During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increased focus on renewable technologies and the part they will play in the country’s road to economic recovery as the UK ‘builds back greener’.
The latest RIBA CPD theme focuses on the ‘bubble’ that surrounds us as we live, play and work indoors. It suggests that as the physical boundary between the conditioned and unconditioned environment of a building, the building envelope must keep its users safe while also addressing the practicalities of day-to-day living. Many of the manufacturers and service providers which these CPDs feature are industry leaders in providing that protection. It reminds us that many of their popular seminars are still available online. Below are a selection of other pre-spring observations.
The Grenfell Tower tragedy exposed fundamental and deep-rooted issues over competency, highlighting major skills and knowledge gaps amongst those responsible for the design, construction, maintenance and day-to-day operation of buildings. In this article, Jonathan O’Neill OBE, Managing Director of the Fire Protection Association (FPA), explores whether the issue of competency has become clearer since Grenfell, and argues that a greater degree of focus must be placed on fire safety competence and accountability for those responsible for building design.
Designed by Mecanoo, The National Kaohsiung Centre for the Arts symbolises the transformation of Kaohsiung, Taiwan. What was once a major international harbour is now a modern, diverse city with a rich cultural climate. The design is located on a former military site, as an integral part of the adjacent subtropical park and has a positive social impact on the residents of Kaohsiung, whose population counts almost three million.
Baca Architects has released visuals of a floating island, the design of which was inspired by the water lilies that abound in the surrounding lake. The island will comprise units of holiday apartments and forms part of Baca’s master plan for Ashwicken Lake, a proposed new eco-resort in Norfolk, UK, which has recently been submitted for planning.
Sally Lewis describes the start of her career as an exploration of what architectural education could offer. She was a practicing Architect in South Africa by the mid-‘90s, but turned to urban design thanks to a scholarship to study in the UK. By the turn of the millennium, she had completed an MA in urban design and was in the UK for good, building up her career with roles at the likes of Llewellyn Davies, John McAslan + Partners, CABE and HTA. Here, we find out about Sally’s time in South Africa, discover the designs she’s worked on here in the UK and learn more about the opening of her firm, Stitch Architects.
The UK construction industry is continuing to weather the impact of the coronavirus pandemic but is still facing ongoing challenges when it comes to design detail and the specification process. All too often, information is missing from drawings, leaving decisions to those on the ground, who may invariably take the opportunity to reduce costs by substituting products. This can lead to a loss of design intent and quality. However, it doesn’t have to be this way.
London has a wealth of heritage architecture and listed buildings that chart its success as a city and map its fortunes as a centre of commerce and banking. Preserving those buildings is important, but transforming them into assets that can continue to be useful and relevant to 21st-century businesses and working practices is equally vital.
The Biotope building, located in the middle of the important European business district of Euralille, in the French city of Lille, is an iconic 30,000m² seven-storey architectural complex that transforms conventional office accommodation into a self-sustaining ecological community.