On socks and software

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

I found a hole in the toe of my sock today. Which doesn't, I admit, seem to have much to do with construction, except that these were special socks - they were SketchUp socks

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When conservationists fought battles

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

'The Gentle Author' writes a blog that sounds so parochial one would hardly expect any one to read it and yet he has, quite rightly, built up a huge following. He posts daily from Spitalfields, a characterful area of east London, looking at his local area and beyond. I say 'he' for convenience but, although the creator has been interviewed by several ...

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Different memories for different people

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Names are so evocative, but evocative in different ways for different people. Catherine Slessor, former editor of The Architectural Review, said on Twitter recently 'When I hear the phrase 'new Covent Garden' I reach for my revolver. Suspect I'm not alone.' She was referring to a story in London's Evening Standard about the proposals for Coal Drops ...

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A salty story

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

There was an item on the radio last night looking at the desalination plants that China is building on its east coast. Its fast-growing cities are hungry for water, springs are drying up - so what to do? The answer, for China, is to throw technology at the problem. There was an interview with the manager of a desalination plant, still only one-fifth ...

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What makes an architect?

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Well, most of us think we know what becoming an architect involves - seven years of education, a crazy amount of dedication, the ability to survive without sleep or money, design talent and possibly a touch of dyslexia.

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Time to do your homework - and what about health and happiness

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

June is of course exam season for many, but if you are a fully qualified working professional you might feel that those days are behind you. Of course you may spend a hideously disproportionate amount of time filling out PQQs. But they are more about what you do than what you know. Surely those days of desperately searching for the 'right' answers and ...

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New Year's resolutions - not mine

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Are you planning any resolutions for this year? I am, but I am not about to share them here. Instead I am going to present the resolutions that engineering practice Max Fordham believes we should all make - and follow.

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A little rant about percentages

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Sorry to go a bit off-piste, but I am going to talk about the weather. TheIndependent reported the Met Office saying that this has been the coldest spring for 50 years. It is a story we are all interested in as we continue to shiver in our thermals. The paper gives some figures - that the average temperature for the past three months has been 6.0C ...

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Keeping up with the news

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

I've come across some great stories online in the past few days. There was a lengthy and clever article about how much we could learn about city planning by studying ways that insects organise their communities.

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Kew gets a Corten house

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Tim Lucas of Price & Myers is one of the most talented structural engineers around. So you would hardly expect him to live in a boring house. And indeed he does not - or will not. Working with architect Piercy & Co, he is building a house for himself in one of the loveliest areas of London, Kew (yes, home to Kew Gardens). And he is doing it ...

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One angry man

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Patrik Schumacher gets a rough ride from time to time. He is director of Zaha Hadid Architects, one of the most Marmite of designers. In addition, his espousal of parametrics is intellectually demanding and at times downright confusing. impressing some and leading to opprobrium from others.

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Remembrance and future in the Olympic Park

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

I went to an event on Saturday that was both enjoyable and sad. It was the celebration of the life of John Hopkins, the landscape client of the Olympic Park who had much of the responsibility for making it so wonderful. He died suddenly earlier this year, aged only 59. The event was held at the Olympic Park, on the north lawn, part of the northern ...

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The nicest man I never met

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

One of my regrets is that I never met the acoustician Derek Sugden, who by all accounts was an enchanting man as well as the virtual founder of acoustic engineering. And I never will, so have to make do with the fascinating obituary that appeared in The Guardian today. The story is fascinating, not least because he seems to have worked out his acoustics ...

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Harsh financial truths about architecture

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Last week The Architects' Journal published the AJ100, its annual survey of the UK's biggest practices. Much of it is a celebration of success, with awards, new entrants and even the respondents feeling reasonably upbeat about the future. But it also contains some sobering truths. I found the most sobering aspect to be the table that ...

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Fifty shades of concrete?

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Christopher Beanland is a self-confessed (or maybe that should be self-professed - nothing to be ashamed of) lover of Brutalism.

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Should we be allowed to get up to no good?

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Horticulture Week reports that Richmond Council in southwest London has rethought its new policy of leaving parks unlocked overnight. Apparently it introduced the policy on 1 April, only locking one particular garden after that date. But it has now bowed to pressure from residents (and no less a figure than local MP Vince Cable) and is to start ...

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Summer in the city

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

It's cold and it's grey and most sensible people are thinking about where they might go for their summer holidays. But for others summer has other connotations as well.

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Could biogas be the answer?

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

There is something very appealing about the use of biogas to generate energy. Animal waste is a great source of pollution (not least with methane, which is a terrifyingly potent greenhouse gas) and yet it could be a 'free' source of energy. The idea is not new.350 homes in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, for instance, receive their electricity thanks ...

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Mars in Hawaii

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

There is an article in today's Guardian (which oddly doesn't appear to be available online) by Sheyna Gifford, a medical doctor who was one of six people who spent a year in the caldera of a volcano on Hawaii simulating life on Mars.The article first caught my eye because it said that one of the sextet was an architect, although on closer inspection ...

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Is the Orbit really too small?

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

The most contentious statement at a seminar that I chaired last week came from Clive Dutton, executive director for planning, regeneration and property at the London Borough of Newham, host borough for the Olympics. 'The only thing wrong with the Orbit is that it should have been three times as big,' he said about one of London's most contentious and ...

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