Thursday, June 24, 2010

Le Beton Arme

...the French term for reinforced concrete, and the title of a monthly magazine published between 1898 and 1939 to showcase this form of construction, patented by French engineer Francois Hennebique. This journal, a key source for the history of technology, has now been mostly digitised and made freely available through a collaboration between Ghent University and partners in Paris and London.
Access: Free

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Resilient places

Architecture and Design Scotland has produced a useful report from a recent Academy of Urbanism event held in Edinburgh which explored 'the value of resilient places'. The event considered resilience in terms of local economics, transportation, and the morphology of Scottish placemaking. The short and very readable report is freely available online.
Access: Free

Monday, June 21, 2010

RIBA Library summer closure

Anyone thinking of undertaking their architectural research in London this summer should note that the British Architectural Library (RIBA) will be closed during August for essential maintenance work. However, Information Centre staff will be available throughout this period to deal with phone and written enquiries.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Scottish Civic Trust

The Scottish Civic Trust has commissioned five short online 'thought-pieces' outlining possible trends, patterns and scenarios that Scotland may experience over the next 40 years, and that will impact on the built environment. The themes covered are population and demographics, land management and food security, politics and governance, technology and virtual worlds, and energy and climate change. Readers are invited to become involved in the debate by contributing to the Trust's Facebook page.
Access: Free

Friday, June 11, 2010

Style Mile Phase 2

Glasgow City Council has announced plans to upgrade the pedestrian stretch of the city's Argyle Street, which will extend the Buchanan Street 'Style Mile' along a westerly axis. There will be improvements to lighting, streetscape, street furniture and buildings, together with a new outdoor cafe and market area. Although there are no details as yet, an interesting aspect of the project will be the creation of high-quality, dual-use 'pods' that function as trading operations during the day and close up to act as illuminated features at night.
Access: Free

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Simpler and better

Following on from CABE's research into housing and space standards (see my blog posting of 1.6.10), the Commission has published 'Simpler and better', which uses case studies of new housing developments to argue for the use of a minimum design standard, giving consumers a guarantee of homes and neighbourhoods that are consistently well-designed.
Access: Free

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

New Brutalism

The Culture24 website features another of its occasional contributions from Robert Elwall, assistant director at the RIBA Library Photographs Collection. Here, he discusses the evolution of Brutalist architecture in the 1950s and 1960s and how the period's leading architectural photographers responded to it.
Access: Free

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Auchindrain Highland township

A recent weekend trip to Argyll, in the West of Scotland, included a visit to the extraordinary former farming village of Auchindrain, six miles south of Inverary. Now a museum, the village and its original buildings provide a fascinating and unique insight into a once-common way of rural life. For anyone interested in vernacular architecture and construction, the site is particularly rewarding, with a range of building types including byres, barns, and cottages. The small visitor centre has a useful bookshop; look out for 'The Highland house transformed' which will be added to GSA library stock.
Access: Entry charge

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Gion Caminada

It's always a pleasure to see the first monograph to be published on an emerging architect. Gion Caminada is a Swiss architect and planner, and the beautiful new book that we've just added to Library stock focuses on his work in his home town of Vrin, in canton Graubunden, where his timber housing designs have been used to halt outward migration from the area. The book is entitled 'Cul zuffel e l'aura dado', which is Romantsch for 'Architecture with the winds'.
Access: In GSA Library, reference 720.92 CAM

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Less is future

The International Building Exhibition on Urban Redevelopment in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt is developing new future strategies for cities with declining populations. The Goethe Institut's website has further information about the strategies of a selection of the State's 19 cities, and there is an accompanying exhibition at the Bauhaus Building in Dessau, which runs until October 2010.
Access: Free

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Housing standards

The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) has commissioned five new research pieces about housing and space standards, to inform the debate on a possible framework for national design and quality standards. The five pieces cover: mapping existing housing standards; mapping space standards for the home; the benefits of minimum space standards; dwelling size surveys; and London case studies applying housing standards.
Access: Free