Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Phoenix High School

Bond Bryan Architects’ design for the new £8.7m sixth form centre at Phoenix High School in Shepherds Bush, London is thought to be Europe’s largest cantilevered building, with almost half of the building extending over an existing car park. The project has been granted planning permission by the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.

Nick Rogers, project leader at Bond Bryan, explained how this 24-metre cantilever will be achieved: ‘Having such a huge cantilever compared to the ground floor structure places a tremendous loading on the building connected to ground but this is resolved by cross-bracing the floors and transferring the force back and down into cantilever and into the building pinned to the floor.

‘We believe it is the largest cantilever in Europe. The columns securing the ground floor building are driven 35 metres into the ground which serve to resist the uplift force generated by the cantilever.

‘The cantilever also creates a potential for flexibility within the structure, this is counteracted by ensuring the 400mm-thick external walls and precast floor system combine to form a very stiff box structure.’

The external cladding comprises vertical timber panels of varying sizes, repeated at random intervals and framed with subtle colours. The resulting elevations are likened to a collection of liquorice allsorts.

The building has been designed to achieve a BREEAM rating of ‘very good’. Subject to funding, construction of the new sixth form centre is due to start in August this year and it will open to pupils in September 2010.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tempe Transportation Center

The Tempe Transportation Center is many things. It is the first bike center in Arizona, the first green light rail station and, most importantly, it is the first of many mass-transit hubs built with mixed-use in mind.

The center was built around water conservation, and features low-flow fixtures, waterless urinals, a vegetated roof, gray-water harvesting and native plants. Energy conservation features include energy-efficient office equipment, under-floor air supply, shading devices and solar-heated, hot water.

The three-story, 40,000-square-foot building includes a 2000-square-foot conference community room featuring pull down screens, room divider and self-healing bulletin boards. The gold LEED-certified structure also has evaporative cooling, fabric shade canopies and decomposed granite in the parking lot surface.

Built to act as a gathering place for light rail riders, the center will offer bike storage, retail, food shops and ticket sales. Memberships and lockers are available for regular commuters.

Tempe Transportation Center’s interior is environmentally conscious throughout. Recycled countertops, low-VOC paint and local or regional materials make up most of the interior, allowing for the entire facility to claim as small a carbon footprint as possible.

Similar plans are in the works for a light rail hub in Chandler as part of the design for track expansion in the next few years.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Carmody Groarke's 7 July Memorial completes in time for remembrance services

July 7, 2009 | Niki May Young

52 steel pillars stand erected in London's Hyde park, one for every person killed during the terror attacks in London on this day four years ago. Completed in time for commemorations today, the plaque accompanying the Carmody Groarke created memorial reads simply, ‘In memory of those killed in the London bombings' and lists each person by name.

The pillars (or stelae) are arranged in four inter-linking clusters reflecting the four separate locations of the tragic incidents – Tavistock Square, Edgware Road, Kings Cross, and Aldgate. Each pillar is inscribed in a font specifically developed for the memorial, with the date, time and location of the bombings. 26 for Kings Cross at 08:50, 6 for Edgware Road at 08:50, 7 for Aldgate at 8:50 and 13 for Tavistock Square at 09:47.

Constructed from solid-cast, long-lasting stainless steel, each stele measures 3.5 metres high and will be unique, with individual characteristic finishes brought about by the casting process. Through the choice of materials and the memorial’s robust nature, it has been designed to stand for many generations.

The £1million design was developed with the families of the victims and Angel of the North Sculptor Antony Gormley. The Prince and Princess of Wales, as well as senior political figures, will be joining the families today at the unveiling. A spokesperson for the families said: “This Memorial is a fitting tribute, honouring the 52 lives lost on 7 July 2005, ensuring that the world will never forget them. It represents the enormity of our loss, both on a personal and public level. We hope this Memorial will speak to visitors, so they can understand the impact of these horrific events.”

Monday, July 06, 2009

2010 Biennial Ideas Competition

The New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects’ Emerging New York Architects (ENYA) Committee announces its 2010 Biennial Ideas Competition.

ENYA has hosted, for the past four years, an international design competition for students and young professionals, challenging them to address an urban and architectural problem within New York City. This year we have chosen to focus on a unique disused infrastructure --the historic High Bridge. As a portion of The Old Croton Aqueduct that once carried drinking water into the city, the High Bridge currently connects recreational parks in the Bronx and Manhattan. The competition will challenge participants to transform the bridge and surround areas into a vibrant public space that includes an arts complex for emerging artistic communities.

Included in this exploration is the challenge to use the bridge and competition program to literally connect the Manhattan and Bronx neighborhoods on either side. The dramatic site is rich with programmatic and architectural diversity, which will generate a broad range of proposals.

The ENYA competition is a unique opportunity and we invite you to include this competition in your curriculum. The competition is formatted to coincide with the Fall 2009 academic semester, with a registration launch in September 2009 and submission deadline in January 2010. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three winning entries. An exhibition of all the winning proposals will take place at the Center for Architecture, in Greenwich Village, New York, in the fall of 2010. The ENYA committee is also planning to incorporate the top three winning proposals into the exhibition design itself.

Further details will be announced with the launch of the competition in September 2009.

The attachment is an information package for your review, including some more information about the competition, site, and program. Please also visit our previous competition websites:

South Street Seaport: Re-envisioning the Urban Edge, 2008

Southpoint: From Ruin to Rejuvenation, 2006

Groen Hoek: The East River Community Boathouse Competition, 2004

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions at


Jessica Sheridan, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP

ENYA Committee Co-Chair

AIA New York Chapter

Thursday, July 02, 2009

SOM to masterplan vast £49 billion Saudi Arabian city

July 2, 2009 | By Christopher Sell

SOM has landed the commission to take forward the $80 billion (£49 billion) masterplan for King Abdullah Economic City in Saudi Arabia – one of the biggest projects in the Middle East

The firm saw off three other anonymous practices to land the contract with developer Emaar, The Economic City.

It is a welcome win for SOM, which has suffered significantly in the current downturn. In 2008’s AJ100 list of Britain’s biggest practices, the firm was ranked at number 21, but it dropped to 100th place in this year’s list (AJ 28.05.09).

‘There is no doubt it is a real shot in the arm for the firm,’ said a source.

SOM will be responsible for ‘refining and finalising the existing concept masterplan’ for the 168km2 site, located in Rabigh, north of Jeddah.

The scheme is expected to include a healthcare district, numerous residential zones, an industrial park and a knowledge and media city. Several phase one projects already under construction, such as the sea port and a raft of housing developments, will not be affected.

An original outline masterplan was drawn up in 2006 by SOM and WATG, setting out the broad objectives of the project.

King Abdullah Economic City will be connected to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina via a new high-speed rail link, featuring stations designed by Foster + Partners.