The buildings shortlisted for this year’s Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Stirling Prize, the winners of which will be revealed in October, were an interesting mix of beautiful design and eccentric ideas. The six buildings that were chosen are as follows:
Storey’s Field Community Centre and Nursery (Cambridge, England): a personal favorite; the cream-colored building will be home to staff at Cambridge University in an economical way.
Bloomberg (London, England): the building is the British publishing house’s headquarters and is a contemporary marvel, in my outlook, with its slanted bronze shapes on the exterior of the building.
The Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre (Oxford, England): the building has a series of columns which looks very interesting because of their very thin shapes but otherwise the architecture, in my outlook, really lacks pizzazz.
New Tate St Ives (Cornwall, England): I love the extension at Tate St. Ives – the roof includes a view point and the location of the building offers a spectacular view of the coast, plus there are blue-colored mirrors on the exterior of the gallery.
Chadwich Hall, University of Roehampton (London, England): the university hall is intriguing in design because the walls look incomplete and cheap but the building is surrounded by a garden and architecture from early 18th century to mid-19th century.
Bushey Cemetery (Hertfordshire, England): this is a Jewish cemetery and its design replicates what the burial rites of the faith constitutes in its design – plain and brown.
A glass tower that adds infinite contemporary wonder to an old city
One of the most fascinating glass architectures to be built in recent times is the Shard. It is a towering skyscraper with an interesting outline: glass rise to form a structure that looks like a pyramid, at first, but the top of the skyscraper then shifts focus away from that idea because it looks like it is not fully formed and is too spiky; the design is almost like an open mouthed snake at the top which gives the tower a frightening magnetism.
The Shard was designed by Renzo Piano, who has designed other important architectural marvels in Europe too, like The New York Times Building in Manhattan, New York City. The tower, in my outlook, really adds a different character to London – one that is so different from what, in terms of architectural designs, can traditionally be expected from the city: strikingly beautiful structures, not the type that makes you think hard and twice before you realize what makes it so attractive.
The latest fashion opening in African terrains is also the first fashion museum for the continent – in Marrakesh, built in memory of the French fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent’s fondness of Morocco. The museum has a rough-edged terracotta design, inclusive of curved lines and straight forms, whilst the place’s interior ideas boasts local influences of brick, laurel branches and oak, amongst others. Colours such as chocolate and white interplay with each other as the centerfold design concept emerges as something modern but with a traditionist edge.
The highlight of the latest cultural marvel in Morocco is a permanent exhibition, stocking thousands of research materials, an auditorium, a bookstore, a café, as well as displaying subjects that the Algeria-born fashion designer treasured about the country, from its continent, Africa to made-up voyages. Alongside all of this, is an interesting insight into Saint-Laurent’s collections too, with clothing pieces from Paris and the Jardin Majorelle, which is basically an artistic project (partly) restored by the late French fashion designer in the eighties that now boasts another museum – the Berber Museum, a villa and a very large botanical garden; there is no doubt about it, the museum has certainly rolled itself out to be a significant design asset to Morocco.
The Barbican is one of the foremost arts complexes in London, built in the style of Brutalist architecture that was prominent during the ’50s and ‘60s. As one of the biggest historic buildings in Europe, it also unravels as a functional conference venue, meaning that there is greater depth to the architectural space than one will discover upon first glance.
It was built during the efforts put in to remake portions of the city that were ravaged by war; the Grade II listed design site took ten years to fully construct, and it opened in 1982. In the latest book, Building the Barbican, exclusive and never before seen photographs aim to document in both colour and b/w, how the Barbican was built. Most of these images have never been made available to the public and the themes of it range from construction workers working on location to hand-finish the textured walls, to trees being places in the conservatory.
The Old Manor Park Library is being rejuvenated after lying dusty and abandoned for three years.The Grade II-listed building in Newham, London is getting converted into a public arts, business and community space. A grant of £200,000 taken out from the Mayor of London’s High Street Fund especially for this architectural treasure.
The Royal Institute of British Architects made RIBApix and it is a rare and special architectural marvel. RIBApix holds in it’s possession a historic congregation of images, that for the very first time has become digitally accessible to the general public. The 16th Century drawings of Andrea Palladio, Sir Christopher Wren’s plans, Erno Goldfinger, Denys Lasdun and Edwin Lutyens sketches are all part of the institute.
Thousands of years of the world’s built heritage can be explored with a wide array of images, from ancient monuments to seaside huts. The breadth of the historical archives is inclusive of beautiful shots of private residences and modern hotels. Both architectural history and social documentation interplay together for a mix of construction photography, decorative arts, interior design and topography.
This architectural facade has become a multi-purpose public space in Rotterdam, with a fun approach to design. A futuristic edition of Tetris game has been artistically represented, with the help of glass piles upon glass to recreate a massive style of carefully adjusted ‘units’. Sustainable and innovative, the cubes can actually be readjusted according to the mood of the building’s design.
An abandoned waterway has been rejuvenated as a public space filled with warmth. The dotted structures in the scene is supposed to be a concrete extension of the natural surroundings, and you can see how the shaded areas can shield visitors from the Houston sun. Natural wood, repurposed steel and sustainable fly-ash concrete, recreates the sense of togetherness and flow across the enormous 160 acre space, filled with recreational zones, ecosystem restoration and flood management systems.
Doha’s International Airport can be considered to be a truly mesmerizing gift to the city. Architecturally it is innovative and the terminal complex is also the richest. The space houses 30million passengers every year and has 41 unrestricted gates of contact. The gates are more minute than ever before because of efficient systems so the complex must adapt to plenty of passenger movement. Acres of glass roof support the structure in a breathtaking manner and the love for luxury does not just stop there is a gold-plate coffee bar, a spa and swimming pool.
In the eye of the beholder
De Bakermat Plaza is Holland’s ambitious idea of comical architectural designs. A group of coloured towers, each with a seperate height, gives the idea of a detached family house but it all gets so very crowded.
Contemporary artists are reshaping landscape architecture in a picturesque style across some of the busiest towns this decade. But do you really know it all – the relationship architecture shares with pictures?
Architecture and photography can also be described as two separate figurative thoughts moving in union. Although, the appeal towards architectural photography has long gotten lost in the glossy mainstream consciousness of fast glamour and easy lustre, that is not what the picture is like on most days for most towns. It is not all about new concept museums, event and conference spaces, towering residential buildings that regularly get people interested in their six-figure dollar rents.
A town is worth so much more than superficial elegance – it is about history, heritage and architecture. Sometimes the architecture can be a bland concrete jungle that poses as an eyesore rather than a monolithic structure that invites you to ponder over it’s design. At other times, it could be a breathtaking example of what it means to, put it simply, rule the world, your world. In a new book by Elias Redstone, Shooting Space Architecture in Contemporary Photography, you can learn more about this phenomenon in the built environment.
There is no shame in exploring architectural sites through photography – infact, on an average day, that is how most of us here indulge in taking in all of their beauty. It’s fuss-free, cheap and sans the trouble that comes with purchasing a ticket to every town you want to visit to see beautiful stationary designs. There is a greater role that photographers play in shaping the built environment, alongside journalists and social history hitchhikers, and you can see illustrated examples of just that in Shooting Space. Artists, whose work is featured in this book, range from Zaha Hadid to Renzo Piano, and Redstone, an independent architecture curator, talks about interesting frameworks of design, such as modernism and creating day-to-day icons.