Steeled for change

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

I was surprised how shocked I felt when listening to discussion on the radio this morning about Tata Steel's decision to withdraw from the UK altogether, and about the improbability of finding a buyer.

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Should the UK learn to be more like Denmark?

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

There is a fascinating nugget buried in the AJ's story about the go-ahead for BIG's waste incineration plant. One might argue that the whole story is fascinating. A celebration of a waste plant? With a ski slope on top? It looks like one of those endearingly mad student projects that will never be built - and now it is actually going ahead. This ...

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The last time I saw Paris

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

I will bow to nobody in my love for Paris. I know that it is snobbish and rude, that it has some terrible suburbs and that few can afford to live in the centre, but oh how I love it. Even I, however, have to admit that the traffic can be terrible.

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Canada house and Tokyo Ito in the pink

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

I was amused to see that the top news story on the AJ's newsletter this morning was about plans to revamp Canada House in London. The building is certainly prominent, sitting on Trafalgar Square, and it will be a great opportunity for an architect to win work. But the story was actually published on Friday, and is it really bigger than Toyo ...

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Lighting in a digital age

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Apologies for being blatantly self-promotional, but I recently chaired a discussion with three leading lighting designers about the future of lighting design. They shared some fascinating projects, and talked about issues such as BIM and also the lighting of their own homes. But the most interesting thing was the way that they talked about changes ...

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Good housing should be robust enough to cope with alteration

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

How many people - how many architects? - live in Georgian or Victorian houses? Plenty. Many of those houses are in conservation ares, and some are even listed. But even the listed ones will have been altered prior to achieving that status. If nothing else, they will have had bathrooms added, and probably the ubiquitous back extension. And the AJ has ...

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Living in a bubble

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

I was recently in Den Bosch in the Netherlands. The reason for the visit was to see the Hieronymous Bosch exhibition, celebrating 500 years since his death (fantastic exhibition but I can't recommend that you go because it is completely sold out). While there, we went out to an ordinary suburb to see these far from ordinary houses.

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Don't be afraid of the obvious

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

I had lunch with an accountant today (and I bought him lunch, even if it was only a Costa sandwich). We were talking about what architects need to know when they were setting up their own practices. Although he was obviously well informed and canny, his prime piece of advice was a statement of the absolutely obvious. 'You have to invoice,' he said, ...

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All change

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

I doubt if many who voted in the EU referendum were thinking about Building Regulations, or even about the EU Drinking Water Directive or the prospects for UK architects in the EU (although it was interesting how many of those in this year's AJ100 saw that as their prime market).

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Plumbing the shallows of Twitter

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

One of the ways that you may have come to read this story is because I have tweeted it. I wouldn't say I have a love-hate relationship with Twitter - more a blowing hot and cold one. Rather like those annoying people in relationships who sometimes are all over you and at others just can't be bothered and would rather tidy their flat or drink with their ...

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The age of uncertainty

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Many of the practices in this year's AJ100 reported a downturn in orders in the last few months due to uncertainty about the EU referendum. Clients didn't know which way it would go, and what the impact would be.  Now of course we have certainty - of a kind. We are leaving the EU - aren't we? Despite the actions of those desperate to find a way ...

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Can we shed light on reform of rights to light?

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

The AJ and BD have virtually identical headlines on the proposed reforms to rights of light. 'Architects welcome right to light move' says the former, while the latter goes for 'Architects hail light laws reform'. But BD is intriguing. Its story is on page 3, and opposite on page 2 is its second leader. Its headline is 'Don't put out the light in our ...

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Making a drama out of architecture

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

It's always fun to see architecture featuring in a drama and new televison series New Blood really makes a meal of it. Its second case, featuring a young policeman and his pal who works for the Serious Fraud Office, involves dodgy goings on surrounding the construction of London's tallest new building.

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Temporary becomes permanent again

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

It is pleasing but unsurprising that the 'temporary' Skyroom built on top of the Architecture Foundation's home near London Bridge is to become permanent, as BD reports today. From the Eiffel Tower onwards, there is a long tradition of so-called temporary structures acquiring a permanent life. In London of course the most prominent example is the ...

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A nice paint job

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

There is something surprisingly appropriate about Hugh Broughton Architects being appointed to restore the painted hall at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich.

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Zaha Hadid on page 3

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

A week of unexpected news (who could have predicted that we would be discussing the damage caused by meteorites, the resignation of the pope and the death of Oscar Pistorius' girlfriend?) ended with an architecture story in a hugely prominent position in theObserver. Zaha Hadid was talking about misogyny in the profession, following up on the disappointing ...

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Railway cottage renaissance?

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

The idea of railway cottages sounds charmingly quaint and the remaining buildings, while frequently small (after all they were built for workers not plutocrats) have a certain appeal. It is their very no-nonsense pared down nature that makes them attractive.

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What's in a name?

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

When I worked at The Architects' Journal, the news editor used to take especial pleasure in finding sobriquets for the latest tower proposal (he probably still does, but I don't see him so regularly). He was particularly proud of the 'can of ham', a title that was subsequently taken up by the Daily Mail. And no less a figure than Peter Rees ...

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Essex - what a dump

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Today on the radio they were talking about the changes to overnight flights in and out of Heathrow, as discussion still rages about whether there should be a new runway there or not.

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What is a reasonable way to work?

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

There is a discussion on the AJ's LinkedIn page about methods of working that can reduce the long hours culture. It was kicked off by the decision of architect Baumann Lyons to start working 38 hours in a four-day week, and shut the office on a Friday. The thinking, presumably, is that most people will feel after they have done a solid ...

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