London's big challenges

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

'Challenge' was the word most used by Edward Lister, chief of staff and deputy mayor at the Greater London Authority, as he launched Green Sky Thinking this week at the top of City Hall.

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An interactive model that really works

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

I confess that when I went to see the preview of New London Architecture's new model of the city, I expected to like it but not be overwhelemed. It was good that it was bigger than its predecessor, encompassing in particular more of west London. And it was interactive. Well, so what? Everything is these days isn't it? But this is really good. The projection ...

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Cycle of success

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

There was a great article in the Guardian yesterday by the designers of the Brompton bike, What was so interesting was that fact that willingly admitted their early failings, and that they are still not satisfied with the end product.

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When illegible space is to be applauded

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Making spaces legible is usually seen as a fundamental purpose of architecture. We should, we are told, be able to navigate buildings with the minimum of signage, because we should be able to work out where we are going.

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The impact of the election on ... office starts

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

How are you planning to vote in Thursday's general election? (And I hope you are planning to vote).

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Never forget the dangers of construction

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

A few years ago I was talking to an architect, and he said something along the lines of 'I never forget my responsibility when I design a building, that people coud die building it.' it is true - construction is still a dangerous trade. It is getting better. I looked recently at some construction photos from around 40 years ago and they were full of ...

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History on our streets

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

On Friday evening I went on a guided walk through the Borough and London Bridge area just south of the Thames. Because it was VE Day, the walk centred on the effects of conflicts - largely but not entirely of World War Two.

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Architecture in the swim

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

This week seems to have been all about swimming. On Tuesday evening the promoters of the Thames Baths project, led by architect Studio Octopi, held an event at the Royal Academy to celebrate the fact that they were halfway through their Kickstarter campaign to raise funding. They released new images, showing new possible locations for this floating ...

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London shows it is not a Mediterranean city

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

London, and other cities, have made great advances in the design of public space, as the 10th anniversary exhibition at the NLA 'Public London' demonstrates.

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Friday funny teaches lessons about safety

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Twitter can be a great source of useful information. It is often the first place where news items appear, it is great for having a sense of community and for seeking information and comment. And sometimes it is just good for a laugh. The 'Friday funny' retweeted by Su Butcher (@SuButcher), one of construction's most prolific and successful tweeters, ...

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A new geographical perspective on Prince Charles

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Architects have, at the very best, an ambivalent attitude to Prince Charles. He is seen as being over-wedded to traditional architecture and as interfering in an unwarranted manner in planning decisions. And his pet project of Poundbury is largely seen as irrelevant and soulless.

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Gehry puts his finger on...the wrong target

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Media appearances are usually so sanitised, with big-name architects acting almost like film stars, that it is fascinating to watch when somebody like Frank Gehry loses his cool. ArchDaily reports an exchange with Frank Gehry at a press conference in Oviedo, Spain. Asked by a reporter to respond to critics' claims that he produces 'showy architecture', ...

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Why we shouldn't keep old people in the dark

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Old people's homes can be pretty depressing places, and more light would certainly help them to be more pleasant places. But according to an expert on sleep and neuroscience, it could also improve their mental health, helping to counteract the impact of dementia.

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You shouldn't try to be right all the time

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

I was in Cornwall at the Eden Project this weekend. It was, to my shame, my first visit. I was interested to see how the ETFE panels on the biomes were faring. The answer was, not fantastic, but well enough. They mist up a little, and you can also see some lines of discolouration where strips of the material have been joined to make up the hexagonal ...

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It's a chill wind that blows everybody good

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

There have been two really good events in the last week related to the launch of the book Ice Station: The creation of Halley VI.I may be biased of course, because I wrote the book. But it was pretty easy to do, because it is a wonderful project. It seems that you have to go to the other end of the world to allow architects and engineers to work in the way that many would like to and most feel that ...

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Death of the middle class architect

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

The Architects' Journal is lamenting the end of the middle class architect, following a report in the Financial Times which sees architects as among professional groups being displaced by the new 'uber middle class'.

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We will all suffer in London's housing fiasco

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Oliver Wainwright has written a damning indictment for The Guardian about the way that housing developers in London wriggle out of their obligations to provide affordable housing - and the fact that too often the 'affordable' is unaffordable.

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One scoop or many?

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

I was both pleased and amused to see that Rick Mather Architects has won planning for its sixth-form centre in Newham, London. Pleased not only because this is a good practice that deserves to win work but because it is able to continue to do so after the death of its founder and figurehead - and after at least one client, the Peabody Essex museum, ...

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Getting the wind up about tall buildings

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Poor old Walkie Talkie. If it were a person it would be the one who gets their dress stuck in the door, and then the next week falls down the stairs and breaks its ankle.

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A hard-headed look at architectural education

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

In the latest issue of RIBA Journal (not yet online) Maria Smith argues very intelligently about architectural education.

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