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Levitt Bernstein: Wilkins Terrace, University College London

16-01-2019

Levitt Bernstein: Wilkins Terrace, University College London

Levitt Bernstein brings new life to a former service yard at University College London, transforming it into the new Wilkins Terrace, a raised courtyard and informal meeting-place for students and visitors.

Anthony Coleman – Town Hall Series: A London Typology

16-11-2018

Anthony Coleman – Town Hall Series: A London Typology

Anthony Coleman has captured the discreet charm of London’s city halls, many of which no longer serve their original use or face demolition.  London-based photographer Anthony Coleman pays tribute to the public architecture in his city, capturing a series of buildings that are, or were town halls. The subject of his project, Town Hall Series: A London Typology spans more than two hundred years – from Hackney Old Town Hall (1802) to Brent Civic Centre (2013) – giving us a snapshot of the history of these buildings, their original purpose and what remains of them now. According to the photographer, the importance of London’s Town Halls lies in the fact that they reflect the spirit of the time when they were built, a time when local governments were “about so much more than managing budgets”, bringing a number of different services, such as theatres, swimming pools, libraries and administration under a single roof, the city’s most important building. This meant they could stimulate the community and promote civic engagement. Now, many of these buildings have been repurposed or face demolition. And Coleman reports that Wembley’s town hall is now a French private school, while Wimbledon’s is a Tesco supermarket. And that’s nothing compared to Hackney Town Hall, which is now a betting shop. Is this really the representation of civic pride and of how over time this involvement has fallen to the wayside in favour of private freedom and individualism? Apart from these sociological interpretations, Coleman has given us an artist’s impression of the history of public architecture in London. He took lots of different shots of each subject, using a wide shift lens and amalgamates several pictures into one, editing out the unwanted details, and even giving each image the same grey-coloured sky, to make them all match with each other. The result is an extremely objective description of the buildings, making it easier to compare them and find differences and similarities. “There’s a tremendous formality to them,” says the photographer. They even look very heroic, with their symmetry, their flagpoles, their embellishments and the grand space left around them. But they also have a strident touch of melancholy, as if they don’t really want to show off, because they know that they were built to serve the city and the people Shoreditch Town Hall, designed by Caesar Augustus Long in 1866, perhaps embodies this dual character more than any of the others. On the facade a statue resembling Nike, the Greek Goddess of victory towers above the motto More Light, More Power, surrounded by a triumph of friezes, glazing and columns. When the Town Hall was built, ambitions for the building were high, according to a contemporary report by Hackney District Board of Works. “We hope and do not unreasonably anticipate that the use of the edifice may tend to develop, strengthen and perpetuate the municipal principle, and to secure the Metropolis, the advantages of Local Self-Government for Centuries to come”.  After handling the case of Jack the Ripper, staging theatrical performances and facilitating evacuations during the Blitz, about fifteen years ago, the Shoreditch Town Hall was converted into an “exciting destination contemporary arts and events venue at the heart of the buzzing creative scene,” complete with Michelin-starred restaurant. These buildings were designed and built to be fundamental to the community, and Anthony Coleman’s straightforward and precise rendering emphasises their civic importance. What doesn’t come through in these photographs is to what extent the idea behind the building has been respected over time, their external appearance aside. And against this, it begs the questions of to what extent are the fundamental values of the public realm that we constitute still alive today, behind appearances and facades? In this, perhaps, the paths of public architecture and a sense of civic pride have diverged over the years. Francesco Cibati Website Anthony Coleman: http://www.anthonycoleman.com

RIBA Client of the Year 2018 award presented to Argent for King's Cross London

14-11-2018

RIBA Client of the Year 2018 award presented to Argent for King's Cross London

On 10 October RIBA awarded the prize for top client of the year to Argent, a British real estate developer that has funded such important architectural projects as the recent urban regeneration of King's Cross in London.

Binom Architects, a house in pear and larch wood

07-11-2018

Binom Architects, a house in pear and larch wood

Binom Architects are behind the revamp of an old, semi-detached Victorian house, first of all with an extension, then with a refurbishment of the interiors.

Nikki Tibbles Wild at Heart opens WILD at The Coal Office

02-11-2018

Nikki Tibbles Wild at Heart opens WILD at The Coal Office

A partnership between nature and design in a one-of-a-kind combination - one of London's most famous florists, Nikki Tibbles, opens WILD at The Coal Office, Tom Dixon’s new hub and headquarters in King’s Cross, London.

Biennale Architettura 2018. Robin Hood Gardens. A Ruin in Reverse

31-10-2018

Biennale Architettura 2018. Robin Hood Gardens. A Ruin in Reverse

Visitors have another few months to see the 16th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.

Henley Halebrown, De Beauvoir Block

22-10-2018

Henley Halebrown, De Beauvoir Block

RIBA London Award 2018 winner De Beauvoir Block in London is by UK architecture practice Henley Halebrown, who came up with new workspaces for creative businesses in this characteristic semi-industrial terrace, also adding a central external courtyard and rooftop studios.

Winners of The Architecture Drawing Prize 2018

19-10-2018

Winners of The Architecture Drawing Prize 2018

In the run-up to the annual World Architecture Festival (WAF), held this year in Amsterdam, at the end of November, the winners of the second annual Architecture Drawing Prize 2018, curated by WAF, Sir John Soane’s Museum and Make Architects, were announced in London.

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