SEP

Booking-up: Birmingham library by Mecanoo.

Photos: Mecanoo

Europe’s largest public library opened yesterday in Birmingham, UK. The Library of Birmingham was designed my Mecanoo. They have delivered a spectacular building at what could hardly come at a more important time. British Government austerity measures are forcing the closure of many libraries up and down the country, whilst the onslaught of online media is raising fundamental questions about the relevance of bricks and mortar libraries. Read more

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SEP

Endlessly appealing: A stair by dRMM.

A highlight of the London Design Festival will no doubt be this staircase at the Tate Modern designed by architects dRMM. The design is inspired by the work of artist M.C. Escher who’s images of endless stairs are endlessly fascinating.

This “Endless Stair” is made from laminated tulipwood and will give visitors wonderful views over the river Thames, as well as a visceral sculptural experience.

At its highest level, the stair is 7.7m tall and can be walked every day from dawn to dusk. At night, the piece becomes an illuminates sculptural art work.

Christopher C. Hill.

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SEP

The power of light.

Images: Rafael Viňoly Architects.

The tower under construction at 20 Fenchurch Street London, is known colloquially as the “Walkie Talki”. Designed by Rafael Viňoly Architects, it was first unveiled in 2007 to some controversy owing to its unusual form and what was considered its excessive height. The global financial crisis delayed construction, but now its super structure is around three quarters complete, it is back in the headlines for the wrong reasons.

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JUL

London’s new airport concept by Foster and Partners.

Images: Foster and Partners.

The ability of the UK authorities to procrastinate over the planning of crucial infrastructure projects is remarkable. Party and local politics, as well as “Not In My Back Yard” attitudes are all allowed to frustrate certain key projects such as power, airports and railways.

In an attempt to do something about London’s lack of capacity at its main airport, Heathrow, the Mayor of London is working with Foster and Partners to develop a concept for a new hub airport in the Thames estuary.

This masterplan has been submitted to a government commission who are looking into the problem. We take a look at the key features. Read more

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JUL

A swinging kind of place: A bridge to ride by McDowell + Benedetti.

Photo credits: Timothy Soar.

Tower Bridge in London, completed around 1894, was provided with a high level walkway so that people could continue to cross the river on foot when the bridge was open. What the designers did not anticipate was the pleasure in the spectacle. When the bridge operated, people would go to the top of the bridge simply to watch it open whilst ships passed beneath.

McDowell + Benedetti, working with engineers Alan Baxter Associates, have designed a swing bridge crossing, the River Hull, that people can actually “ride” as it opens and closes. Already the spectacle, and of course the bridge itself, is helping to rejuvenate an old industrial quarter in Kingston upon Hull. Read more

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