Eric Parry’s Eagle Place A dandy on Piccadilly plus John Robertson’s 199 Bishopsgate retrofit £4.95 IBP magazine of the year THEAJ.CO.UK
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51 ABOVE LEFT: STEFAN MÜLLER. RIGHT: THE ESTATE OF PATRICK HERON / KATHARINE AND SUSANNA HERON
COVER PHOTOGRAPHY BY DIRK LINDNER
Week in pictures AHMM’s King’s Cross HQ design for Google Front page Kevin McCloud to crowd fund Hab custom designs UK news Chancellor to pump £300 billion into capital projects First look David Chipperfield completes Zurich office block News feature Oxley Woods: can prefabs solve the housing crisis? People & practice Tottenham regeneration guru Robert Evans Building study Eric Parry Architects’ Eagle Place, Piccadilly Technical study John Robertson Architects’ 199 Bishopsgate Culture Modernist generations: Tate St Ives Summer 2013 show This week online See more images and drawings of David Chipperfield’s Zurich office scheme TheAJ.co.uk/Firstlook
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From the editor
I often hear horror stories about the directors of various architecture practices and their temper tantrums: smashing models, belittling employees during design crits, or piling on an entire weekend’s work before walking out the door on a Friday night. I also meet young architects working in practices with no salary increases, no annual reviews, no HR support and no career progression (until they walk out the door – to start their own firm). But the same young architects will boast about pulling all-nighters at the office as though it were a badge of honour, not a symbol of poor time management on their – and the practice’s – part. It’s the stuff of architectural legend, but also childish and unprofessional, unbefitting the status of architects, unheard-of in other industries. Employees shouldn’t stand for mistreatment; but they do, because they love architecture and they don’t know what else to do. Directors shouldn’t stoop to taking advantage, but they do, because they were treated the same way, and some believe they’ve earned the privilege. But think of the wasted money, talent, time, energy and initiative. How can architects demand professional fees if they’re not behaving like professionals? How can they become essential to the contemporary world if their very working practices are antiquated? If you are starting your own practice and employing people for the first time, you would do well to bone up on how to manage a successful team, as well as HR laws and tax. Pick up a self-help book that appeals to your personal style. Put in place six-month reviews with every member of staff so that you can discuss with them their progress, and they can let you know whether or not they feel supported and valued by your firm. If you are a young architect working for a practice with less than adequate professional practices, don’t be afraid to speak out. But don’t use bad management as an excuse for poor performance as an employee: it’s worth following some of Alison Brooks’ tips to young architects starting out (you can read all ..
Don’t be afraid to speak out against less-than-professional practice in your workplace, says Christine Murray
Employees shouldn’t stand for mistreatment; but they do because they love architecture and they don’t know what else to do eight on our website), shared at the Women in Architecture: Winners’ Talk last week: 1) if you’re working in a practice, treat it like your own office; 2) be experimental; 3) be part of the architectural community; 4) treat every project as if it were your last; and, finally, 5) hang on to your idealism and values. If you genuinely follow these tips, even if you’re working in a practice with poor management and zero career progression, you’re still strengthening your arm. Indeed, Brooks says, working in practice is a great way to learn about running your own practice and experiment with design without incurring the risk. For example, you might learn how to win clients for your current practice, while your income doesn’t depend on it. Not only will this increase your value to your current practice, when you can’t stand the tantrums anymore, you’ll be in good stead to set up on your own when you quit. email@example.com
Week in pictures
’ AHMM has submitted a planning application for a new £650 million Google headquarters in King’s Cross. Planned to open in late 2016, the 93,000m² building will house under one roof the company’s 4,500 London staff currently based in Victoria and Holborn TheAJ.co.uk/AHMMgoogle 1
Austin:Smith2 Lord has completed this £6 million sports and recreation facility for young people at Mesnes Field, Wigan. The main 3,340m² building features a dance studio, music room, arts space, kitchen, café, admin offices and 2,500m² of external areas including a skatepark TheAJ.co.uk/MesnesField
The final 3 phase of BDP’s £32 million revamp of Lancashire County Cricket Club has been unwrapped. The overhaul of the 1895 pavilion removed postwar additions and ‘sensitively intertwines a new steel-framed red brick and glass extension with the original facade’ TheAJ.co.uk/LancashireCricket
Terry Farrell, 4 with Herzog & de Meuron, has beaten stars including Snøhetta and Shigeru Ban to win the contest to design a new museum for Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Culture District. The partnership was chosen ‘unanimously’ from a six-strong shortlist of top-name designers TheAJ.co.uk/WestKowloon ..
Hong Kong-based 5 10Design has designed a 125m-span bridge connecting the two major phases of a large new township in Chengdu, China. The scheme for client Wide Horizons links waterfront parklands at diagonally opposite sides of the bridge and features waterfall at the edge of the ramp TheAJ.co.uk/Chengfu ..
PICTURE CREDITS: 01 AHMM 02 CHARLIE COLEMAN 03 DANIEL HOPKINSON 04 FARRELLS / HERZOG & DE MEURON 05 10DESIGN
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Kevin McCloud pushes custom and self-build with crowd funding plan TV personality and Hab chief aims to raise £1.5 million through radical equity offer to take custom and self-build ‘from niche to mainstream’ Grand Designs TV presenter Kevin McCloud has begun a crowd funding campaign to raise £1.5 million for his development company, Hab Housing, as part of a drive to boost custom building in the UK. Investors have been promised a dividend of no less than 5 per cent on their cash at the end of 2016 as well as a 5 per cent saving on any purchase of a Hab home – up to the level of investment. The minimum investment is £100 and at the time of going to press the company had been pledged ..
£267,000, with money promised to expand to help people create by names including Tom their own, personalised homes, Bloxham and Glenn Howells. either through custom build, The ground-breaking self-build or custom finish, developer completed its and also wants to tap first project, the 42into the government’s home Glenn Howells £30 million loan Minimum Architects-designed finance pot, which Triangle development investment in Hab’s was set up to kickcrowd funding in Swindon, two years start communityscheme ago (AJ 10.11.11) and based custom build has a raft of schemes schemes. His company on the go, including a hopes to build 1,000 near-complete 78-home scheme homes a year from 2018. by DSDHA in Stroud. The presenter and writer McCloud’s outfit now wants said: ‘Self-building and custom
building can be perceived as risky, expensive and fraught with difficulty. Our aim is to take self-building from niche to mainstream. We’ve always felt that a business that aims to build great places for people should offer opportunities for the public to be involved in the business. Crowd funding does this.’ The approach has raised eyebrows from other developers. Roger Zogolovitch of Lake Estates said: ‘It is a bit difficult to quite see what’s in it for the investor. The danger is that it is just high-risk seed money and not delivering equity to the investor.’ Former Urban Splash deputy chief executive Nick Johnson said: ‘It’s a high-risk strategy. ‘Usually when there’s an initial public offering the embarrassment of failure is underwritten by the investment banks. But here, there’s no safety net, so if they don’t get there then there’s some work to be done to restore confidence and credibility.’ If successful, it is understood Hab – which stands for Happiness, Architecture, Beauty – will deliver the ‘place-making’ and secure outline planning for the wider development of schemes, covering the general massing and layout. Site owners can bring in their own architects, but designs for the individual plots would be within the parameters of design codes pre-agreed with planners. McCloud added: ‘In my opinion, the lighter the design code the better, allowing for the maximum amount of expression. But we don’t want to create an architectural zoo.’ The developer has until 24 August 2013 to raise a minimum of £1 million through the crowd funding website Crowdcube, otherwise all the money pledged will be returned. Richard Waite
Osborne’s £50bn construction pledge Chancellor to pump £300 billion into capital projects by end of the decade economy George Osborne has vowed to invest £50 billion a year in capital projects from 2015-16. Delivering his 2015-16 Spending Review, the Chancellor of the Exchequer promised to ‘raise our national game’ by investing £300 billion in capital projects by the end of this decade. Speaking to the House of Commons last week, Osborne said: ‘Successive governments of all colours have put short-term pressures over the long-term needs and refused to commit to capital spending plans that match the horizons of a modern economy. This will mean that Britain will spend on average more as a percentage of its national income on capital investment in this decade – despite the fact money is tight –
than in the previous decade.’ Plans to deliver funding for up to 180 new free schools, 20 new studio schools and 20 university technical colleges a year were also announced. Osborne also pledged a £3 billion investment in affordable housing, £9 billionworth of capital funding for the Mayor of London and reiterated the government’s commitment to HS2 and the case for Crossrail 2. However, there were revenue cuts of 5 per cent for arts and museums and a 10 per cent drop for English Heritage, which was split into two separate organisations. A new selffinancing charity is to be set up within the next two years to look after the National Heritage Collection, which includes properties such as Stonehenge
WiA: take risks, work hard women in architecture Hard work is the key to success, said Eva Jiřičná, Alison Brooks, and Olga Felip, at a winners’ talk for the 2013 AJ Women in Architecture Awards. Jiřičná, the winner of the 2013 Jane Drew Prize, shared insights into her career, which spans 50 years, beginning with her early work on the design and construction of Brighton Marina, to designing interiors for the Joseph chain of stores and Roger’s Lloyd’s Building. Speaking at the Zaha Hadiddesigned ROCA London Gallery, Jiřičná said her career wouldn’t have been possible without ‘the people who help me in my 10 theaj.co.uk
practice’ and without taking risks. Despite saying she ‘never wanted to be an architect’, Jiřičná now ‘can’t find anything in life that doesn’t concern architecture’. She said: ‘I didn’t really “get” architecture at first. But then something changed in my brain. It was called love – an affection. This made it worth all the late nights and the hard work.’ Woman Architect of the Year Brooks also stressed the importance of taking risks, working hard, and ‘staying ‘true to your values’. Brooks advised the audience to experiment, enter competitions and treat their current practice ‘as if it is your own’. Laura Mark
and Dover Castle, while the organisation’s planning and heritage protection responsibilities will become known as the National Heritage Protection Service and ‘continue to use its statutory powers, advice, research and awareness-raising to protect England’s heritage at large’. Labour shadow chancellor Ed Balls claimed infrastructure funding had fallen 50 per cent in the first three months of this year. He said: ‘There is no point boasting about infrastructure investment in five or 10 years’ time. We need action now.’ Jeremy Blackburn, RICS’s director of UK External Affairs, said: ‘It is now absolutely clear that government recognises spending on housing and infrastructure is vital to the
recovery of the UK. Building of new homes is way behind target, with construction workloads at historically low levels … but the £3 billion extension to affordable housing will go some way to kickstarting construction of much needed social housing.’ Jon Poore, public sector director at project managers Turner and Townsend, said: ‘The chancellor’s speech was long on vision, but short on detail. But the parallels were compelling – Britain is to spend more on roads than it has for half a century, and more on rail than since the Victorian era. ‘Two and half years after the chancellor pledged to do something very similar with the National Infrastructure Plan, cynics will be queuing up to say they’ve heard it all before. ‘That sense of déjà-vu extends to the numbers being quoted. £50.4billion of capital investment in 2015/16 is exactly the same as that previously announced for 2014/15.’ Merlin Fulcher
RMJM ousted from NY job united states Perkins Eastman has replaced RMJM on the $251 million (£164 million) project to modernise New York’s biggest city-run community health centre. RMJM – served with eviction papers before switching New York offices last summer – has been paid $11.9 million for work on the Gouverneur healthcare facility, but Perkins Eastman has been drafted in to complete designs. The scheme, set to transform the 1970s-built Madison Street hospital into a modern health centre will feature a new fivestorey ambulatory care centre and a 295-bed nursing facility. Valued at $180 million and scheduled to
complete in 2012, it has faced cost and programme overruns, with construction still under way. RMJM group commercial director Declan Thompson last summer insisted the firm would grow its New York office, but it is understood the studio now has less than 10 staff. When RMJM switched offices last August he told the AJ: ‘The new space has the capacity for 60 people and we [intend to take] up the rest of the floor … I have no doubt this time next year New York will be twice the size it is now.’ No reason was given for the decision. Both RMJM and Perkins Eastman declined to comment. Greg Pitcher 04.07.13
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David Chipperfield completes 14,600m² Zurich office development for Swiss bank UK contender invited back by masterplan competition winner Max Dudler to design one side of eight-storey courtyard scheme
PHOTOGRAPHY BY STEFAN MÜLLER
David Chipperfield has completed a 14,600m² office block for Swiss investment bank UBS in Zurich’s newly created Europa-Allee quarter. The eight-storey office is one of four interconnected buildings grouped around a public courtyard.
The practice was invited to design the block (pictured, centre) by Swiss minimalist Max Dudler, who pipped Chipperfield to win the competition to masterplan the wider quarter in 2006. Dudler has designed two of the wings (pictured, left), while fellow contest runner-up Gigon/Guyer
Architekten, which was also asked back, has overseen the last of the quartet (pictured, right). The ground floor of Chipperfield’s block contains a double-height entrance lobby, conference rooms and an external restaurant. There are seven floors of column-
free office space above with a corridor on the first floor which allows unhindered circulation throughout all four buildings. Once completed in 2020, the new quarter will create 6,000 workplaces, 1,800 study spaces, 400 flats, a hotel, shops and restaurants. Tom Ravenscroft
York’s Theatre Royal is seeking a design team to develop refurbishment designs through RIBA stages C and D to support an Arts Council funding application. Plans have been drawn up by Levitt Bernstein [Expressions of interest due 19 July]
An multidisciplinary architectled team is sought to overhaul Auckland Castle (pictured) and its grounds in County Durham. The job is valued at £500,000 for design work up to RIBA stage D, which will be followed by a further £500,000 for design during construction. Works are due to begin on site November 2013 and complete by mid-2015 [Completed PQQs due 17 July] Sean Kitchen TheAJ.co.uk/competitions
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The Architecture Foundation has opened a design contest seeking proposals for sites along the Tidal Thames in London. Selected entries will feature in a public design workshop in September, which will produce material for a Royal Academy of Arts exhibition. [Portfolios of completed works due by 15 July]
comment: jon palethorpe, commercial director at sapa building system
What do the RIBA Awards tell us about British architecture today?
‘Panellists observed that many of the UK RIBA Awardwinning buildings displayed ‘modesty’ as they ‘blended into their landscapes’ (humane spaces that make healthcare more accessible, or reinvigorate city centres), unlike some of the more brazen international winners. Andy Groarke spoke as a parent of the success of Lauriston School (pictured below), and how the interlocking spaces are creating a community across age groups. ‘But how often do we see how architecture is experienced? ‘We work closely with architects to design sustainable, contemporary, innovative and high performance aluminium facades and fenestration systems, and feel pride in the part we play in delivering beautiful buildings. But, several steps removed from the end-client, we rarely hear how the building is experienced by those it is designed to serve. ‘It would be interesting to see the RIBA Awards judge buildings after they’ve been occupied for a couple of years, with feedback from the client and those using the space as a measure of success.’
awards More than 160 people came to hear a review of this year’s RIBA Awards, followed by a Q&A session in the RIBA’s Jarvis Memorial Hall. Hosted by Paul Finch last Tuesday, the second British Architecture Now event, organised by the AJ and Sapa Building System, brought together some of the country’s most respected architectural figures at the institute’s Portland Place headquarters. The awardwinning projects were discussed by type and a number of trends were identified, including the lack of one-off homes and the snobbery that workplace schemes face from jurors. Other talking points included Hugh Broughton Architects’ Halley VI Antarctic Research Station, Lauriston School in Hackney by Griffin Architects and Park Hill in Sheffield by Hawkins\ 14 theaj.co.uk
Brown and Studio Egret West. Andy Groarke from Carmody Groarke started proceedings with a look at some of his projects and his personal observations on the role that awards and competitions can play in developing and testing architectural ideas. Discussing his Filling Station pop-up restaurant project in King’s Cross, he said: ‘The forces that have shaped this temporary piece of architecture have been innovative financial, cultural and environmental entrepreneurship.’ He added: ‘Rather than just being reactionary to opportunity, we see it as part of our responsibility to shape these opportunities with clients and collaborators – not just to design the creative identity or the image of a building and not just meeting the needs of the immediate end-user.’ The panel also included Peter
Clegg, sustainability champion and founding partner of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios; Sarah Featherstone, co-director at Featherstone Young and member of the RIBA Awards judging panel; Edwin Heathcote, architecture and design critic at the Financial Times; and Christine Murray, editor of the AJ. It went on to discuss the notion of a ‘test of time’ award, with Murray backing a ‘sense of how buildings are in use’ and Groarke welcoming the introduction of a new award category to celebrate this (for more on this award and comment by Peter Clegg and Footprint editor Hattie Hartman, see Footprint, AJ 27.06.13). The panel noted that, with only three British houses winning RIBA National awards this year – but with 23 regional winners – it was getting tougher for one-off homes to convince visiting juries of their quality. Featherstone said that architects, especially when judging bespoke houses, ‘are very hard on other architects’. Clegg added that there was ‘no doubt that it was harder to win’ a national award this year. The panel also expressed surprised that One Hyde Park by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and Hall McKnights’ Leckey Offices in Lisburn, were regional, rather than national, winners. And with only four workplace projects winning national awards, the panel agreed the juries had displayed their usual snobbery towards office design. Richard Waite and Rory Olcayto
Leading figures gather to discuss the forces shaping the awards
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Is Oxley Woods the answer to the housing crisis?
KATSUHISA KIDA / RSHP
Merlin Fulcher revisits Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners’ award-winning scheme in Milton Keynes as the practice launches its Mark II version of the groundbreaking prefabricated house building method
Last week the government pledged £3 billion to kick-start the ‘biggest public housing programme for over 20 years’. Experts were sceptical. Even with additional funding, could the construction industry really deliver these 165,000 new affordable homes by 2018? The timing could not have been better for Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) to announce Oxley Woods Mark II – the evolution of its 2008 Manser Medal-winning quick-to-build homes. The new model has a faster build time with prefabricated components, and meets the zero-carbon requirements for Code for Sustainable Homes Level 6. A prototype house is expected to be built in the courtyard of the Royal Academy as part of the Richard Rogers retrospective ..
opening later this month. feels a world apart from the New According to RSHP partner Town grid squares of Milton Ivan Harbour, the honed Keynes. Even on a dull June day, construction system ‘is 40 per the multi-coloured panels of cent more cost-effective than the affordable starter-homes – conventionally built buildings’ pejoratively dubbed Lego Land and there are ‘a number of local by taxi drivers – look flash. Closer authorities … very interested inspection of the facade reveals in those figures’. patchy construction But if Oxley Woods’ dust crying out for modern eco-friendly a window cleaners’ housing represents MORE HOMES chamois. the way forward, why But this isn’t BETTER HOMES has it so far failed because Oxley Woods’ to transform volume residents – typically builders’ methods? And architects, graphic why, after constructing designers, hairdressers, 122 of the 145 planned RSHP photographers and IT specialists homes, has the developer – don’t have a sense of pride chosen to pursue alternative and community. In fact, many designs by another practice? claim the architecture itself On the day I visit, has attracted diverse but Oxley Woods’ meandering ‘like-minded’ folk, such as Buckinghamshire village-style mixed-ethnicity couples, gay layout with flower-lined streets partners and retired residents.
‘People are buoyed up by living in these houses – they are really different,’ says retired architect Barbara Swann, who relocated to a three-bedroom home overlooking Oxley Woods’ yet-to-be-built final phase in November 2007. Her views are not untypical. A sample survey of residents completed 18 months after completion revealed 100 per cent of residents would recommend Oxley Woods to friends and family – results that shocked client Taylor Wimpey. Described by Manser judges as a ‘thorough-going attempt at innovation within the all-too risk-averse conventional house builders’ market’ the suburban Milton Keynes development was the product of John Prescott’s Design for Manufacture competition to create a £60,000 house using modern methods ..
of construction. The acclaimed houses – designed to be constructed in three days from full-height insulated wall panels – were expected to pave the way for an industry-wide revolution in off-site manufacture, which would put paid to scaffolding, lengthy builds and muddy sites. Surveying the landscape, it’s no surprise that many of these residents also describe themselves as pioneers. The once green-field terrain now resembles a suburban Eldorado where eponymous ‘noddy boxes’ close ranks against their experimental neighbours. Behind the loose panels and pockmarked scrubland, Oxley Woods residents are satisfied. Richard Minns – who works services global banking IT systems from his living room – said: ‘We were going to move into The Hub [by Glenn Howells] in the city centre, which was opening at the same time – thank god we didn’t. I’m proud to be a part of an experiment.’
Mobile hairdresser Gemma McCann – who relocated to Oxley Woods with her partner Matt in 2007 – added: ‘When I visit other new estates in Milton Keynes I feel very grateful to live where I do. This is due to the open spaces surrounding our homes and also when I look out of my house I am not
PORTRAITS & REVISIT PHOTOGRAPHY BY MERLIN FULCHER
IT specialist Richard Minns chose Oxley Woods over a rival city centre development when relocating from a 1940s home in August 2007 ‘A lot of people call it Lego Land. I call it Moon Base Alpha, because it would look great on the moon with a big dome over it. I’m proud to ..
subjected to brick walls from surrounding houses and gardens.’ Furthermore, the estate’s attrition rate – which might indicate satisfaction with housing quality – has been low, with only five households selling and moving on in the past six years. Even significant falls in house prices since the first units sold >>
‘When I visit other new estates in Milton Keynes I feel grateful to live where I do’ Gemma McCann, Oxley Woods resident
be a part of an experiment. We were going to move into The Hub in the city centre, which was opening at same time – thank god we didn’t. The proposals [Taylor Wimpey and CMYK] are putting forward are perfectly acceptable houses, but it’s not really about that, it’s about the idea and it’s much more fundamental.’
A first time buyers’ initiative helped energy policy adviser Chris Littlecott, his partner Sandra and their two children relocate to Oxley Woods in December 2009 ‘There was a willingness to accept that not everything would be perfect in the homes because they were new and it was a new construction
method. Oxley Woods has attracted people from a wide variety of backgrounds. Only recently has there started to be a turnover. Having a non-traditional design was attractive to us. There’s a real sense of privacy and sense of space because of the quality of the internal layout – the designs and the light.’
at the pinnacle of the housing boom have failed to dampen spirits. McCann said: ‘We bought our home in the first time buyer scheme for £180,000. Due to the recession it is now valued at £150,000, but it doesn’t concern us as we plan to be here for a long time still to come.’ But there have been teething troubles. Problems faced by early residents ranged from leaks to faulty doors and windows, and in one case ‘severe water ingress’. These issues were attributed by RSHP to ‘defects in manufacturing and construction’ in 2009. These problems were singled out by one source close to the project as the reason behind cost overruns across the development. Taylor Wimpey has declined to comment on this claim, but clues can be found in a 2010 Homes & Communities Agency document, which admitted: ‘Of all the [Design for Manufacture] sites, Oxley Woods has been the
most expensive to build, with the main increase being in the superstructure, due to variation between property designs.’ The wider industry’s adoption of off-site manufacture and construction – supported by English Partnerships (which later became HCA) – was derailed by the recession. And in Oxley Woods’ case, in 2011 in a statement by regional managing director Peter Gurr, the house builder Taylor Wimpey actually pointed to low consumer demand alongside high costs to justify abandoning RSHP’s designs. The development’s muchvaunted bright red ‘eco-hat’ also proved a let-down, with some residents complaining it had been ‘oversold’. Minns said: ‘When we were first looking at properties they were saying [the eco-hat] is a solar collector and heat exchanger – it doesn’t really do any of that. At the moment all it’s used for is heat extracting and air flow.’
Retired architect Barbara Swann downsized from a 1980s family house to move to Oxley Woods in November 2007 ‘I was hoping to find something with low energy bills, which was comfortable and suitable for ageing. I pay a direct debit of £45 a month for heating and gas. It heats up very ..
Visualisation of high-rise version of RSHP’s Oxley Woods Mark II model
quickly and, being of an older generation, I tend to wear jumpers in winter and am thrifty. I put a curtain at the bottom of the stairs to keep the heat in. In summer it gets quite warm on the first floor but you can cool it down by opening windows. People are buoyed up by living in these houses – they are really different.’
Hairdresser Gemma McCann and her partner Matt relocated to Oxley Woods in 2007. Both are ‘extremely worried’ about the development plans ‘When I visit other new estates in Milton Keynes I feel very grateful to live where I do. This is due to the open spaces surrounding our homes and
also when I look out of my house I am not subjected to brick walls from surrounding houses and gardens. Different designs would ruin the look and feel of the community and confuse future buyers. We have formed an amazing community over the years of living here and I think it has a lot to do with the uniqueness of our houses.’ ..
‘With this scheme you can bring forward cost-effectiveness and deliver it earlier’ Simon Tuddenham, Colliers In response, RSHP project architect Simon Tonks said: ‘The name “eco-hat” was coined by the project manager because it sounds funky. They were looking for a way to sell product and they latched onto what they saw was the USP, the eco-hat and the energy performance.’ Finally, RSHP designed the homes to be well insulated, airtight, and 20 per cent more efficient than Building Regulations required at the time, but combined gas and electricity costs of residents interviewed vary from £40 to £100 a month across households. A more detailed analysis is unavailable, according to Oxley Wood’s M&E engineer, Stuart McDougall, previously of RYBKA and now at Peter Brett Associates, who confirmed a post-occupancy evaluation of the scheme’s energy performance has yet to be completed. That residents are largely opposed to Taylor Wimpey’s planning application for Oxley Woods’ more traditionally constructed final tranche, designed by CMYK, testifies to the success of RSHP’s design. The residents who are campaigning against the final phase claim its lack of innovation is their principle concern. Summing up residents’ opposition, Swann said: ‘The best thing would be if they had completed the estate as they should have done. If they came ..
means a 24-unit block could up with something simple, be erected in just four weeks, specifically designed to sit the practice claimed. properly on the site, maybe we Furthermore, the Code Level would consider it very favourably.’ 6 design means energy savings In a statement, a Taylor could be up to 90 per cent greater Wimpey spokesman said: ‘Our than conventional housing. revised proposals for the final RSHP partner Ivan Harbour 26 homes at Oxley Woods have said the faster-to-build homes been prepared in response to – currently being pursued by comments received in the refusal RSHP with clients such as of our previous planning land-owning investment application for the banks, high street site, in addition to banks and housing further feedback Potential energy associations – would from members of savings over save developers the local community.’ conventional money, particularly The proposals housing by reducing borrowing are set to go before time before rent is received. Milton Keynes’ planning Key projects include a 30-unit committee on 11 July. affordable scheme, which will Looking back on Taylor be operated by YMCA in the Wimpey’s decision to drop London borough of Merton. Due RSHP’s designs, Minns said: to be submitted for planning this ‘Handing such an innovative summer, the project will feature design over to a house rents approximately 45 per cent builder was always going to below open market prices. be problematic. The cost of building these was probably higher than Taylor Wimpey had imagined [neither was it] as efficient [nor] as quick.’ But Harbour blamed the house builder’s reliance on an established supply chain, claiming off-site manufacture was ‘an irritation to them’. He said: ‘The concept of building fast, effectively and well doesn’t work with their model of development, which is all about banking land for as long as you can to make as much money as you can.’ Harbour believes all of the teething problems have been addressed in the Oxley Woods redux and that the system could resurrect housebuilding by knocking 25 to 40 per cent off the cost of traditional building. The method, which involves volumetric components being delivered by lorry before being fitted together on site,
Simon Tuddenham, associate director at Colliers, which is advising on the project, said: ‘The banks are sitting on thousands of schemes throughout the UK which have been mothballed. With this scheme you can bring forward the point of achieving cost-effectiveness and deliver it earlier. ‘[The approach] really should unlock affordable housing, specifically for sites where clients have a need to go up quickly or are just not viable with traditional construction methodologies.’ Harbour said: ‘My view is that if Oxley Woods could make a small difference in a very big sector it would be the most important project in the office. When we started out, we were hoping we could change the way the industry puts houses together. Now, if we can get it up and running, it could kick-start housebuilding in a recession.’ ■
People & practice
‘Tottenham is the new King’s Cross’
What’s wrong with Tottenham? The challenges are high unemployment and the provision of transport and other infrastructure needed to help local people find the jobs, training and support they need to succeed. Residents and businesses have also stressed the importance of improving neighbourhood safety. How do you propose to regenerate the area? Proposals by Arup on the table are subject to ongoing consultation. By 2025, various partners want to deliver 10,000 new high-quality homes, nearly 93,000m2 of new employment and commercial space that will provide 5,000 jobs, a new leisure space at White Hart Lane, a civic hub and open space at Tottenham Green, a new shopping centre and gateway to Seven Sisters, and a revamped Tottenham Hale Station, improving links to Stansted and Stratford. What sort of investment in physical infrastructure is needed? Investment in transport, public realm, workspace and housing. For example, the focus at Tottenham Hale is on a new urban centre, with more than 1,200 new homes, a revamped station and retail park. There are also proposals for a new public square linking White Hart Lane Station to KSS’s Tottenham Hotspur FC development, which will include a new Sainsbury’s store and a university technical college alongside the new stadium.
What else needs to happen to attract investment? The public and private sectors must work closely together to build knowledge and confidence in the regeneration and highlight the opportunities that are available. The Tottenham Landowners and Major Businesses Group, which I have been asked to chair, includes major investors in Tottenham such as Spurs, Grainger, Bellway Homes, Lee Valley Estates and the public sector. What role can architects play in the transformation? Good design is not an optional extra. Architects play an essential role. High-quality buildings and spaces are what people want to see, to improve their environment, attract investment and provide new opportunities. How do you measure success? By making Tottenham a place where more people are proud to live, work, invest and send their children to high-quality schools. How will regeneration benefit local people and ensure they are not priced out of the area? Regeneration must mean they benefit from more and better opportunities in terms of jobs, homes, shops and transport. As at King’s Cross, extending housing choice will mean new homes of different types and tenures to encourage home ownership, attract and retain key workers, and provide lower-cost housing, for example at traditional social rents.
Regeneration guru Robert Evans on the riotstruck area, which has landed a £500m boost
Kirkwood McCarthy Fiona Kirkwood, Sophie McCarthy London E2 January 2013 www.kirkwoodmccarthy.com Where have you come from? We met while working at Woods Bagot in London. Kirkwood had worked at Australian practices Architects EAT and Project Architecture. McCarthy was an associate at Woods Bagot, having worked with UK practices such as Sutherland Hussey Architects. What work do you have? Some residential projects across London – small house extensions, high-end refurbishments and a new-build residence. We hope to move into larger residential and mixed-use developments. What are your ambitions? To continue growing and engaging with diverse project types and scales. Alongside commissioned work we hope to continue our stream of research-
driven, self-developed projects that investigate emerging typologies, construction technologies and temporality. Every tenth day is a self-directed research day to encourage the studio to pursue ideas. We hope this will allow us to extend our professional services beyond specific buildings and positively contribute innovation and ideas to the broader built environment. How optimistic are you? We’ve had a busy first five months, so we’re confident about the stability and growth of the construction industry. How do you market yourself? Our commissions have so far come via word of mouth but the projects will build a portfolio we can use to bid for new work. ..
A baffling problem
The attempts to tackle high winds at the base of Aedas’s problematic 32-storey Bridgewater Place tower in Leeds rumbles on. At the reconvened inquest last week into the tragic death of a 36-yearold man, killed in March 2011 when a lorry was blown on top of him, the skyscraper’s owners confessed that remediation work was unlikely to start until next year. According to the Yorkshire Post, the consultant team, which includes TP Bennett and Buro Happold, had tried ‘nearly 30 different combinations of baffles and other structures
before a working solution was found’. As a result, a planning application is not now expected until much later this year. Meanwhile the council has branded the building, completed in 2007, a ‘legal nuisance’.
Give or take a century According to the C20 Society blog, written by Catherine Croft, an application has been received for the delisting of a Grade II-listed house in Long Melford, Suffolk. It turns out the house – described by the listing inspector in 1978 as a ‘C19 timber-framed and plastered house’ – was
actually designed in 1965 by architects Hughes and Bicknell. The architects, described by Matthew Saunders, secretary of the Ancient Monuments Society, as ‘otherwise committed Modernists’, are best known for colleges and commercial buildings in Cambridge.
Frank’s Café summer pop-up – fended off all queue jumpers, even art world supremo Nicholas Serota. It took 10 minutes of frantic phone calls before the Tate director succeeded in reopening the express lane.
Save Britain’s Heritage is not giving up in its battle to protect London’s Smithfield market from John McAslan + Partners’ retail and officeled redevelopment plans. As the consultation period closed on the regeneration scheme last week, the conservation campaign group delivered a petition to architecture minister Ed Vaizey with the names of 2,700 objectors. Among those offering support was playwright Alan Bennett, who argued that the partial demolition of the Victorian market would be akin to pulling down the nearby Grade I-listed St Bartholomew’s church. Bennett added: ‘Smithfield was the scene of many martyrdoms – this would be another.’ Despite the dissenters and a bold bid by regeneration specialist Urban Space Management to buy and retain the site, insiders are confident the scheme will be recommended for approval later this summer. Readers will remember that a previously submitted design by KPF for developer Thornfield was derailed by a defiant communities secretary Hazel Blears in 2008, despite clearing the City and Corporation of London’s planning hurdles. The hints now are that, if the development can get past City planners, a Tory government would be more sympathetic to it than KPF’s ‘obliterator’.
The celebrityblind entry policy for Bold Tendencies’ opening night in south London took several high-profile visitors by surprise. Door staff at the Peckham rooftop sculpture park – home to Practice Architecture’s iconic
The Hellman Files #104 This déjà Mcvue cartoon from the AJ for 11.10.01 spookily mirrors the recent reaction of the profession to a new, third, SNP Governmentbacked architecture policy – Creating Places – ..
which heaps pious cliché upon pious cliché, whereas architects want definite policies on procurement. In other words ‘jobs now, not tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow!’
What’s your beef?
The shortlist has been announced for the British Construction Industry Awards (BCIA) 2013. With visits from members of the expert judging panel, four new and updated categories and finalists facing Dragon’s Den-style interviews with industry experts, the awards carry unrivalled
British Construction Industry Awards 2013 shortlist revealed The prestigious BCIA awards, which recognise excellence in the delivery of building and civil engineering projects, attracted 114 entries this year
North London Hospice Commissioning authority: North London Hospice Architect: AHMM Engineer: Elliott Wood Partnership Principal contractor: Pavehall Downley House Commissioning authority: Downley Inspiring Construction Architect: Birds Portchmouth Russum Architects Engineer: Techniker Principal contractor: Downley Inspiring Construction Hayes Primary School Commissioning authority: London Borough of Croydon Architect: Hayhurst & Co. Engineer: Crofton Design Principal contractor: Kier Wallis Pier Cultural Centre Commissioning authority: Southend Borough Council Architect: White Arkitekter Engineern : Price & Myers Principal contractor: Kier Construction Westside Young People’s Centre Commissioning authority: Ealing Council Directorate of Children’s Services
NIALL MCLAUGHLIN ARCHITECTS
Building Project of the Year (up to £3 million)
Building Project of the Year (£3-50 million) Kingswood Academy Commissioning authority: Hull City Council with Esteem Architect: AHMM Engineer: Buro Happold Principal contractor: Morgan Sindall Construction Giant’s Causeway Visitors’ Centre Commissioning authority: The National Trust Architect: Heneghan Peng Engineer: Arup Principal contractor: Gilbert-Ash NI The Backstage Centre Commissioning authority: High House Production Park Limited and the National Skills Academy Principal designer: Arup Architect: Gibberd Principal contractor: Kier Eastern Coventry University Faculty of Engineering and Computing Commissioning authority: Coventry University Architect: Arup Associates Principal contractor: Vinci The Hive Commissioning authority: University of Worcester and Worcestershire County Council Architect: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios Structural engineer: Max Fordham Principal contractor: Galliford Try Construction Bristol Old Vic Theatre
Commissioning authority: Bristol Old Vic Architect: Andrzej Blonski Architects Engineer: Hydrock Structures Principal contractor: Galliford Try Construction Phase 1A: Park Hill: Sheffield Commissioning authority: Urban Splash Architect: Hawkins\Brown and Studio Egret West Principal contractor: Urban Splash Build The Crystal Commissioning authority: Siemens Architect: Wilkinson Eyre Engineer: Arup Principal contractor: ISG Accelerated Cooling the Tube Commissioning authority: London Underground/TfL Principal designer: SKM + BBESL with TMA Principal contractor: Morgan Sindall and Birse Metro Sir Ludwig Guttmann Health & Wellbeing Centre Commissioning Authority: Olympic Delivery Authority Architect: Penoyre & Prasad Engineer: WSP Principal Contractor: Willmott Dixon Construction Forth Valley College Alloa and Stirling Commissioning Authority: Forth Valley College
Minister’s Award for Better Public Buildings, which was won last year by Hopkins Architects for its ‘clever’ UCH Macmillan Cancer Centre in London (AJ 11.10.12). The rigorous judging process includes a visit, as always, to every shortlisted entrant in the
building and civil engineering project categories by members of the expert jury which again includes the AJ’s deputy editor, Rory Olcayto. ■ The 26th BCI Awards will be presented at a gala dinner on 9 October 2013 at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London.
Architect: Reiach and Hall Architects Engineer: Halcrow Group Principal contractor: Miller Group Newlands School Commissioning Authority: 4 Futures Architect: Wright & Wright Architects Engineer: Ramboll Principal contractor: Balfour Beatty Construction
Group on behalf of LBQ Architect: Renzo Piano Building Workshop Engineer: WSP Principal contractor: Mace
International Award China Central Television New Headquarters Architect: OMA Engineer: Arup Al-Bahar Towers Architect: Aedas Yas Waterworld, Abu Dhabi Architect: Atkins British Antarctic Survey, Halley Research Station, Brunt Ice Shelf, Antarctica Architect: Hugh Broughton Architects Danube Bridge 2 Vidin-Calafat, Bulgaria-Romania Architect: URS
Major Building Project of the Year (over £50 million) Manchester Metropolitan University Business School & Student Hub Commissioning authority: Manchester Metropolitan University Architect: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios Engineer: White Young Green Principal contractor: Sir Robert McAlpine Park House Commissioning authority: QNB Capital Architect: Robin Partington Architects Engineer: AKT II Principal contractor: Mace 62 Buckingham Gate Project Commissioning authority: Land Securities Architect: Pelli Clarke Pelli and Swanke Hayden Connell Architects Principal contractor: Sir Robert McAlpine The Shard at London Bridge Commissioning authority: Sellar Property
See the full shortlist, including the Civil Engineering Awards, BIM Project Application Award and Leader of Tomorrow Award entrants online at TheAJ.co.uk/bcia2013
Architect: Meadowcroft Griffin Principal contractor: Thomas Sinden South Bank WC Pavilion Commissioning authority: Healthmatic Architect: Mark Power Architect Engineers: David Narro Associates Principal contractor: Healthmatic Bishop Edward King Chapel, Ripon College, Cuddesdon, Oxfordshire Commissioning authority: Bayfield Associates/Ripon College Architect: Niall McLaughlin Architects Principal contractor: Beard Construction
The rigorous judging process includes a visit to every building and civil engineering project by judges
ROBIN PARTINGTON ARCHITECTS
gravitas and recognise excellence across a range of disciplines. The awards, which attracted 114 entries this year, recognise overall excellence in the delivery of building and civil engineering infrastructure projects. Once again the programme will include the coveted Prime
Letter from London
Why isn’t housing design getting better and better with every decade? asks Paul Finch
market (overseas investors, though their numbers can be exaggerated). Parts of the private market and most of the social market will not be properly catered for. Even if you sort out land, there is still an issue as to why design standards are not better than they should be. Over the past 40 years, fridges, washing machines and dishwashers have become better designed and more energy efficient – while becoming increasingly cheap in real terms. The public has lapped all this up, going for products with more stars, prompted by consumer testing and recommendations. This last point is surely a clue as to why housing is so backward. It is more difficult to get basic details about space, volume, materials and systems in a new house than it is for a new car. The concept of volume
It is more difficult to get basic details about space, volume, materials and systems in a new house than it is for a new car
One of the questions asked in the Farrell Review of UK architecture is why housing design is not that great (I am paraphrasing). Some of it is great, of course, but much is not. Indeed most purchasers would run a mile rather than have to live in the hutches provided by companies that are essentially land speculators and marketing operations. Nick Boles, the minister who says he dislikes ugly buildings, has correctly identified mass housing estates as a problem. Unfortunately he has gone on to say that we need to put such estates on Green Belt land. Even if you think it is indeed necessary to do this (include me out), no minister of any political persuasion has told us how you avoid horribly designed developments, further enraging local communities, making them more determined to block development – even the good stuff – whenever it shows signs of making an appearance. In theory, good-quality design is what we should get as a result of the National Planning Policy Framework. But this also includes very substantial protections for Green Belt land and many other sites where nature is important. It doesn’t say that if a design is good enough it should outweigh worries over the natural landscape; it says this land should only be built on in exceptional (ie not routine) circumstances. If that rule is applied then it excludes Green Belt development as an answer to the housing ‘problem’. The government must be wondering why, even with its generous underpinning of the mortgage market, housebuilders are not rushing to build the 500,000 homes for which planning permission already exists, and where they own the land (or have options on it). The answer lies in the formulae applied to a site, market demand, mortgage availability and anticipated selling price, which determines whether proceeding makes sense. There is no huge financial pressure to build. Unless you resolve the question of making serviced land available at modest prices, the current supply system will trundle on, satisfying only parts of the
in the housing market relates to the number of homes built, not the cubic capacity of the dwelling. Imagine what would happen if every new housing estate was subject to a Which? test, grading everything from size to value for money. That is one of the few things that would put a rocket up the fundament of the house-building sector. Needless to say, not something that any government has contemplated doing, so in thrall are politicians to the propaganda of the ‘volume builders’ – with the honourable exception of Boris Johnson, who has got their number and simply insisted on higher space standards. ‘But we can sell everything we build’. That is because there is a vast second-hand market, where most transactions take place and people prefer to buy homes from almost any period except the present. ..
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Good architects outgrow their fanboy (or fangirl) tendencies and develop real style, says Rory Olcayto
Despite being a fan myself (I still queue up to meet my ‘heroes’, get books and comics signed, ask nerdy questions – the more obscure the better – and hope my devotion will actually ‘mean’ something), I’m not a fan of fan art. Fan art is devotional by nature. Take film-maker JJ Abrams, director of both the recent Star Trek films and the forthcoming Star Wars movies. His first film, 2010’s Super 8, was a self-conscious Spielberg homage, riffing on classics such as ET and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The setting is suburban America. The lead actors are kids and there’s a friendly alien, too. There are big set-piece action scenes and great special effects. All the Spielberg elements are in place. But the film fails to emotionally engage, dwelling instead on spectacle. Abrams grew up on Spielberg movies. He even forged a friendship with him when he was just 14 and landed a gig editing the Oscar-winning director’s home movies (on Super 8, incidentally) after a friend spotted the teenager’s talent in a film competition. Early on in Super 8, there is a huge, explosive train crash, which, if you were anywhere near, you wouldn’t survive. Yet Super 8 ’s stars do, dodging the raining, flaming debris with nimble sidesteps and blind luck. Compare the scene with Jurassic Park, and the sequence in which a tyrannosaurus rex terrorises a young girl and her brother, only for them to narrowly escape, battered
and bruised. Regardless of the fantastical situation, you believe it. You buy it. You’re emotionally engaged. It’s something to do with character development, clearly, but also the parameters Spielberg sets: the whole scene largely takes place in the back of a car and dwells on the dinosaur trying to drag the kids out through the sun-roof. Can you imagine … yes you can. Scary. In Super 8 the train crash goes on for far too long and too big to be believable – it’s more like a nuclear bomb exploding. You don’t believe it. You don’t buy it. Can you imagine … no you can’t. The Spielbergisms Abrams admires so much are all there but they don’t add up. It feels hollow. Architecture as a form of creativity is particularly susceptible to the fan art syndrome. Choosing a hero and being self-consciously influenced by them is part of what it means to be an architect. You could argue that Isi and Andy’s Corb-inspired work for Gillespie Kidd & Coia (especially Cardross) is fan art – good fan art – while Benson + Forsyth’s later projects, such as The Pod in Nottingham, its retro-Modernist aesthetic too boldly expressed, is of the less good variety. More often, good architects outgrow their influences and their fanboy (or fangirl) tendencies. John Lautner began as an ardent follower of Frank Lloyd Wright but, within a few years of establishing his own practice, his own style began to emerge. 1949’s Shaffer House (pictured) for example, is pure FLW, whereas 1960’s Chemosphere is pure John Lautner. Isi and Andy’s mode of expression too, developed beyond their Corb obsession. Wadham College in Oxford is a long way from Cardross, stylistically as well as geographically. Elsewhere in the AJ I’ve written about Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partner’s Neo Bankside, resembling a kind of a MyFirstRogers™. It has all the Rogers elements in place, bright colours, external lifts and a steel exo-skeleton (purely aesthetic in this case) but feels less vital than the firm’s ’80s classics. Maybe it’s not a problem – all the buildings mentioned have their, er, fans – but one thing’s certain: you’ll know a fan art building when you see one. ..
Last issue AJ 27.06.13 Established 1895
Review is broad-based
Post your letters to the address below or email letters@ architectsjournal.co.uk
In response to your story ‘Landscape lobby labels Farrell Review a missed opportunity’ (TheAJ.co.uk 19.06.13), the Review of Architecture and the Built Environment I have been asked to lead by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is intended to be as broad and collaborative as possible. Having recently launched the online call for evidence, we are now turning our attention to the workshops in London, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle throughout the month of July. As well as these workshops, which are centred around the four themes outlined in the terms of reference (design quality, cultural heritage, economic benefits and education, outreach and skills) we are intending to hold workshops on specific areas, which include architectural policies, sustainability and urban and landscape design in the summer. Throughout my career, I have always championed the importance of the wider built
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LETTER OFK THE WEE
environment and the spaces inbetween buildings. I feel passionately about the importance of landscape as the primary infrastructure and currently give my time on a voluntary basis to roles which include chair of the Thames Gateway Local Nature Partnership, RIBA Knowledge Champion for Trees and Urban Greening, Honorary Town Planning Consultant to the Royal Parks, Quality of Life Policy Group Advisor for the Greater London Authority, Judge for the Mayor’s Low Carbon Prize, among other roles such as Mayor’s Design Advisor and Design Champion for cities and regions, including Ashford, Kent and Medway. I therefore welcome the contribution of the Landscape Institute, along with all the other institutions, organisations, groups and individuals involved in city making in it’s widest sense, and would strongly recommend that people do not feel restricted by the suggested questions within the call for evidence. The terms of reference which these questions address were discussed and agreed with DCMS in consultation with other departments, such as BIS and DCLG, where there are other
reviews under way on construction industry strategy, and the Taylor Review of the NPPF, for example, so that the scope of the review could be clarified. I would stress that the review I am leading is independent and I will make recommendations based on my experience as a practising town planner and architect, the views of the panel, the views submitted online through the call for evidence and the numerous workshops that are planned throughout the summer. To submit views, please visit the website farrellreview.co.uk before the deadline of 19 July 2013. Terry Farrell, by email
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RIBA competitions I see RIBA competitions are under scrutiny again. It’s a big debate, incorporating a lot of issues, as demonstrated by the range of views you captured in your article (AJ 20.06.13), but with no immediate solution. I am no longer part of RIBA Competitions but have sympathy with the competitions team, having been part of it for over 20 years. Managing competitive processes is not easy and
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engaging and pinning down clients especially difficult. How errant and unscrupulous clients are brought to account should be a matter for serious review, as it has far-reaching implications beyond that of projects commissioned via competitions. In the short term there are things that we all should be doing. It is important that when we agree a competition budget with a client that competitors are paid a fair honorarium for their work and that the architect assessor’s contribution is recognised, and is reasonably reimbursed. This is not always easy with a small budget and it might mean that there is little left in the pot to cover the costs of the competition manager. Of course the competition manager should be paid an appropriate fee but this should never compromise the monies allocated for design work and assessment. It would be a pity if the design competition were to disappear completely. Many clients I have worked with would have struggled to choose an architect for their project if the work had been awarded on the basis of an interview only. Many client groups are made up of people who do not have an architectural background and for them the opportunity of ‘seeing’ some ideas on paper really helps them to understand and engage with the process. It also gives emerging practices a chance to show their design skills. In the UK we don’t value the work of architects in the same way as people do in Europe. We need brave clients to stick their heads above the parapet and accept that good design comes at a price but a price worth paying. Linda Roberts, director, designed2win, by email
Competitive edge Regarding improving architectural competitions (AJ 20.06.13), it is vital that the baby is not thrown out with the bathwater. It is paramount to recognise the immense value of competitions as opposed to competitive interview. Competitions allow hitherto unknown practices to emerge which would never be put forward to a competitive interview. This is how our practice emerged: by winning the open competition for a car park in Chichester when we were working for Stirling Wilford. The competition process enables clients to articulate their requirements and competitors to conceive their solutions in an unfettered way. In this way competitions allow the potential for more seminal or radical solutions to emerge. It is increasingly impossible to get a commission unless you have a track record of having designed and built an identical building in the last three years and provide three years of successful finances with huge insurance. This will be the inevitable requirement of competitive interviews and only those already privileged will gain commissions. Competitions offer a more meritocratic and egalitarian opportunity for architects to gain new work. Mike Russum, Birds Portchmouth Russum, London N1
Back Bridge the Gap The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) welcomes the AJ’s Bridge the Gap campaign. This campaign promotes the achievement of better building performance, which is critical in
helping to reduce the UK’s energy demand and very timely, given the foreseen capacity gap. CIBSE’s 20,000 members have been promoting the importance of better building performance for a number of years, most notably through the establishment and promotion of the annual CIBSE Building Performance Awards, which reward the measured energy performance of both new and retrofitted buildings. CIBSE also produces benchmarks for building performance metrics and guidance to improve performance, for example Guide F – Energy Efficiency in Buildings. Post-occupancy evaluation is a critical part of this process and is to be encouraged. Stewart Gilmour, director of finance and services, CIBSE
Battersea under threat A proposal currently before Wandsworth Council and English Heritage to demolish Battersea Power Station’s famous chimneys is a serious threat to the future of the Grade II*-listed London landmark. In 2005 the previous owner, Parkview, was given consent to demolish and rebuild the chimneys. This was despite an authoritative engineering report, commissioned by the Twentieth Century Society, which found that demolition was not necessary and that the chimneys could be repaired at a lower cost. To their discredit, Wandsworth Council and English Heritage gave permission for the work to go ahead. However, a clause was included in the legal agreement that demolition and rebuilding must happen one chimney at a time. The Malaysian consortium that now owns the building is seeking
to vary the legal agreement so that all four chimneys can be demolished and rebuilt at the same time. If this happens, there is a very real danger that Battersea Power Station will be lost. The 38-acre Thames-side site is worth a lot more money without the listed building on it. It is entirely plausible that the owners will take the chimneys down and then contrive some reason why they can’t be rebuilt. The way will then be clear to have the building delisted and demolished. The implications of varying the legal agreement are immense. Colleagues who are concerned about this should write to Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council, and Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, to insist that the variation to the legal agreement is not allowed. Keith Garner, architect, London SW11
Correction In the RIBA Awards 2013 edition of the AJ, Brian Johnson and The Johnson Naylor Partnership’s names were omitted from the listing for The Experimental Station, a RIBA South East Regional Award-winning house at Dungeness, Kent. The project was a collaboration between Brian Johnson and 51% Studios (and not 51.5% Studios, as incorrectly stated). We apologise for the omission and the error.
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A Mayfair dandy
Like a jazzed-up suit, Eric Parry’s Eagle Place redevelopment cuts a showy dash in London’s fashionable West End, writes Jay Merrick and raising of the building at the corner of Piccadilly and Eagle Place; the demolition and redevelopment of 212-214 Piccadilly, 3-4 Eagle Place, and 18-21 Jermyn Street behind a retained facade; and the retention and internal remodelling of 27 Regent Street, which now contains luxury apartments designed by the practice. The first four elements are in the St James’s Conservation Area, the latter in the Regent Street Conservation Area. >>
Location plan 1. One Eagle Place, west building 2. 210-211 Piccadilly, rebuilt facades 3. 20 Jermyn Street, retained facade 4. 15 Jermyn Street, listed building
g re ts
n a period when facadism has given a great deal of British architecture bogus auras of quality and vivacity, it is daring for an architect to base the meaning of an important building in one of London’s most cosmopolitan streets on what are, essentially, uncompromisingly vivacious surface effects. There is a good deal more than that to the architecture of Eric Parry’s redevelopment of five buildings on the Crown Estates site at the eastern end of London’s Piccadilly. Yet the decorated facade of the centrepiece building so dominates the ensemble that it has effectively created a new and highly extraverted commercial building type in London. In pragmatic terms, the £45 million Eagle Place development, on the south side of Piccadilly in territory defined architecturally by Nash and Blomfield, has delivered a skilful 11,500m arrangement of ground floor retail frontages, optimised office floorplates, luxurious apartments, and an overall BREEAM Excellent rating. This has involved the demolition
Eagle Place, Piccadilly, London W1 Eric Parry Architects
Ground floor plan
Typical floor plan
2 5 5
This degree of functional worth has become a given in Parry’s commercial work over the past decade. It’s more challenging to judge Eagle Place in terms of his overarching interests in the city as an amalgam of history, architectural artefact and artifice, and art in general. Parry brings these conditions together with an outré combination of precision and ambiguity. The defining centrepiece of the
Parry, who has introduced a Crayola sheen to Piccadilly, is hard to define ..
1. Office reception 2. Residential lobby/ reception 3. Resident bike store 4. Bin store 5. Retail unit 6. Service corridor 7. Escape stair 8. Toilets 9. Lightwell 10. Offices 11. Bathroom
scheme is the main Piccadilly facade, equivalent to a Savile Row suit coat cut and sewn by Anderson & Sheppard, and then jazzed up by Ozwald Boateng. The well-known British architect who suggested to me that Parry’s ribbed and faienced extension of Bath’s Holburne Museum was ‘simply vulgar’ will regard the elevation of the 212-214 Piccadilly segment as paroxysmal proof of his opinion. The Piccadilly facade is ordered like a commercial palazzo: a plinth of ground floor retail; a band of Nash-like mezzanine windows; a Blomfieldinspired layer of double-height windows with inserted, one storeyhigh oriels; deeply-punched windows suggesting a piano nobile under the
cornice; and an attic level recessed behind a loggia. The horizontal ordering is based on a 3.75m grid that produces six bays. This is the most startling major facade in London since the PoMoGothic blancmange off Fenchurch Street known as both Minster, and Munster, Court; and we might also compare its sheer visual voltage to James Stirling’s No.1 Poultry. For an architect so fascinated by the poetic depths of Adolphe Appia’s 19th-century stage set designs, the Piccadilly facade comes as a surprise. The tidy surrealities of Parry’s faienced elevations at the Holburne, and in New Bond Street, have been upstaged by a stage-flat. It’s the apotheosis of Parry’s ..
Sixth floor plan
Above Eagle Place office facade Left View of entrance lobby
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familiar combinations of refined decorousness, artistic decor and, most significantly, experimental instincts that have already produced inversions of classical and Corbusian orders in the elevations of his Bath and Finsbury Square buildings. There is something temporally tense about the Holburne’s deliberately hyper-distinct juxtaposition of 18thand 21st-century architecture. In Piccadilly, the tension is greater, despite a facade that very logically imposes a grander 19th-century classical-urban scale on what had been a huddled set of four compressed, unremarkable frontages with dropped cornices that broke the longer streetscape perspectives. >>
1. Piccadilly 2. Jermyn Street 3. Reception 4. Plant 5. Office
OPPOSITE: DAVID BUTLER
Parry’s raised cornice reinstates the perspective, jutting out like a thick cicatrice from a flesh of the mugwhite faience, producing a building as singular as Joseph Emberton’s 1936 Grade I-listed Simpsons building (now Waterstones) a bit further west along Piccadilly. Emberton was a Modernist. Parry, who has introduced a Crayola sheen to Piccadilly, is harder to define, though we can be certain of his refined appreciation for architectural craft and his daring selection of collaborating artists. The chunky, asymmetrical modillion-cum-dentils of the Piccadilly cornice feature riotously blotched decal glazes by Richard Deacon; and a 6.5-tonne granite face
by Stephen Cox gazes gnomically out across St James’s from the fourth floor of the new corner facade of Jermyn Street and Eagle Place. The sculpture has the same Vedantic otherness as his Lingam of a Thousand Lingams at the Cass Sculpture Foundation. Parry himself has contributed artwork – the rather bloody speckling of the double-height window casings. These are extremely adventurous admixtures of public art and they deserve better than the bland breadand-circuses justification by James Cooksey of the Crown Estate, who talks of ‘creating an exciting retail and business destination based around a vibrant local community. Public art, like this piece by Richard Deacon, >>
Opposite View of office reception space Left Typical master bathroom in Jermyn Street apartment Following spread Eagle Place separates Parry’s redevelopment from Lutyens’ Midland Bank Building (right)
Eagle Place, Piccadilly, London W1 Eric Parry Architects
Parry, who has introduced a Crayola sheen to Piccadilly, is hard to define ..
Where does Eric Parry go from here? One must hope that the commercial success of the Eagle Place ensemble does not trigger a demand for copycat buildings from him – or, indeed, from lesser architects, which would be a truly hideous prospect. The tensions of Parry’s arrangements of craft, detail and subversions of type that give his work its teasing fusions of virtuosity and strangeness surely preclude obvious repetitions. What would Lutyens have made of Parry’s Piccadilly palazzo? Perhaps Stephen Cox’s meditative Vedic sculpture might know the answer: it overlooks a point midway between Lutyens’ bank building and the mews studio in Apple Tree Yard, between Jermyn Street and St James’s Square, where he designed his New Delhi projects. There is nothing in the Vedanta about Mannerism, but it must charge the Floris-scented air here, playfully and provocatively. ■ Jay Merrick is architecture critic at The Independent Project data
start on site August 2010 completion June 2013 gross external area 12,960m² form of contract Construction management total contract cost £45 million cost per m² £3,500 client The Crown Estate in partnership with Health Care of Ontario Pension Plan architect Eric Parry Architects main contractor Lend Lease structural engineer Waterman project manager Gardiner & Theobald m&e consultant Mecserve cdm co-ordinator PFB Construction Management planning consultant CBRE cost consultant Gardiner & Theobald acoustic consultant Alan Saunders lighting consultant DPA Lighting public realm consultant Atkins development manager Stanhope cad software used MicroStation estimated average annual co² emissions 25.8kgCO²/m² faience Szerelmey and Shaw’s of Darwen
can inspire community connections.’ But, to return to tenser matters, what about temporal connections? Deacon’s and Parry’s decorative glazing decals could be seen as no more lavishly convivial than the ornate stone urns on the facade of Norman Shaw’s last work, the 1908 Piccadilly Hotel (now Le Meridien); or the carved Portland stone pendants of fruits, flowers and festoons on the rather squashed attic storey of Lutyens’ 1925 Midland Bank building at 196 Piccadilly, now inhabited by Hauser & Wirth. But the classical and the colourist qualities of Parry’s Piccadilly facade are not incidental. The beautifully crafted oriel window bays, the gleaming softness of Shaw’s of Darwen’s faience, the fineness of the lime mortar joints and the inwardly radiused doubleheight window casings create the sense of a perfectly cast foreground object in a street of grand, but not overwhelming architectural backgrounds. The formal civility of Parry’s building remains beneath the decals, an architectural make-up baked on at 1,200°C. This is not the case with the rebuilt building that wraps around the corner of Piccadilly and Eagle Place, whose raised brick structure is now linked to the steel frame of the pièce de résistance. The new facade in Jermyn Street and the asymmetrically modelled facade facing Eagle Place show Parry’s skill as an architectural collagist, and they add something very fresh and historically alert to what was an unremarkable alley and to the oddly muted eastern end of Jermyn Street. The Eagle Place elevation is particularly engrossing; if only more secondary spaces in our cities were graced with this degree of design originality.
Eagle Place, Piccadilly, London W1 Eric Parry Architects
The relative depth of the elevation – 900mm – allowed the exploitation of the sculptural quality of faience as a cast material. The units incorporate complex stooling, reveals and running moulds that repeat over the six sections of the facade. The faience has a wall depth of 40mm and is coursed and sized to accommodate the tolerances of a fired material. In order to bed the units in a lime mortar to create a continuous sealed surface, as opposed to an open joined rain screen, the structural substrate has to be stiff and a movement structure was designed to achieve this. A closely analysed support system to allow for the movement of the primary structure, the thermal expansion of the faience and the plasticity of lime mortar lies between the two systems. The faience units all have a grey-white glaze and were fired at approximately 1,200°C to achieve frost resistance. The glazed polychromy was achieved subsequently by a transfer technique, fused through a second lower-temperature firing at approximately 850°C. The 39 cornice units, generally made up of two or three subsections, weighed up to 200kg. Extensive dry lays were required to check control of tolerances, colour and glaze. The intention was that this north-facing elevation would reflect the vivid life of Piccadilly, both in spirit and materiality. Eric Parry, principle, Eric Parry Architects
6 OPPOSITE: DIRK LINDNER
Opposite Piccadilly facade, with Richard Deacon cornice above doubleheight windows
and jambs ornamented by Eric Parry Architects
1. 40mm faience tiles, once fired handapplied glaze 2. 40mm faience tiles, twice fired and transfer glazed 3. Halfen stainless steel subframe
assembly 4. Continuous horizontal compartment cavity barrier 5. Continuous horizontal cavity tray at storey level
6. Precast concrete encasement with cast-in stainless steel Halfen channels 7. Steel moment frame with aluminium splice collars
8. Composite DGU 9. Raised access floor on composite structural floor slab 10. Suspended ceiling with integrated blindbox and
supply grille 11. Rigid insulation to achieve 0.18 W/ m²K U-value 12. Lime mortar pointed joints with weep holes at soffit
For all its pragmatism, John Robertson Architects’ 199 Bishopsgate retrofit has a measured finesse, says Felix Mara. Photography by Richard Leeney
Below left 199 Bishopsgate as completed in 1989 Opposite View from Bishopsgate with Exchange Square on right
ES TRE E
SPITAL SQ UARE
Location plan 1. Broadgate Tower 2. Exchange Square 3. 175 Bishopsgate 4. Liverpool Street Station 0 20m
expertise in commercial office design with that of SOM, which designed the original building, completed 23 years earlier. And the practice has combined a sympathetic regard for the American multidisciplinary’s work with a critical eye. The project team rifled through options for the site, including a hotel. New-build offices were not deemed a strong contender because Hackney Council required proposals to fit within the existing development envelope: the game would scarcely have been worth the candle. Having thus made savings on demolition and construction costs, as well as CO₂ emissions, JRA might have been tempted to propose blowing a hefty share of the budget on a new barcode rainscreen or spider-fixed glass wall. This cosmetic surgery, or more extreme measures, would be justified in the case of SOM’s horrific riverboat PoMo 135, 155 and 175 Bishopsgate to the south. But 199 is more palatable and, despite the tedious fenestration, less dated, though outclassed by the gutsy engineering of SOM’s Exchange House and
rom the architect’s point of view, the most satisfying retrofits are those which offer opportunities to rethink and refine a project, as if standing on the shoulders of the original designer. In its retrofit of 199 Bishopsgate on London’s Broadgate estate, Cat B fitout-ready since September, John Robertson Architects ( JRA) compounded its
NORT ON F OLGA TE
Broadgate Tower (AJ 19.03.09) nearby. Also, the original curtain wall and cladding passed its MOT, meeting today’s permeability standards. The glazing, however, was replaced because it was at the end of its warranty period and a swanky new glass wall was added at ground and first floor level. Though dating from an era whose office design approach has been dismissed as marble reception-making, the original building wasn’t fun to enter. Working up the architecturally problematic option of a corner entrance, on a curved facade, SOM designed a comparatively small singlestory lobby with weak plan geometry. It was also too close to a nearby pedestrian crossing. At the expense of lost office space, the new reception is double-height, with much larger plan form, a sense of procession >>
Office retrofit, 199 Bishopsgate, London EC2 John Robertson Architects
1. Entrance hall 2. Lift lobby 3. Loading bay 4. Cycle storage 5. Car parking 6. Retail unit 7. Generator room 8. Office
JRA Retrofitted Ground Floor Plan (without text) Retrofitted ground floor plan
Existing ground floor plan
M Original Ground Floor (without text) Plan ..
Right New doubleheight entrance foyer, inspired by John Robertson’s visit as an architecture student to SOM’s Beinecke Rare Book Library at Yale University
3 4 7 5
Section A-A 1. New double-height glazing in black anodised frame 2. Polished plaster wall finish 3. Polished stainless steel frame 4. Edge-lit panel of white onyx laminated to toughened glass 5. Polished, honed, light travertine flooring 6. Reception desk 7. Revolving door
and a more frontal approach from Bishopsgate, addressing a wide, backlit onyx reception desk and back wall with polished stainless steel framing, inspired by SOM’s 1963 Beinecke Rare Book Library at Yale University, designed by Gordon Bunshaft. Turning towards the entrance barriers, you cross a honed, polished, light travertine floor under a Barrisol illuminated ceiling. Lettable area sacrificed for the sake of the grander reception was reclaimed on upper floors by removing air-handling plant located on each storey. The original VAV system has been replaced by new centralised air-handling plant at roof level and space freed up in the basement is now used for bike and recyclable waste storage. Following changes in fire regulation standards from BS5588 to BS9999, it was possible to remove a fire-fighting lift to create more space. A replacement goods lift was also installed, potentially upgradable as a passenger lift with capacity for occupation levels of up to 1:8. These reduced core areas allow more layout options, ranging from legal offices >>
Lettable area sacrificed for the grander reception was reclaimed on upper floors ..
Office retrofit, 199 Bishopsgate, London EC2 John Robertson Architects
5 3 2
Retrofitted second-floor plan JRA Retrofitted Typical Floor Plan - Levels2- 8 (without text)
Retrofitted 10th-floor plan
JRA Retrofitted Tenth Floor Plan (without text)
3 6 2
Existing typical floor plan
1. Office space SOM Original Typical2. Floor (without text) LiftPlan lobby 3. WC 4. Air-handling plant 5. Goods lift 6. Fire fighting lift
7. Concrete slab 8. Raised floor 9. Suspended ceiling 10. Steel primary structure 11. Services void
12. Fire barrier 13. Existing cladding 14. New insulated panel 15. Refurbished aluminium window
16. New low-E glazing 14. Roller blind with 5 per cent openness factor 15. Perimeter return air path
Refurbished facade detail section
with single-occupant rooms to openplan corporate floorplates. Having clawed back this lettable area, JRA then boldly sacrificed it by removing the top-floor mezzanine, creating prime double-height space with 345mm raised floors in an area which previously had low headroom, so there is an overall lettable area loss of 200m. ‘We’re competing with cheap lets at Heron Tower,’ explains JRA director John Robertson. Clients British Land and Blackstone’s sustainable development policy, which underpinned the decision not to rebuild, required a BREEAM Excellent rating, in line with all new development and major refurbishments at the Broadgate estate since 2005. It also has an EPC rating of B. 199 Bishopsgate’s environmental performance is well documented online by AJ Sustainability editor Hattie Hartman and technical reporter Laura Mark, but two points are of particular interest. First, with the facade’s upgraded U-values, the ventilation plant has to ..
work extra hard to tackle overheating. Building services engineer Chapman Bathurst anticipated this using computer modelling, and highperformance glass was specified for the top two floors. Second, because the development is built over Liverpool Street Station, ground source heat pumps were not feasible. Nor were solar or PV panels, given the restricted rooftop locations. In fact, no energy from renewable sources is generated onsite, but the GLA did not object, because 199 Bishopsgate is so energyefficient, especially in its lighting and cooling design. This building, winner of this year’s AJ100 Value Excellence Award, is one that cannot be ridiculed by entering by the back door. Every angle, including the views of the new roof, has been considered. It’s hyper-pragmatic, but delivered with extraordinary finesse. The building’s 199bishopsgate.com website doesn’t even mention that it’s a retrofit. As JRA director Fergus Moffat says: ‘Effectively, it’s a new building.’ ■
Above South-facing double-height offices on 10th floor
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Project data start on site March 2011 completion September 2012 gross internal floor area 18,529m² procurement Design and build construction cost £21.6 million (shell & core and fit-out) cost per m² £1,225 (includes demolition/ external works, shell & core and Cat A fit-out) architect John Robertson Architects client British Land and Blackstone structural engineer Meinhardt building services engineer Chapman Bathurst quantity surveyor Sense sustainability consultant Environmental Perspectives strip-out contractor H Smith (Engineers) planning consultant DP9 project manager M3 Consulting cdm co-ordinator Capita Symonds main contractor Como cad software used ArchiCAD predicted co2 emissions 19kg/m²/yr (BER) predicted energy consumption 2,630,793kWh/m²/yr air permeability 9.84m³/hr/m² @ 50pa roof u-value 0.18W/m²K wall u-value 0.69W/m²K floor u-value 0.22W/m²K window u-value 1.3W/m²K window g-value 56 per cent feature wall and reception front Spanlite roof level louvred enclosure and internal roller blinds and louvres Levolux illuminated ceiling Barrisol glass walls and vanity units Glassolutions
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Planning portal Design today is still firmly rooted in ancient Right to Light procedures, writes Simon Allford England and Wales has an ancient legal system and fantastical layering of laws, all rooted in long-forgotten logic. We build plenty, but what we design is defined by the very particular circumstances. Still expanding from an ancient base are the ironically opaque laws on a window’s Rights to Light. Light is measured by computer but still as multiples of the number of candles required to facilitate a proximate person’s reading of The London Times. After 20 years, said window’s rights are inviolate in perpetuity and can only be reduced in negotiation at the perpetrator’s expense. As a consequence, where we once had contractors build billboards to deny access to light, now lawyers construct virtual billboards, both seeking to prevent windows ever gaining a right to light. In this field such is progress! As London rebuilds we continually breach window rights and any potential change to a site’s built volume is immediately assessed in terms of a jelly mould that always suggests an extraordinary virtual gothic cathedral – a mould we can build to but, for fear of injunction, must never transgress. This jelly mould is dynamic and frequently redefined by Rights of Light surveyors’ changing view of a neighbour’s reasonableness. Throughout history the small group of expert surveyors in the field have shared experiences and clients, acting one day for and another against each other and their clients. Their unwritten code has always noted that their own success depends on the understanding that London’s raison d’être is to be rebuilt. Consequently they have developed reasonableness into an art form, usually settled in a small dark room. Their clients acquiesce as they too know London is a very small town where that which goes around comes around. So a system unlikely to work in theory usually works in practice. That said, in recent years, there have been dark rumblings. So much so that the magnificently titled Association of Light Practitioners has been formed to make sure they still get into said dark room. Recent case law has – not unusually for a system that some have accused of unnecessarily creating work for the legal industry – generated a series of decisions that encourage ..
bullying and greed. Regan v Paul, HXR UK v Heaney, and Tamares v Fairpoint are now familiar references in discussion. Where once injunctions were the final threat to stop work on site and encourage settlement, they have now been tested and proven to enable the removal of floors of a built project. Subsequent decisions ensure compensation is now argued not on the reasonable value of light lost, but on one-third of the profit from the adjacent development that windows’ loss of light enables: logical, but in an absurd, impractical way. The concern is that the system is creaking and may soon work neither in theory nor practice. While looking at these wonderfully Byzantine, encrypted and anomalous rules we are also trying to map a route through the planning process. But note
Any potential change to a site’s built volume is assessed in terms of a jelly mould that suggests a virtual gothic cathedral these rights are of no relevance to planning (which explains the case where floors were built and torn down). Planning, understandably, concerns itself only with daylight in residential rooms, with guidelines not laws. Planning does have one last card that can be called upon to manage the greed/need of a window but, of course, it is a measure of last resort not to be relied upon. If a project is proven to offer some very significant public benefit, the Planning Authority can utilise Section 273 of the Town and Country Planning Act, which can override a window’s right to light. These labyrinthine codes for light have become a test of wit, will, endurance and finance. We all need to be kept in check by the reasonableness test. Simon Allford is a founding director of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris ..
PRIVATE COLLECTION / TATE ST IVES
TATE ST IVES HIGHLIGHTS The Summer 2013 exhibition at Tate St Ives offers a dialogue of Modernists spanning generations, writes Emily Booth ..
BOWNESS, HEPWORTH ESTATE
LINDER FANTESSE/ TATE ST IVES
Culture Tate St Ives Summer 2013
It’s a lilac day in St Ives. The daubed sunsets and fishing boats and lighthouses that fill the harbour galleries try to capture this quality of light. The Queen is wearing lilac too, smiling from the back of a Range Rover on her way to the Tate gallery, to see the plans for the Phase 2 building extension and to view the summer show. I’m pushing through the flags and the bunting with a twoyear-old; the singing of schoolchildren in the Tate’s atrium travels high and sweet. Later, in the cavern of a serious collectors’ gallery, Wilhelmina Barns-Grahams and Terry Frosts on the walls, canvases stacked in a side-room, the elderly lady behind the desk gives away a ticket. She’s dressed to the nines, hair piled in a bun, Aztec earrings swaying. She’s a St Ives institution and she was at the Tate earlier with the Queen. ‘Here,’ she says, ‘go to the opening night; it’s too much for me. Have a lovely time.’ So, it’s an unexpected treat to mingle with the Cornish art crowd on the last day of a holiday, to peer at heartfelt ..
exhibition Summer 2013, Tate St Ives, Cornwall, until 29 September, £7.70 (£7 without donation) Concessions £4.95 (£4.50 without donation)
Previous page Marlow Moss White, Black, Yellow and Blue (1954)
letters under glass and marvel at a 14-year-old Patrick Heron’s design for a silk scarf. ‘His genius, it just shines through, doesn’t it?’ a woman says to her friend. Not genius, not yet – rather, the beginnings of something remarkable. Marlow Moss is a revelation. Who was this artist whose work caught the serious attention of Mondrian? Here she is in a photograph, standing in the sun, hair shorn. She changed her name from Marjorie to Marlow around 1919. She is beginning to be recognised as one of Britain’s most important Constructivist artists. Her Composition colour blocks march boldly across canvas, their restricted palette emphasising the spaces inbetween. Her sculpture is compelling: you want to hold Balanced Forms in Gunmetal on Cornish Granite to see if she can keep the balancing act going. In 1955, a few years before her death, Moss wrote to artist Paule Vézelay (herself a former Marjorie): ‘In the near future I may combine my Cornish existence with ..
THE ESTATE OF PATRICK HERON. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, DACS 2013
Paris. To live alone isn’t either easy or making me feel intensely living. The desire to love and be loved makes all things beautiful.’ The Tate St Ives Summer 2013 exhibition makes much of ‘opening up conversations across generations of artists, addressing a number of shared themes’. This is not altogether convincing except in one instance: that of Linder and Barbara Hepworth. Linder has curated a room for both their work, and her collages of the female form, all scallops and swirls and period fashion, are a jazzy response to Hepworth’s showstoppers. ‘I was looking at the pierced form sculptures of Barbara Hepworth and suddenly they made sense,’ Linder writes. ‘I was studying Sikhism and found a phrase “Man vidh chanan vyakhya”, which seemed the spiritual equivalent of Hepworth’s approach: “man vidh” means to penetrate the mind like a pearl, to see through it, to glimpse the soul, and “chanan vyakhya” to see the light.’ ..
Opposite (Clockwise from top) Linder Fantesse (2013); Barbara Hepworth Curved Form (Trevalgan) (1956); photograph of Marlow Moss Above Patrick Heron from The Brushwork Series No3 (1998-9)
As for Hepworth, the balance, the grace, the embodied energy: it’s all here. A standout piece is Curved Form (Trevalgan), positioned cleverly between two sheer white curtains. Behind it are views of the ocean, and here is the sinking sun, marvellously held in the middle of the sculpture for a few slow beats. What Hepworth achieves with form, Heron achieves with colour. Rarely-seen textile works chart his interest in colour and space. The detailed stages are intriguing, building layers of pattern and hues: we see ink and pencil on paper, then ink and pencil on acetate, and
Marlow Moss is beginning to be recognised as an important Constructivist
Culture Tate St Ives Summer 2013
Toronto’s Spacing magazine flies the flag for Modernism, writes James Pallister
GARETH JONES/ TATE ST IVES
finally a silkscreen print on rayon. The work is joyful, alive with mauve and lemon, lime, electric blue and soft pink. There is much to see in this summer show, too much for one visit. Better to choose a few artists and focus. Gareth Jones responds to an Aubrey Beardsley illustration of a harlequin, taking the costume pattern of a black diamond to its satisfying limits. New York based-British artist Nick Relph explores contemporary processes of production and re-production with his colour-saturated video installation. RH Quaytman paints dark abstract visions onto silkscreened plywood panels. Allen Ruppersberg’s The Never Ending Book 2007 lets you dip into boxes of digitally copied images from his own library and create your own volume to take home. Fragments of poetry, frontispieces, potboiler heroines: who knows what you’ll end up with? At the end of the visit, as the stragglers are ushered out of the exhibition and upwards to drinks on the balcony, there’s a bottleneck on the staircase. Framed through a porthole window, there’s that extraordinary sunset again. It’s magenta and lilac – Heron could have put it on a scarf. People are smiling at it, they’re soaking it up, and a teenager says something brave: ‘Look at that. All that stuff inside… it’s not as good as that.’ By the time she gets outside, the sun has gone and the night air is rising. ■
Ten years is a long time in independent publishing. On a warm Tuesday night in Toronto last week, a crowd packed into a bar in the city’s Junction district to celebrate the 10th birthday of Spacing magazine. The Jane Jacobs Award-winning quarterly, subtitled ‘Toronto Urbanism Uncovered’, has over the past decade fought the corner for pedestrians and city-lovers and documented and explored the architecture, public space and urban issues of its home city. And its territory has grown to include Vancouver, Edmonton and Montreal editions. Publisher Matthew Blackett cut his teeth producing comic books, and the type of merchandise associated with that scene is in evidence at the birthday party. Selling well are badges with slogans (‘Where’s the gravy train?’, ‘Left Wing Pinko’) lampooning the colourful language of the embattled incumbent mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford. Ford, a tax-cutting mayor whose heartland is suburban Toronto’s boroughs, is currently suffering the dual threat of a breakdown in relationships between provincial and city government and the existence of a video allegedly showing him and some buddies smoking crack cocaine – irresistible to the demographic of the aforesaid ‘Left Wing Pinkos’ who already objected to many of his policies. In Spacing’s latest issue, Steve Munro urges city hall to stop hiding behind money-saving excuses for fear of making bold decisions about transport infrastructure. Another feature speculates what a currency for Toronto would look like. There’s plenty to read in its dense 90 pages. In line with the issue’s feature on rehabilitating the reputation of the city’s Modernists icons, partygoers wore stickers stating which was their ‘Favorite bad Modernist building in Toronto’. Having just flown in, and not yet investigated the city’s concrete gems, I opted for a London version: the Trellick, in Ladbroke Grove by Ernö Goldfinger. Many I met knew it and were fans. The Twentieth Century Society may yet attract a satellite in Toronto, it seems.
Above Gareth Jones Untitled Harlequin (1996)
read Spacing Magazine, Summer 2013, ‘Modernism: Stop The Hate!’
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This stunning space was designed by LSI architects as part of their work at INTO University of East Anglia. It is a dramatic example of how the unique Kalwall® translucent system diffuses Museum-quality Daylighting™ through both walls or roofs to create the ideal ambience for study, learning and leisure in colleges and schools.
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NEW SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY AND SIXTH FORM CENTRES The School Sevenoaks School is an innovative and academically outstanding coeducational, independent boarding and day school for over 1,000 students aged 11-18. Since its foundation in 1432, the School campus has evolved organically on a sloping site in a Conservation Area located between Sevenoaks and Knole Park. The campus currently has a number of listed buildings, as well as more recent award-winning additions. The Project We are going to build a new Science and Technology Centre in order to bring the scientific disciplines together in an inspiring new facility. In addition, we wish to create a new Sixth Form Centre, to provide social and study space for the Sixth Form, comprising over 40% of the school. Our Sixth Form is virtually unique in the UK, as all 420 students study the IB Diploma programme and proceed to the world’s best universities. The Architect Sevenoaks School Foundation, which will carry out the project on behalf of the School, is seeking an architect who can take the School’s vision and create two buildings that will assist in continuing to develop a lively and creative learning environment for Sevenoaks students. Expressions of Interest Further information should be requested from Andrew Burton, the Clerk to the Trustees of Sevenoaks School Foundation prior to application at: Sevenoaks School, Sevenoaks, Kent TN13 1HU, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: 01732 467704 Expressions of Interest should be received by 19 July 2013. Those that have expressed an interest in the project may be able to visit the site on one of two scheduled Open Days (30 and 31 July 2013). Applicants are requested not to visit the site unless invited or registered to attend an Open Day. Sevenoaks School Foundation is a registered charity (No. 307923)
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“Genetics and the Built Environment”
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How can the understanding of genetic engineering and the “irreducible complexity” of the architecture of life cross over into the built environment, and what does it offer by way of alternative pathways for participants in the next evolutionary step of our communities and their supporting physical environments? Are the principles of natural selection and genetics a better model for the built environment than chance, or approximate design? And if so how might we use them? Does genetics suggest new approaches or participants for the built environment? And what can be learned about the ethics of such an approach, and the iterative development of solutions that are best adapted to change, not of an individual, but of the global human “organism”? The successful Fellow should show how such cross-over thinking can translate into the “architecture” of practical solutions for the built environment, and may include relevant thinking on planning, ethics, precedent, learning and adaptation mechanisms, manufacturing protocols, and environmental and cultural tests for success. Visit our website to discover more about the Fellowship on http://www.royalcommission1851.org.uk/built.html
Beige Concern Carry On films). A carbon-neutral website invites members of the Haggerston community to ‘think of the kind of statistics the building might notionally be a hub for the collation of ’. Particular attention was paid to achieving an airtight font pool, with targets of 5m³/hr/m² for imagined space and 7m³/hr/m² at weekends.
Four years after the Beige Building Awards replaced the Green Building Awards, the competition is fiercer than ever. It’s always a shame there has to be a winner. Depressing, in fact. Feels like ancient history now, the pre-austerity world, with its ‘green’ this and its ‘sustainable’ that. And how wasteful it seems, with our New Frugalist hindsight. We squandered so much visual capital. Created buildings that were ecologically sound AND attractive. What a scandalous waste of neural and optical resources. Green. How laughably inappropriate for these joyless times we now trudge through. Of course it takes a dazzlingly ordinary building to win a beige accolade. The stakes are lower than ever. ‘Austerity Chic’ is now merely the name of a pub tribute band. As usual the judges were looking for that magic post-green combination of ‘economically prim’ and ‘spectacularly dull’. As I say, it’s a shame there has to be a winner and to be honest this year we couldn’t be arsed to pick one. Shortlisted Beige Projects of the Year are as follows:
The Beigefield Initiative. By proposing that huge areas of greenfield be redesignated ‘brownfield’ to encourage housebuilding and, further, that huge areas of brownfield be redesignated ‘beigefield’ to encourage speculation about what that might mean, young psychogeographers Osmo Kirkegrid and Poppy Cumbly-Prideaux hope to get a two-page spread in next Saturday’s Independent. Beigedale Retirement Home, Lancashire. Designed and built by Beige Retirement Solutions, this offers residents a nearmaximum flexibility of visual interpretation by being virtually featureless. Quintuple-glazed ‘merry windows’ channel a) natural light into beige resi-pods and b) semiskimmed light into beige communal areas. The beige cladding envelope, or ‘cardigan’, turns a pastel yellow on special occasions when photovoltaic microbes and algae come to visit.
Mumford-Lowry Centre, Salford Beige. Ingenious combination of charity shop economics (pop-up clothes boutique) and vegetative retrofit (hanging baskets). The project’s point of departure was a corner of Salford Beige Retail Centre, where a cluster of vacant units turned recession into opportunity. A team of spatialology students from the University of Salford Beige Retail Centre experimented with notions of ‘Lowry’ and ‘retail’, translating sentences into French via a free online service. Soon a nondescript section of mall was renamed Boulevard des Hommes Allumettes and the faux-vintage clothing ironised as ‘cross-glaminated poverty style-out’. Now fully up and running, energy levels remain impressively low.
Beige Office Village, Exeter. Devised strictly within the matrix of healthier live-work reinforcement principles known as ‘beige active design’, this business park makeover by Herban Squelch shows a commendably narrow focus while languidly ticking all the beige boxes. Interior and exterior grassroots strategies. Human ‘parklets’. Portable headspace. Communal trees. Networked walkthroughs. Repurposed sightlines. Connected ‘playgrazing’. Leylandii.
A Beige Crossing for the Thames. Magic arborealist Isis de Cambray was asked by the Mayor of London to imagine ‘something less than a bridge, something less than a garden’. She mapped out a zero-carbon, zero-finance intervention along Blackfriars railway line featuring indigenous weedlife and inter-seasonal energy storage through the sustainable medium of urban litter. A very soft environmental landing indeed for the beige-fingered doyenne.
Beige Stat Hub, Haggerston. Masterbeiged by Haggerston Plastiche Collective, this non-interfunctionalist remodelling of a derelict dry cleaner’s features a secluded wildlife roof and an ‘arm’s-length’ conservation of the building itself. Existing form and mass are preserved separately behind blown-up pictures in the windows (stills from Transformers and
Milkington Beigemarket, Ely. Demountable structures assembled from milk crates in a church car park for the sale of allotment-grown produce, increasing green and beige impacts through presence of charmingly imperfect fruit and veg. Beige Free School, Wimbledon. Ingeniously formed by installing a primary school for the energy-efficient children of aspirational Conservative parents within the shell of a publicly-owned building formerly occupied by wasteful, high-calorie state pupils, this centre of academic excellence was designed by education placemoulders Artshole & Batard. An exterior of beige Serbian larch, heavy glazing, deep sedum roof and planted ‘beige barriers’ help insulate the building from a) financial scrutiny and b) the rest of Wimbledon. ..
11 SEPTEMBER THE BREWERY | LONDON
Recognising and celebRating excellence in RetRofit design With £500 billion likely to be spent over the next three decades on upgrading existing housing, commercial and industrial buildings, retrofits will play a significant part of the future construction industry. Can you afford to miss out on meeting those who are standing out for their pioneering retrofit designs?
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