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Blog

The 24th Annual AIA UK Student Charette

Fiona Mckay

Participants in a mixed team assembled from Kingston/Portsmouth/Westminster working on their design.

Participants in a mixed team assembled from Kingston/Portsmouth/Westminster working on their design.

An Auction House for the 21st Century

Once a year, visitors to Roca's London Gallery are treated to an unsual sight.The clean lines and flowing geometries of the Zaha Hadid-designed showroom are abruptly broken by unruly piles of paper, cutting mats, and assorted model-making materials. Scattered on all available surfaces, pens roll along the smooth curves of the injection-moulded countertops and shelving. At the centre of each pile of materials is a small group of students, huddled together, lying down, or draped across all manner of high-end sanitaryware.

Visitors could be forgiven for thinking they had stumbled across a futuristic performance artwork, but the occasion was, in fact, the 24th annual AIA UK charette. A frantic and fun event, this year's charrette was once again generously sponsored by Roca and Laufen, who not only provided the gallery space but also enough carbohydrates and coffee for the 42 hungry students attending, and, equally importantly, the winners prizes.

This year's edition of the charette saw six teams drawn from Westminster, UCA, Portsmouth, Kingston, Ravensbourne, and Kent universities, competing for the coveted winners goody bags. The students spent the day drawing, modelling, cutting and pasting to prepare their designs in response to this year's brief: the design of a 21st century auction house.

The third place UCA team presenting their 'Pods of Curiosities' proposal (mentored by Kevin Flanagan)

The third place UCA team presenting their 'Pods of Curiosities' proposal (mentored by Kevin Flanagan)

The brief asked students to respond to the impending relocation of Lots Road Auctions, and to imagine what an auction house of the future might look like; who it would serve, what it might sell. The day began with a walking tour of the site which included Chelsea Waterfront and Lots Road, and an early morning visit to Lots Road Auctions, where staff were on hand to explain to students the workings of a succesful commercial auction house, and the programmatic and organistional requirements they might consider during the design phase of the competition.

Back in the Roca London Gallery, the real work began as teams spread out throughout the showroom and transformed every available surface into a pop-up studio. The one-day format of the charrette meant that students had approximately six hours to prepare their proposals, before spending five minutes presenting to the jury, and receiving a further five minutes of feedback.

The second place Westminster team presenting their proposal for a floating/submerged auction house in the river (mentored by Elizabeth Daily)

The second place Westminster team presenting their proposal for a floating/submerged auction house in the river (mentored by Elizabeth Daily)

This year's jury was drawn from academia and practice, and included Patrick Lynch, founder of Lynch Architects, Steven Gage, Lecturer at the University of Reading School of Architecture, where he teaches design studio and history and theory, and Carsten Hanssen, founder of Atelier 27 in Paris, and 2018 President of Continental Europe Chapter.

The presentations and discussions were lively, and students presented a diverse series of proposals, with a distinct bent towards the dystopian. Parasitical auction houses clinging to the tops of buildings, narratives of water scarcity, and proposals for an auction house submerged in the Thames jostled for attention alongside a number of more subtle perspectives that examined interior re-configurations and organisational strategies of existing auction house precedents.

After an extended deliberation by the jury, the team from Westminster (mentored by Jörg Matthaei and Katharine Storr) emerged as winners, taking home the glory and the goody bags that were generously provided by our sponsors. The team's considered proposal for an auction house specialising in paintings impressed for the poetic quality of the display system they designed, and for the clarity and coherence of the perspective drawings, photographs and models presented in support of their concept. Second place was also awarded to a Westminster team, while the team from UCA was awarded third place.  

The winning team from the University of Westminster, with mentors Jörg Matthaei and Katharine Storr, and jury, Stephen Gage, Carsten Hanssen and Patrick Lynch, and David Bromell and Ilker Hussein from sponsors Roca and Laufen.

The winning team from the University of Westminster, with mentors Jörg Matthaei and Katharine Storr, and jury, Stephen Gage, Carsten Hanssen and Patrick Lynch, and David Bromell and Ilker Hussein from sponsors Roca and Laufen.

Thank you to the jury for their engagement and insightful comments, to the mentors: Alex McMillan, Amrita Raja, Daniel Smith, Elizabeth Daily, Francis Hur, Jörg Matthaei Katharine Storr and Kevin Flanagan. Thank you also to David, Emma, Indra and the team at Roca London, and Ilker Hussain at Laufen for their sponsorship and hard work throughout the day, and of course, a huge thank you to all the students for their energy and enthusiasm, we hope you all had a great time and will encourage your classmates to join us again next year!

Written by: Nicholas Kehagias, AIA RIBA

Image Credits: Barima Owusu Nyantekyi (www.barima.co)

 

Please click here to see more photos of the event.









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Movie Night - Urbanised

Fiona Mckay

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We started our Autumn segment of the 2018 movie series by screening ‘Urbanised,’ the second movie of The Design Trilogy by Gary Hustwit. This documentary picked up from our last screening of ‘Helvetica’ by the same director, in Winter 2018 segment.

'Urbanised' discusses the design of cities, looking at the issues and strategies behind urban design, and features some of the world's foremost architects, planners, policymakers, builders, and thinkers. Over half the world’s population now lives in an urban area, and 75% will call a city home by 2050. But while some cities are experiencing explosive growth, others are shrinking. The challenges of balancing housing, mobility, public space, civic engagement, economic development, and environmental policy are fast becoming universal concerns. Yet much of the dialogue on these issues is disconnected from the public domain.

Like ‘Hevetica’, this movie generated a lot of interest & debate, and we shall screen the third movie ‘Objectified’ to complete the Design Trilogy, in Winter 2019.

Written by: Chris Musangi, AIA

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Sky Central Seminar

Fiona Mckay

Sky Central by PLP Architecture has received numerous awards and recognition and we wanted to include it in this year’s building tours. However, since the campus is located in Osterley, PLP suggested hosting a seminar of the building in their London Aldgate office. It was a brilliant idea as the building has so many varied and interesting attributes.

Located at the heart of Sky’s 13 hectare headquarters in Osterley, the three-storey building has a 37,700-square-metre plan arranged around a triple-height atrium. It houses over 3,500 employees, bringing Sky's corporate and creative sections together into a single community, whose identity reflects the fast-paced and ever-evolving nature of broadcasting and telecommunications. It has been designed to promote flexibility, openness, and ease of access, encouraging the flow of both people and ideas.

Wayne McKiernan, a partner at PLP Architecture, led the discussion. He was involved in all aspects of the project and provided wonderful insight on the process of its creation. The group was presented with a wealth of design from environmental controls, sustainability and facade construction.

The roof construction was one aspect of construction that stood out. The structure was designed with a panelized timber-cassette system over glulam beams. It has become the largest timber construction in the UK and saved up to two-thousand tonnes of CO2 compared to other construction types. Skylights were also introduced to the ceiling plane. The scale of the project is so vast. Many techniques were employed to promote individuality and visual interest. Walking through the spaces is encouraged by providing large stairs and ramps. The elevators are carefully tucked away among the six central cores used to service the building.

The work spaces provided for the 3500 employees are the latest in hot-desking technologies. Departments can be mixed or assembled very quickly.  In addition to the large office areas, the building houses six individual restaurants, a 200-seat theatre, a 200 person event space and a news centre studio.

Sky Central has received many recognition in office design. Most notably, it was voted best workplace in the UK in 2017 by the British Council for Offices. It is easy to see how it will be a model for work space design. Everyone attending the seminar was very impressed.

Written by: Lutz Barndt and Innocenzo Langerano


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Call for Nominations for 2019 AIA UK Board of Directors

Fiona Mckay

Call for Nominations for 2019 AIA UK Board of Directors

If you are interested in getting involved with the AIA UK Chapter, please consider nominating yourself for a position on the 2019 board of directors.

You are welcome to make nominations for the board of directors and the four officer positions. The officer positions are ideally held by a US licensed architects, but we will accept foreign licensed architects for nominations as well.

The only requirement for a board of director’s positions is enthusiasm and a willingness to help with events and other chapter activities throughout the year.

If you would like to nominate yourself or find out more about the board, please contact Michael Lischer, FAIA at membership@aiauk.org

Nominations are due by the 26th of October.

Duties:

The requirements for the AIA UK board membership are fairly relaxed. The AIA UK is run by volunteers and all of our events are organized by volunteers. Board members generally help with events and/or get involved in some aspect of chapter management. Positions include newsletter editor, continuing education coordinator, emerging professionals coordination, and events organization.

We have a very active chapter and there are usually a couple of events each month that need to be organized. We have four signature events each year that we organize. These are the Design Awards, Summer Gala, Student Design Charrette, and Keynote Speaker. New board members would not be expected to run events on their own, but help out with various chapter activities.

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AIA Continental Europe Conference - Culture Along the Danube: Budapest

Fiona Mckay

AIA Continental Europe – Culture Along the Danube: Budapest, Conference Welcome Pack

AIA Continental Europe – Culture Along the Danube: Budapest, Conference Welcome Pack

The AIA Continental Europe Conference in Budapest was an intense immersion into the culture and history of this amazing city. The conference was curated by Nora Demeter, AIA, with an amazing team of collaborators, and created a weekend full of delight.

The opening reception on Thursday evening was held at the Hungarian Association of Architects, where we were warmly welcomed. We were given a welcome pack in a bespoke tote made from recycled scaffolding scrim, designed in collaboration with local artisans. The reception was followed by a guided tour through the Ruin Pub District located in the Jewish Quarter. Having fallen into disrepair after World War II, the Quarter is now home to many bars and restaurants and has a vibrant and buzzing atmosphere. The immediate in-depth tour of this unusual area was a great way to start the conference.

Ruin Pub District

Ruin Pub District

The opening day of the conference was held at MUPA Budapest: Palace for the Arts. The building was designed by Zoboki, Demeter and Partners.  It is “a home for classical, contemporary, popular and world music, not to mention jazz and opera, as well as contemporary circus, dance, literature and film.”  We learned about the history of Hungary and its key 20th Century Buildings and were given a tour of the building. Conference participants then had a choice either to tour a winery or to return later to MUPA in the evening for a classical music concert or a circus!

Mupa Budapest - Zoboky-Demeter and Associates Architects

Mupa Budapest - Zoboky-Demeter and Associates Architects

Mupa Budapest - Foyer

Mupa Budapest - Foyer

Mupa Budapest - Building Tour with architect Gabor Zoboki

Mupa Budapest - Building Tour with architect Gabor Zoboki

Saturday, we started the day at CEU-Central European University designed by O’Donnell + Tuomey Architects (ODT).  We heard talks on two cultural buildings that will be located in the city park, both parts of a National project called Liget Budapest; the Ethnographic Museum Project by Napur Architects and the National Gallery Project by Priztker-prize winning architects SANAA.   

Central European University – O’Donnell + Tuomey – Front Elevation

Central European University – O’Donnell + Tuomey – Front Elevation

CEU – Entrance / Reception

CEU – Entrance / Reception

CEU –Communicating Stair

CEU –Communicating Stair

We then heard from Mark Grehan of ODT and the local Project Architect from Teampannon on the creation and construction of Phase 1 of the CEU, followed by a group tour of the building. After lunch we were treated to a tour of the city that highlighted several art nouveau building treasures. The Gala dinner on Saturday night was held at the National Gallery in the Castle District with an exhibition of Frida Kahlo for guests to enjoy. Surrounded by art, each course of the meal was inspired by a different piece of art.

Hungarian Parliament Building

Hungarian Parliament Building

Market Building Budapest

Market Building Budapest

The final day was hosted at the Budapest Music Centre.  Daniel Taraczky from Art1st Design Studio, lead designer and architect of the Centre, presented its history, concept and design. A lively round table discussion, “Future of Architecture, Culture....” was followed by a building tour before our final lunch together at the conference close.

BEDO HAZ – Art Nouveau Building, Budapest

BEDO HAZ – Art Nouveau Building, Budapest

BEDO HAZ –Entrance Door

BEDO HAZ –Entrance Door

Postal Saving Bank -Odon Lechner

Postal Saving Bank -Odon Lechner

Dunapark – Art Deco Apartment Building, Budapest

Dunapark – Art Deco Apartment Building, Budapest

A short video of the conference created by photographer Cordelia Alegra Pradilla can be viewed here.

The next AIA Continental Europe Conference will be in Copenhagen 11-14 April.  Event details can be found here.

Written by: Etain Fitzpatrick, AIA

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70 Wilson Office Building Tour

Fiona Mckay

70Wilson.jpg

70 Wilson office is an award-winning building implementing cutting edge technologies in sustainability design. The existing 1980s office building (Summit House) and an adjacent Grade II listed building (No. 46 Worship Street) have been refurbished and extended in collaboration with Low Carbon Workplace (a property development vehicle comprising Columbia Threadneedle Investments, Stanhope and The Carbon Trust) to create a highly efficient, future-proof office space with BREEAM Excellent rating based on low carbon standards.

70 Wilson entails a comprehensive refurbishment of the existing property: re-cladding of the façade, re-modelling the existing entrance level and reception, and an overall increase in the floor area through rationalising the floor layouts and adding a two-storey steel-framed roof extension to enhance the building’s efficiency and to increase the value.

Nick Gazanis, Associate at AStudio, who has been directly involved in the design of the building, was the guide of our tour. He shared insights on the decisions behind the adopted technical and design solutions.

From the exterior, the new envelope is designed to respond to the site’s orientation and the adjacent building massing, both in maximising environmental performance and expression of scale. The patinated copper cladding makes the building a distinctive contemporary warehouse whilst blending with the surrounding red brick buildings. The result is a building that performs as well as an equivalent new building. The new rooftop extension which accommodate the additional 5th and 6th floor, is set back from the existing building line to reduce its visual impact on the conservation area in close proximity and the existing townscape.

Both passive and active measures make the building distinctive in sustainability and operability. Passive measures make the most of the building’s features and fabric, including thermal mass, natural lighting and ventilation, insulation, façade, glazing and solar shading. Active measures minimise emissions from mechanical and electrical systems and gather data to enable ongoing performance management. Internally, services are exposed and “smart” with sensors and controls, that allow heat recovery, energy-efficient HVAC and lighting.

Written by: Lutz Barndt and Innocenzo Langerano




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