When you have to love a star

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Brad Pitt has been at it again. Building that is. And not for himself. Unlike most celebs who may do a bit of mouthing about fashionable causes, he seems to really care - and what he cares about is housing for poor people. World Truth TV reports that the superstar, whose engagement with architecture started when he set up a charity post Hurricane Katrina ...

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Barbie, dresses, a pioneering architect and a disability

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

How much do you think about what you wear to work? US architect Kelly Hayes-McAlonie has had reason to think about it a lot, and she made her thoughts the subject of a fascinating TEDx talk(TEDx is like the little local cousin of TED, and the best talks compete to get on the main TED site).

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In praise of getting my hands dirty

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

I recently spent a few days with friends in the southwest of France. They needed to consult the mayor of the village about some proposed alterations to their house, and she said, come and see me at the eco-house I am building.

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Talking architecture in Singapore

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

This year's World Architecture Festival is heading towards its conclusion in Singapore, with the announcement of the World Building of the Year due in a few hours' time. It is a truly international event, with delegates from 68 countries and a great spread of projects yet, like last year, the greatest interest comes from Singapore itself. This is not ...

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Wheee! A celebration of the obvious

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Sometimes architects come up with an idea that is so original it changes the way you think. And sometimes they come up with something that is so obvious that it is, frankly, brilliant. So hats off to Bblur architecture (just how do you pronounce that?) for proposing a helter skelter alongside the Orbit which everybody has already known looks like... a helter skelter.

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Grant makes good

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

I have found myself spending quite a bit of time over the past few months on the website of Grant Erskine.

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A timber building I'd love to visit

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Next week the site visits for the shortlisted buildings in the Wood Awards begin. It will be, I am sure, as every year, fascinating, enlightening and occasionally disappointing. We won't however be visiting this building: Not because it didn't make the cut, but because it is not eligible as it is in China. You can see more on the ArchDaily website. ...

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Stirling, Lubetkin and Singapore

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

There is always something nice about confounding expectations, and presumably a few lucky punters cleaned up when Astley Castle, unexpectedly, won the Stirling Prize. It is, by all accounts, a superb project and in a sense relatively democratic, since anybody who wants to stay there can rent it - if, of course, they can afford it, which seems to be ...

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I told you I was cold

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

For a couple of years I went to Singapore to run the news website of the World Architecture Festival. The work was interesting if demanding, the company was congenial and I knew plenty of people. But I was unhappy. Why? Because I was cold. Singapore has a climate that rarely dips below 30C, with high humidity, so wearing summer clothes seemed a no-brainer. ...

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Underground Writing

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

I have just got round to reading one of the best pieces in a weekend newspaper that I have read for a long time. It was Robert Macfarlane writing about urban exploration - the coupling of a superb writer with a fascinating subject. Macfarlane writes about the international fraternity of people who like to get onto, into and under parts of ...

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It's a little early for Christmas stockings...

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

...but I wonder how many will be getting one of these?

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Light, lies and ... video next?

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

There are plenty of very competent journalists around in the specialist press, and some who are very perceptive, knowledgeable or persistent. But there aren't all that many who are funny. One who is, is Ray Molony, publisher of Lux magazine, and one of the best informed people writing about lighting today. I shared an office with him for a ...

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Three cheers for research

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

There is a great article in The Architects' Journal about research that Cartwright Pickard has carried out with the Mackintosh into the design of new homes, asking if they are making people sick. The conclusion? Probably yes. It looks at CO2 levels, a good indicator of air quality, and concludes that many homes are inadequately ventilated. There are ...

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Let's table a change

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

If you were looking for inspiration for a new dining table, you could do worse than go to 100% Design, the interiors show in Earls Court that is looking sprucer and more 'designy' than in years. You would probably not decide however to buy 'Worldscape' by Atmos Studios, although it is for sale. Crucially, it is designed by an architect not a furniture ...

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Hate traffic jams? Avoid Jakarta

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Lists of the world's best (or commonly most 'liveable' cities) are often pretty bland, They are places where nothing much goes wrong, where the air is good and the schools can teach and the traffic moves and where, quite frankly, the biggest risk is going to be dying of boredom. After all, why would you live in a city if not for some kind of thrill? So ...

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How we all missed the blindingly obvious

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

What is not to love about the Walkie Scorchie story? An already funny name - the walkie talkie - transformed into an even better one. The kind of disaster that we can all enjoy almost guilt free - what could be more pleasurable in terms of hubris than the melting of a car, a rich man's plaything, a disaster that causes no damage to health or general ...

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Is it ever right to knock a building down?

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

There has been great jubilation and amusement since Building Design chose the Walkie Talkie as the winner of its annual Carbuncle Cup.

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A new perspective on Birmingham

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

There was a gratifyingly intelligent discussion of architecture on the radio this morning, coinciding with the opening of the new Birmingham library. Much of it dealt with the contents of the building, and the treasures in the archive, which was perfectly appropriate. But there was also talk about how it worked spatially, and how the new and adjacent ...

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Housing shortages are not just a domestic problem

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Today's Guardian includes a report on the housing crisis in Europe. This shows that the problems of which we are all too well aware, particularly in London - too little housing at too-high prices - are not restricted to this country.  On average in the EU, housing represnts more than 40% of household income for 11/4% of households. Although London ...

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Right idea, wrong time?

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Historian Vernon Bogdanor was talking about Keith Joseph on the radio at the weekend, on his series on people who have changed the political weather. Joseph introduced many of the ideas that later became known as Thatcherism. Indeed, if he hadn't made an ill-advised speech about feckless single mothers, he might have become leader of the Tory party, ...

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