London planning to hide Walkie Talkie with…more tall buildings?

London planning to hide Walkie Talkie with…more tall buildings? 0

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walkie-talkie-tower-bridgeIt was Frank Lloyd Wright who said ‘a doctor can bury his mistakes but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines’. His words will be ringing in the ears of London planners who have decided they need to do something about the blight of Rafael Viñoly’s reviled Walkie Talkie building at 20 Fenchurch Street, according to an article in the Architect’s Journal. The building was last year’s Carbuncle Cup winner and has been held responsible for creating wind tunnels in the streets at its base and even frying people, shops and cars around it with reflected solar rays. Remarkably, the solution offered by planners appears to be to  surround it with other tall buildings to hide it (while also creating new office space). Gwyn Richards, head of design for London, told the AJ: ‘One issue that has been brought to our attention is whether it would be preferable to have the Walkie Talkie effectively moved into the cluster so that it is less assertive. We are hearing from stakeholders saying that it would benefit the cluster to bring it into a tightly knitted group.’

Momentum grows to make BIM standard for global construction industry

Momentum grows to make BIM standard for global construction industry 0

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BIM Level 2According to a new survey from research firm Timetric’s Construction Intelligence Center (CIC), momentum is growing towards the universal implementation of Building Information Modelling across the construction industry worldwide, with the highest percentage of respondents claiming that it will be the future of the industry. In related news, the UK BIM Alliance will be launched in October and will take over from the UK BIM Task Group as the emphasis is now on making Building Information Modelling the standard approach to construction. The industry alliance has been set up to respond to the UK Government’s challenges in meeting Level 2 requirements. The group will be branded the UK BIM Alliance, and is planned to be officially launched this October. The challenge now faced is to transform from industry mobilisation for Level 2 to make BIM, the standard approach to construction for the entire UK Construction Industry.

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Brexit; a round-up of latest thoughts from the property and workplace sectors

Brexit; a round-up of latest thoughts from the property and workplace sectors 0

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22 Bishopsgate threatened by BrexitWhatever your opinions on Brexit, there’s no doubt that it has created a range of frequently turbulent knock on effects in the workplace, commercial property, design and architecture sectors. We’ve shared some of the latest views on the next page to go with the initial reactions delivered by a still shell-shocked world that we published last Friday. One thing seems pretty clear is that for most firms, including those in the commercial property sector, there is no rush to judgement and most are prepared to continue business as usual while so much remains undecided. For the same reasons, the FT is reporting that some developers are putting projects on ice until they have more certainty and a report from researchers Green Street suggests that the eventual decision to leave the EU will result in a substantial fall in real estate values. Meanwhile, CIBSE is the latest organisation to calm fears about the impact of the UK leaving the EU.

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Best tall buildings in the world, regional awards winners announced

Best tall buildings in the world, regional awards winners announced 0

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the-white-walls_yiorgis-yerolymbos-courtesy-of-nice-day-developments5The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has announced the winners of its annual Tall Building Awards for 2016. The Awards are, judged by a panel of experts, primarily drawn from the property and architecture sectors. The CTBUH claims its awards provide ‘a more comprehensive and sophisticated view of these important structures, while advocating for improvements in every aspect of performance, including those that have the greatest positive impact on the individuals who use these buildings and the cities they inhabit.’ The best tall buildings have been announced for each of four regions: Americas, Asia & Australasia, Europe and Middle East & Africa. While the winners in the Middle East and US were both residential projects, the winners in Asia and Europe were both primarily office based or mixed use projects; the Shanghai Tower in Shanghai and The White Walls mixed-use building in Nicosia, Cyprus.

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Property and workplace experts have their say on the Brexit outcome

Property and workplace experts have their say on the Brexit outcome 0

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brexitWell, the results are in and the UK’s electorate has voted by a narrow margin for the country to leave the EU. There are likely to be other developments but whatever you make of the UK’s decision to vote to leave the EU – and I think it’s fair to say most independent people think it’s inexplicable – there’s no doubt that it will have a profound impact on the UK’s economy, relationship with the world, culture, working conditions and markets. What it will mean in practice won’t be apparent for months or years, of course, but that hasn’t stopped experts who work in the property, workplace, design, legal, HR and architecture sectors having their say on its potential implications. We’ll look at these specific issues in more detail going forward but for now, here’s a round-up of those we have so far, which we’ll keep updated throughout the day as the dust settles on what will prove to be a momentous decision for the UK, Europe and rest of the world.

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New standard for building wellbeing launched in US

New standard for building wellbeing launched in US 0

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wellbeingIf you’re still confused about the proliferation of green building standards worldwide, then brace yourself. A new standard that seeks to measure the wellbeing inducing characteristics of a building has been launched as a counterpart to the WELL Building Standard developed by the Green Building Certification Institute and the International WELL Building Institute. The new standard is called Fitwel, was designed by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the General Services Administration and is overseen by the Centre for Active Design. The standard uses a scorecard that ranks buildings on over 60 criteria such as indoor air quality, fitness facilities and lobby and stairwell design. According to its proponents these criteria apply well-established scientific principles to address seven characteristics of a healthy working environment. The standard is very much a product of the US public sector at this stage and was piloted in 89 federal buildings during 2015. Its full launch is scheduled for next year. Image: Gensler / Hedrich Blessing

New guide to Level 2 BIM compliance launched

New guide to Level 2 BIM compliance launched 0

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BIM Level 2Anybody who is still confused about Building Information Modelling (there’s a lot of us) and its obligations under new legislation will welcome new free guidance published by the excellent Designing Buildings Wiki created by BRE, CIOB, BSRIA, ICE and others. Since last month, Level 2 BIM has been mandatory on centrally-procured public projects, with far-reaching implications for those involved. Clients, consultants, contractors and suppliers are now required to understand the finer details of the Level 2 process. But the 2016 NBS BIM Survey found 42 percent of respondents were just aware of BIM and 28 percent were not very, or not at all confident in BIM. The new guide aims to take users step-by-step through the Level 2 workflows, from the basics of storing project information to preparing employer’s information requirements. It is open access, meaning anyone in the industry can edit and improve the guide to reflect their experiences of using BIM in practice. It is aligned to Level 2 standard PAS 1192-2 and the 2013 RIBA plan of work.

Problem of London’s success + Design & people + Latest Work&Place

Problem of London’s success + Design & people + Latest Work&Place 0

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Insight_twitter_logo_2In this week’s Newsletter; Simon Heath suggests that FM should be satisfied with remaining essentially a service; Mark Eltringham bemoans the rise of tall buildings; examines commercial buildings that become synonymous with an organisational or sector crash; and celebrates the work of Donald Broadbent, whose research into cognitive psychology helps us address the effects of unwelcome noise in open plan offices and of German artist Fritz Kahn, in providing some understanding of how people respond to their surroundings. There’s news of a significant drop in employee satisfaction; why remote working may help to reduce the strain on overcrowded cities; and the negative effects of admin and unreliable technology on productivity. You can read the latest issue of Work&Place, download our Insight Briefing, produced in partnership with Connection, on the boundless office; visit our new events page, follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.

Can building design presage the decline of the world’s tech giants?

Can building design presage the decline of the world’s tech giants?

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google10cropAt the movies, buildings are often used to denote hubris. The ambitions and egos of Charles Foster Kane and Scarface are embodied in the pleasure domes and gilded cages they erect to themselves and their achievements. Of course, the day they move in is the day things invariably go badly wrong. In the real world too, monstrous edifices have often presaged a crash. The UK’s most ambitious and much talked about office building at the turn of the Millennium was British Airways’ Waterside, completed in 1998, just a year after Margaret Thatcher famously objected to the firm’s new modern tailfin designs by draping them with a hankie and three years before BA had to drop its ‘World’s Favourite Airline’ strapline because by then it was Lufthansa. Nowadays BA isn’t even the UK’s favourite airline, but Waterside remains a symbol of its era, albeit one that continues to influence the way we perceive building design.

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The problems that come with London’s success need better solutions

The problems that come with London’s success need better solutions 0

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walkie-talkie-tower-bridgeWe might all welcome London’s success as a thriving centre of commerce and culture, but this comes at a price and we need to look for a better balance than we currently see between London and the rest of the UK. Of course London is often the main victim of its own success. Its thriving tech and creative firms continue to spill out of the incubator districts created for them to find cheaper and more appropriate spaces in which to grow. In doing so they are pushing up rents in such unlikely nearby places as Croydon. In the traditional business districts in the City and Docklands, the capital’s tech giants are now able to compete for the first time for some of the most expensive real estate on the planet. To cope with demand, the Mayor is rubberstamping tall buildings like never before, many of them bloody awful, unloved by Londoners and heritage organisations alike, transforming the skyline and creating windswept, arid tundra at their feet.

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London’s first timber skyscraper could be a step closer to reality

London’s first timber skyscraper could be a step closer to reality 0

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Timber towerLondoners may reportedly be growing concerned over the proliferation of tall buildings, but what if they were constructed in wood, rather than steel and concrete? This is the possibility raised by researchers from Cambridge University’s Department of Architecture, who are working with PLP Architecture and engineers Smith and Wallwork, on the development of tall timber buildings in central London. The use of timber is an area of emerging interest for its potential benefits; the most obvious being that it is a renewable resource. Researchers are also investigating other potential benefits, such as reduced costs and improved construction timescales, increased fire resistance, and significant reduction in the overall weight of buildings. Mayor of London Boris Johnson has now been presented with conceptual plans for an 80-storey, 300m high mixed use wooden building integrated within the Barbican.

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Londoners unsure about the city’s proliferation of tall buildings

Londoners unsure about the city’s proliferation of tall buildings 0

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walkie-talkie-tower-bridgeA new poll from Historic England claims that nearly half of Londoners (48 percent) think the now 430 tall buildings planned for the capital will have a negative impact on the skyline, compared to the 34 percent who think they will have a positive impact. The study also claims that more than half do not know how to make their voice heard. The figures were released as Loyd Grossman, Chairman of the Heritage Alliance, Sir Laurie Magnus, Chairman of Historic England and architect Sir Terry Farrell wrote an open letter calling for a clearer strategy on tall buildings for London. When asked which planning applications they would like to be consulted on, 60 percent believed people across the city should have a say if a tall building is proposed in a historically important place. But currently it is usually only those in surrounding areas who are consulted on proposals for buildings that may be so tall they affect views and settings for miles around.

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