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New York Times Building

The New York Times building is located in Times Square, New York. The building was designed by the architectural firm of Renzo Piano. In 2000, the plans were accepted to construct the new headquarters of the New York newspaper.

The aim was to create a 52 storey modern building that was structurally sound, technologically advanced and positioned well in the New York skyline. The building sits tactically in the heart of the Times Square District and is easily accessible by close transport links and neighbouring areas.

The building is split into sections and consists of office space, retail facilities, an auditorium, gallery, restaurant and a ground floor garden. The building integrates well with the surrounding skyline and stands tall and proud like any other important New York building. From the outside the structure is simple and reflects the grid like patterns that run throughout the city. The exterior is transparent which represents the idea of the newspapers openness as you can see through the lobby area onto the open ground floor garden in the centre. The exterior framework seems to blend with the interior architecture as the double facade overlaps with the use of horizontal white rods and vertical glass panels and thin steel. The design and layout of these materials creates layers and allows for masses of natural light to flood the interior and continue the theme of transparency. The facade extends further beyond the top of the building and the rods become more spaced out to fade into the sky.

This design element allows the structure to enhance the skyline reflecting the ambient light as it changes colour throughout the day. The interior spaces are open and filled with natural light. The interior seems very connected to the busy world outside that’s visible from the inside. Through its design the interior seems very connected to the exterior in both terms of aesthetics and purpose. The use of the building is reflected in the quality and execution of the design as it’s cleverly connected to the outside and world of news. The large structure consisting mainly of glass and exposed steel columns replicate the values of the Times Company and are believed worthy to house a modern media company.

The building has strong design elements in light, views, context and relationship to the surrounding environment. The design provides people with a sense of the busy and modern city around them.

Alison Goldfrapp Exhibition

Musician Alison Goldfrapp curated her first art exhibition in 2013 at the Lowry in Salford, Manchester. It was part of a new series of exhibitions entitled ‘Performer As Curator’.

The aim of this new exhibition series was to bridge the gap between the performing and the visual arts. The exhibition showed works by painters, photographers, film makers and illustrators which were all personally selected by Goldfrapp. The collection of works were sourced from all over the world and offers people the opportunity to view works of art that inspired the singers creative vision. The selection of high end works by distinguished artists deal with themes of the darker side of myths, fantasy and fairy tales. The artworks express ideas about how these stories have changed and developed throughout time and how this connotation has been depicted in art. The exhibition also reflects the theatrical and artistic interests of the iconic singer. The relationship between the art works and there themes are explored visually for people to experience and interpret.

The works are a combination of traditional and modern styles which have captivated and inspired the musician. Interestingly, Goldfrapp had previously graduated from art school before her musical career took off. The two subjects overlapped as she wrote and performed music whilst studying art. Goldfrapp directs everything visual for the band including costume design which in itself is another form of artistic practice. It’s interesting to think about the connection between art and music as the two subjects are both influenced by culture and modern movements.

The power of new ideas and movements is what drives artistic practices today. As time goes on, art develops with it, constantly renewing and reinventing itself. It’s an ever changing process that always represents up to date topics and contributes to the history of art. 

Performance at Lowry

Situated in Salford Quays Manchester, The Lowry is a distinctive and dynamic building which is at the centre of the performing and visual arts. The building itself is a great architectural landmark. Its sculptural qualities and use of materials reflect the redevelopment of the surrounding area.

The Lowry offers diverse opportunities and events right across the arts entertainment and education board. This allows people to come together and experience new areas of creativity all under one roof. As the Lowry houses two main theatres plus space for performances this enables a wide variety of performing and visual arts to be presented. This increases the Lowry’s profile and attracts people to not just visit the venue, but to experience it. 

The Lowry hosts many types of concerts and theatre performances such as musicals, drama, jazz, comedy, opera and children’s shows. The types of performances are varied from comedy shows to dramatic personal story telling. The Lowry is a modern example of an artistic institution as it houses a lot more than traditional and contemporary art exhibitions. The extensive variety of visual and performing arts made available at this central location appeals to a wider audience. It’s an exciting venue where people can engage and socially interact and more importantly develop a sense of participation.

The brightly coloured interiors create a theatrical atmosphere and encourage people to explore and experience every part of the space. Live music and performances make the space come alive unlike that of just an art gallery. The fact that it’s live we engage more senses as we can hear and feel the sounds and see the movement of the performance in a stimulating environment.

There are many activities and classes for both adults and children to participate in giving everyone access to a whole range of creative practices. These opportunities run throughout the evenings as well as during the day which gives the building a constant buzz of activity. 

The building houses many facilities in an idyllic, contemporary and creative and setting. The Lowry achieves its objective which is to enrich, engage, entertain and embrace the community and beyond.

House Made Of Water – An Architectural First?

Southport architects and others around the UK are sure to be interested in a new type of house that’s just been designed and which features something the creator has dubbed liquid engineering, where water is trapped inside steel and glass panels to make up the structure of the building.

The brainchild of Hungarian architect Dr Matyas Gutai, the design is intended to help keep the house cool during the summer and warm throughout the winter, an eco-friendly move that Dr Gutai believes will reduce energy bills by up to 20 per cent, the Daily Mail reports.

Apparently, as the steel and glass panels are quite lightweight, they can be fitted together so that they are all connected and then, once in place, the panels are filled with a thin layer of water that makes its way across the walls, floor and roof. Because everything is connected, heat from one part of the house is distributed around the rest of the building.

“Instead of insulating the buildings, you have a structure that absorbs energy and reuses it for later. You can have a sustainable house without any insulation at all,” the inventor was quoted by the news source as saying.

Dr Gutai is the founder of Allwater, a group that strives to be innovative in the realms of design, structure and building, whether this be on a housing project, a pavilion or a public building. Allwater Panel technology is also being used for a rooftop extension on a building in Budapest to help provide the city with more rooftop terraces.

The Lowry Centre

The Lowry Centre was designed by architects James Stirling and Michael Wilford in 1997 and was completed in 2000. The building is situated on a large site at Pier 8 in Salford Keys, Manchester. The aim of the project was to raise the cultural profile of the city and bring more visitors and business.

The foundations consist of 803 concrete piles sunk down into the bedrock and the whole build is constructed from 48,000 tons of concrete, 2,466 tons of steel and 5,263 square metres of glass. Its exterior presence is made of up geometric shapes and a combination of materials which together signal a maritime theme. When viewed from across the canal the building looks like a ship blending into the skyline. Porthole windows are included in the exterior design. This is a prime example of innovative modern architecture. The design reflects the historical significance of the transport links between Liverpool and Manchester via the ship canal.

The Lowry building sits very comfortably in its surrounding environment. The sleek lines of the glass and steel as well as the metallic surfaces that layer round the building reflect the cool colours of the sky and water. The promenade that runs all around the building unites all these design elements as well as providing access to all parts of the building. The building is complex and exciting and serves the purpose of good urban design. Sculptural qualities are created from the fragmented architectural collage of materials, overall producing a fantastic piece of art. The ship like theme is continued through to the interiors with large dominating shapes of the walls and different levels to explore. As you enter, the purple and blues of the exterior transform into the warm red and orange tones of the interior walls. The spaces are defined by colour which contrasts to the steel and floor to ceiling glass panels. When the light changes the colours from the interiors radiates back out through the exterior giving off a subtle glow. The use of bright, defined colours flood the traditional theatre and gallery spaces which gives a modern edge on a traditional setting.

The Lowry hosts numerous facilities such as a theatre, studio, gallery, café and shop. The building is a hub for cultural and artistic practices. The Lowry has provided a place in a modern city where multi-functional events can occur and offer people new experiences. 

Casa Em Cascais House

Casa Em Cascais is a house designed in 2002 by Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto De Moura. He also designed the Cascais das Historias Paula Rego museum.

The house is a single rectangular shape that appears to partially float on one side. The bold white box dominants the landscape rather than molding to it. It’s independent to the rocky terrain below and appears to hover over the ground like it’s just been placed as a set of stairs connect the structure to the ground.  The floor to ceiling glass panels are set back and allow floods of natural light to fill the interior. The size and space of the house is deceiving from the exterior. A stone path leads up to the connecting stairs and entrance. Timber floors warm the interior as stainless steel frames the windows. The interior layout is made up of box rooms and consistent strict shapes. A dark marble floor paved in local Azulino de Cascais separates the communal spaces from the private areas which are wooden floored. Exposed concrete is used in side walls and on the floors which build up the combination and layers of materials all working together in one space. The floor to ceiling glass panels along the entire length of one side of the house looks out onto full views of the ocean.

The glass panels act as one giant canvas that frames a constant work of art. The house itself acts like a viewfinder. The rear facade is a sea of light yellow glazed tiles with only one small circular window to break it up. The pool reflects the clean lines of the house into the ground somehow connecting the house into the land without the house appearing to physically touch the ground. Steel columns support the cantilever and this transforms the house as it connects it to the land differently from the other end of the house.

The design of the house responds to the land in its own unapologetic way. The house is an example of a well considered and designed house suitable for modern living were even the aesthetics must accommodate to enhance the lives of the inhabitants. 

Farol Design Hotel

The Farol Design Hotel is situated on the edge of the coast near the small town of Cascais, Portugal. The hotel overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and sits next to the Santa Marta Lighthouse. The town of Cascais has important historical and architectural buildings such as the Farol Design Hotel. Established in the 1880’s, the Farol Design Hotel is a remodeled 19th Century mansion with a new contemporary design.

The architect Carlos Miguel Dias led the project and designed the new part of the hotel in 2002 which bridged the gap between the old and new. The design had to fit into its surrounding with the original building and the rocky coastline. The result presents a striking structure that appears out of the rocks and nestled next to the original building. The relationship between all these forms is harmonious.

The new design expands on the old building and redefines the spaces combining the historic villa with a modern glass structure.  The new extension is subtle and sleek and doesn’t over power the original building. It gives the location a contemporary edge attracting more visitors to this small town. The new modern structure is made up of straight edges and facades with its floor to ceiling glass panels, light steel framework and white rendered edges that contrast against the rough arrangement of rocks below. The atmosphere of the old heritage lives on in the old building as the new, futuristic glass construction represents modern architecture. The interiors have been re-designed with more rooms added in different styles. The black and white interiors reflect the buildings regal history. The theme of serenity is continued throughout the interiors and the floor to ceiling glass panels allow visitors to enjoy stunning panoramic views of the blue ocean and nearby marina.

The building successfully sets a tranquil mood through its design and layout, enhancing people’s experience. The whole construction meets the project demand and works in its environment. The hotel has facilities such as sun terrace, large swimming pool and access to the sandy beach which connects the building closer to its natural surroundings.

The Farol Design Hotel is an example of quality architectural design that creates a positive atmosphere which we are immersed into. It affects our perspective, thoughts and experience as a result of its inspiring design. 

Just What Is Defensive Architecture?

If you’ve been reading the news recently, you’ve probably heard the term ‘defensive architecture’ – but what exactly is this and what does it mean for our towns and cities in the future?

Manchester architects will tell you that defensive architecture is the modification of public spaces and buildings to discourage people from loitering. No doubt you’ve heard of the homeless spikes that have been cropping up in various places around the UK over the last couple of weeks – last month, for example, department store Selfridges installed some of these outside its flagship branch in Manchester, a move that attracted criticism from charities such as Crisis.

And in the summer of last year, 17-inch anti-homeless spikes appeared outside a London apartment block to prevent people from sleeping in the doorways, although these have since been taken down following a petition signed by nearly 130,000 people calling for their removal.

This is perhaps one of the more extreme defensive architecture measures, but other steps include slanting windowsills to prevent people from sitting down, sprinklers that come on randomly even when there’s nothing there to water and benches with armrests that mean it is impossible to fully recline.

Guardian writer Alex Andreou recently took issue with these architectural defences, saying: “It reveals how corporate hygiene has overridden human considerations, especially in retail districts. It is a symptom of the clash of private and public, of necessity and property.”

From an aesthetic point of view, this form of architecture may well deter homeless people from spending time in various parts of any given city, but at the same time the appearance of urban areas is hardly enhanced by their introduction in the first place. They make towns and cities seem unwelcoming and hard, with homeless people conveniently hidden out of sight.

To see more types of defensive architecture on film, visit the Dismal Garden blog of UK artist Nils Norman, where you can find hundreds of photos of the different measures towns and cities are using to keep loiterers at bay. Where do you stand on this type of architecture? Let us know in the comments below.

Ground Zero

The 9/11 Memorial is on the site of ground zero that was built to honour the victims of the 9/11 attacks in New York in 2001. The site of where the twin towers stood was redeveloped by architectural firm Davis Brody Bond and design teams of Michael Arad and Peter Walker. To design a memorial and memorial museum was a significant urban creation in the history of New York City. The National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center Foundation began formal operations in 2005. The memorial has been open to the public since the 11th of September 2011.

The site consists of two large and open reflecting pools and a memorial museum. The National September 11 Memorial Museum’s exterior is an assemblage of linear shapes and reflective facades made up of glass and steel. The structure appears like shards of glass, with triangular and sloping edges with some entire walls of glass. This transparent quality connects the museum building to the rest of the memorial site. Its modern creation has been designed to take spectators on a journey and includes some of the artifacts that were discovered after the event.

The museum is an educational and historical establishment that honours the victims and provides a place for people to reflect on the significance of this global tragedy. The museum also has a touch screen wall of faces of the victims and by clicking on them you can learn more about that person. The North and South reflecting pools are located in the exact place where the towers stood and form the centre of the memorial. The bronze exterior of the pools has the names of the victims engraved all around the perimeter. The pools are huge in size and water cascades down the inner walls. A striking feature is the dark hole at the centre of each of the pools. It appears to continue into the ground drawing our attention down into the depth of this monument making us pause and think. Trees surround the pools which create a still and quiet setting.

The site has been beautifully designed and allows people to walk around and have a moving and personal experience. The architecture and landscape of the site is simple yet powerful. The deep voids of the reflecting pools contrasts to the tall surrounding trees and creates a unique space of serenity and emotion. The elements of nature and water input peaceful energy into the space and the constant flow of water mirrors the idea that we shall constantly remember. The water flowing over the walls at night when lit up is a powerful and a beautiful visual. Trees cover the whole site and act as guarded protection to the surrounding busy city life that continues.

The design of the whole site helps people to continue to reflect, think and feel part of a strong community. 

Santa Marta Lighthouse Museum

The Santa Marta Lighthouse Museum is located in the bay of Cascais, near Lisbon, Portugal. The lighthouse was converted in 2007 by architectural firm Aires Mateus.

The museum is dedicated to the history of Portuguese coastal lighthouses, providing a new tourist attraction in the village of Cascais. The site was once a fortress that formed part of the town’s maritime defenses and since the 19th Century a lighthouse was built to assist commercial shipping. The lighthouse is surrounded by existing buildings used to house exhibition spaces, offices, an auditorium and café as well as the original lighthouse keeper’s quarters.

The exterior of the buildings are made up of white tiled walls, uniting the lighthouse with the surrounding buildings through the use of colour. The rough rock line contrasts against the clean white tiles, as if they’ve been directly extruded up from the rocks and polished. It creates a sense that the materials used are connected to the site.

You can experience different perspectives of the surrounding location as there are different parts of the building to explore. The space outside around is surrounded by white facades and as the light hits it creates dramatic shadows that add another feature. Every angle is different and posses a simple beauty. The light is subtly reflected in the glossy white tiles and the entire site projects interesting sculptural qualities. The clean white lines of the buildings compliment the blue sky and look like pieces of abstract art. The white, bright exterior space contrasts to the interior space that has been darkened to exhibit photographs, information, maps and artifacts all set against black walls, floors and ceilings.

The buildings shimmer in the coastal light and the place gains a certain quality that is a result of superior architectural design. The re-design of the buildings and lighthouse allow people to learn and experience a part of local history. The lighthouse museum tells a story that connects with history, enabling people to explore and experience the site to gain a true sense of what it represents.

Visiting The Kappe House

We here at Andrew Wallace Architects went on a tour of the US over the summer, visiting some of the most important and beautiful architectural sites to be found in the country.

Over on our Google+ page and on our blog, we will be revealing where we went over the next couple of weeks – and our impressions of some of the greatest examples of architecture in the world, sure to be of interest to all the award-winning architects in Manchester and others around the UK.

Ray Kappe is an award-winning architect and educator in Southern California. Built in 1965-67, the Kappe House has become one of Kappe’s most celebrated works. The house was designed as a family home and features natural building materials, strong geometric form, and supersaturated colours.

The ground floor of the structure is Kappe's studio, and the house is built on top of the studio. The build is a modern masterpiece of glass and redwood. The Kappe Residence was listed as a City of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in April 1996 and is often referenced as one of the greatest residences in California.

To say this house was built over 50 years ago, it still looks like a modern build, situated comfortably in the hillside, it becomes part of and moulds to the landscape.

I think light is an important factor to this design. Light can illuminate spaces, divide them and manipulate the setting. The components of this structure allow fragmented light to be part of the structure itself.

Even the shadows created are tactically controlled and become part of the experience. The house has adapted to its natural surroundings and unifies with nature, yet remains a truly contemporary architectural creation.

The use of redwood compliments the rich green of the surrounding nature and blends with the environment. Nature seems to have accepted the house and appears structurally sound and present.

Visiting Gehry Adelaide Drive House

We here at Andrew Wallace Architects went on a tour of the US over the summer, visiting some of the most important and beautiful architectural sites to be found in the country.

Over on our Google+ page and on our blog, we will be revealing where we went over the next couple of weeks – and our impressions of some of the greatest examples of architecture in the world, sure to be of interest to all the award-winning architects in Manchester and others around the UK.

In 2011 Frank Gehry and his wife Berta bought a 5,295 SF house overlooking Santa Monica Canyon. The house was built in 1917 on a lot of 0.53 acres on Santa Monica’s most desirable street. It was originally constructed in 1919, but in 1980 it was significantly remodeled, and only the north wing facing Adelaide survived historically intact.

Unfortunately, the remodel changed the original courtyard given that the architects of the building were known for their interpretations of the Spanish courtyard. Construction of a new house began in 2014.

Visiting The Neurosciences Institute

We here at Andrew Wallace Architects went on a tour of the US over the summer, visiting some of the most important and beautiful architectural sites to be found in the country.

Over on our Google+ page and on our blog, we will be revealing where we went over the next couple of weeks – and our impressions of some of the greatest examples of architecture in the world, sure to be of interest to all the award-winning architects in Manchester and others around the UK.

The Neurosciences Institute is a small scientific research organisation founded in 1981 by Gerald M Edelman, an American biologist. In 1993 it moved into temporary quarters in San Diego, California and then into a newly designed complex created by architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien.

Edelman’s vision was to create a place where the creative study of the brain could be conducted with few constraining rules and unlimited opportunities for communication. The campus is made up of three buildings: the Theory Center, the Laboratories and the Scientific Auditorium.

The buildings are arranged to form a central court that unifies the whole project. Cutting into the sloping site, the buildings maintain a low profile and a strong connection with the land. As a result of this partially buried condition, the landscape and the buildings form a quiet courtyard and the campus doesn’t feel imposing or overwhelming as you can see the surrounding landscape with views of the Santa Rosa Mountains.

The open yet sheltered space creates a clear and spatial experience which is instantly felt when walking through the site. The building’s solid and grounded presence is softened by the use of sand-blasted concrete which exposes the beauty of the material. Every part of the structure, including furniture and materials, shapes a consistent environment were the use of plastic skin panels and sand-blasted glass enhance the sense of tranquility.

The use of warm redwood and Texas fossil stone compliment the subtle tone of the concrete. Two water features situated in the plaza create subtle sounds and the vision of blue water connects to the blue of the sky.

In 1997, the complex was awarded an Honour Award from the American Institute of Architects. I think the location of this institute plays an important role in its existence. As the complex is based in such a popular and modern state, it had to conform to modern architecture and forward thinking art influences were the idea was compulsory for the design to represent and reflect the organisations purpose.

The build accommodates the need of the user and in return the user walks into a realm of opportunities and contemporary environments. The institution reminds me of the Bauhaus in terms of an institution built to serve a practice and where the building itself is designed to specifically enhance that purpose.

Every angle of the build looks like a section of an abstract piece of art where every line, shadow, curve, colour and reflection makes up a bigger canvas which each viewer interprets differently. Also, the fact this is situated in sunny California means that light is an important and noticeable factor which becomes part of the structure, highlighting surfaces and changing the atmosphere. This adds another dimension enabling balance in a contemporary environment were a constant sense of serenity is felt providing a dynamic experience for each viewer. 

Visiting The Salk Institute

We here at Andrew Wallace Architects went on a tour of the US over the summer, visiting some of the most important and beautiful architectural sites to be found in the country.

Over on our Google+ page and on our blog, we will be revealing where we went over the next couple of weeks – and our impressions of some of the greatest examples of architecture in the world, sure to be of interest to all those architects in Bolton and others around the UK.

The Salk Institute was established in the 1960s by Jonas Salk, M.D., the developer of the polio vaccine. The Salk Institute focuses on scientific research dedicated to innovative biological research and development.

Salk selected the world-renowned architect Louis I. Kahn as the person who could design the facility that he envisioned. Kahn's creation consists of two mirror-image structures that line a grand courtyard. The building materials had to last for generations and as maintenance free as possible.

The materials chosen for this purpose were concrete, teak, lead, glass, and special steel. Kahn actually went back to Roman times to rediscover the waterproof qualities and the warm, pinkish glow of ‘pozzuolanic’ concrete.

Once the concrete was set, he allowed no further processing of the finish—no grinding, no filling, and above all, no painting. The aim was to create a spacious, organized workplace that could adapt to the changing needs of science.

In response to Salk's request that the Institute provides a welcoming and inspiring environment for scientific research, Kahn flooded the laboratories with daylight. Kahn's imaginative use of space and his high regard for natural light are illustrated on a massive scale. The whole site mirrors that of a large art installation or futuristic film set.

Overall the formal and minimal design on such a scale creates a place that people will experience and be immersed in. The majority of the materials are stripped back to their natural finish and create spaces where the whole surrounding environment appears the same, as if you’re walking through the bare shell of the maze like site.

I think the appearance of the site sets the atmosphere and influences people’s mindset that this is a place where the buildings reflect the work ethic that occurs inside. 

Densification Could Add 1 Million Homes In London

London could benefit from more than one million new homes over the next ten years if it underwent a programme of densification.

If this was rolled out in other areas across the country, it could be particularly good news for architects in Manchester and other major UK cities.

This is according to London First and estate agent Savills’s report named Redefining Diversity, showing house building could be expanded to take advantage of several areas of the capital with low housing density.

Susan Emmett, Savills’ director of residential research, said: “The opportunities to ensure that London is getting the most out of the development process are considerable, especially in the outer boroughs.”

The report highlights the importance of quality design features to make more efficient use of land.

It shows if housing density increased, the capital could see 52,000 new homes per year and meet its current targets for newbuild properties.

This comes as Prime Minister David Cameron stated new homes could be developed on publicly-owned land, instead of selling this off to developers.

The government is currently developing Northstowe in Cambridge to sell homes on the open market, with this model potentially being rolled out nationally to boost profits for the country.

Mr Cameron asked: “Is it not time to cut out the middleman?”

However, Planning Officers’ Society spokesman John Silvester pointed out that doing this requires reliance on an implementation agency. For instance, the government is using the Home and Communities Agency to plan and commission the new homes at the Northstowe site.

Will Robin Hood Gardens Be Listed At Last?

Architect Richard Rogers is renewing attempts to have Robin Hood Gardens – a residential estate in east London designed in the 60s by Alison and Peter Smithson – listed, writing to some 300 leading professionals in the construction industry to ask them to lend their support to the campaign.

According to Architects Journal, the listing recommendations for the site could be put before Tracey Crouch, new heritage minister, by today (June 19th), although it’s possible that the campaigners may have time to drum up even more support as Historic England is still to submit its report.

“Last time listing was considered the views of the architectural community were ignored but we believe there is now a real chance of saving the building for posterity but only if the minister hears, first hand, the views of the profession on the architectural merits of these exceptional buildings,” Mr Rogers said.

Back in 2008, a campaign was launched by the Twentieth Century Society and Building Design magazine to have the estate listed as a historical landmark but English Heritage did not back the idea because it failed to meet criteria for listed post-war buildings.

Completed in 1972, Robin Hood Gardens features two concrete blocks that serve as very effective noise barriers against the Blackwall Tunnel, a landscaped garden at street level that separates the concrete blocks and the acoustic walls. Sadly, the garden – which the architects imagined would operate as places where people could come and relax – became a hotbed for criminal activity instead.

Stockport architects and others – do you support the campaign to have Robin Hood Gardens listed? Let us know.

Visiting Hollyhock House

We here at Andrew Wallace Architects went on a tour of the US over the summer, visiting some of the most important and beautiful architectural sites to be found in the country.

Over on our Google+ page and on our blog, we will be revealing where we went over the next couple of weeks – and our impressions of some of the greatest examples of architecture in the world, sure to be of interest to all those architects in Chester and others around the UK.


The Hollyhock House is a building in the East Hollywood of Los Angeles, California, originally designed by Frank Lloyd Wright as a residence for oil heiress Aline Barnsdall.

Built in 1919–1921 it represents his earliest efforts to develop a regionally appropriate style of architecture for Southern California. Taking advantage of Los Angeles dry temperate climate, Hollyhock House is a remarkable combination of house and gardens and offered a vision for a new type of open-plan design.

In addition to the central garden court, each major interior space connects an equivalent exterior space, connected either by glass doors, a porch or walkway. A series of rooftop terraces further extend the living space and provide superb views of Los Angeles and the Hollywood Hills.

Wright used abstracted iterations of the hollyhock, Barnsdall’s favourite plant, throughout the exterior, interior, and even in the furnishings. The project also morphed into creating a performing arts complex creating a place for the appreciation of art and architecture as well as her residence.

Her pioneering vision influenced the change in architectural history and created what later became the California Modernism movement, and helped grow the careers of important architects including Frank Lloyd Wright, Rudolph Schindler and Richard Neutra.

Looking at the building is seeing the physicality of someone’s passion and vision come through in a 3D form. It’s the creation of something so personal, like a sculpture that has been molded to perfection. It’s interesting how arts and culture was a great influence and is reflected in the architecture.

The detail in this house shows reference to the Arts and Craft movement where that the design acts as one and is constant throughout the structure, decoration, furniture, colour scheme etc. The house is like a temple and unique in design. Both the exterior and interior walls have heavy, sand-like plaster appearance and set the tone of the colour scheme throughout. 

The house is old yet still appears modern in its design in terms of structure and layout. At the same time, the interiors look older in style with the majority of the rooms using wood panels. The house sits like a historic gallery, once illuminated the house transforms and could be interpreted as an Indian palace.

Hollyhock House has been named one of the most significant structures of the 20th century by the American Institute of Architects.

Visiting Eames House

We here at Andrew Wallace Architects went on a tour of the US over the summer, visiting some of the most important and beautiful architectural sites to be found in the country.

Over on our Google+ page and on our blog, we will be revealing where we went over the next couple of weeks – and our impressions of some of the greatest examples of architecture in the world, sure to be of interest to all those architects in south Manchester and others around the UK.

Charles and Ray Eames were American designers who worked in and made major contributions to modern architecture and furniture. They also worked in the fields of industrial and graphic design, fine art and film.

The Eames house was part of the Case Study House programme and began in the mid-1940s, continuing throughout the early 1960s. The idea of a Case Study house was to put forward a modern household, elaborate its functional requirements, and have an esteemed architect develop a design that met those requirements using modern materials and construction processes.

The idea was simple and was for architect design-built homes to express man’s life in the modern world. Charles and Ray Eames’ ideas and vision had no limitations. Every feature, from materials and colour, was functional to their needs, the house accommodated to them. The house they created offered them a space where work, play, life and nature co-existed.

The design was intended to integrate the house into the landscape, rather than imposing the house on it. The natural green surroundings act as if nature has accepted the design into the landscape. The trees also provide a visual contrast with the bold façade and the line of trees in front allow the house to appear set back and nestled within the landscape.

The exterior pops of colour remind us of a Mondrian grid painting and that the whole build is one 3D canvas. The charm and appeal of the House is perhaps best explained in the words of Case Study House founder, John Entenza, who felt that the Eames House “represented an attempt to state an idea rather than a fixed architectural pattern.”

The house is essentially a large elongated structure that seems placed on the hillside in an elegant and simple design. The house takes no demands but rather acts as a background for the life of the inhabitants. That was the clear priority in the project and you can see this through the interior space where understanding architecture is a core value of the Eames Foundation. The house is a celebration of life and work where you can notice the goal of the space is to honor a well-lived space rather than a brand new used one. In the words of Charles Eames, “whether it’s house, film or chair – it must have a structural concept”

Visiting The De Young Gallery In San Francisco

We here at Andrew Wallace Architects went on a tour of the US over the summer, visiting some of the most important and beautiful architectural sites to be found in the country.

Here on our Google+ page and over on our blog, we will be revealing where we went over the next couple of weeks – and our impressions of some of the greatest examples of architecture in the world, sure to be of interest to all those Bury architects and others around the UK.

The de Young Gallery is a Fine Arts museum located in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.

Founded in 1895, the de Young Museum has been an integral part of the cultural foundation of the city. In 2005, the de Young Museum reopened in a state-of-the-art new facility that integrates art, architecture and the natural landscape in one site that inspires audiences from around the world.

Designed by the Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron and Fong & Chan Architects in San Francisco, the new de Young provided San Francisco with a landmark art museum to showcase the the city's priceless collections of American art.

The resulting design merges the museum into the natural environment of the park. It also provides open and light-filled spaces that facilitate and enhance the art-viewing experience.

The Gallery is constructed of warm, natural materials including copper, stone, wood and glass, complementing its natural surroundings. The design and significance of the facility seems suitable to house such exciting pieces of art. The vast number of windows allow light to flood the interior, opening the space up to set a tranquil atmosphere in which the artworks can be truly viewed.

The windows also act as a framework for the surrounding greenery, connecting the interior with the exterior. The boundary between the two is removed and the gallery welcomes visitors from all directions with four public entrances. The dramatic copper façade may appear industrial and rough in texture, yet it allows subtle light to filter through, creating an artistic abstraction on the exterior of the gallery.

It’s almost like the gallery is a working piece of art itself. The copper material that wraps the building is rich in colour and blends well in the surrounding environment. The structure is vast and the tower sits dominating over the whole site partially imitating the construction of a theme park ride.

In this case, we think the interior spaces are more interesting than the exterior. It’s a diverse experience - after exploring the vast open exterior and interior spaces filled with light, you are immersed into a darkened room looking at smaller paintings by Turner.

This is quite a calming experience compared to the rest of the gallery. You can look at some of the greatest paintings that deal with light, nature, atmosphere and colour on a small canvas in contrast to the extensive light and spaces of the gallery, which deals with similar qualities in an architectural sense.

Works by James Turrell also feature at the gallery, which includes contemporary and conceptual artwork. The combination of key artists, both traditional and modern, provides different artistic experiences in the same location specifically designed to enhance that experience. This concept reminds us of the idea that art and architecture continuously influence one another and reflect the same ideals in different ways.

4 Of The Best Buildings In England

Architects in Stockport are no doubt aware of the shining examples of architecture in their home towns – but what are the best buildings to be found in England? Of course, it’s all rather subjective but we thought we’d feature some of our favourites here on the Andrew Wallace Architects blog.

Westminster Abbey

This stunning building has been around since the 960s and has been thoroughly spoiled by various monarchs over the years. It’s set the standard for architecture in the country for centuries and is an absolute must-see for any architecture student who feels the need for a bit of inspiration in their own work.

A&G Murray Mills, Ancoats, Manchester

A far cry from Westminster Abbey but a beautiful building in its own right. The mill says it all about the industrial revolution, really – it was built in 1801, with the company’s mills the first in the country to be powered by steam instead of waterwheels.

The Peckwater Quadrangle, Christ Church, Oxford

Dean Aldrich’s courtyard at Christ Church (built between 1707 and 1714) was constructed to play host to Oxford’s undergrads and is one of the first examples of how architects became suddenly obsessed with creating structures that stuck to the Roman methods of architecture. If you’ve not seen it yet, you must.

The Southbank Centre, London

A fine example of Brutalism, the Southbank Centre has as many fans as it does enemies. Oft referred to as a car park, the building is in fact very imposing and quite complex to look at. Plus there’s an amazing view of the Thames if you’re up in the Skylon restaurant, which is always a bonus.

Architects Come Together To Tackle London Housing Crisis

Architects in Southport will no doubt be interested to read some of the ideas that their peers have come up with to help address the housing crisis in London, with the aim in mind being to find innovative ways of increase the housing density without affecting quality of life.

Think-tank New London Architecture (NLA) collected 100 ideas from architects around the UK, as part of the group's plans to find a way to construct 440,000 new properties in the capital. In all, ten of the ideas will be shown to mayor of London Boris Johnson and later considered by town planners working on changing London in the future.

Ideas include constructing entire neighbourhoods - including cafes, offices and schools - on current docks and rivers, putting houses on top of public buildings like libraries, schools and hospitals, and new properties constructed in the back gardens of town houses that have more space than they need.

However, some believe that the best solution would be to build on the outskirts of the capital to create a mega city alongside the M25 so more people can share in the prosperity of this part of the UK.

NLA's core mission is to bring Londoners and others together to help create a better city, serving as an independent forum for debate, discussion and information about planning, development, architecture and construction in London.

Those interested can visit the NLA galleries that depict the story of the development of the capital through permanent and changing exhibitions. They're open six days a week and are free to enter.

Brutal Utopias Launched To Celebrate Brutalist Architecture

Architects in Bury and elsewhere in the UK may be interested to go on a new tour of the UK being launched by the National Trust to celebrate Brutalist buildings in the country.

Dubbed Brutal Utopias, the project will feature behind-the-scenes tours of numerous buildings in cities across the UK, including the University of East Anglia, Park Hill flats in Sheffield and London's Southbank Centre.

In addition, guided tours will also be put on around London on board the organisation's 1962 Routemaster Coach with cultural and architectural experts charting the visions and outcomes of this particular building style.

In a statement, the Trust said: "Love it or not, brutalism was the dominant post-war architectural movement that sought to offer the best of design to the masses through public housing schemes, new universities and venues for the arts and education that were accessible to all."

The project starts on September 25th, with other sites due to be explored including Hayward Gallery, Purcell Room and the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

On September 30th, there is also a talk being put on exploring Brutalism and asking questions such as can the style ever be beautiful and what particular architectural sites should we be protecting.

The Brutalist movement flourished between the 50s and 70s, with typical examples of this particular style featuring exposed concrete, or combinations of brickwork and concrete. It was particularly popular for university buildings, shopping centres and high-rise blocks of flats - but many buildings in this style have attracted criticism over the years.

The Carbuncle Cup Goes To… The Walkie Talkie

Warrington architects will no doubt be interested to learn that this year’s Carbuncle Cup Award goes to the Walkie Talkie, a skyscraper in the City of London that has had rather a chequered history since it was completed in April last year.

The 37-storey office block came under fire in 2013 for melting rather expensive cars on the streets below by reflecting light during the summer.

According to the BBC, Jaguar driver Martin Lindsay returned to his car after a two-hour absence to find that the badge and wing mirror had melted.

And at the start of this year, the roof garden at the top of the building – the highest to be found in the capital – was panned by critics who said it doesn’t constitute a proper public space, with the Guardian’s Oliver Wainwright describing it as “being in an airport terminal”.

Organiser of the Carbuncle Cup Thomas Lane said that the skyscraper “crashes into London’s skyline like an unwelcome party guest”.

The editor of Building Design magazine said it’s difficult to find someone in London who has anything nice to say about the Walkie Talkie – or 20 Fenchurch Street as it’s officially known – at all.

Other contenders in this year’s Cup included Woodward Hall in north-west London, Southampton City Gateway, Parliament House, some student halls in Cambridge and a YMCA building.

Previous winners of the wooden spoon award include Liverpool’s ferry terminal, the Strata Tower in Elephant and Castle, the Cutty Sark renovation and flats above a Tesco shop in Woolwich.

Who Would You Like To See On The New £20 Note?

Macclesfield architects could soon see one of their own gracing the sides of the new £20 banknote, due to come in sometime within the next three to five years, with a new debate now being sparked as to who should have the privilege of being featured.

Members of the public are now being asked by the Bank of England to nominate their favourite architects, designers, painters, photographers and filmmakers, one of whom will be chosen to replace economist Adam Smith.

“There are a wealth of individuals within the field of visual arts whose work shaped British thought, innovation, leadership, values and society and who continue to inspire people today. I greatly look forward to hearing from the public who they would like to celebrate,” Mark Carney, governor of the Bank, said at the launch of the nominations period at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London this week (May 19th).

You have until July 19th to make your nominations and can do so via the Bank of England website – simply enter the name of the person you’re nominating and explain why you’ve chosen them in no more than 100 words. Fictional or living characters are not allowed, so bear this in mind when coming up with your own shortlist.

We’d love to know who you’d choose to put on the £20 so drop us a line in the comments box below. Don’t forget to tell us why you’re nominating that particular person – hopefully we’ll get a bit of a debate going!

#BuildaBetterBritain With RIBA

A new campaign has been launched by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) to draw attention to issues in the built environment, including developing flood-proof communities, building good quality homes, providing energy-efficient buildings and addressing the state of school buildings in the country – a scheme that any Manchester architect may like to get behind.

Dubbed #BuildaBetterBritain, the initiative is calling for the government to ensure that homes are built that people actually want to live in. In all, 300,000 properties must be built each year, with 1.5 million new homes required during the next parliamentary term.

Additionally, the government needs to look at how it can adapt to meet the needs of our ageing society and help promote healthier lifestyles by creating houses that are more suited to older people. Downsizing with a focus on walking and cycling are possible ways of going about this.

According to RIBA, about 5.2 million homes are at risk of flooding, so the campaign is calling on the government to construct flood-proof communities and give local authorities greater power in order to block any developments in places that are particularly vulnerable.

Work is already being done in this regard, with the government announcing in December last year that a six-year £2.3 million flood defence programme will be initiated in order to protect farmland, businesses and homes from Lancashire to Essex.

“The built environment is vital to the financial and social success of our communities and country and the health and wellbeing of its inhabitants. RIBA’s clear priorities for the next government, set out in the Building a Better Britain report, is the basis for this campaign,” Stephen Hodder, president of the organisation, remarked.

Sustainable Buildings Key To Energy Efficiency Future

As award-winning architects in Manchester, AWA understands the importance of sustainability in modern design. And it appears we're not alone, with the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) recently calling on the government to put environmental issues first when constructing new-builds.

The CCC made a number of recommendations in a new progress report that highlighted the dangers of ignoring energy efficiency measures. One of the key suggestions was the development of new infrastructure that helps tackle encroaching climate change.

Measures that could affect interior designers in Bury and across the UK included the introduction of standards to enable passive cooling in existing structures and the prevention of overheating in future projects.

A zero-carbon homes standard is crucial, the CCC said, provided the policy is not further weakened. The committee also urged the government to consider how the increased risk of flooding spurred by climate change could have an adverse impact on the country's homes and businesses.

Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC), welcomed the CCC's advice. She said the government seemed to recognise the importance of reducing emissions in a cost-effective manner.

"No sector provides a better opportunity to do this than buildings, in which energy efficiency can stimulate economic activity, lower bills and strengthen our energy security," Ms Hirigoyen added.

However, the CCC report also noted that efforts to boost sustainable building are currently flagging. Ms Hirigoyen stated the government must follow the committee's advice and implement an action plan that prioritises energy efficiency in homes, while protecting buildings from climate change.

Designs Of The Year 2015 Exhibition

A new exhibition that Warrington architects and others around the UK might like to visit is Designs of the Year 2015, on at the London Design Museum between March 25th and August 23rd.

Now in its eighth year, the awards are intended to celebrate design that perfectly encapsulates the year in question’s spirit, extends design practice, enables access or delivers change, with 76 nominees over six categories – architecture, digital, fashion, graphics, product and transport.

This year’s nominees in the architecture category include the Arena do Morro, a community sports centre for a town in Brazil, the Desert Courtyard House (a home made out of desert soil), Foundation Louis Vuitton, a brick-clad school for children under the age of six, a school with open spaces specifically designed with nature in mind, House for Trees (a scheme intended to bring trees back to urban areas) and One Central Park, an apartment block with vertical gardens.

The judges this year include Hilary Alexander (former fashion director of the Daily Telegraph), Alexis Georgacopoulos (director of ECAL – University of Art and Design Lausanne), influential sculptor Anish Kapoor, architect Farshid Moussavi and Land Rover’s design director and chief creative officer Richard Woolley.

Other exhibitions on at the museum that you might like to have a look at before heading home include the Design Museum Tank, a pop-up glass installation space on Riverside Walk outside the museum that features different Tank displays during the day and night. At the moment, it is the Design Ventura Tank, which features ten ideas from students aged between 13 and 16 relating to the theme of ‘connect’.

Future Of British Architecture Revealed

Warrington architects and others around the UK might want to take note of a new report suggesting how the face of British architecture will change over the coming years, with high rise farms and floating cities predicted to take centre stage in the future.

New research from a think tank made up of Linda Aitken, Toby Burgess, Arthur Mamou-Mani and Dr Rhys Morgan of the Royal Academy of Engineering suggests that underground basements will become a reality as people seek to create additional space, the Independent reports.

“We may need to create floating conurbations on major rivers or even out to sea. And how we grow and access food, incorporating urban farming into the built environment, as well as harnessing natural energy sources, will result in dramatically different streetscapes and skylines," Linda Aitken remarked.

The study found that 41 per cent of people expect that super-deep basements will become a staple part of the hidden landscape, although one in four would prefer to see floating cities become a reality.

Other architectural advances expected to come to the fore include 3D printed homes, spaceports to Mars and the moon, and rooftop farms. The research was commissioned to mark the start of UKTV’s Impossible Engineering series, which will look into possibilities such as magnetic levitation trains and tubular skyscrapers.

The six-part series will look at how trains, planes, ships and giant structures around the world are built and how they operate. The first episode focuses on aircraft carriers, starting with William Beardmore’s HMS Argus, which was built back in 1918.

Milton Keynes Chief Architect Derek Walker Dies Aged 85

Architects in Bury and beyond are sure to be saddened by the news that Derek Walker, the chief architect and town planner for Milton Keynes, has died at the age of 85.

Born in Blackburn in Lancashire, Mr Walker grew up in Leeds, studying architecture at Leeds Arts School before distinguishing himself as head of architecture at the Royal College of Art in the 80s.

He was perhaps best known for his part in the creation of Milton Keynes, which he had intended to be greener than the surrounding countryside – an assertion he would probably later come to regret when Milton Keynes wound up being roundly criticised for its endless roundabouts, unattractive buildings and Concrete Cows (created by artist Liz Leyh in 1978).

The initial idea was to establish a Forest City, with 20 per cent of land allocated to parkland and the town divided up into localities, each given its own family of trees.

One of Mr Walker’s lasting legacies in Milton Keynes is the Central Shopping Centre, which he co-designed alongside Christopher Woodward and Stuart Mosscrop. First opened in 1979, it was in fact one of the first covered shopping malls in Britain and in 2010 was awarded Grade-II listed status by Jeremy Hunt, the culture secretary at the time.

However, despite this, the shopping centre’s own director apparently insisted that the centre was characterless and nondescript, even with Mr Hunt praising it for its “high quality design and unusual roof-top service area access”, according to the Independent.

Architect Hopes To Build Underwater Tennis Court!

Here’s a news story that award-winning architects in Manchester will no doubt find interesting – Polish architect Krzysztof Kotala has come up with the idea of constructing an underwater tennis court with a curved roof so players and spectators will be able to see fish swimming all around them during a match.

Keen to build it in Dubai, which is famed for pushing the boundaries of architecture, 30-year-old Mr Kotala said his design will be something totally original and should be built somewhere where a tradition of tennis-playing already exists – hence Dubai.

According to the Daily Mail, Mr Kotala is now looking for investors to turn this from a dream into a reality, although engineers have suggested that the idea would not only be very expensive to do but would also be especially difficult to execute.

Speaking to the news source, director of engineering and technical services at London’s Institution of Structural Engineers Sarah Fray said that the glass cover would need to be at least 108ft wide to fit the court and stands in.

“The more joints there are, the more likely it would leak. The design would also need to be thought out in terms of how it react to an impact. Any boat would have to be kept well clear and a dropped anchor would destroy it,” she said.

Mr Kotala isn’t the only one pushing architectural boundaries at the moment. Hungarian architect Dr Matyas Gutai recently hit the headlines with his concept of liquid engineering, where houses would feature walls with water trapped inside steel and glass panels to help reduce energy bills by up to 20 per cent.

Posthumous Award For Frei Otto

Liverpool architects and others across the UK are sure to be pleased to learn that German architect Frei Otto – best known for his work on site at Munich’s 1972 Olympic Games – has been posthumously awarded the 2015 Pritzker Prize.

The 40th laureate of the prize and the second from Germany, Otto learned that he would be receiving the prize in January but he sadly died before it could be presented to him.

He is renowned for his work on the roofing of the Munich Olympic Park main sports facilities, as well as the German pavilion at the 1967 International and Universal Exposition, a series of tent structures in the 50s for the German Federal Exhibitions and the Japan Pavilion at Expo 2000 in Hannover.

Otto was famed for his more lightweight, open work, which contrasted sharply with the heavy stone masonry architecture preferred by Germany’s National Socialists.

Lord Peter Palumbo, chair of the jury for the Pritzker Architecture Prize, described Otto as a universal citizen whose loss will be felt throughout the world of architecture.

“Time waits for no man. If anyone doubts this aphorism, the death yesterday of Frei Otto, a titan of modern architecture, a few weeks short of his 90th birthday, and a few short weeks before his receipt of the Pritzker Architecture Prize in Miami in May, represents a sad and striking example of this truism,” he remarked.

Past laureates include Oscar Niemeyer, Gordon Bunshaft, Tadao Ando, Aldo Rossi, Richard Rogers, Shigeru Ban and Wang Shu.

Call Made For Entries To The Wood Awards 2015

Manchester architects and others around the UK might want to consider applying for the Wood Awards: Excellence in Architecture and Product Design 2015 if they want to showcase their latest projects and really make a name for themselves in their chosen field.

There are various categories you can enter depending on your speciality – Education and Public Sector, Commercial and Leisure, Private, Small Project, Interiors and Existing Building. There are also a variety of categories relating to furniture that might be more applicable – Bespoke, Student Designer and Production Made.

Chaired in 2015 by editor of the London Design Guide Max Fraser, anybody with a building or furniture project that has been completed in the last two years can enter, with the judges visiting all competitors on the shortlist to reach to their final decision.

Past winners of the top prize – the Arnold Laver Gold Award – include the Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft by Adam Richards Architects, the Hurlingham Club Outdoor Pool by David Morley Architects and the Rothschild Foundation by Stephen Marshall Architects.

“We are pleased to be associated with The Wood Awards for another year and are proud to sponsor the illustrious Gold Awards, which recognises the very best of what our industry has to offer. We will certainly be encouraging all our stakeholders – and the wider design and construction community – to take an interest and where possible get involved,” Andrew Laver remarked.

If you want to enter, you can find application forms on the Wood Awards website.

World Architecture Festival 2015

An event sure to inspire Manchester architects and others in the industry, a portion of this year's World Architecture Festival (WAF) is taking place between June 24th and 27th, making its debut in London, a four-day exhibition featuring landscapes, interiors, future projects and buildings from all over the world.

Free to attend, the event will see the finalists of the World Architecture Festival displayed exclusively for the first time, with a programme of talks also being put on looking at how the environment can be improved through architecture and design, as well as issues affecting communities and cities, and new architecture.

Known as the Oscars of architecture, the WAF Awards form a central part of the main festival itself (taking place in Singapore between November 4th and 6th), an event that brings together some 2,000 delegates from around the world.

As the organisers observed: "Winning a WAF award is your passport to the international architecture scene. Both professionally and personally transformational, the WAF awards are your gateway to global exposure, recognition and success."

A great networking opportunity for architects in Manchester and elsewhere, you'll be able to discover new architecture and techniques for yourself, instilling new ideas and inspiration to help tackle the design challenges of today. You will also be able to go on architecture-led city tours of Singapore, with exclusive site visits that take you off the guidebook routes to uncover some of the metropolis's hidden gems.

You can find out more about the even on the official WAF website, as well as following them on Facebook and Twitter.