Tuesday, March 31, 2009

GSA launches international estate redevelopment competition

Glasgow School of Art has launched the competition to select an architect-led team to design the first phase of its estate redevelopment opposite the famous Mackintosh Building, and to develop the School’s wider campus masterplan. You can read all about this exciting initiative and view images on the competition’s dedicated website.
Access: Free

Monday, March 30, 2009

Faces of the recession

The flagship BBC radio current affairs programme 'Today' has been following three people as 'faces of the recession' as they search for employment. One, Lucy Bennett, is a young architect, and in this morning's programme it was a real pleasure to hear her talking about her recent success in finding work at a small practice working on public sector projects. However, her experiences were still sobering listening for all architects and for those of us who are involved in their education. You can hear Lucy's interview on the Today website.
Link: http://tinyurl.com/cezekg
Access: Free

Friday, March 27, 2009

Julia Morgan online exhibition

Californian Arts and Crafts architect Julia Morgan (1872-1957) was a pioneer in opening the field of architecture to women in the US. Her trailblazing career is showcased in an illustrated online exhibition from California Polytechnic State University charting her life and legacy, and focusing on her key buildings along the state’s Central Coast.
Link: http://tinyurl.com/cb7fna
Access: Free

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Building excellence in the arts

Despite the recession, interest in the creation of arts buildings shows few signs of waning, and it continues to be a popular topic for architecture students. CABE has just released an excellent step-by-step guide to the procurement process for arts clients which sets out the key principles behind good design. It is illustrated with case studies of existing arts buildings and is accompanied by a useful bibliography.
Link: http://www.cabe.org.uk/publications/building-excellence-in-the-arts
Access: Free

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Corb's patents

I didn’t think it was possible to say much new about Le Corbusier, but the indefatigable Steve van Dulken, patents specialist at the British library has identified eight French patents that Corb applied for between 1919 and 1960. Steve has listed these on his blog and provided links to the original documents, which can be viewed as pdfs.
Link: http://tinyurl.com/dzrojh
Access: Free

Monday, March 23, 2009

Google Street View

Google Street View, which has been available since May 2007, is a feature of Google Maps and Google Earth that provides 360° horizontal and 290° vertical panoramic street level views, and allows users to view parts of some regions of the world, including individual buildings, at ground level. Last week, the service was extended to include selected cities in the UK and the Netherlands. Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Groningen, Manchester, London, Birmingham, Newcastle, Coventry and Liverpool all now feature, together with, rather intriguingly, the much-maligned Lincolnshire town of Scunthorpe.
Link: http://maps.google.co.uk/
Access: Free

Friday, March 20, 2009


SketchNorth is a Scottish-based online community dedicated to architecture in Northern Europe, from conception to construction. It encourages debate about buildings old and new, and documents ideas, plans, wastelanding and more. It currently includes a contribution, with stunning images, about Gillespie Kidd and Coia’s ruined St Peter’s Seminary in Cardross.
Link: http://www.sketchnorth.com/
Access: Free, but register to take part in discussions

Thursday, March 19, 2009

More Mackintosh School of Architecture exam papers

Students at the Mackintosh can now access the 2008 exam papers, including resits, via the Glasgow School of Art VLE. As with the papers for previous years, these can be found as a link within the Mackintosh School of Architecture’s general information pages.
Link: http://vle.gsa.ac.uk/
Access: Restricted to students at the Mackintosh School of Architecture

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Holl's on a roll

Bustler, the architectural competitions, events and news website notes that Steven Holl Architects have been selected to design the master plan of the ‘Shenzhen 4 Tower in 1’ The competition was for an office tower complex in China around the new Shenzhen Stock Exchange Headquarters located in the city’s Futian commercial business district. The website includes reproductions of some of the models and renderings for the scheme.
Link: http://tinyurl.com/cy23cu
Access: Free

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

'Green' bricks?

Steve Van Dulken, patent specialist at the British Library, has highlighted an intriguing invention by Missouri-based former civil engineer Henry Liu (pictured here). Liu's technique uses fly ash, a prolific waste by-product of coal burning at power stations, which is mixed with water and pressurised to create bricks which can be used for building. You can read more about it on the ideas21 website.
Link: http://www.ideas21.co.uk/articles/20090311
Access: Free

Monday, March 16, 2009

Historical map overlays at the NLS

The National Library of Scotland (NLS), who have already done so much to make their historical map collections freely available online, have just released a new website which allows their Scottish large-scale Ordnance Survey town plans dating from 1847 to 1895 to be viewed in a new way. The plans have been geo-referenced to provide a seamless layer on top of Google and Virtual Earth satellite and maps, enabling the past and present to be directly compared through a simple interface.
Link: http://geo.nls.uk/maps/
Access: Free

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sustainable Cities

CABE has launched a major new initiative aimed at those responsible for planning, designing and managing towns and cities. Backed up with its own website, ‘Sustainable Cities’ offers clear priorities for action towards low carbon towns and cities. It highlights key themes such as water, transport and energy across a range of spatial scales including neighbourhood, city and region. As always with CABE initiatives, useful case studies indicate which places are currently getting it right.
Access: Free

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Paris on the Prairie

The March 9th 2009 issue of the New Yorker contains a very readable essay, which is available online, by its architecture critic Paul Goldberger to mark the centenary of Daniel H Burnham’s Plan of Chicago. The Plan provided the city with a reclaimed lakefront for the public and laid the foundations for what was to become the Loop and the wider Chicago Metropolitan area.
Link: http://tinyurl.com/cxgt9w
Access: Free

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Farewell Parametro magazine

I’ve just found out that the long-running Italian architectural and urban design magazine,Parametro, has ceased publication. Our holdings of this journal here at GSA date back to the early 1970s, and I think it was published for several years before that. Parametro’s cessation follows that of the even more illustrious ‘Architecture d’Aujourd’hui’ which folded at the end of 2007. To architectural librarians like myself, the disappearance of these famous titles is a bit like the passing of old friends, but it's also worth reinforcing the fact that the internet still doesn't even begin to match the richness and quality of the printed architectural magazine literature.
Access: Back issues held in GSA Library

Friday, March 06, 2009

Structured apaces

The National Gallery’s ‘Structured Spaces’ website brings together paintings within its collections that have particular architectural relevance. The site is divided into sections: World of Interiors; Building in Symbolism; Ruins and Regeneration; The Idealised City; A Brave New World; and London Landmarks. Each section has detailed descriptions of the paintings and explains how architecture plays an inportant part in their composition.
Access: Free

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Collective Architecture

I’ve had a rash of enquiries from students recently about architectural lighting, particularly in the context of Glasgow. There is some innovative work being done by local firm Collective Architecture, known for their environmentally and socially sustainable transformation of communities. Their website has useful information about individual projects, including those related to lighting. Incidentally, one of the projects, to use weather forecasts to generate patterns of light in the stairwells of one of Glasgow's tower blocks, is covered in more detail in the Spring 2009 issue of Prospect magazine.
Access: Free

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The green resource guide

There are plenty of guides available on the web about sustainable architecture and design, but I liked this one which has been produced by the National Building Museum in Washington DC, to accompany a travelling exhibition on green housing. The well-illustrated guide is a straightforward introduction to the subject, setting out five principles of sustainability, 18 ways to ‘go green’, and giving details of 58 innovative green building products.
Link: http://tinyurl.com/bmkn5h
Access: Free

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Palladio and Britain

The RIBA has put together a free educational resource on Andrea Palladio and his contribution to architecture. It showcases some of the British Architectural Library’s related outstanding collections and complements the exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. It provides background information on Palladio and his legacy; on his drawings; and on Palladian Britain, and includes a downloadable bibliography and gazetteer.
Link: http://tinyurl.com/aba8vm
Access: Free

Monday, March 02, 2009

Building Futures

Building Futures, based at the RIBA in London, is a think tank which seeks to promote public and political debate on the future of the built environment and its socio-economic and environmental impact over a 20-year horizon. The Building Futures website includes a downloadable library of outputs covering a range of architectural topics and building types, and it is possible to download podcasts and audio files of some of the public debates, and to respond online.
Link: http://www.buildingfutures.org.uk
Access: Free