Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Architectural Association Library bibliographies






My colleagues at the Architectural Association (AA) Library in London have been producing a large number of detailed bibliographies to accompany the major exhibitions, lectures and events that take place at the AA. From Hitoshi Abe to Peter Zumthor, the bibliographies bring together books, journal articles and websites on some of today’s most famous architects. Each bibliography is clearly laid out and downloadable as a pdf, making it an excellent starting point for further research.
Access: Free

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

UK Green Building Council




Today sees the launch of the UK Green Building Council, part of the growing International Green Building Movement which acknowledges the need to address the massive contribution made to greenhouse emissions as a result of building construction and operation. The Council's mission is to ‘dramatically improve the sustainability of the built environment by radically transforming the way it is planned, designed, constructed, maintained and operated’, although some critics within the green building industry have expressed concerns that big businesses may attempt to buy their way into the Council to gain influence. It is possible to register online for news updates and see whether these fears become reality...
Link: www.ukgbc.org
Access: Free

Recycled construction products


WRAP, the non-profit organisation funded by the Government to help implement its waste minimisation strategies, has produced a new publication aimed at the construction sector. It provides details of a range of commonly-used products and materials, and explains how to increase recycled content through product substitution. This might, for example, mean the use of concrete blocks with 50% rather than 0% recycled content. It stresses the business and environmental benefits of using recycled and reused content on projects.
Link: www.wrap.org.uk/downloads/Const_Prod_template_vs6_FINAL.b922745e.pdf
Access: Free

Monday, February 26, 2007

Small country, big plans


The Scottish Executive is seeking feedback on its second National Planning Framework (NPF2). NPF2 will set out a spatial strategy for the period to 2030, and identify relevant developments of national importance. Its key themes are economy, sustainability, communities and connectivity.
Link: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/165490/0045058.pdf
Access: Free

Friday, February 23, 2007

Scottish Ironwork Foundation


The Scottish Ironwork Foundation’s new website seeks to raise the profile, collate information and encourage the study of architectural and ornamental ironwork made or found in Scotland. It provides access to a wealth of text and images including historical profiles of leading manufacturers, a database of iron structures either located in Scotland, or manufactured by Scottish companies, technical guides relating to architectural ironwork, and special features on particular topics.

Access: Free

CABE guide to good public space design


The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment has launched guidance to help community groups improve the design of their local public spaces. 'It's our space' includes a series of case studies intended to inspire high design standards, and is supplemented by 'Spacesaver', a toolkit aimed at anyone wanting to evaluate the quality of a public space before they invest time and money improving it.
Link: http://www.cabe.org.uk/default.aspx?contentitemid=1718
Access: Free

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Chicago architects oral history project




For the past 20 years, the Art Institute of Chicago has been recording the life experiences of architects who shaped the city and beyond, in an initiative that spans the 20th century. The resulting collection of oral histories goes beyond the facts to explore motivations and influences, behind-the-scenes stories, and personal reflections from some of the great names of American architecture. Included in the collection are Skidmore, Owings & Merrill partners and associates, students and colleagues of Mies van der Rohe, members of the Chicago Seven, principals of second- and third-generation architectural and engineering firms, and architects who 'defy classification'. The interviews are available in the form of written transcripts which can be downloaded as pdf files; hopefully the Art Institute may one day be able to make them available as audio files so that the architects can be heard in their own words.
Access: Free

CABE's housing audit




The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment has published a less-than-flattering analysis of the design quality of new private homes in England from the volume housebuilders. It highlights family housing with no play areas, windows looking out onto blank walls, poorly lit areas, confusing sites with no focal point, and broad expanses of tarmac. The report looks at what needs to happen within the industry and local authorities to improve the situation and put design quality at the heart of new developments.
Link: www.cabe.org.uk/default.aspx?contentitemid=1727
Access: Free

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Statement on Scotland's architecture policy




The Scottish Executive has published a statement updating Scotland’s 2001 policy on architecture, following a recent consultation exercise. It responds to emerging themes of leadership and delivery; cultural context; education, skills and advocacy; sustainability, accessibility and inclusive design; and the role of the built heritage. Case studies of good practice in architecture and urban design are included.
Link: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2007/02/19145552/0
Access: Free

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

JISC uploads 130 years of census reports




Every British census report between 1801 and 1937 has been made available free online for the first time as part of a project to digitise historically important information. The resource has been launched by AHDS History, and provides a mass of demographic insights, including age breakdown, occupations, birthplaces and conjugal situation of Britons, as well as foreigners living in the country. The database is fully searchable by date or geography, and users can zoom in on the scanned original documents.
Access: Free

Europan 9 UK




CABE, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, has announced the launch of this year's Europan housing competition, which is open to young architects and urban designers from across Europe. Its theme is sustainable cities and new public spaces, and there are three varied development sites: Stoke-on-Trent, Sheffield and Milton Keynes. The Europan website gives details of the sites, the jury and how to enter the competition.
Access: Free

Google Earth 4




Six months after its introduction as a beta product, Google Earth 4 is now out. It features a new interface, together with multimedia content created by online communities and from established sources such as Discovery Networks and National Geographic. It now also includes the highest-quality textured 3D models of buildings from the 3D Warehouse as a layer, making the architecture more realistic than before.
Access: Free

Images for All




The Royal Scottish Geographical Society has launched its 'Images for All' website which aims to improve access to its superb collections of maps, images, and travellers' archives. Of particular interest is the image gallery of highlights from the collections, including maps and charts, views of Scottish landforms, the construction of the Forth Bridge, and early engravings of Scotland.
Access: Free

Public attitudes to design




The Scottish Executive has published the results of a survey examining the awareness of, and attitudes to design; its perceived value and importance; and specifically design in Scotland. Architecture, fashion and interiors were the areas most commonly mentioned by respondents, and there was a particular awareness of designers in the fields of fashion, product design and furniture. The full text of the survey is freely available online.
Access: Free

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Six Cities Design Festival













The Six Cities Design Festival is a £3m initiative to highlight the value of design and creativity in Scotland's six culturally-distinct cities. The principal focus is a nationwide international design festival from 17 May-3 June 2007. The Six Cities website provides further information, downloads, news, and the facility to subscribe for updates.
Access: Free

London: a life in maps




To complement its exhibition on London as seen through its maps, which runs until 24 March 2007, the British Library has produced an online gallery. Organised under seven themes, it ranges from Roman London to the contemporary city, with maps, videos of well-known Londoners talking about the city, downloads and podcasts.
Access: Free

Monday, February 12, 2007

Gritty Brits: new London architecture




The Carnegie Museum of Art's Heinz Architectural Center is staging an exhibition until 3 June examining the work of six young, London-based architectural firms: Adjaye Associates, Caruso St John, FAT, Niall McLaughlin, muf, and Sergison Bates. An online video is available, focusing particularly on the firms' projects in and around East London.
Access: Free

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Revisiting the World's Fairs and International Expositions : a selected bibliography, 1992-2004




This updated, electronic version of Bridget Burkes 1994 bibliography "World's Fairs and International Expositions: Selected References 1987-1993" has additional secondary materials compiled in the interim period, in addition to recently discovered pre-1992 resources. Citations have been gathered from a wide range of sources.
Access: Free