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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Wood can be both exciting and dull - and dull is important

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Thursday was a very 'woody' day for me. In the afternoon we judged the shortlisted projects for the Wood Awards (spoiler alert - there are some great schemes and the winners and highly commended projects are very exciting). Then in the early evening, I went to the launch at Arup's office of the new National Structural Timber Specification. It was good ...

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Learn to love sprawl?

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

An article on Australia's ABC, highlighted on Twitter by Tim Waterman, asks 'Is there such a thing as good urban sprawl?'. The argument is that sprawling suburbs have plenty of space for solar generation and if that solar energy is then used to power electric cars, transport would be green as well. The piece is based on research in Auckland, New ...

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Design, the Barbican and the housing crisis

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Phineas Harper, formerly with The Architectural Review and now with the Architecture Foundation, has made a great little film about the Barbican under the auspices of both.

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In a pickle over bins?

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Earlier this week I visited a small social housing project that was using some innovative techniques. Most of these were hidden, and the housing association had requested a conventional layout and appearance.  Nevertheless, the architect had managed to select solar panels that looked elegant rather than garish with the roof tiles. But when we went ...

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About time - Zaha's gold

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

The world is rightly congratulating Zaha Hadid on winning the RIBA Gold Medal. And equally rightly making a fuss about her being the first female recipient. What a shocker.

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Egg with everything

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

I have been following the blog of artist Stephen Turner since I had the pleasure of visiting him last week in his temporary home, the Exbury Egg.  This extraordinary structure has caught the attention of the world's media (apparentlyVogue magazine is interested) and it is as seductive in practice as in the photos - although very ...

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Why wouldn't you build as well as design?

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

There has been quite a lot of discussion in the press about AECOM's decision to become a contractor as well as a consultant. Much of it centres around how the giant organisation will fare, and whether it will discourage other contractors with whom it has worked.

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A day of BIM

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

It was very interesting yesterday to chair a panel discussion at BIM Show Live with three architects discussing the benefits that they were enjoying from employing BIM. Particularly enlightening was David Miller of David Miller Architects, an enthusiastic proselytiser for the technology, even if he got into it almost by accident. He ...

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Is print really dying for architecture?

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Yesterday morning I was judging the digital categories for the IBP awards, run by the organisation that exists for journalists and communicators in the built environment.

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Stay at home and trim the fat

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

There are many interesting aspects to the new building for the WWF in Woking, designed by Hopkins Architects and aiming for BREEAM Outstanding, and most of them relate to the emboded energy. Atelier Ten has combined a number of techniques to make the building as effective as possible, but these, although the practice pioneered many of them, are ...

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How it all Began

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

How it all Began

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Why disasters are less disastrous today

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

The worst of the storm is over, and for most it was quite exciting rather than life threatening. Obviously for the few people who died it was a tragedy, but these small tragedies happen all the time with road accidents in particular. And for those without power, it is very inconveniencing.What has struck me is that nobody is writing about the cost to ...

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Corbusier’s Light Tunnels

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

Corbusier’s Light Tunnels

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A lot of cool air?

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Posted in The Architecture Blog by Ruth Slavid
19
May

I hadn't heard of SheerWind until they started following me on Twitter. They offer, they say, a 'better way to harvest wind'. Their technology, which seems to be to do with accelerating wind down a tube, and using the Venturi effect before it goes through a generator, claims to work at relatively low wind speeds, and not to need huge wind ...

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