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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Remote museum design

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

How many museums are built every year? And how many more do we need? And just how excited do we get about them? It is easy to get blase, but I was really thrilled when I read that museums specialist Metaphor is working on the development of a museum about St Kilda, the remotest island in the Hebrides. The island is more than 40 miles from its nearest ...

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Remembering the ever-youthful Rick Mather

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

It was sad to see on the AJ website today that the architect Rick Mather had died. Sad because one never likes anybody to die, sadder because he had done and was still doing some excellent work. And somehow even sadder because, although he was in fact 75, he seemed so young. I remember that when Mather was elected to RIBA council in 1998, ...

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What hope for women?

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Zaha Hadid, arguably the world's most visible female architect, may have been on Desert Island Discs last week, but for less tall poppies the news isn't great.

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Antarctic proves a great school for design

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Last week's AJ published my review of the Halley Research Station in the Antarctic, a curious piece to write, not least because I haven't been there. Normally the rule when writing a building review is that you have to visit to see for yourself, but Halley is so remote that a visit would take several weeks and cost thousands of pounds. Instead, ...

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Architecture from the road

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

As a dedicated pedestrian I consider architecture as something to be savoured from street level and at walking pace. Then you can enjoy the details, peer in the windows or, if it is boring and bland, wonder just how long it will be before this dreary building finishes.

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Small is not beautiful - when it comes to homes

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

In the latest blast in its campaign to see more spacious and lighter homes, the RIBA has issued the results of a poll by IPSOS Mori showing that natural light and space are the most important consideration in our homes. 80% of the public would be more likely to choose a home with minimum space standards and, damningly, wanting more space and light is ...

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On having too much choice

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

We all know about the perils of having too much consumer choice - standing paralysed in the supermarket as we try to decide between 20 different brands of olive oil. But it can happen in our buildings too, as the idea of giving the building occupant maximum control tips over into making them think about things that they really don't want to think about.

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Shanghai is bund to get better

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Yesterday on the AJ's Footprint eco blog, architect Rab Bennetts reported from Shanghai. His reason for going was to visit the nascent Ecobuild. For which he deserves my respect - I couldn't even face the trek to Excel, let alone halfway round the world, although the tiny event that he reports sounds less daunting than London's behemoth. But what ...

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A fond farewell

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

How important are journalists to the architectural profession? They certainly have a part to play in making their work better known, and in shaping the public face of the profession. Not to mention that sometimes they can destroy or at least seriously dent reputations. And over the past few decades there have been a number of commentators who have taken ...

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Space really is the final frontier

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

There is a fascinating and only slightly belated obituary in the New York Times of an architect called Danforth W Toan. He was, apparently, one of the first to think about designing for space, coming up with simulations of the way that space could be used in a constricted space station. And I mean space. What is fascinating is that he realised ...

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Seen through fresh eyes

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

The new concourse at King's Cross station, designed by John McAslan and Partners, doesn't have a clock. But who needs one to meet under when you can meet instead at the base of the fantastic structure that supports the roof?

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It's time to ask for help

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

As we approach the end of the financial year, it seems a good time to talk about business matters. Running a practice is difficult , especially a small one, or even as a sole practitioner - the way that many architects start out. Some may blame inadequacies in architectural education for their problems, but actually the demands are enormous: designer, ...

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No luffing matter

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Apologies for the dreadful pun, but this story is about a luffing tower crane that partially collapsed on a site in Greenwich, London during Storm Katie.

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Life isn't always simple

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

In the run up to April Fool's day, it is worth remembering that even the wisest can make errors of judgment sometimes. Step forward veteran PR Giovanni Forte, who despite having moved away from this area of work was tempted by one last trio of charming clients, who had a brilliant idea for a modular home. Despite her savviness and experience, she was ...

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Steeled for change

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

I was surprised how shocked I felt when listening to discussion on the radio this morning about Tata Steel's decision to withdraw from the UK altogether, and about the improbability of finding a buyer.

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Should the UK learn to be more like Denmark?

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

There is a fascinating nugget buried in the AJ's story about the go-ahead for BIG's waste incineration plant. One might argue that the whole story is fascinating. A celebration of a waste plant? With a ski slope on top? It looks like one of those endearingly mad student projects that will never be built - and now it is actually going ahead. This ...

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The last time I saw Paris

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

I will bow to nobody in my love for Paris. I know that it is snobbish and rude, that it has some terrible suburbs and that few can afford to live in the centre, but oh how I love it. Even I, however, have to admit that the traffic can be terrible.

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Canada house and Tokyo Ito in the pink

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

I was amused to see that the top news story on the AJ's newsletter this morning was about plans to revamp Canada House in London. The building is certainly prominent, sitting on Trafalgar Square, and it will be a great opportunity for an architect to win work. But the story was actually published on Friday, and is it really bigger than Toyo ...

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Lighting in a digital age

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Apologies for being blatantly self-promotional, but I recently chaired a discussion with three leading lighting designers about the future of lighting design. They shared some fascinating projects, and talked about issues such as BIM and also the lighting of their own homes. But the most interesting thing was the way that they talked about changes ...

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