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Journal

Beale & Company: The fire at The Address, Dubai

Fiona Mckay

Addressing burning issues: Renewed fire safety concerns in the UAE following a major fire at The Address hotel on 31 December 2015.

The dramatic fire at The Address hotel in Dubai on New Year’s Eve has renewed concerns for fire safety in the UAE and high-rise developments in general. 

Beale & Company consider what it means for those working in the UAE. Please click here for the full article.

FILM NIGHT: THE SOCIALIST, THE ARCHITECT & THE TWISTED TOWER - Chris Musangi

Fiona Mckay

The Autumn movie series came to a close with the screening of ‘The Socialist, The Architect & The Twisted Tower.’ This is a dramatic, behind-the-scene-story about the building of Santiago Calatrava's 'Turning Torso' in Malmö, a 190 metre high, twisted residential building which was appointed "World’s best residential building project" at Mipim in Cannes, 2005. Filmmaker Fredrik Gertten documents the construction of the visionary Turning Torso public housing structure. In 1999 Johnny Örbäck saw celebrated architect Santiago Calatrava's "Twisting Torso" sculpture and immediately knew what he wanted for the construction of a proposed residential building. Determined to construct a skyscraper based on the same concept, Örbäck contacted Calatrava and convinced him to design the building. This documentary highlights the difficulty in seeing such an ambitious project through to completion. The attendees loved the movie, and we had our longest post-movie discussion to date! Many thanks to all who attended.

The film nights will commence next year on Wednesday 10 February, 1900hrs at the BFI. Please refer to the AIA website early next year for the film we shall be screening. As always we welcome film suggestions you may have, and we look forward to seeing you at our next screening!

AIA UK STUDENT CHARRETTE 2015 - Frederick Grier and Robert Rhodes

Fiona Mckay

On Saturday November 7th, 2015, AIA UK held its 21st annual Student Charrette – a juried, one-day design competition for UK students of architecture.

Kent School of Architecture students with mentor Francis Hur AIA

Kent School of Architecture students with mentor Francis Hur AIA

Taking place at the Zaha Hadid designed Roca London Galley, the Charrette gave students the opportunity to design collaboratively whilst being mentored by an experienced practising AIA UK architect.  The one-day event is intended to encourage students to work as a team and to represent their school or university. The competition, which is also open to individual students, took place in conjunction with the Roca London Gallery exhibition, Childhood Re-Collections: Memory in Design, featuring exhibits from Daniel Libeskind, Kengo Kuma, Zaha Hadid and others.

University of East London students with mentor Pierre Baillargeon AIA

University of East London students with mentor Pierre Baillargeon AIA

“The AIA Student Charrette is an opportunity for architecture students from across the UK to work together in a fun, creative and competitive environment,” comments Robert Rhodes AIA, organiser of the Charrette, past 

 AIA UK President and current Zone 1 Director of the AIA International Region. “The Charrette is a cad-free event.  Students are required to produce only drawn, modelled or collaged presentations.  Students must rely on essential drawing and modelling skills to communicate their ideas and produce something substantial in a very limited time.  The event enables the tradition of the “charrette” as a friendly, productive competition to continue and gives participants something real to take away at the end of it.” 

University of East London students presenting to the jury

University of East London students presenting to the jury

The annual competition is open to all second and third year students enrolled in any UK school of architecture. More than 50 students participated from universities from London, Liverpool, Sheffield and  around the UK. The theme this year was dubbed, “Interrupted Connections” and was focused on civic art, public space, way-finding and identity.  Groups were given the exercise of making sense of the neighborhood surrounding the Roca London Gallery, called the Chelsea Design Quarter.

The jury (R to L) Patrick Lynch, Nicholas Gilliland, Karin Templin

The jury (R to L) Patrick Lynch, Nicholas Gilliland, Karin Templin

The wining team, mentored by AIA UK Director Bea Sennewald AIA, hailed from The University of the Creative Arts in Canterbury, Kent – with one student joining from University of Kingston (London). The competition was juried by an esteemed panel, chaired by architect and educator Patrick Lynch PhD RIBA (Lynch Architects, London).  Other jurors were Karin Templin, Design Fellow at University of Cambridge Faculty of Architecture and AIA CE member, Nicholas Gilliland AIA of Tolila + Gilliland Atelier d’Architecture (Paris).   

Winning Team University of the Creative Arts + Kingston presenting to jury

Winning Team University of the Creative Arts + Kingston presenting to jury

This year’s competition was made possible thanks to long-time AIA UK and AIA CE sponsor Laufen, and the generosity of the Roca London Gallery. 

Winners – University of the Creative Arts students, at the pub after the Charrette

Winners – University of the Creative Arts students, at the pub after the Charrette

AIA UK CHAPTER ARCHITECT WINS AIA CONTINENTAL EUROPE’S “ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN AWARD”

Fiona Mckay

On 3rd Oct 2015 at the Continental Europe (“CE”) Vienna Conference, Continental Europe’s Design Award for Environmental Design was received by Kevin Flanagan, AIA, for PLP Architecture’s Amsterdam project, the Edge.   Kevin is a partner at PLP Architecture and long-time AIA UK Chapter Director and past President in 2007. 

Edge – developed by OVG Real Estate as the headquarters for Deloitte – was designed in collaboration with Ron Bakker, the PLP founding partner, and PLP key designers Natalia Kafassis and, Nicki Faratouri, along with Arianne Barendregt from OeverZaaijer Architectuur NL.   

The building has been described as the world’s most wired, connected and collaborative working environment given its potential to integrate with emerging technology.  The media company, Bloomberg, has gone so far as to rate the Edge as “officially the greenest office building in the world” having been certified with a BREEAM NL “Outstanding” score of 98.4%. Click here to see the full video.

In addition to its carbon neutral credentials and progressive implementation of environmental technologies, CE’s jury described the Edge as “forward looking inside and out,” and praised its “very dramatic and comfortable interiors”.  The Edge is a shining example of UK based, US led design.

The AIA Continental Europe Chapter inaugurated its “Honors & Awards Program” in 2015 in line with its 20th anniversary.  Its aim was to recognise CE’s positon as part of the “global village on one hand, and promoting site specific projects on the other.”  The Awards Committee – led by Chair Yael S Kinsky, FAIA, and including Sandra Zettersten, AIA; Alireza Razavi, AIA; Rada Doytcheva, AIA; Sergio Accatino, Int’l Assoc AIA; and Marie Jeanne van Engelen, Prof Affiliate AIA – deserve particular recognition for setting up the Awards after years of inactivity on the subject.  In particular, the range of winning projects – from Montana to Azerbaijan – fulfils the Committee’s global village ambitions.

Unlike the UK Chapter’s Design Awards, which are based simply on Design Excellence alone, Continental Europe’s Awards were submitted in specific categories.

The winner of the Architectural Design Award was Tabanlioglu Architects for the Loft Gardens in Istanbul, designed by Melkan Gursel and Murat Tabanlioglu Ihsan, Int’l Assoc AIA.  The jury described the project as a “wonderful development of the loft concept into a different building form with … patios, creating a very successful new urban form”.  

Istanbul_02.jpg

There were three Honorary Mentions in the Architectural Design category:

  • Cigler Marani Architects - Marani Vincent, AIA for the Villa Dolni Brezany in the Czech Republic.  
  • Bitner Architects - Thomas Bitnar, FAIA, for the complete renovation of a 1904 mansion and contemporary addition in Montana, USA.
  • Pickard Chilton Architects – Jon Pickard, FAIA; Willian Chilton, FAIA, RIBA; Anthony Markese, AIA, RIBA, for Eaton House in Ireland.

An Honorary Mention was also awarded in the Unbuilt category to Tabanlioglu Architects for their Astana Train Station planned for Azarbijan.

ŞANALarc with the designers Murat Sanal, AIA, Alexis Sanal, AIA, was the winner of both the Urban Design Award for its Şişhane Park project in Beyoglu, Istanbul and the Interior Design Award for its SALT Research Centre, Istanbul.

Whereas the AIA UK Chapter Design Awards are open to all architects anywhere in the world for projects in the UK and to all UK-located architects for projects anywhere in the world, Continental Europe’s Awards are for AIA members only but they are for projects built anywhere in the world.  However, all AIA members outside of Continental Europe are eligible for projects built in Continental Europe’s jurisdiction.  For the record, CE’s jurisdiction includes the following countries (not all of which are in Europe), but excludes the UK:

Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldavia, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and Ukraine.

AIA UK Members should check their eligibility and be on the lookout for next year’s Continental Chapter Honor & Awards Programme.  

AIA UK 2015 KEYNOTE LECTURE - AMRITA RAJA

Fiona Mckay

On November 3rd, the AIA UK Chapter in conjunction with RIBA re-launched the Annual AIA/RIBA Keynote Lecture. Since its inauguration, the AIA/RIBA Keynote Lecture series has brought renowned architects, including William Pedersen, Antoine Predock, Peter Eisenman, and Ricardo Legorreta, to the UK.

This year’s event, organized by Lester Korzilius, AIA, RIBA, and Amrita Raja, Assoc. AIA, took place at Jarvis Auditorium at the RIBA Headquarters, and featured a talk by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien. Their eponymous firm, TWBTA, is known for site-sensitive and well-crafted buildings, encompassing a wide range of types and geographies, from a single family residence in Long Island, NY, to a technology campus in Mumbai, India. Their work has received numerous awards and international recognition, most recently earning the RIBA International Fellowship (2014) and the AIA Architecture Firm Award (2013) - and even achieved infamy, when MoMA’s 2014 demolition of their much-loved American Folk Art Museum, less than 20 years after its completion, had the architectural community up in arms.

After introductions by Brianne Hamilton, AIA UK Chapter President, and Stephen Hodder, RIBA Past-President, to whom the AIA presented a Certificate of Appreciation for his support of our chapter, the architectural duo took the stage, leading the the audience on an introspective journey, from private residential interiors to significant cultural work.  Beginning with an investigation of their own New York apartment, Williams/Tsien expressed their growing interest in interiority and the effect of light on spatial perception.  In their early work, they discovered an affinity for the handmade, and for inverting relationships between the building and its natural context through the use of light and captured landscapes.  

During the second half of the lecture, Williams/Tsien presented their projects within this framework of light and interiority.  Of the many works shown, two stand as exemplary of their architectural ethos, the Cranbrook Natatorium and the Barnes Foundation.  Both projects generate their own interior landscape, kept hidden from the exterior, a surprise for guests to discover.  The Natatorium, engulfed by conifers, contains a jewel of a space, where above the pool, lightwells with operable roofs open up to bring the outdoors in, from rain to the scent of the adjacent forest.  Likewise, the Barnes’ stone exterior reveals nothing of the light-filled volumes within.  There, strict constraints required them to reproduce the collection’s existing sequence of rooms.  In inverting the concept of ‘gallery in a garden’ found in the collections original context, to ‘garden in a gallery’, Williams/Tsien inserted two voids within gaps in the visitor narrative. Each houses a meeting space connected to the landscape via a lightwell, creating a new interior context for the collection.

The duo’s camaraderie was evident on stage, as they took turns elaborating on the work and making a few choice ‘revisions’ to the other’s interpretation of events - generating a few laughs along the way.  The lecture concluded with a few questions from the audience, and the conversation continued in the adjacent room over glasses of wine. The evening was an inspirational insight into the work of two formidable architects.  Many thanks to Tod Williams and Billie Tsien for coming to London to share their exceptional work, and to the team at RIBA without whose hard work this event would not have been possible.   

EXHIBITION TOUR: THE WORLD OF CHARLES AND RAY EAMES - FREDERICK GRIER

Fiona Mckay

Image: Tristan Fewings - Getty Images

Image: Tristan Fewings - Getty Images

Over 40 people turned out for the AIA UK’s private tour of The World of Charles and Ray Eames at the Barbican Art Gallery. Curator Charlotte Dew provided two groups with a more in depth history and examination of the exhibit, taking us through the early days of Eames’ collaboration through their trials and successes and imminent stardom. Fortunately our group had sufficient time to enjoy such an extensive exhibit, spread over two floors and many rooms.

The exhibit explores the lives of these two visionary American designers, with over 380 original works – hand sketches, graphic designs, early bent plywood projects and proto-types, multi-media communication concepts and of course chairs! Working in the post-war era of modernism, the exhibit examines the importance of their work and the timeless quality of their designs. With a wealth of materials from their private archives, viral-quality videos from Herman Miller, and even a newly constructed model of their infamous house in California, the exhibit presents a well-rounded profile of these two internationally celebrated designers.

The AIA UK Chapter will be planning more of these private tours, following this success. However, if you could not make it to see The World of Charles and Ray Eames with us this time, you should book your tickets before the exhibit closes in February. 

Image: Tristan Fewings - Getty Images

Image: Tristan Fewings - Getty Images

Image: Tristan Fewings - Getty Images

Image: Tristan Fewings - Getty Images

Image: Tristan Fewings - Getty Images

Image: Tristan Fewings - Getty Images

Image: Frederick Grier

Image: Frederick Grier