Falling in love with architecture - and Paris

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Next week I am taking an 11 year old - and her mum - to Paris. It is a trip that I have promised since she was six years old, a chance to share my favourite city. Recently she told me that she thinks she wants to be an architect. i sent her some books, with plenty of potential for drawing, and said that we could look at some great buildings in Paris.

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Can tech companies save Detroit?

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Sunday's Observer had a good-news story about Detroit. The city, which has been a symbol of urban failure, is now seeing some signs of resurgence, thanks to a modest influx of high-tech start-ups who seem relatively unfazed by the lack of services and facilities. One of the problems that Detroit faces is that American taxes are levied almost ...

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Celebrating an attack of shingles

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

I was in Dungeness at the weekend, which has become a wonderful architectural ghetto almost because it fails to tick all the boxes for a good connected life. Good transport links? No. Sandy beach? Certainly not. Easy mortgages? Apparently you can't get them. Away from it all? Well, sort of if you exclude the nuclear power stations and the power lines. ...

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Danger is not where you expect

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Guardian writer George Monbiot has created quite a stir with an article entitled The Grime behind the Crime in which he reports research finding links between levels of lead pollution and violent crime. Serious scientists were interviewed about this on the radio this morning, and it seems as if the research is pretty watertight. They are showing ...

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When the Romans lost their marbles

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

You don't often hear much about architecture on the religious news programme on Radio 4 on a Sunday, but this morning was an exception. The programme was discussing a forthcoming exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford at which a centrepiece will be a 'flatpack' Roman church that is nearly 1500 years old, and was found in a shipwreck.

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New year no money

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Happy new year. But a lot of people may be wondering just how happy a one it will prove to be. In personal terms of course pockets will be feeling empty after the festivities (and perhaps some imprudent expenditure during the sales). But it seems that the world of architecture and construction is feeling similarly gloomy. Building has just reported ...

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Is small beautiful or another trap?

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

I am in two minds about the latest attempt by the city of Seattle in Washington State, USA, to tackle homelessness.

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Beware of bearing gifts

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

A long discussion has been running on The Architects' Journal's LinkedIn page about the Yunnan Kunming Wenhua Technology Co in China. The thread started six months ago, and is still active. This is a company that is scamming aspirant architects by dangling potential contracts in front of them, and then asking for presents - cigarettes, mainly, ...

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Wood Awards give Lord of the Rings the elbow

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

On Tuesday afternoon we did the shortlisting for this year's Wood Awards, in which we whittled (get it?) around 200 entries down to a list of 20 to be visited and further appraised. There were lots of great entries, and plenty that were less great. Several projects had been noticed by all, or almost all, of the judges, and were a shoo-in for the visiting ...

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No hard sell at Christmas

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Blogger Lucy Mori has written about how architects should remember still to market themselves at Christmas. She illustrates her blog with  pics of family Christmases replete with the kind of festive jumpers  no self-respecting architect would be seen dead in - certainly not when marketing themselves. And that is the problem. Mori ...

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A strange and wonderful conjunction

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

We hear so much about mixing and differentiating old and new when dealing with historic buildings that it has become rather a bore. But it is so refreshing to see it done in an imaginative way, albeit melding architecture and art, rather than building with building.

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My first tweet up

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Last week I went to my first tweet up, organised by Building Design and held at the offices of Feilden Clegg Bradley. I'm not sure that I came away able to tell the difference between a tweet up and a booze up, but it was certainly a good evening. I guess the difference is that it is a self-selecting group of common interest, rather than an invitation ...

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It's not all the same

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

...

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Let's be sensible about housing

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Michele Hanson's latest 'A certain age' column  in today's Guardian is a corker. After telling us about her friend Clayden being attacked by cows on Hackney Marshes, she says she thinks she is trying to make herself think of urban life as rustic to compensate for the fact that planning minister Nick Boles wants to concrete over most of ...

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Paying for privacy?

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Yesterday the London Evening Standard reported that follow the sinking pound caused by Brexit, the country is experiencing a tourist bonanza. So I was surprised but relieved that the new extension to Tate Modern was relatively quiet. Relieved because, despite the paucity of visitors, there was a considerable wait to get a lift to the 10th floor ...

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Hooray for the highways engineer

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

There are few jobs more derided than that of the highways engineer. Architects, landscape architects and urban designers all love to complain about highways engineers' lack of foresight and imagination, their box-ticking approach, the way that they litter the environment with unnecessary and ugly street furniture and with ill-considered signs. And often ...

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Practising the 3Rs

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

One can argue about how many 'R's there are in the sustainability mantra. 'Re-use, restore, recycle' is the simplest version, with longer variants stretching to four or even five words with the addition of 're-purpose', 'retrain' etc. The underlying principle is the same. Look at what you have and do the least possible to it.

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Make yourself at home

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Smugness is not attractive so like everyone sensible I try to avoid it. But if I were to be smug about anything it would be about where I live. My small, not terribly convenient flat is in an inner London suburb where, if I were buying now, I would not be able to afford to live. There has been a ripple effect in London where successive waves of buyers ...

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Thanks for the memory - a great disaster

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

acebook reminded me of this great story that ArchDaily posted three years ago. We all love a good disaster story (provided nobody is injured) and this was a corker.

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Does twitter make you absent?

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

The IBP awards last week, which recognise the best in the construction and property press, were a really enjoyable occasion. I should declare an interest, since I judged two of the categories. The guest speaker was Daniel Moylan who is now Boris Johnson's airport expert, arguing for a single hub airport to the east of London. He was an ideal after dinner ...

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