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

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

City hall

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

graves

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

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

RIBA

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

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

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

Reconnect Your Space

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 →

BBC unveils plans for development of Television Centre site

BBC_Television_CentreFollowing last year’s sale of its iconic Grade II listed West London Television Centre to developer Stanhope, the BBC has announced details of the future direction of the 14 acre site. The announcement comes as the BBC continues its programme of relocating staff and functions to Media City in Salford and the new Broadcasting House in Central London. Work will start in 2015 on a mixed use development which will include residual office and studio space for the BBC, offices, hotels, leisure facilities, some 1,000 new homes, parks and a hotel. However the listed buildings on the site, originally opened in 1960, will be retained. More →

Gulf construction and fit-out continues to boom, claims report

Abu DhabiThe total value of building projects in Gulf Cooperation Council states will exceed $80 billion this year according to a new report from dmg::events* in conjunction with consultancy Ventures Middle East. The survey concludes that this year will see a near one fifth increase in the overall value of projects up from nearly $69 billion in 2012 to $81.6 billion in 2013. Meanwhile the interlinked market for interior contracting and fit-out in 2012 was valued by the report at $7.86bn – a 56 per centincrease on 2011. The UAE continues as the the region with the largest interiors spend ($2.83bn), followed by Saudi Arabia ($2.6bn) and Qatar ($1.49bn). More →

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

ChonggingThe 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.

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Better Buildings challenge for sustainable innovation

BPP

A competition to find green solutions that help to improve the performance of commercial buildings has been launched by the Institute for Sustainability, in partnership with the Climate Knowledge and Innovation Community (Climate-KIC) and the Better Buildings Partnership (BBP) – a collaboration of leading London commercial property owners and investors. Because energy efficiency improvement works have focused primarily on mechanical and electrical control upgrades and plant replacement, the competition focuses on innovations which could help improve the environmental performance of the building envelope. More →

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