One St Paul’s offices attracts “new type” of City tenant

One St Paul's

A marketing campaign aimed at attracting non-traditional City occupiers appears to have paid off, with the entire 60,000 sqft office element of One St Paul’s in the City of London being let to a single tenant. Genesis Oil and Gas Consultants Ltd has agreed a 15-year lease for all six storeys of bespoke office space, and will  take possession upon handover of the building works during the summer of 2013, with the aim of moving its headquarters in the autumn. The deal marks the culmination of AXA Real Estate’s reworking of the property as a major mixed-use redevelopment scheme.

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Project awarded for design and build of new Kuwaiti Ministry

 Kuwait General Department of the Information System.

The competition to design and build the future General Department of the Information System (GDIS), in Kuwait has been won by AGi architects, in collaboration with Bonyan Design. The aesthetics of the building, which will encompass a total gross area of 135,482 sqm is shaped by the superposition of two contrasting layers: a massive stone plinth at the lower level, and lighter glass structures on the upper floors. At ground floor level there will be a plaza conceived as an inner urban space that will be the core of flows and circulations and will provide access to all four departments included in the building More →

Office design goes to the movies. Part 6 – Playtime

Office design goes to the movies. Part 6 – Playtime

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One of the few films to address office design as something worth commenting on per se. A film in which M. Hulot stumbles around a modernist dream of Paris, all glass, steel and cold straight lines. People inhabit box like apartments and box like office cubicles which separate them from each other and, by implication, life. The film was produced in 1967, shortly before the cubicle was popularised in real offices. In the sequence in which M. Hulot visits an office building, he gets lost, gatecrashing meetings and ending up in a gadget trade show which is furnished in a virtually identical way to the office.

Dutch Embassy to move to South Bank development

Embassy Gardens

The Dutch Embassy in London is to move from its current location at Hyde Park Gate to a 50,000 sq ft site as part of the Embassy Gardens development on the South Bank of the Thames. The Embassy, which will move in 2017, will sit adjacent to the new US Embassy, already under construction and due for completion during the same year. Embassy Gardens is part of the Nine Elms development on the South Bank and is masterplanned by architect Sir Terry Farrell to encompass a kilometre-long Linear Park – starting in Vauxhall and moving through Embassy Gardens on the way to Battersea Power Station. More →

SBID International Design Awards 2013 open for entries

Entries are now open for the SBID (Society of British Interior Design) third International Design Awards, which recognises design excellence across the built environment, ranging from super luxury projects, to innovative design and new talent on limited budgets. The fourteen categories include residential and contract sectors, entertainment space, transport, product and public space, visualisation (3d renderings) and interior design project under £50,000. Previous finalists and winners have included: Candy & Candy’s Candyscape II and Number One Hyde Park; Bentley Motors Head Office in Crewe by FutureBrand [pictured]; Mercedes Showroom in Washington by Studio Lux; The Hyundai Business Centre in Korea by Hyundai Construction and Engineering; Viking Cruises by Integration.

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Facebook hits like button for low-key Gehry campus building

FAcebook campus 2Normally it would strike you as a bit odd that a company would appoint one of the world’s most high profile architects to design its new headquarters, a man with an immediately recognisable and frequently stunning visual style, only to then ask him to rein it all in and produce something pretty sober and unobtrusive. But that is precisely what Facebook has done with the appointment of Frank Gehry who has been tasked with producing a low key design for its new headquarters building  and campus in California which gained approval at the end of last week.

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We shape the world’s cities, then they shape us

UrbanisationThe story of the world’s cities is often told not in words but in numbers. This is especially the case with the megacities – those with a  population in excess of 10 million – which obtain enough critical mass not only to produce eye boggling statistics but also to distort the fabric of whole regions and change the way people live and behave. This is true for the established megacities of London, New York and Tokyo as well as the emerging global metropolises in Sao Paolo, Beijing, Mumbai, Shanghai, Cairo and Istanbul. It is also increasingly true for cities many people have never heard of.

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RIBA reports positive picture for architects and construction sector

RIBAThe latest Future Trends Survey by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is showing a more positive picture for the architect profession and the wider construction sector. The RIBA’s Workload Index for February 2013 stands at +16, the third consecutive monthly increase, and has now remained in positive territory since November 2012 which continues to suggest improved confidence amongst architects regarding their future growth prospects. RIBA practices report that overall actual workloads remained stable throughout 2012, following falls in every calendar year from 2009 until 2011.

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London calling for Green Sky Thinking events

GST13-ButtonIf you’re looking for some practical guidance on sustainability check out a free London-wide event, Green Sky Thinking, a week-long series of free sustainability-focused events showcasing innovative and practical solutions to greening London’s built environment, which runs across London from 15-19 April. Ranging from onsite project talks, round-table discussions, pecha kuchas and seminars, it offers attendees the inside view from top experts, industry leaders and collaborative teams to understand innovations and what works in practice. Victoria Thornton, Founding Director of Open City, said: “The value of Green Sky Thinking Week is offering the solution of ‘how’ to make London’s built environment  sustainable.” More →

Office design goes to the movies. Part 3 – Being John Malkovich


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In which John Cusack plays an unemployed puppeteer who takes a mundane office clerk’s job in the low-ceilinged offices on Floor 7½ of the Mertin Flemmer Building in New York. When he asks his boss why the ceilings are so low, he is told ‘low overhead my boy’.  Bad pun, great commentary on how it’s always possible to fit a little bit more into the building, especially if you ignore the bothersome problem of the people who work inside and their physical constraints.

Where are the muggles in Terry Farrell’s architecture policy review?

Where are the muggles in Terry Farrell’s architecture policy review?

One of the standard complaints commonly ascribed to facilities managers and others who work to manage our buildings and the people and stuff inside them is that they are not consulted well enough when it comes to their development, architecture and design. Well, now they may have a chance to see how that all feels writ large following yesterday’s announcement from Culture and Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey of the launch of an independent review of the UK’s architecture which will be undertaken by the architect Sir Terry Farrell… leading a panel of mainly architects.

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Video: how networks of engaged people can achieve more than nations

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In spite of all its flaws, the Internet can empower people to address specific issues in ways that exceed the abilities of nation states. In this energising talk for the Royal Society for the Arts, Don Tapscott, a Canadian businessman and now one of the world’s leading authorities on the impact of technology on people and societies, explores the idea that engaged and connected people can work together to innovate and solve issues that can seem intractable to the world’s governments and international bodies, including the most serious demographic and environmental challenges we all face.