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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On socks and software

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

I found a hole in the toe of my sock today. Which doesn't, I admit, seem to have much to do with construction, except that these were special socks - they were SketchUp socks

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When conservationists fought battles

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

'The Gentle Author' writes a blog that sounds so parochial one would hardly expect any one to read it and yet he has, quite rightly, built up a huge following. He posts daily from Spitalfields, a characterful area of east London, looking at his local area and beyond. I say 'he' for convenience but, although the creator has been interviewed by several ...

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Different memories for different people

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Names are so evocative, but evocative in different ways for different people. Catherine Slessor, former editor of The Architectural Review, said on Twitter recently 'When I hear the phrase 'new Covent Garden' I reach for my revolver. Suspect I'm not alone.' She was referring to a story in London's Evening Standard about the proposals for Coal Drops ...

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A salty story

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

There was an item on the radio last night looking at the desalination plants that China is building on its east coast. Its fast-growing cities are hungry for water, springs are drying up - so what to do? The answer, for China, is to throw technology at the problem. There was an interview with the manager of a desalination plant, still only one-fifth ...

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What makes an architect?

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Well, most of us think we know what becoming an architect involves - seven years of education, a crazy amount of dedication, the ability to survive without sleep or money, design talent and possibly a touch of dyslexia.

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Time to do your homework - and what about health and happiness

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

June is of course exam season for many, but if you are a fully qualified working professional you might feel that those days are behind you. Of course you may spend a hideously disproportionate amount of time filling out PQQs. But they are more about what you do than what you know. Surely those days of desperately searching for the 'right' answers and ...

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New Year's resolutions - not mine

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Are you planning any resolutions for this year? I am, but I am not about to share them here. Instead I am going to present the resolutions that engineering practice Max Fordham believes we should all make - and follow.

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A little rant about percentages

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Sorry to go a bit off-piste, but I am going to talk about the weather. TheIndependent reported the Met Office saying that this has been the coldest spring for 50 years. It is a story we are all interested in as we continue to shiver in our thermals. The paper gives some figures - that the average temperature for the past three months has been 6.0C ...

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Keeping up with the news

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

I've come across some great stories online in the past few days. There was a lengthy and clever article about how much we could learn about city planning by studying ways that insects organise their communities.

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Kew gets a Corten house

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Tim Lucas of Price & Myers is one of the most talented structural engineers around. So you would hardly expect him to live in a boring house. And indeed he does not - or will not. Working with architect Piercy & Co, he is building a house for himself in one of the loveliest areas of London, Kew (yes, home to Kew Gardens). And he is doing it ...

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One angry man

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Patrik Schumacher gets a rough ride from time to time. He is director of Zaha Hadid Architects, one of the most Marmite of designers. In addition, his espousal of parametrics is intellectually demanding and at times downright confusing. impressing some and leading to opprobrium from others.

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Remembrance and future in the Olympic Park

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

I went to an event on Saturday that was both enjoyable and sad. It was the celebration of the life of John Hopkins, the landscape client of the Olympic Park who had much of the responsibility for making it so wonderful. He died suddenly earlier this year, aged only 59. The event was held at the Olympic Park, on the north lawn, part of the northern ...

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The nicest man I never met

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

One of my regrets is that I never met the acoustician Derek Sugden, who by all accounts was an enchanting man as well as the virtual founder of acoustic engineering. And I never will, so have to make do with the fascinating obituary that appeared in The Guardian today. The story is fascinating, not least because he seems to have worked out his acoustics ...

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