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17 February 2015
Issue 524
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Gensler’s pipe-dream for London...
Global design and planning firm, Gensler have won the award for Best Conceptual Project at the London Planning Awards, hosted by London Mayor, Boris Johnson, for its innovative and ambitious idea of
creating the first city-wide alternative transport network in derelict underground tunnels. Gensler’s
vison will see London's disused underground lines turned into a dynamic network of pedestrian walkways, cycle lanes and cultural and retail spaces, all run using kinetic energy technology. Ian Mulcahey, co-director of Gensler London, says: “Now London has reached the highest level of population in its history we need to think creatively about how to maximise the potential of our infrastructure. The adaptation of surplus and underutilised tube and rail tunnels could provide a quick and simple addition to our infrastructure network.” Currently, with its ever growing population, London is struggling to cope with its expanding transport needs for pedestrians, cyclists and tube travellers, and is also in need of new types of public and community space, as well as affordable retail, commerce and entertainment spaces... read more
Top stories this week
1 A suburban dream
in Melbourne
Julie Firkin Architects were tasked with a residential extension of an original weatherboard cottage in the Melbourne suburb of Clifton Hill. The design was developed to maximise the available light and space in an oddly shaped block. The original cottage frontage was maintained, while a new, two-level addition at the rear provides more space for a new kitchen/diner, plus a master bedroom suite. The extension... read more
2 Homes made of straw
could slash heating bills
This week the first straw eco homes go on sale in Bristol. The traditional red brick homes may look ordinary on the outside but they are at the cutting edge of low carbon technology. Plus, they are not only cheaper to buy than the average Bristol home, but they also promise fuel bills of up to 90 per cent cheaper than brick built houses. Previously the idea of a house made out of straw would be more appropriate in a fairy tale, than in reality... read more
3 A house that
goes against the grain
It all started when Christoph noticed a 'for sale' ad on the internet for a Kansas farmer’s dismantled silo. He got the idea to buy the silo and create an ultra-compact, affordable, yet comfortable living space, which would demonstrate the potential of urban renewal and 'upcycling'. Assembling a found 'kit of parts' small enough to be transported in the back of a pickup truck that would result in a comfortable, modern and unique home was a very... read more
4 Bouncing back
in Zhoushan, China
John Curran Architect's latest regeneration project in China saw the Zhoushan Sports Stadium on Zhoushan Island, transformed to host National League basketball games for the first time. The 6,000 seat, 10,000 sq m stadium has an upgraded interior and a new mezzanine for public amenities. Wrapped inside a new 'Lantern' skin, draped around the perimeter of the stadium, and connected by an outdoor viewing terrace which overlooks the... read more
5 The top 40 of European contemporary architecture
The European Commission and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe have announced the 40 shortlisted works for the 2015 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award, one of the most prestigious awards in international architecture. In total, 420 works were entered for the award and a panel of judges drew up the final shortlist of 40, including a mix of cultural, education, mixed use, religious... read more
Going for architectural gold in Nova Scotia Learning lessons in design for education
The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) has issued its most prestigious architectural award, the Gold Medal, to Nova Scotia architect, Brian MacKay-Lyons, whose internationally acclaimed buildings reflect the design and construction traditions of Canadian East Coast architecture. MacKay-Lyons, whose work was described by the jury as, "[coming] from an intimate connection with his communities," is a founding partner of MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects, and is also a professor of architecture at Dalhousie University. His work, which includes many houses, along with the Canadian Chancery, Official Residence in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the Computer Science Building, and the Architecture School at Dalhousie University, has been recognised... read more
The answer to the question ‘what makes a positive learning environment where students and teachers thrive?’ will vary considerably depending on whereabouts on the planet you’re standing. In Denmark, for example, there’s a big move toward more play and learning assisted environments. Sweden continues to do battle with that age-old Scandinavian
chestnut – lack of daylight – with one secondary school in the north of the country trying out ‘full-spectrum’ electric light to see if it will help raise students’ energy and attention levels in the dark of winter. Switch to less developed countries, particularly those in the tropics, and the priority is... read more
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