Friday, December 18, 2009

London Housing Design Guide

London Mayor Boris Johnson's draft London Housing Design Guide, published in July, is continuing to cause controversy in architectural and property circles. The Guide simplifies the range of existing housing design guidance, and seeks to set a new benchmark for the design and quality of new housing in the capital by specifying minimum standards for a number of key design areas. It may see much wider adoption in the event of a Conservative victory at the next election.
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Empty Homes Agency

Christmas is a good time to highlight the work of the Empty Homes Agency, an independent campaigning charity which exists to raise awareness of empty property in England and promote sustainable solutions to bring it back into use. The Agency's website includes lots of links to useful information on the subject of empty homes, together with regional statistics and advice on regenerating such properties.
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

St Mary Axe then and now

The British Library has a blog relating to its photographic collections featuring images of London from the 1870s compared to present-day photographs taken from the same spot. The latest such pair of images to be posted up show the street corner at St Mary Axe and Bevis Marks, and are a particularly astonishing contrast.
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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Forth Road Bridge

BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live programme on 12 December featured a gentle but enjoyable interview with Barry Colford, Chief Engineer and Bridgemaster of the Forth Road Bridge about his work, the ‘lively’ bridge itself, and the relationship between art and engineering.
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Friday, December 11, 2009

A Glasgow Walk

'Building Design' magazine journalist Owen Hatherley has posted a long and well illustrated entry about a recent walk around Glasgow in his blog for 6 December 2009. As always, it's an entertaining and provocative read, although personally I'd have liked to see more coverage of my second favourite Glasgow architect, James Miller (1860-1947) whose contribution to the cityscape has always been rather neglected.
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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Open air library from beer crates

The eastern German town of Magdeburg has a new open air library designed by Karo Architekten in collaboration with local residents. It has two unusual features: books can be freely accessed 24 hours a day and can be exchanged rather than borrowed; and structurally, the original assemblage of 1000 beer crates has been replaced by recycled custom cast blocks.
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Monday, December 07, 2009

Beyond 3D mapping

New Scientist magazine recently (28 Nov) featured an article about the Ordnance Survey's work to demonstrate how highly accurate, large-scale 3D maps could change the way that urban environments are designed, managed and related to. To demonstrate the technology, the coastal resort of Bournemouth has been mapped using the Lidar laser technique, and New Scientist's website has a short video which outlines the enormous potential for both professionals and armchair explorers. It's also worth remembering that GSA library has a subscription to the hard copy of New Scientist.
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Friday, December 04, 2009

Turning dunes into architecture

The TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) blog features an intriguing video presentation from architecture student Magnus Larrson detailing his bold and imaginative plan to halt Saharan desertification by using bacteria to solidify the sand, and to then create habitable spaces within the resulting dunes.
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Thursday, December 03, 2009

London's great outdoors

The London Mayor's office has issued a manifesto, 'London's Great Outdoors', which sets out a vision and objectives for the capital's public spaces. The document is supported by two practical programmes, 'Better Streets' and 'Better Green and Water Spaces' that explain how the vision will be delivered. The documents include case studies and are all available online.
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