Industry collaborates on revised Design Review guidance

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New guidelines aimed at ensuring the consistency and quality of advice offered by design review panels across the UK have been published by the Cabe team at the Design Council in collaboration with the Landscape Institute, the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the Royal Institute of Architects (RIBA). Welcoming the launch of the revised guidance; ‘Design Review, Principles and PracticeRIBA President Angela Brady said: “Design review is a hugely valuable tool, which has had a proven track record of improving the quality of schemes.”

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Long awaited plans submitted for Smithfield development

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SmithfieldThe controversial and long-awaited plans for the redevelopment of the derelict sections of Smithfield in London have been submitted by Henederson Global Investors.  While the existing meat market will remain untouched, the £160m plan for the rest of the site includes the refurbishment of the former General Market, Fish Market and Red House Buildings, as well as the original engine house.  Originally built between 1886 and 1883 by the architect of Tower Bridge Horace Jones, the historic site has been the subject of previous proposals including a controversial scheme by architects KPF which was thrown out after a 4 year battle in 2008. More →

Net-Zero buildings top measure of sustainability success

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Net-zero commercial buildings, i.e. those that produce at least as much energy as they consume should be the long-term aim of corporate energy strategies, says a CoreNet Global statement. “Smart and responsible energy policies and practices reduce corporate carbon footprints and greenhouse gas emissions, (and) we encourage our members’ companies to drive energy efficiency to optimal levels with net-zero buildings as a top measure of long-term success.” The global real estate association calls on governments around the world to incentivise building owners, investors and occupiers who proactively reduce their carbon footprints. More →

Video: demolishing a building from the inside

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Amazing time lapse footage of the internal destruction of the 140m tall Grand Prince Hotel in Akasaka, Japan. While not as exciting and crowd pleasing as the traditional method of blowing the building up, the company responsible, Taisei Corporation, claims the new method decreases dust by up to 90 percent and reduces noise by around 20 decibels and can be used on a wide range of building types and structures.

Tech and media companies continue to reshape the world’s cities

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google-doodleTech and media companies continue to shape the world’s cities and local property markets according to a recent report from BNP Paribas. While this is a global phenomenon, some of the most dramatic developments will take place in London, not least a shift of tech firms in the city away from their heartland towards Kings Cross following Google’s $1bn purchase of 2.4 acres of land within a major new development in the area. The new development may become a hothouse for technology companies in spite of the UK Government’s focus on promoting Tech City and surrounding areas in East London.  More →

EU commission launches low-carbon contest

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The EU Commissioner for Climate Action has today launched a low-carbon contest, calling on creative and innovative ideas from across the EU. The World You Like Challenge is part of the European Commission’s climate action campaign: A world you like, launched at London City Hall [pictured] in October 2012. Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said: “The Challenge is a great opportunity to move beyond mere talking about climate change. By submitting your project, you help us show that building a world we like with a climate we like is both feasible and affordable.” More →

Leading architect appointed to new Obama administration

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Leading architect and designer Michael Graves has joined President Obama’s new administration. Graves, who is a wheelchair user, has been appointed to the United States’ Access Board, an independent Federal agency that provides leadership in accessible design. He said: “I am honoured to have been appointed to the United States Access Board by President Obama. When I became paralyzed, I realized that as an architect and designer, and then a patient, I had a unique perspective. As a result, I became passionate about using this perspective to improve healthcare and accessibility through design projects.” More →

Video: Why designers need to design for our ears too

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A subject too often ignored but about which we now have a great deal of research is that of acoustic comfort. Insight has covered the subject before, but the fact remains that too often we design for our eyes far more than our ears. What we also know to be true is that we are becoming more acutely aware of the issue as our workplaces change both in terms of the space each of us is allocated and our exposure to others in the name of collaboration. In this TED talk Julian Treasure of The Sound Agency considers how we might design our surrounding in ways to improve our acoustic comfort.

Renewed drive for equality in UK architecture

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RIBA (The Royal Institute of British Architects) has restated its commitment to tackling inequality in architecture and the broader construction industry with the creation of a new diversity role. Jane Duncan, RIBA Vice President Practice and Profession has been appointed  RIBA Equality and Diversity Champion to lead a programme of renewed activity to investigate the current causes of inequality in the architecture profession and explore best practice with other occupations. Her appointment is aimed at giving senior support to the work already delivered through Architects for Change, the RIBA’s Equality and Diversity Forum. More →

Final approval given to scheme for London’s ‘Scalpel’ tower

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ScalpelThe Greater London Authority (GLA) has published its Stage 2 Report into the building nicknamed ‘The Scalpel’ – but more properly described as the 38-storey headquarters for US insurance business W. R. Berkley Corporation. The Report approves the scheme for the building in Lime Street which was granted planning consent 3 weeks ago and will incorporate over 500,000 sq ft of commercial space. The Tower, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox will create 7,700 sq ft of new public space at street level, over 1,000 sq ft of retail space and a new 10,000 sq ft restaurant below-ground. The development is funded by W. R. Berkley, who will occupy around a quarter of the intended office space.

Crowdfunding could open doors for architects and their clients

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Crowdfunding, the practice of investing in projects through the use of a crowd-supported web based fundraising campaign, could be of equal benefit to architects as it is to new business ventures and web-based innovations. According to a white paper by the American Institute of Architects, “Crowdfunding Architecture,” this increasingly popular tool is being used to leverage dedicated internet fundraising websites to provide investment and communications tools to encourage financing for a broad array of projects.

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‘Affinity for nature’ design competition launched

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Science suggests that all of us may be hard-wired to love the natural world, and now a global competition named Reconnect Your Space is calling for architectural, interior or urban landscape design entries that put this affinity for nature, or “biophilia”, at the forefront. The competition, launched by carpet tile manufacturer Interface, invites architects, designers and students of these disciplines to submit their visions for how biophilia can influence the design of a new or existing space, either inside within built environments or outside in cities. More →

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