Building schools for the past

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

What a bittersweet triumph the success of Burntwood School at this year's Stirling Prize was.

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Can architects ever retire?

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

The current successful celebratory exhibition in honour of Richard Rogers' 80th birthday, coupled with the incredible vigour of his former colleague Norman Foster, could make one think that architects never get old. They are not the only examples of architects being vigorous and professionally engaged well into what many would consider the twilight ...

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A most unusual listed building

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

This morning I visited a most unusual listed building, although 'building' is stretching a point. I went to the deep shelter tunnels that lie underneath Clapham South Underground station, one of seven built on the Northern Line during World War Two (there was also one at Chancery Lane on the central line). You go down 180 steps through an entrance ...

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Happy holidays for the Lords

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

The House of Lords had a real tidy up before they set off for their holidays yesterday. On their very last day, they announced the plans for changes to the Building Regulations - already delayed but at least this time there is a date for their introduction, next April. And although some of the proposals have been watered down, not all.There are planning ...

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The fascination of major works

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

It is quite likely that you have watched a video online of a massive yellow machine building a bridge in China.

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Fracking hell for Sussex?

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

I felt outraged when I heard that they are planning to explore for oil in Balcombe in Sussex, and that if successful they may consider fracking.I have always been uncomfortable about the idea of fracking, not least because we really don't need to find ways to extract more greenhouse-gas emitting fossil fuels. But although I was unhappy when ...

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When is it time to let go?

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

We all love old houses don't we? And we should do everything that we can to save them, shouldn't we? Well, not always, Catherine Bennett argued in the Observer yesterday.

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Is today architecture day?

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

It seems as if occasionally there is a day when all the news is about architecture. Of course it helps that today is the day that the Stirling Prize shortlist was announced. It was interesting that the radio news focused on Park Hill being on the shortlist, in a 'from loathed to loved' kind of way. Always frustrating though when they focus on one story ...

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Why publicity isn't fluff

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Last week the British resident in Saudi Arabia Karl Andree was released from prison. He had served a sentence for supplying alcohol, which is illegal but was still being held, awaiting a vicious punishment of lashes which, as an unwell man in his 70s, he may well not have withstood.

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Solo performance stars at theatre

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

I had a great night at the theatre yesterday. It was not so much the play, a surprisingly old-fashioned three hander called Daytona that was watchable with some longueurs, as the environment and the company.Consultant Hoare Lea had invited a group to the new Park Theatre in Finsbury Park, 15 minutes from central London. This is a new theatre, only a ...

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Don't just talk but understand why

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Anybody remember that BT campaign 'It's good to talk'? It was a good tagline, but we all know in our lives that it is not just talking that matters - it is what you say, and to whom, and when. This is true in our personal lives, at work and particularly if you are a communications professional.

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Will all our cities have a Taksim Square?

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

It seems that Istanbul's Taksim Square has been saved, at least for now, from development. The AJ reports this, along with an eye-witness report on recent developments from one of its team, who happened to be there last weekend. The battle may be over, but the fight goes on, with the park shutting just after opening because of further riots, ...

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Fishing for compliments

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Yesterday evening at the Wood Awards ceremony, The Fishing Hut, designed by Niall McLaughlin Architects, won not only its category (private) but also the top prize, the Arnold Laver Gold Award.

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Willow sparks imaginations in Waterbeach

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

In last Friday's glorious sunshine, I was standing in a wood in Waterbeach between Cambridge and Ely. It was hard to believe that this was a millennium wood, planted only 13 years ago, as the trees soared overhead and the cottonwool from the willow catkins filled the air. It was the willow that was the reason for being there. Engineer Simon Smith of ...

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Taking responsibility

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

There is a lot of discussion on LinkedIn about the new CDM Regulations which came into force on 6 April.

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Latin joke carved in stone

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

I was in Amsterdam last week, at the Rijksmuseum which was fantastic. The most surreal experience was when they opened the glass roof to one of the courtyards. Not sure if they were testing the fire strategy or just ventilating as the place gets hot and stuffy. It was a very noisy process so nobody could miss it. We were sitting in the cafe and there ...

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Digging down and falling down

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

What a gift of a story. A house collapses, it belongs to a celebrity (or did until recently) and nobody is killed so we can all revel in hubris. No wonder the BBC posted the story 'Pop star Duffy's former house collapses' about the collapse of a Georgian house in Barnes, southwest London during the construction (oh joy) of a basement.

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Britain is not a gateway for Trenton Oldfield

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Trenton Oldfield is irritating. In fact, if you met him (I never have) he would probably tell you that one of his aims is to be an irritant. He is one of the founders of This is Not a Gateway which describes itself as an organisation that 'creates platforms for critical projects and ideas related to cities'. He is also the man who swam into ...

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Products? You're having a laugh

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

How many tedious descriptions of new products and product applications have you read or tried to read in magazines or on websites? Too many, I suspect. I have certainly written too many during my career. The problem is that the manufacturer sends out a press release and a hapless journalist is faced with editing and improving it - with, usually, no ...

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What the Heatherwick row tells us about attitudes to architecture

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Apparently the story about accusations of plagiarism against Thomas Heatherwickcrashed The Guardian's website, because there was so much interest. It was amazing to see it on the newspaper's front page. In the world of architecture, such stories happen fairly frequently, sometimes with justification from the aggrieved, sometimes not. The difference ...

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