was achieved by detailing to accommodate movement in the unseasoned timber, methodically wrapping the building in a continuous ..
layer of insulation and taping every joint. Wood collected on site fuels the home’s heating, hot water and cooking. Where resources are scarce, necessity dictates lean use of materials. Such thinking permeates Kilburn Nightingale’s reception building for the Ruwenzori Sculpture Foundation in western Uganda. Eucalyptus framing and locally fired bricks make up the enclosure, which also incorporates flattened oil drums for roofing and a bright yellow shipping container (originally used to deliver foundry equipment to the site) which provides a secure area on the site. This marriage of natural and industrial materials results in an elegant simplicity, which could be more widely emulated in sustainable design in places where resources are less scarce. Threefold Architecture’s Long
Above The three projects in the running for this year’s Sustainability Award (from far left): Threefold Architects’ Long Studio, Kilburn Nightingale’s Ruwenzori visitor centre, and Invisible Studio’s Caretaker’s House
Images. Drawings. Data. Search for ‘small projects’ on AJBuildingsLibrary.co.uk
Studio in rural Norfolk is a response to the client’s desire for a low-energy building that they could construct themselves. A linear building, orientated south by south-west, makes the most of views and daylight, discretely incorporating a 10m2 photovoltaic array and rainwater harvesting. Corrugated bitumen used on the long elevations and the roof is the dominant material, commonly used on agricultural buildings and made from recycled cellulose fibres and coloured with natural dyes. End elevations are clad in untreated cedar. The good news is that sustainability shines through in an increasing number of Small Projects this year. It’s no longer about temporary structures or one-off prototypes. See ajfootprint.com for our pick of the ‘best of the rest’ Small Projects.
AJ Small Projects 2013 Studio BAAD
Studio baad hut House, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire , ..
The Hut provides 70m of accommodation for a family of four. It will be dismantled and sold in two years when they have completed their future family home on an adjacent plot. The building, which took 10 weeks to complete, was designed for DIY
construction. Materials used are straight or flat – 4x2 timbers, 8x4 sheets. U-values for the walls, floor and roof are approximately 0.14W/mK, and about 0.7W/mK for the glazing. The superstructure sits on a grid of small concrete pads. All materials are ..
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legend 1. Deck 2. Entrance 3. Bedroom 4. Shower 5. Kitchen 6. Dining area 7. Living room credits
screwed, bolted or taped together and almost everything can be re-used. Services are off grid, while rainwater harvesting, septic tank and a generator with battery back-up (solar PVs are planned) are all capable of re-use. AJBL.co.uk/projects/display/id/6409 ..
ALL PHOTOGRAPHS DANIEL HOPKINSON
client Private structural engineer dp2 gross internal area 69m2 procurement Managed assisted self build
AJ Small Projects 2013 Synthesis Design + Architecture
Synthesis Design + Architecture chelsea workspace Home office, London SW3 , ..
ALL PHOTOGRAPHY BY PETER GUENZEL
Th is home office responds to the client’s brief for a discrete yet sculptural design. The solution was to ‘drape’ a dynamic surface over an orthogonal arrangement of the required home-office elements, including a desk, storage units, printer and paper shredder. The space is organised around the lone window in the room, giving a pleasant view and providing ample natural daylight. Constructed with a strict budget, the form is articulated as a series of alternating CNC milled birch plywood ribs, pre-fabricated into modular units and spray-finished with a clear lacquer. Hung on Z-clips
bolted to the interior wall, the units are held in place by self-weight. Horizontal spacers, which stabilise the open ends of the plywood ribs, are arranged in a pixelised graphic pattern representing a world map, on which the owner (a seasoned traveller) can map out his travels. AJBL.co.uk/projects/display/id/5575 credits
client Private fit out fabricators Cutting Edge UK gross internal area 7m2 procurement Bespoke Design Consultancy Contract
1. Existing partition wall 2. Inner vertical spacer 3. Horizontal z-channel 4. Plywood profile 5. Swing-door storage drawer 6. Outer horizontal spacer
AJ Small Projects 2013 Studio Zoppini Associati
Studio zoppini associati Rijeka Diving Tower Sports installation, Rijeka, Croatia ,
The new diving tower built in 2012 for the Rijeka Olympic centre, Croatia, has five diving boards placed at different heights, designed according to Olympic regulations. The architectural approach was to create a cutting-edge facility which is integrated into the landscape of the area adjoining the sea coast. It was conceived as a landmark in
dialogue with the existing element, revealing its strong, discrete presence. The design looks back to the primordial diving stage elements at the seaside: rocks. It is a reinterpretation of the natural form of the ‘Faraglione’, a rock which emerges from the sea side, an icon visible even from the water identifying the sport complex. ..
credits client Rijeka Municipality main contractor GP KRK and Strabag structural engineer Sajni e Zambetti procurement Traditional
The vertical cladding is supported by a two-way system galvanised steel frame. This structure is supported by the horizontal and vertical concrete elements. The cladding is built using aluminium panels and its colour changes in relation to the reflection of the changing sunlight. AJBL.co.uk/projects/display/id/5923 ..
ALL PHOTOGRAPHS RINO GROPPUZZO
AJ Small Projects 2013 TDO Architecture
tdo architecture forest pond house Pavilion, Hampshire ,
ALL PHOTOGRAPHY BY BEN BLOSSOM
Located in rural Hampshire, the Forest Pond House is both a space for meditation and a children’s den in the woods. Cantilevering over the bank of a pond at the foot of a family garden, the timber frame structure is finished in plywood, glass and copper. It combines contrasting surroundings and contrasting uses to striking effect. It nestles between the dark drama of the forest and the bright calm of the water. Black, angular sides address the forest; light, curved surfaces and sheet glass address the pond. As well as mirroring the building’s environment, the design creates its dual functions. The dark elevations serve as blackboards for drawing in the woods. A rising floor and falling ceiling shrinks one corner down to the size of a child. The brighter end of the Forest Pond House, with its single source of light and bench looking onto the water, offers focus and a place for reflection. AJBL.co.uk/projects/display/id/6112
credits client Private floor area 6m2
AJ Small Projects 2013 SOCA with University of Westminster
SOCA with the University of Westminster the london dresser Pavilion, London SE1 ,
The London Dresser is a large-scale cabinet containing small-scale iconic buildings commissioned by the Mayor of London for the 2012 Olympic Games. Each morning the cabinet doors slide open and London’s architectural crown jewels are taken out and positioned to transform the surroundings, activating the space and engaging the public.
During the day people sit, play, eat, climb, meet and rest within this playful public gathering space. By night the buildings are returned to the cabinet to create an interactive backdrop to the street; each one is momentarily illuminated through the glass when people peer in. The London Dresser was designed by Studio of Cinematic Architecture ..
Plan Model types
ALL PHOTOGRAPHS CHARLES HOSEA
(SOCA) with University of Westminster students from Design Studio 17, in collaboration with Millimetre, which built and installed both the cabinet and seats. It is scheduled to be relocated to a state primary school in Hackney, where it will become an informal classroom and event space. AJBL.co.uk/projects/display/id/6406
1. Victorian houses 2. Dorset Estate Houses 3. Shell Building 1.2. Victorian Dorset Estate 3. Shell Building 4. Spitalfields Church 4. Spitalfields Church 5. City Hall 5. City Hall 6. Swiss Re 7. Tate Modern 6. Swiss Re 8. St Paul’s Cathedral Wharf 7. Tate Modern 9.10.Canary Battersea Power station 8. St Paul’s Cathedral 9. One Canada Square 10. Battersea Power Station
credits 3 9
client Mayor of London design development & fabricators Millimetre 1. Victorian Houses gross internal area 2. Dorset Estate 3. Shell Building 33m2 4. Spitalfields Church 5. City Hall procurement Design 6. Swiss Re 7. Tate Modern and build 8. St Paul’s Cathedral
9. Canary Wharf 10. Battersea Power station
AJ Small Projects 2013 Studio Myerscough
Studio Myerscough the movement café Café, London SE10 , ..
A café, theatre, local landmark, meeting place and poem - The Movement Café in Greenwich is all of these things and more. Designed and built in just 16 days to greet locals and thousands of visitors arriving at Greenwich DLR station for the Olympic equestrian events, the café has turned a hole in the ground – a result of demolition –
into a fabulous community space. Run by the not-for-profit Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency, The Movement Café has hosted poetry readings, acoustic performances and a pop-up cinema. The sunken plot has been exploited to conjure a natural amphitheatre, accessible by ramp and lined with stepped seating, which has been built ..
Elevations (with signs)
greenwich high st
ALL PHOTOGRAPHS GARETH GARDNER
from scaffolding and scaffold boards, and is surrounded by plants. The structure is emblazoned with bold graphics of tweets by poet Lemn Sissay, while the interior features work surfaces and furniture constructed from reclaimed laboratory tops and made by Morag Myerscough and Luke Morgan. AJBL.co.uk/projects/display/id/6265
1. Pavement 2. Stepped seating terrace 3. Timber finished floor 4. Timber canopy 5. Disabled ramped access 6. Container upright 7. Container 8. Construction site 9. Stairs
credits client Cathedral Group contractor Origin 8 Projects structural engineer Milk Engineers gross internal area 140m2 procurement Design and build
AJ Small Projects 2013 Design ACB
Design Acb The greenhouse Outbuilding, Hampshire , ..
Set within the grounds of a 16thcentury Grade II-listed house, this greenhouse has been designed as a multipurpose space, including a dog kennel, dog run and refuse store. It is a deceptively simple building incorporating a complementary mix of materials that, while modern, acknowledge the existing house. A heavy Portland stone base is used
to support a lightweight timber and glass structure. The stone detailing includes a number of highly complex, specially cut stones all drawn in three-dimensional schedules. Sill and coping profiles incorporate stainlesssteel drainage channels and cut-outs for mullions and fenceposts. The accoya timber cladding has been stained, providing a dramatic ..
legend 1. Plant room 2. Refuse and recycling 3. Dog sanctuary 4. Dog run 5. Greenhouse 6. Rendered finish 7. Kennel 8. Stained large-format cladding and concealed doors 9. Stained timber cladding 10. Parapet coping 11. Portland stone cladding
counterpoint to the stone and glass louvres, which are controlled by a building management system to regulate internal temperature. The timber’s narrow banding accentuates the horizontal planes of the stone below, contrasting the vertical panels of the glass greenhouse structure. AJBL.co.uk/projects/display/id/5872 ..
credits client Private contractor Sinacola Renovations gross internal area 25m2 procurement Prime Cost Building Contract
ALL PHOTOGRAPHS ANDY MATTHEWS
AJ Small Projects 2013 vPPR Architects
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vPPR Architects Duke of York Garden Units House extension, London E3 ,
ALL PHOTOGRAPHY BY IOANA MARINESCU
Ground floor plan
This project centres on a neglected backyard of a converted pub located in a conservation area in Mile End, London. Owned by a busy couple with two young children and another on its way, the family was looking to increase internal space and upgrade the dilapidated external areas. Following a feasibility study, vPPR has completed four interventions to unify the ad hoc backyard: two internal rooms – a flexible play space extending from the existing kitchen, and an office where the parents can work from home while keeping an eye on the children across the garden; and two external spaces – including an interconnecting patio, like a stage on to which all the spaces look out, and a hidden roof terrace accessed by a spiral staircase. The individual rooms can completely open up to create seamless transitions between inside and outside. The project’s identity is reinforced at a detail scale through a diamond grid applied to all surfaces. AJBL.co.uk/projects/display/id/6199
First floor plan legend
1. Roof terrace 2. Garden 1:100 3. Flexible space 4. Garage/workshop 5. Utilities Duke of York 6. WC
credits client Private structural engineer Heyne Tillett Steel floor area 27m2 procurement Pub Extension - AJ Small JCT Minor Works 1:200
Ground Floor & Projects
Duke of York Pub Ex
und Floor & First Floor Plan
of York Pub Extension - AJ Small Projects 2013
AJ Small Projects 2013 Stephen Turvil Architects
stephen turvil architects the Old Telephone exchange House, Great Bedwyn, Wiltshire ,
This project involved the demolition of a redundant telephone exchange and the construction of a new two-storey, two-bedroom dwelling. The site lies on the edge of the village of Great Bedwyn in Wiltshire, within a conservation area and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The new house has a gross internal area of 108m over two floors, with
the ground floor accommodating the principle living spaces, while the first floor provides two bedrooms, two bathrooms and an open-plan study area on the landing, which has great views across the nearby allotments and fields. The design strategy responded to the rural context, but took its architectural inspiration from the ..
GROUND FLOOR SECTION 3-3
First floor plan
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Ground floor plan
local barns and allotment sheds rather than forming a pastiche of the village houses. The new house, finished with black, stained, larch horizontal cladding, is a rectangular shape with a steep pitched SECTION 2-2 roof and gable ends – a simple purposeful aesthetic set against the wooded backdrop. AJBL.co.uk/projects/display/id/6343 ..
ALL PHOTOGRAPHS ROBIN CHANDA
1. Bedroom 2. Bathroom 3. Stairs 4. WC 5. Kitchen 6. Living room 7. Entrance 8. Dining room
credits client Catherine Oldfield structural engineer King Shaw Associates gross internal area 108m2 procurement Client project managed
AJ Small Projects 2013 Invisible Studio
INVISIBLE STUDIO Caretaker’s House House, Hooke Park, Dorset ,
The Caretaker’s House at Hooke Park is a low-cost timber building using only green timber grown and felled on site. Invisible Studio was commissioned by the Architectural Association to develop a student concept design into a prototypical exemplar building. The building makes use of unseasoned larch, cedar, poplar,
Douglas fir or spruce, as appropriate, and uses wood for heating as well as for insulation. It is insulated to Passivhaus standards, with Passivhaus airtightness. The construction process is super-efficient. There are no wet trades at all – the mini piles are steel and are the only non-timber structural items. The building has a ‘heavy’ north ..
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Ground floor plan
wall to provide privacy and insulation, and is very open to the south, where there is a large verandah. Even the joinery that has been used was manufactured on site – the kitchen features chunky timber worktops and the stair uses an innovative jointing system that gains strength as the timber dries. AJBL.co.uk/projects/display/id/6463 ..
ALL PHOTOGRAPHS VALERIE BENNETT
1. WC 2. Utility room 3. Kitchen 4. Rayburn 5. Dining area 6. Breezeway 7. Bedroom 8. Hallway 9. Bathroom 10. Living room/ mezzanine
credits client Architectural Association contractor Greenheart Sustainable Construction structural engineer Buro Happold gross internal area 120m2 procurement JCT Intermediate
AJ Small Projects 2013 Threefold Architects
Threefold architects Long Studio Outbuilding, Norfolk , ..
Set within the flatlands of rural Norfolk and inspired by the local agricultural vernacular, this zero-carbon artists’ studio is a simple, linear, black-clad building, occupying a position on the boundary between garden, fields and sky. Designed with a simple, portal frame timber structure, the project creates an inspirational space that
could be constructed by the clients themselves. The entire length of the eastern field elevation is punctuated by a continuous horizon-level clerestory window that frames views of the constantly shifting sky, while large sliding glass doors open the space up to the mature garden and the afternoon sun to the west. ..
legend 1. FSC timber ridge beam 2. Roof build-up 3. Wall build-up 4. FSC timber trusses 5. Double-glazed clerestory windows 6. Recycled cellulose fibre cladding 7. Sheeps wool insulation
All of the timber used for the construction of the building is sustainably sourced, rainwater is harvested and the cladding is made from recycled cellulose fibre. The studio is heated by a wood-burning stove, is insulated by sheep’s wool, and all its electricity is generated by photovoltaic panels. AJBL.co.uk/projects/display/id/6373 ..
ALL PHOTOGRAPHS CHARLES HOSEA
client Private structural engineer Heyne Tillett Steel gross internal area 30m2 procurement Self build by client
AJ Small Projects 2013 Kilburn Nightingale Architects
KILBURN NIGHTINGALE ARCHITECTS Reception Gallery & WC Visitor centre, Ruwenzori Mountains, Uganda , ..
The latest buildings completed for the Ruwenzori Sculpture Foundation comprise a small gallery/café building and visitor toilets. These form part of a longer-term project, which includes an art foundry, studios for visiting artists, housing and a clinic for the local community on a rural site in the foothills of the
Ruwenzori Mountains in Uganda. The gallery building is a simple enclosure built with eucalyptus framing, which is anchored to the ground and braced by a shipping container (which had been used to bring foundry equipment to the site). The walls to both gallery and toilets are of locally fired bricks with murram mortar and mud render. Roofs are ..
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recycled 44-gallon drums set on a eucalyptus structure. The resulting buildings are the first phase in an ambitious ensemble of buildings that has already started to bring visitors and employment – as well as a new engagement in art and sculpture – to this remote corner of Africa. AJBL.co.uk/projects/display/id/6121 ..
ALL PHOTOGRAPHS KILBURN NIGHTINGALE ARCHITECTS
legend 1. Lockable shipping container 2. Storage 3. Kitchen 4. Display counter 5. Display wall 6. Sliding timber screen 7. Display area 8. Timber stable doors 9. Café area 10. Pendant light fitting 11. Eucalyptus pole credits client Ruwenzori Sculpture Foundation structural engineer Price & Myers gross internal area 105m2 procurement Fixed lump sum
Get housing moving
What needs to happen to increase the production of quality homes? The AJ brought together an expert panel to debate the issues. By Emily Booth
Good, available, affordable housing should be a right. Sadly, for many families and individuals, it’s more of an impossible dream. Fewer new homes are being built than in the 1920s – and when they are built, they are often dull and cramped. As part of the AJ’s More Homes, Better Homes campaign, we brought together a top-flight panel – including a major housebuilder, an MP, and
· Paul Finch, editorial director, The Architects’ Journal (chair) · Sherin Aminossehe, head of regional strategy, Government Property Office · Matt Bell, group head of external affairs, Berkeley Group · Claire Bennie, development director, Peabody · Andy von Bradsky,chairman, PRP Architects · Alison Brooks, director, Alison Brooks Architects · Alex Ely, partner, Mae Architects · Paul Karakusevic, partner, Karakusevic Carson Architects · Gerard Maccreanor, founding director, Maccreanor Lavington Architects · Paul Monaghan, director, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris · Nick Raynsford MP · John Slaughter, director of external affairs, Home Builders Federation · Geoff Wilkinson, managing director, Wilkinson Construction Consultants · Roger Zogolovitch, director, Solidspace
a member of the government’s the overarching challenge of finance. independent challenge panel – to It considered qualitative debate the issues. We asked issues such as confidence, them to identify what needs aspiration and inspiration, to happen to improve as well as quantitative MORE HOMES concerns such as Building design quality while also BETTER HOMES Regulations. And it threw increasing the production of quality homes. up ideas for practical steps Sponsored by the Rooflight that could be taken to help Company, the discussion over ease the current housing crisis. lunch was wide-ranging and recognised We look forward to your feedback. >>
ALL PHOTOGRAPHY BY THEODORE WOOD
Roundtable Get housing moving
WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE? INCREASE PUBLIC FUNDING
suggests there needs to be some help from government to make that model work.
Nick Raynsford The biggest single issue at the moment is confidence: no one is investing, no one is putting money in. I don’t think it’ll happen without a big slug of public money. I think the Institute for Public Policy Research got its finger on the right button recently when it said there’s something very odd that we’re spending about £1.5 billion a year on housing investment and £22 billion a year on housing benefit. If we can just begin to shift the balance with more money going into direct investment, rather than paying disproportionately high rents in housing benefit, we could get that extra public impetus, which would give some confidence, would allow more mixed-tenure developments and might get a virtuous cycle going.
Claire Bennie In terms of delivery, certainty is crucial. We’re subject to lots of very short-term funding rounds and developers feel this too through their registered provider partners, and it doesn’t help. In a way, housing is infrastructure for society; if we can fund it on that longerterm thinking basis, that would be great.
IMPROVE LAND SUPPLY Andy von Bradsky A lot of emphasis is placed on shortage of money and money supply, but if you had more consented land – ie made planning and land supply a lot simpler – then that would increase supply far more than the simplification of Building Regulations.
Paul Karakusevic With local authorities owning 30 per cent of the city fringe area I think it is absolutely key to get housing moving and increase numbers. Local authorities are in a very good position to improve quality because MORE HOMES they’re sitting on land that is, not BETTER HOMES quite free, but subsidised. That would be the easiest place to start.
Gerard Maccreanor I’m not too concerned with the subject of ‘better’ at the moment, I’m more concerned with holding onto the position of where we are. I don’t think it’s got anything to do with regulations or planning. There are thousands of homes consented within London at the moment and those are not coming forward due to lack of confidence and lack of demand. The lack of demand is from banks not willing to lend, at the same time making large amounts of profits and stacking up their balance sheets. It’s also to do with developers – some developers are not willing to build out because, by not doing so, there’s an increase in demand; they increase their profitability and therefore they increase their land value. There is a problem in London with big sites – they do need up-front costs, which make people nervous. That is something the government may be able to help with, to take away part of the risk. The other issue is public-sector rental. One fifth of people in London now live in the rental sector and that is increasing dramatically – 63 per cent of Londoners can no longer afford to get a mortgage and rental values are going up between 12 per cent and 25 per cent. Developers tell you that yields don’t work in the private rental sector and it
John Slaughter The honest answer to how we see getting both volume and quality would have to be based on there being a much better land supply. There is a view that if land supply were sufficiently free, competition on quality grounds would arise naturally because the marketplace would put a premium on that.
Matt Bell In the short term I’d point to public-sector land. We worked with a report for government over the summer, which identifies 18 sites that should deliver 23,000 homes. Politically that fits into a narrative where you’ve had Nick Clegg talking about ‘think beautiful’ and Nick Boles’ proposals about ‘building beautiful’. That public-sector land is where you could combine both of those and unlock the quality and the volume argument. Sherin Aminossehe One of the things I’m particularly concerned about is how you tie the supply of surplus public land and private land. One of the things that underpins how you put these two things together is data and how you ensure that everyone in the public sector knows what they own and what it can be used for. We’re putting together something with the Department for Communities and Local Government in terms of a database to make that happen.
SIMPLIFY REGULATION Andy von Bradsky This huge complexity of standards and overlapping complex arrangements we’ve got at the moment desperately needs clearing up. Separating out planning and Building Regulations in a way that is simply defined and easy to implement would help. You need to disaggregate building performance from planning in a way that simplifies Building Regulations and supervised planning – and put it all in to a national standard. Roger Zogolovitch Recently I had one of those moments when it’s as if you’ve been wearing a tight shoe and you take it off and suddenly you think: ‘My God, have I really been living my life in that very tight shoe?’ The place I took the shoe off was in New York. I was offered a small site in Williamsburg, and so I said to the realtor: ‘What’s the story here?’ and they said: ‘Here’s the site, it’s a 50ft frontage, 100ft depth, plot ratio’s three to one, you can build to 70ft,’ and I said: ‘Where’s the affordable housing,’ and they said: ‘What?’ so I said: ‘When can I go on site?’ and they said: ‘Well, tomorrow?’ I’m just thinking I could come here to New York, build 15 apartments, what I wanted to build, not what somebody else was telling
me I had to build, I could build it at a height of my choosing. And then you come back here and you’re in your eighth meeting with the planning officer, and you’ve gone through your Code Level 3 sustainability, and you’ve paid the guy that’s going to give you advice, and he said: ‘Yeah, but that fee that you paid me didn’t cover you for the assessment on the flood risk, and there isn’t a flood risk.’ But it doesn’t matter, you still need the assessment... There’s a kind of insanity that we’ve all bought in to. What do we do to make it easier to just get on and build stuff? So I completely endorse those issues of deregulation. Is there a framework of reference that we could feel we were more comfortable with, a set of absolutely consistent guidelines? If we would try to Americanise the UK system, I think every local authority throughout the land must have a choice of 10 masterplans for every part of their borough. And we just come along and say: ‘Thanks very much. Here’s the plan, we’ll build to the plan.’
REFORM PLANNING Geoff Wilkinson If you can change the mindset within local authorities and introduce competition between them, and if you introduce the concept of private, approved planning consultants, then I think you potentially have the solution to opening up the marketplace. Paul Monaghan In terms of what I would change, it still has to be part of the planning process. It never ceases to amaze me how we can be working on major schemes with multiple architects, and that one could be discussing the scheme with planners for a year and a half and nothing gets discussed about height and massing until three months into the planning process. Matt Bell In the longer term, I don’t think there’s any lack of confidence in the development industry. The confidence issue is really in local government – they’ve taken a kicking over the last few years and I think it has been thoroughly unproductive. There needs to be a way of getting alongside and repairing the damage that’s been done to local leaders and planning authorities. Claire Bennie The art of planning needs to be reskilled and reprofesssionalised. Those people are really the gatekeepers of quality.
I would love it if planning policy were less obsessed with exact tenure and size mixes. We would love to just go to an area and say: ‘These are the kind of homes we want to do.’ We get tied up in this kind of hideous knot of meeting exact policies, which may not suit a particular area.
criteria on which properties are scored. Then suddenly developers will have an incentive to build in better design from the outset.
John Slaughter Perhaps we could build on the current planning reforms so that we move more to a committee development rights or a zoning approach with regard to how certain areas would be considered suitable for development.
RETHINK HOW PROPERTY IS VALUED Alison Brooks There needs to be a fundamental restructuring of the way that properties are valued. At the moment there is no incentive and no scientific criteria by which design, space, standards, sustainability and quality are valued. As a result of this, developers don’t have any incentive to build in value – such as extra space, extra amenities, extra features – because the property market is valued on a very old-fashioned system based on the number of bedrooms. Nothing can shift until the surveyors who do mortgage valuations and agents who do property valuations have a very specific set of
‘The art of planning needs to be reskilled. Those people are the gatekeepers of quality’
PROMOTE DIFFERENT TYPES OF DEVELOPMENT Alex Ely We need to look at the third sector of housing, which is the custom-build market, and really increase the opportunity for custom build to become a much more viable and substantial part of the delivery process. We’ve seen so much consolidation of the industry with so few suppliers building such a large proportion of our homes, that if we can free up land or finances or encourage a more viable custom-build or self-build market, we will hopefully raise quality. Geoff Wilkinson We need to look away from new build as the only solution for new homes. There is an enormous amount of property lying vacant at the moment. If we can attempt to change the planning system to enable it to be easier to convert property into residential accommodation, I think we can solve a lot of the problem.
DEFEND QUALITY Nick Raynsford We’ve got to have that focus on quality, insist on standards and not allow those to be sacrificed. Paul Monaghan A simple guide like the London Housing Design Guide has worked really well. Claire Bennie Volume is important, obviously, but quality is absolutely everything. >>
Roundtable Get housing moving
Getting into specifics, the experts nail down what action needs to be taken to effectively tackle the problem. The panel on... REGULATION Nick Raynsford Let’s go back to the paradise of the 1980s when these things didn’t apply, it was a pretty free market and housebuilders were pretty free to build what they wanted. What they produced were low-density, extremely energy-inefficient houses, which gobbled up the countryside, which required car access and about which everyone in the 90s and the early noughties said ‘this is not the future – and certainly not on a small island with a limited land mass’.
‘We can be a lot, lot smarter and simpler in terms of regulation’
That is the reason we got into the regulatory nightmare described. And actually there have been a lot of successes because we have produced better quality buildings, which are far more energy efficient and far more sustainable. Roger Zogolovitch But surely in terms of energy efficiency the building regulations are now providing you with energy efficiency; in 2016 we’re actually looking towards zero carbon. Nick Raynsford Yes, it’s done and it’s fantastic. Roger Zogolovitch That’s just a technical regulation that we conform to. Equally it’s very easy to set density standards. If the use of land is inefficient with a low density, you set a high-density standard. That’s not any brake to production.
Nick Raynsford All I’m saying is that the view that if you get rid of a lot of regulation you will get a virtuous cycle is not necessarily proved by experience. Andy von Bradsky You can simplify systems in a way that puts everything in one place. At the moment you’ve got a mixture of guidance, a mixture of standards; there’s confusion about what is a regulation and what is guidance, and that all needs to be consolidated and put into a very simple document. It could be called National Technical Standards or Housing Technical Standards, which then becomes part of building regulation.
TAXATION Andy von Bradsky In terms of the issue around taxation, the Community Industry Levy (CIL) is going to be a massive problem and a blockage to developments of the future. There are ways in which the tax system could be used better. Our houses should be calibrated so that there is some kind of tax benefit from having a high-performing house. Nick Raynsford We’ve never, as a country,
MORE HOMES BETTER HOMES
found a satisfactory solution to the issue of how you tax development gain. The only mechanisms we’ve got left are Section 106 and CIL. The idea that somehow this is an unfair imposition on developers seems to be quite wrong. There is a gain from development.
SIMPLIFICATION AND STANDARDISATION Paul Monaghan I was very involved with schools at CABE and one of the things we saw was that every single local authority wants to create their own unique school, and every single headteacher wants to – and there is no notion of standardisation. I think the same is true of housing. But in my experience some of the things that we’ve always done best of all have been very simple projects – for example, a project we did with Gerard down in Barking, where we basically built a modern version of Coronation Street. We spent money on very simple things like a good brick and gave them bigger windows, and everything else was very standard. Standardisation is not bad and could improve quality. Matt Bell There’s a lot of money in house building and you’ve almost got to be slightly daft
not to make it. The issue is about predictability – the investment doesn’t come when you can’t predict. So, if we’re looking at a focus for a campaign, I wouldn’t go for another big-systems or standards idea. The key thing I’d say is stop fiddling, just let it be for a bit so people can get a hold of the current system. John Slaughter Less is more. I think we can be a lot, lot smarter and simpler in terms of regulation about how we go about doing it. And that is very important in unlocking the supply.
PUBLIC-SECTOR ASSETS Sherin Aminossehe You can’t think of how you’re going to dispose of your surplus assets if you’re not aware of the full picture. We’re working on one single database for the whole of the public sector, so that people can think about how to use these assets for growth. That’s the start of being more aware, and asking: how much of these do we actually use for housing? Do we need them all for housing? If we put some of our assets together, will they make a better development? Would they make a better community? Paul Karakusevic If everyone could just talk to one another and have this database, then maybe things could start to be channelled and get towards planning. Nick Raynsford A lot of the good examples we’ve heard today – whether it is good use of public-sector land, whether it is the exemplary developments that have set a higher standard, whether it is sensible regulatory pressure that’s improving the quality of products – depends on the understanding between public and private sectors. That’s got to be the future.
Gerard Maccreanor Every time government changes we have to change every single regulation under that government and the name of every single regulation. All that branding costs so much time and so much effort. One of the main problems, certainly in an area where I have a lot of involvement around the Royal Docks, is that the London Development Agency has gone through four restructurings in the last number of years.
In Holland there’s a coalition government, which is very fragile and it falls constantly. But one of the good things is not having small changes constantly. Nick Raynsford You are absolutely right. There is an absurd culture in this country, which resists continuity between different governments. Paul Finch Do you think that housing in particular, and construction in general, is taken seriously by government? The housing minister is not in the cabinet. Nick Raynsford Nor was there a housing minister in the cabinet when we had probably the biggest focus on housing ever in our history. In the post-war period the minister for housing was Aneurin Bevan, who was the minister for health and housing; housing was his second role. So I don’t think it’s to do with that, I think it’s much more psychological. During the first three decades post war, there was a real sense that this was a national priority. There was a vast job to do, there was a political consensus. Then you got to an era when, in the 80s and 90s, there was a sense that the housing problem had been licked. Now the current mindset is that we’ve simply not produced enough homes for a very long time.
LONDON AND THE REGIONS Nick Raynsford The numbers of people living in London went down from 8 million in the late 1930s to about 6.7 million in the 1980s. No one at that stage would have expected London would now have a population of 8 million and be heading for 9 million quite rapidly. The transformation has been very dramatic and I think it took a lot of policymakers by surprise. We were behind the curve, we missed the opportunity in my time to see there was going to be a rising challenge of need. Geoff Wilkinson I think we need to recognise, for a start, that what we’re actually talking about is a national debate, this is not just about London. London sits within a bubble of its own and I think we need to start looking at that. In terms of regulation, there is no national scheme, there is no national consistency. >>
Roundtable Get housing moving
‘Allow architects to self-certify some projects – that will get house building moving’
MORE HOMES BETTER HOMES
Gerard Maccreanor This is a very Londoncentric conversation. You should repeat this same conversation in Birmingham and you’d get a very different story – and it wouldn’t be about more homes. Contrasting the rest of the UK with London is important. Nobody expected this ‘economic magnet’ effect of London. That’s now estimated at an additional 50,000 people per year who are gaining their economic lifestyle out of the city, and we’ve got to provide for them.
there’s no incentive to build it in the first place. There needs to be a fundamental change so that everybody can understand the basis on which properties are valued and criteria are expanded to take in those things. Brent Council is an example of a local authority that is safeguarding and stewarding the development of its own land in an efficient way.
Nick Raynsford London is very special, it is a global city and, because of that, we have huge problems. Something like 60 per cent of the new homes being built in London at the moment are being marketed overseas. We’ve got to sustain the growth of London – but it’s just as important that we deal with the very real problems that exist outside of London. There’s a lack of confidence among members of the public who don’t really want to risk buying a property because there is a fear they might end up with one that’s worth less than when they bought it. And that – for everywhere else except London – is the reality.
Paul Finch The post-war period was a numbers game. Somewhere along the line, whatever happened to quality? Alison Brooks Why are people willing to pay so much for a flat in a Victorian house? Why are things like high ceilings and big windows and good proportions, and all these very simple, basic things that the Victorians did, deemed to be above the minimum provision right now? A developer will not build a loft that you can extend into because it doesn’t have any value at the mortgage valuation time or at the moment when the business plan is being developed by the consortia. The values of an entire project– from the competition scheme to the Principal Development Agreement – are all based on predicted values by people who don’t know what is going to be designed, don’t know how to assess the quality of what’s going to be designed, and don’t attribute value to adaptability, sustainability and all of these things that people need. There’s no diversity in what’s being offered in the market because
Andy von Bradsky It would be a good move to start better informing consumers in a very consistent way at the point of sale about the performance standards of the properties that they’re going to occupy. We ought to have much more push in terms of getting customers more aware of the things in their homes. And that might actually feed in to reducing regulation.
SCALE Geoff Wilkinson We seem to be talking about the big developers – developing 600-plot schemes, 1,000-plot schemes. If you want to get house building moving, and moving quickly, you’ve got to start talking to small developers that deal with 5, 10, 15 units – that’s who the
majority of my clients are. If you landed a 600plot scheme in front of them they wouldn’t know how to deal with it. You give them a 5-, 10- or 15-plot scheme, they could start delivering that and they can start delivering that tomorrow. That’s where the regulatory burden really kicks in. The likes of a large housing developer can afford a Code for Sustainable Homes adviser, they can afford an environmental scheme, they can afford a full site audit. Allow architects to self-certify some of the projects and remove some of the warranty requirements – that will get house building moving on small plots tomorrow. John Slaughter All the statistics at the moment suggest that the smaller players’ share of output is going down. If we actually want to tackle the housing crisis we’ve got to bring them back into the game. And a lot of that is about not making it too difficult to do things. If we ignore that side of it we’ll be missing a big trick.
INSPIRATION Paul Finch ‘Inspiration’ isn’t a word we hear very much in relation to housing. Do we need more of that? Claire, will you promote some more competitions to get the juices flowing? Claire Bennie Absolutely, I will definitely be running at least one, if not two, competitions next year. And yes, I think doing it is more important than constant policy bashing and talking about it. I was involved in Greenwich Millennium Village on the design side, and the constant battle cry was, ‘Don’t make this something that costs more than anyone else could do; it has to be a blueprint for other people to be able to carry on.’ The difficulty with really big showpiece projects – and we’ve a number of them at Peabody – is that they just become a fascinating jewel and they’re not repeated.
’ In the wake of the recent statement by Nick Boles that Britain needs to develop up to a third more land than is currently used for housing, there have been numerous suggestions of how best to do this. These include releasing surplus local authority land to housebuilders, relaxing planning and possibly even Building Regulations restrictions, getting the government to secure loan guarantees to housebuilders, and encouraging more small developments of up to 20 houses. The problem with all of these suggestions is that none of them addresses the appalling quality of developer housing. I believe if the incentives work, we would see more Noddy estates blighting the countryside because, in terms of improving housebuilder design, there are no initiatives proposed. Having a home and a bit of land may be a ‘birthright’, but the soulless housing environments created by the major housebuilders will, I believe, exacerbate the social problems we already face by the fracturing of family-based society. We need well-designed housing, built to last, rather than an emphasis on quantity. A great deal of work needs to be done on the ‘better’ bit before doing the ‘more’ bit. Housebuilders sadly need to be obliged to submit more careful and thoughtful schemes.
This would be impossible to achieve without a sea change in the attitudes of planners, who have let housing design standards slip. Planners need to be empowered to refuse planning permission on ‘quality of environment’ grounds, and they should be free from the threat of being pursued legally for doing so. Further, a body like CABE – but specialising in housing only – should be set up to ensure that design quality is the first consideration in housebuilder design before it gets to planning. Finally, the RIBA has a role to play in running house-building competitions annually, which would lead to real projects and act as housebuilder design pathfinders. A great deal of inspiring work has been done by the likes of Kevin McCloud to demonstrate that housing of a higher design standard is possible. We need to draw the line on housebuilding quality before any ‘more’ happens. Peter King RIBA, Carden King Partnership, Owner, The Rooflight Company
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Matt Bell We need projects that paint a different mood music, projects that are publicfacing and allow people to understand how good great new places are. This is why I keep going back to the public-sector land issue – it’s such an easy stick to manipulate the government with. If they can’t do it on their own land, they can’t say anything about anything. ■
WORLD IN ACTION Robert Adam’s The Globalisation of Modern Architecure takes a compelling and broad-ranging look at the output of the architectural world, writes James Pallister ..
SHERIN AMINOSSEHE / RIBA LIBRARY PHOTOGRAPHS COLLECTION
It may seem an unlikely choice of subject for an architect known for being a practitioner of – say it sotto voce – ‘traditional architecture’, but Robert Adam has completed an impressively comprehensive and compelling survey of contemporary social and political theory. This has been deployed, in this dense yet lively book, to illuminate the output of the architectural world. The Globalisation of Architecture is an incredibly rich work, ambitious and broad-ranging. It is the product of an academic pursuit separate from his life as a practitioner and has won plaudits from Martin Wolf, chief economics commentator for the Financial Times, sociologist Scott Lash and Charles Jencks. ..
book Robert Adam, The Globalisation of Modern Architecure, CSP, 2011
Adam’s initial interest in globalisation was prompted by a desire to study how architecture worked on the basis not of abstract aesthetic, technological or philosophical precepts, but on how people interact on a daily basis. This led him to explore political economy and social theory. Very soon, the stuff of his everyday – architecture – seemed to be insignificant, secondary or tertiary, mere symptoms of broader, structural shifts. Architecture and urban design, Adam points out, are service industries: ‘minor players in the broad sweep of social and political developments … no major social changes can be traced back to architecture’. Architecture follows politics and economics, not vice versa. This leaves an important puzzle, as he writes in his introduction. Why aren’t the seismic financial and political events we read about in the papers reflected in the architecture world? Adam’s answer comes from sociologist William Ogburn and Annales School historiographer Fernand Braudel. Ogburn coined the term ‘cultural lag’ in 1922, useful in explaining the different paces at which economic and cultural events unfurl. Braudel emphasised the impact of long-term structural shifts: events come and go, but are ‘played out against a slower-moving […] cyclical history’. Together Ogburn and Braudel help us understand how ‘slow-moving cultural change can coexist quite naturally with more rapidly moving events’. The first hundred pages or so are taken with a quick history of the world, sketching out colonisation; the post-war consensus; the end of the Cold War and the supremacy of the North Atlantic economies. Throughout, the rise, crisis and reformulation of modernism is discussed. The last two parts/chapters ‘How globalisation makes things the same’ and ‘How globalisation makes things different’, move from broad political-economy strokes to a more micro-sociological level and a discussion of the contradictions which characterise globalisation. British sociologist Leslie Sklair places architects (‘globalising professionals’) within what he calls a Transnational Capitalist Class (TCC). This group self-consciously ‘seek to project images of themselves as citizens of the world’, a description which any self-respecting architect would fit (Italian hillside towns, anyone?). As Manuel Castells puts it, a certain homogenous lifestyle is shared among this informational elite that ‘transcends the cultural borders of all societies’. This includes ‘jogging, the mandatory diet of grilled salmon and green salad; the ubiquitous laptop computer […] internet access; the combination of business suits and sportswear; the unisex dressing style, and so on’. Like the growth of the marketing of international cities – discussed in Part III along with a dissection of the Bilbao Effect, the ‘Iconic’ building and the >>
Star Architect phenomena – architects have been both driven by, and contributed to, this spreading shared global culture. This is where Adam’s deployment of the second major sociological schema – structuration theory and reflexive modernity – comes in. Structuration is the theory developed by Anthony Giddens to reconcile two classic, competing, explanations of human behaviour: societal structures and individual agency. Simplified, the theory goes that individuals simultaneously are informed by, and reproduce – and therefore through their agency can change – societal structures. So in architecture, practitioners react against, reproduce and redefine work from preceding years. Adam quotes Hans Ibelings’ description of the ‘contemptuous aversion to Modernism displayed by Postmodernist and deconstructivist architects [which gave] way to a more nuanced view’ to a point where, as Patrik Schumacher wrote in the AJ (AJ 10.04.10): ‘The mainstream has returned to a sort of pragmatic Modernism with a slightly enriched palette; a form of eclecticism mixing and matching elements from all Modernism’s subsidiary styles.’ Adam calls this ‘Reflexive Modernism’, a style which in the 1990s spread throughout the globe, along with the business suit, the English language, and western brands. It is in the discussion of critical regionalism and sustainability in Part IV that the book picks up pace, moving from largely historical description to more analytical commentary. He makes the perceptive observation that the spread of the sustainability movement – incubated in grass roots and supra-governmental organisations in the 1970s – into architecture ‘filled the moral vacuum’ in the profession left by the (1970s and 1980s) crisis of confidence in Modernism. Meanwhile, the notion of what sustainability encompasses has shifted from solely technological concerns about fuel usage to a point where ‘the community itself becomes the object of the concept of sustainability’. This requires architecture which articulates and bolsters existing notions of community. Adam argues that Reflexive Modernism was poorly suited to this. There was a strand of Modernism which was typified by Ernesto Rogers and Richard Neutra. In their essay ‘The Grid and the Pathway’ (1981) Tzonis and Lefaivre called this Critical Regionalism. This term was later popularised by Kenneth Frampton’s writings, himself inspired by Paul
A globe-trotting architect’s vision of local ‘identity’ can yield absurd results ..
HUFTON + CROW
Culture The Globalisation of Architecture, by Robert Adam
Previous page Hong Kong’s skyline showing ‘international style’ tower blocks Above The Guangzhou Opera House
Ricoeur’s 1965 exploration of the paradox of ‘how to become modern and return to sources’ while avoiding – as Frampton wrote – the ‘sentimentality identified with the vernacular’. This has gone mainstream. As Adam puts it: ‘It has become routine for architects to describe their work as locally responsive, whether or not they make any reference to Frampton.’ Once built, a globe-trotting architect’s vision of local ‘identity’ as inspiration for formal geometries or metaphor riffing can yield absurd results, making sense to no one who isn’t party to the internal meta-narrative. Despite this, the buildings can in turn bolster local identity. Adam takes Miralles’ Scottish Parliament Building as an exemplar, its irregular facade apparently informed by an abstracted version of Henry Raeburn’s painting The Skating Minister (1790s). The micro-sociology of architecture isn’t really Adam’s concern in this volume but, if it were, now would be a good point to jump into it. His analysis draws attention to points where passionately held opinions rest on ideologically shaky foundations, apparently informed more by group cultural norms than by conscious study. Further parsing of this would be rewarding: looking at why these shibboleths exist and how they are passed down and adapted. This type of work is done well, in a conversational style, by Adam in his humorous ‘Seven Sins of Architects’ (AJ 04.11.10) and by Jeremy Till in ..
James Pallister discovers why The Why Factory is planning for black swans
the first few chapters of Architecture Depends, where he describes the transformation of students who study architecture into gleefully caffeine-dependent, self-aware Architecture Students. Elaboration of this type of study (see Garry Stevens’ The Favored Circle ) could be instrumental in helping the profession – in particular its education system – change for the better. Any such analysis would illuminate the machinations behind why many architects may never pick up this book: Adam’s status as a ‘traditional’ architect, and his work, which puts him – for many – beyond the pale of mainstream practice. More fool them. They’d find it an entertaining, informative and stimulating read. The book does not end with any great reveal about how the future of architecture will or should develop, but rather points to the increasing influence on architecture of widely documented trends: increased hybridisation and cross-cultural borrowing (exemplified in the recent furore about the Chinese ‘Hallstat copycat’ village, see page 28) and the gradual transition of power from west to east. Its synthesis of a broad selection of literature on social theory, political economy and architecture provides an informative history of the last century. It’s also humbling, reminding us of architecture’s limitations, and its tendency to hubris when it regards itself an isolated discipline. Well worth a read. ■ ..
Above Museum of Liverpool: a local icon for Liverpool
Scott Lash, Ulrich Beck and Anthony Gidden’s concept of Risk Society could nicely be summarised by Oscar Wilde’s saying: ‘To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect’. What they call Late Modernity is characterised by the risks and problems – climate change, banking contagion, terrorism – enabled and caused by Modernity’s developments. Fear and instability replace optimism and predictability. A new book from Dutch think tank The Why Factory builds on that premise. In the foreword to City Shock: Planning the Unexpected, the authors write that ‘urban planning leaves no room for the unexpected [… yet] disasters, technological breakthroughs, management experiments, pandemics – can turn the fate of a city upside down overnight’. Fear as motivator can have a mean, dispiriting effect on city design, yet it can also generate positive engagement with potential catastrophe. The authors cite the Deltawerken, the large-scale systems of dikes, bridges and waterworks built between 1953 and 1998, prompted by the devastating North Sea floods of the 1950s; the building of a large new rail system and the doubling in size of Rotterdam Harbour in the 1980s, prompted by fear of losing Rotterdam’s status as a worldwide distribution hub; and the 1996 Vinex policy, which corraled developments around cities, driven by fear of sprawl. They argue that trend-based forecasting, which uses past events as its guide, is inadequate to anticipate what author Nassim Nicholas Taleb calls ‘black swans’. These events exhibit ‘rarity, extreme impact, and retrospective (though not prospective) predictability’. The 10 theoretical shock scenarios which follow (Olympic Games cancellation, bovine influenza; the building of a ‘space lift’) act as both taster and provocation. The aim: to make us live a little more easily with unpredictability.
read City Shock: Planning the Unexpected, by Winy Maas and Felix Madrazon, with Pablo Roquero and Jeronimo Mejia, The Why Factory, nai010 publishers, 2013
Twisting again, an unsure restart, glowing newts undesirable area, I must say. To be honest I can’t really see any residential conversion working. Who on earth would want to live here? The centre closed last year. Nobody’s fault, is it? But as usual everyone’s pointing the finger. The council blames the government for cutting its funding. The government blames the people of Manchester who, when the sun was shining, did not fix the roof but instead bought huge television sets with hard-working bankers’ money, got up in the afternoon and padded out to the tobacconist’s in their pyjamas. I’m not sure if anyone’s asked local people whom they blame. Well, I’m pretty sure nobody’s done a vox pop and dropped the word ‘whom’ in. I’m struggling. The boarded-up centre’s at the edge of a park, a quiet spot. Ideally this would be some sort of brilliant centre for the improvement of childcare, early education and health and family support, with an emphasis on outreach and community development. Or, wait. What about a futuristic bookmaker’s filled with fixed-odds betting terminals? Could put some sort of sail thing on the roof. Or like really really big pebbles around the front entrance. Or some thought-provoking ‘planting’. People love all that.
MONDAY Just designed my 1,000th ‘innovative twisting tower block’. Wow. It’s been quite a journey. I still remember my first innovative twisting tower block. The future of architecture was being smelted in the crucible of landmark buy-to-let apartment blocks. My client was astonished. ‘It looks like a still from the Wizard of Oz!’ he squeaked. Since then, ‘frozen musical twisters’ have appeared all over the world and still architecture continues to squirm towards its ultimate goal: a perfected contemporary condominium vernacular on the outside, luxury minimalism with twigs in vases on the inside. What will follow these stylish tornados? Well, I’m already working on my autumn catalogue of weather-influenced architectural tropes. Can’t say too much, but watch out for flood-effect paving, hurricane-wracked retail environments with artificial drizzle, and a wide-spectrum Desertification of the North. TUESDAY I’ve been asked by a local authority services provider to rationalise their network of hubs. By ‘rationalise’ they mean ‘justify’ of course. My solution is to pretend each hub distributes some kind of community ‘electricity’ generated by a central community electricity ‘hubstation’, which I propose to design quickly for cash, thus proving several points at once: • Local government accountability is an added value that services providers simply cannot afford on our behalf. • A hub is as good as a nod if you bypass the planning committee. • Static community electricity can be created by rubbing people up the wrong way.
THURSDAY Have to come up with imaginative new uses for an old Sure Start centre in Manchester. It’s in a very ..
WEDNESDAY Oh and don’t tell me I lack a social conscience, by the way. I’ve just designed a £64m children’s discovery centre in Hampshire. It has a 3D poetry cave, a sensory maze, an artificial snowdome, a comics library made of laminated comics, an insect-free indoor woodland kids can explore in special tree-climbing harnesses, a shallow lake full of cartoon fish and a pirates’ den with chilled drinks dispensers and edible dubloons. The scheme has been made vandal-proof by being firmly located in a family garden protected by electric razor wire and armed Russian guards, because childhood is precious.
FRIDAY We’re all used now to the last-minute call. ‘Sorry, we’ll have to stop construction of your starter home estate because we’ve found rare newts…’ No matter how rational you try to be – bomb the bastards out of their slimy holes and squash them – wildlife always wins. Still, even I could understand the latest fuss. It’s not every day you discover a ‘glowing population of newts’. Imagine my disgust on learning that this was just a typo. They are a GROWING population of newts. WELL OF COURSE THEY ARE, THEY’VE GOT THE BLOODY PLACE TO THEMSELVES, BOMB THE BASTARDS OUT OF THEIR SLIMY HOLES AND SQUASH THEM! SATURDAY Five-a-zeitgeist thoughtball. Material Pluralism 1, Plural Materialism 1. Material Pluralism wins on aggregate – it was used as a daring and confrontational cladding for an animal hospice in Stroud. Plural Materialism is now relegated to the comments section of a strident piece in Free Association Review on ‘The Self-Determination of Concrete’. SUNDAY Adjust massing in the recliner. ..
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The Architects' Journal's annual Small Projects awards 2013, the second half of the shortlist including the Sustainability Prize (AJ17.01.13...