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Fiona Mckay

The 21st Annual AIA UK Excellence in Design Awards was held on Tuesday, 28th April, at the Magazine Restaurant in the Zaha Hadid designed Serpentine Sackler Gallery. During the champagne and cocktail reception prior to the awards ceremony, over 120 distinguished guests joined the chapter in recognizing the terrific efforts and astonishing talent on display throughout the restaurant. 

This year’s jury was headed by Fred Manson, Associate Director of Heatherwick Studio, and included a versatile mix of members including Brett Steele, Director of AA School of Architecture and Owen Pritchard, Technical Editor of Architects’ Journal. Mr Manson, along with members of the jury including Alison Brooks, Founding Director of Alison Brooks Architects, conferred certificates and accolades upon well-known architects, emerging architects and students alike.

This year, for the first time ever, AIA UK Design Awards opened a category for young architects, with design directors under 40 years-of-age, to encourage and reward work by a new generation of architects. The jury awarded this prize to The Lee Centre by Feilden Fowles for its outstanding use of materials and interior spaces. Edmund Fowles and Fergus Feilden enthusiastically accepted the certificate and honour bestowed from the jury.

“The enjoyable task of judging the AIA UK Awards demonstrated the range of excellent work from the familiar to the unknown in Britain today. The jury judged the digital entries which favoured projects with clear, strong forms. Since the selection was made on the basis of images, perhaps the award should be given equally to the photographers.” 

– Fred Manson, head juror

Young Architect Award

Photography: © Henrietta Williams

Photography: © Henrietta Williams

Feilden Fowles Architects – The Lee Centre, Ralph Allen School, Bath, UK (completed 2013)

In parallel with the Professional and Young Architect awards, the chapter also recognizes future talent through the Noel Hill Student Travel Award. With the generous support of Laufen, this program awarded two students from the Mackintosh School of Architecture at The Glasgow School of Art with £1000 to support their trip to Cambodia to assist with the design and construction of a new community centre in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. Ryan McGaffney and Jennifer Taggart will spend July and August with the humanitarian design organisation Orkidstudio in Cambodia, after completing a series of design workshops to finalize their design. These two students will construct the centre using local materials with assistance from the organisation, as together they educate and empower the local men and women with the tools to build, maintain and potentially construct additional structures as the community’s needs continue to grow.  

Noel Hill Travel Award

Ryan McGaffney and Jennifer Taggart

The Mackintosh School of Architecture at The Glasgow School of Art

Previous design by the students using temporary materials, designed and built in two weeks. The jury selected two outstanding designs for Commendation from the impressive bevy of professional submissions received this year, including projects from some of the top firms in the country. 

Professional Commendation

Seth Stein Architects – Equestrian Centre, Victoria, Australia (completed 2014)

Professional Commendation

Duggan Morris Architects – Alfriston Swimming Pool, Buckinghamshire, UK (completed 2014)

Photography: © Jack Hobhouse

Photography: © Jack Hobhouse

In addition to the Commendations, the jury selected one standout project that best exemplified excellence in design from this year’s entries. David Chipperfield Architects’ Office building Moganshan Road combines effortless details and profound elegance with simple yet highly comfortable office space amongst the rapidity of development in China. This project shows a refinement of design well worthy of the highest accolade.

Professional Winner

David Chipperfield Architects – Office building Moganshan Road, Hangzhou, China (completed 2013)

Photography: © Simon Menges

Photography: © Simon Menges

“We are happy and honoured to receive the AIA UK Excellence in Design Award for our project in Hangzhou. We would like to thank our client ‘Hangzhou Fanes Baoyuan Real Estate’ for the great collaboration and support in realizing a building with generous office spaces and in high quality materials.”

– David Chipperfield Architects

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Fiona Mckay

The first two lectures in the Façade Series were on terracotta (Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Nov 2013) and wood (Schindler Facades, Apr 2014). The latest two lectures - continuing the emphasis on different materials - have been on tensile membrane and glass structures.

All four lectures in the series have been generously hosted by our Sponsor Herman Miller at its Aldwych showrooms

The AIA UK Chapter would like to promote more technical lectures following on from the Façade series.  We would be interested in hearing your ideas on possible subjects.  

Tensile Fabric Architecture – 01 Dec 2014

The December Façade Series lecture stretched the concept of “façade” by including tensile fabric being used for what might more accurately be described as a building “roof” – a roof in the case of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery that has been literally stretched to become the primary building envelope.

The lecture came in two parts, with senior representatives of both Zaha Hadid Architects and Architen Landrell Associates - the specialist tensile structure designer and fabricator – discussing how their technical and creative collaboration brought about this unique building.

Jason Smith, Architen Landrell’s American Engineer and Business Development Manager, led off with an explanation of the elemental shapes of tensile structures and how these shapes could be transformed into architecture.   He then demonstrated various different building fabrics, emphasizing their benefits and practicalities.  The general introduction was followed by a detailed analysis of the fabrication and installation process of the Sackler Gallery itself.

Torsten Broeder, Zaha Hadid Architect’s Lead Architect, talked about the original design concepts of the Gallery – including different layouts and challenges - and his own experience working on this project.

As a follow up on the lecture, the Serpentine Sacklery Gallery hosted this year’s AIA Design Awards Gala on Tuesday, 28th April.

Glass as a Building Material – 10 Mar 2015

The latest lecture in the Façade Series - presented by Ralf Scheurer, Architect and International Sales Engineer for Sedak GmbH & Co (part of the Seele Group of Companies, Gersthofen, Germany) - was subtitled “New Developments in Processing. “ After a general overview of the historic development and capabilities of building glass, Ralf concentrated on how Sedak’s commitment to advancing glass technology has been pushing these capabilities to their limits.

Along the way, we learned about the critical glass technical issues and what the different processes – annealing, heat strengthening, tempering, etc.  - were able to achieve in terms of design issues such as bending, printing, coating, cutting, drilling, layering and dimensioning.

Laminated and insulated glass were also explained, as well as the all-important methods of testing, quality control and transportation to the sites.

Through Sedak’s extensive, international project portfolio, Ralf was able to illustrate how the different glass processes have led to innovative design applications – from full glass structures, stairs, balustrades and roofs to more unusual art installations, movie screens and undersea viewing galleries.  Many of the projects used to illustrate the design potential of glass can be found in London, including four of the examples below.

In particular, Sedak’s glass tempering furnace and can now process the highest quality glass in sizes up to 3.2m x 15m.  The effects of the larger sizes on visual impact were graphically shown with a comparison of the acclaimed 2006 Apple Glass Cube with an even more transparent 2011 version.

Author: Lorraine King

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