Friday, March 30, 2007

Manifesto for learning environments





The latest contribution to the debate about school design has been launched by the British Council for School Environments (BCSE) and the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA). Their well-illustrated report, 'Manifesto for learning environments', warns that the current massive investment in school buildings risks new schools being unfit for changes in learning and teaching unless seven key architectural and interior design issues are addressed.
Access: Free

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

English cities report and database



The Communities and Local Government Department has made available the findings of the most comprehensive study ever taken of England’s towns and cities. It focuses on 56 places under the five main themes of demographics, social cohesion, economic competitiveness & performance, liveability, governance & the impact of policy. The website includes a database which enables the user to generate charts and indicators of urban performance for individual towns and cities, and make comparisons between them.
Link: www.communities.gov.uk/index.asp?id=1127498
Access: Free

Monday, March 26, 2007

Design Snapshot







The Scottish Executive has produced an easy-to-read guide which aims to reinforce the importance of urban design and emphasise its role within the planning and development process. It is intended as a starting point that builds on existing guidance and highlights good practice. It provides answers to six key questions about design, and signposts further sources of information.
Link: www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2007/03/19161455/0
Access: Free

City Climate Challenge


A report just launched by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in Scotland (RICS Scotland) highlights the potential scale of the climate change problems facing three major Scottish cities. It focuses on the key challenges for Edinburgh’s transport network, Glasgow’s energy supply, and energy demand in Inverness to provide a dramatic insight into how these cities could look in the future. It suggests that based on current energy usage, 1344 wind turbines will be needed to supply energy to Glasgow alone. A copy of the full report and an executive summary can be downloaded from the RICS Scotland website.
Link: http://tinyurl.com/2fbbn6
Access: Free

Friday, March 23, 2007

Scotland's heritage policy launched



'Scotland’s Historic Environment' is one of a series of policy papers setting out the government’s commitment to preserving the country’s most important monuments, buildings and landscapes. It provides policy direction for executive agency Historic Scotland, and emphasises that ‘the historic environment is an asset to be valued, not a barrier to development’.
Link: www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/index/policyandguidance/sheps/shep1.htm
Access: Free

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Mayor of London's Architecture and Urbanism Unit




The London Mayor’s Architecture and Urbanism Unit is headed by Lord Rogers and supports the delivery of world-class architecture and sustainable and inclusive design across London's built environment. The Unit’s website has some interesting good information about the capital’s public realm, and provides access to the full text of a variety of publications featuring case studies. Of particular interest are the ones on ‘Housing for a compact city’; the ‘100 public spaces programme’; and ‘Living roofs’.
Access: Free

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Designing places





The Scottish Executive has issued a ‘Designing Places’, a planning policy statement that demonstrates how design can contribute to the quality of life in urban and rural Scotland. It identifies six qualities that make a successful place: distinctive, safe and pleasant, easy to get to and move around, welcoming, adaptable, and resource-efficient. It calls for a stronger design element in built environment professional education, and more interdisciplinary collaboration in the urban design process.
Link: www.scotland.gov.uk/library3/planning/dpps-00.asp
Access: Free

Monday, March 19, 2007

Glasgow's tourism strategy






Glasgow City Council has produced a new tourism strategy for the city, which is now out for public consultation. Its contents should be of interest for anyone involved in shaping the built form of Glasgow, as it touches on the contribution of the public realm and looks at the potential of the Clyde Waterfront and Merchant City areas. It aims to deliver a 60%-80% growth in tourism revenue during the next ten years, and - seriously - there’s also a promise to ‘encourage an alfresco culture’. Brrr!
Link: www.seeglasgow.com/glasgow-the-brand/tourismstrategy/downloads---public-consultation-document
Access: Free

Schools for the Future








The Department for Education and Skills has published detailed case studies of 12 recent primary and secondary school building projects in England which have focused on sustainable design. In addition to plans, images and technical information about each school, it highlights emerging themes that were consistently identified, and includes an outline of the main tools that support sustainable design, many of which have been applied to the case study schools.
Access: Free

Friday, March 16, 2007

Risky Buildings





Produced by the Twentieth Century Society to mark their 25th anniversary, this website lists the 25 twentieth century buildings most at risk from decay, insensitive reuse and demolition in the UK. For each building, it provides excellent descriptions and images, plus a report on current status, a good bibliography, and contacts for further information. Just one Scottish building is featured: the inevitable Cardross Seminary.
Link: www.riskybuildings.org.uk
Access: Free

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Who built what in Manchester





This exhaustive website provides an alphabetical listing of the architects and designers who have shaped Manchester. Selected buildings are illustrated and provided with additional text, and there is an indication of their listed status if applicable. Although Manchester has been well documented in printed architectural guidebooks, this website is particularly useful for its coverage of the city’s building boom during the past few years.
Link: www.manchester2002-uk.com/buildings/who-built.html
Access: Free

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

White Paper on heritage protection




The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has relesased a White Paper setting out its vision of a ‘unified and simpler’ heritage protection system for England and Wales. It provides more opportunities for public involvement and community engagement, and proposes the devolution of the power to list buildings from the DCMS to English Heritage. The full text can be downloaded from the DCMS website.
Access: Free

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Best Laid Schemes



The Best Laid Schemes website provides online access to full films from the Scottish Screen archive, spanning six decades of Scottish cinema. Several of the films focus on Glasgow, and the website features a gallery of clips organised into the themes of the Bruce Plan’s post-World War 2 modernisation proposals for the city. The films can be optimised for either broadband or dialup connection, and there is some excellent content behind the website’s slightly confusing layout.
Access: Free

Monday, March 12, 2007

Cities Around the World





The Cities Around the World website presents over 6,100 photographic images from the slide collections of the American Geographic Society Library. Drawing on photographs taken between 1942 and 1994 and covering 450 cities, there is a particular focus on architecture, city life, people, transportation and other aspects of urban development, such as neighborhoods, commercial streets, and business districts. The collection is easily searchable or browseable by city or country.
Link: www.uwm.edu/Libraries/digilib/cities
Access: Free

Friday, March 09, 2007

New Books in GSA Library

This blog now provides real-time updates of new architecture books in the GSA Library. New books will appear in the sidebar of this blog, making it easy for students and staff to keep up-to-date with new material in their subject areas. A dedicated RSS feed is also available; simply subscribe to this in order to receive automoatic updates as new books are added.

Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution report




The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution has just published its 26th report, entitled ‘The urban environment’, which calls for an over-arching urban environment policy to coordinate the provision of housing, transport, energy and other vital services. It argues that the technology to improve urban environmental performance exists, such as much tighter building regulations, or water-metering, but the scale of effort to exploit such technologies falls well below what is required. It sets out what can be done to create urban areas which have less negative impact on the environment and enable people to live healthier lives. Both the full report and a summary can be downloaded from the Commission’s website.
Access: Free

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Coastal towns




The House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee has just published its report ‘Coastal towns’. The report highlights problems of poor housing, physical isolation, rising sea levels and social deprivation which are besetting many of England’s smaller seaside towns, and which developers and architects like Urban Splash and Bauman Lyons are trying to tackle. The report can be downloaded as a pdf from the Committee’s website.
Access: Free

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Dictionary of Scottish Architects 1840-1940




The Dictionary of Scottish Architects (DSA) is a tremendous resource in the form of an online database providing biographical information and job lists for all architects known to have worked in Scotland during the period 1840-1940. DSA is searchable by name or location of architect, practice, or building, as well as by client, and covers more than 37,000 built works. It fully succeeds in its aim to ‘eliminate the drudgery of blind searches and provide a quick key to further research.’
Link: www.codexgeo.co.uk/dsa/index.php
Access: Free

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Sustainable housing design guide for Scotland




Originally published by the Stationery Office for Communities Scotland in 2000, this comprehensive and user-friendly guide to the incorporation of sustainability principles into maintaining, rehabilitating and developing housing is now freely available online. The content can now be interrogated in a more interactive way, and its 13 case studies can also be downloaded as pdf files.
Link: www.archive2.official-documents.co.uk/document/deps/cs/shdg/index.html
Access: Free

Monday, March 05, 2007

New architecture books in the Library







Traffic design / editor Paolo Tumminelli.
NorCalMod : icons of northern California modernist architecture / by Pierluigi Serraino.
Scotland's buildings / edited by Geoffrey Stell, John Shaw and Susan Storrier
The freedom of the architect / Rafael Moneo
Freewheeling homes / David Pearson
Concrete : design, construction, examples / Martin Peck
Hideaways : cabins, huts, and treehouse escapes / Sonya Faure

Art Nouveau network




The Art Nouveau network is a cooperative venture between the partner cities of Ă…lesund, Barcelona, Brussels, Bad Nauheim, Glasgow, Havana, Helsinki, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Ljubljana, Lodz, Nancy, the Varese and Lombardy regions of Italy, Reus, Riga, Tbilisi, Terrassa, and Vienna. The Network’s earnest but very useful website is packed with both general information about Art Nouveau, and its varied application in the partner cities. It includes a directory of related research, details of forthcoming exhibitions and events, links, and publications.
Access: Free