Indulgence and a Hut: by Linedota Architects.

A typical hut with a painted front. Images: Linedota Architects.

Self indulgence, like a sweet desert, is best enjoyed rarely, and to mark a special event. Today is such an occasion.

My indulgence is to introduce a project from my own practice, Linedota Architects. The Flat Pack Hut was designed after a trip to Uganda on a charity mission to design a new school for a rural community.

Shocked by the lack of even basic facilities, it occurred to me that a single well designed school house might benefit a small community, but what about the neighbouring village? Without thinking about the bigger picture, the mission risked being no more than a manifestation of the architect’s ego. That would never do!

Thus was born the idea to design a wonderful school house that was inexpensive, earthquake safe, high wind safe, and could be built anywhere in the tropics. Read more

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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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Proposal for a new Thames Bridge by Heatherwick Studio.

Images: Heatherwick Studio.

London needs a bridge across the river Thames, between Blackfriars and Waterloo. One has been on the cards for years! It has been the subject of an invited competition, won by Zaha Hadid, a book, and an exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts.

I actually worked on one of the unsuccessful entries as a young architect. Back then, the bridge had to be “habitable”. Most of the six competition entries included verdure of some kind, except for Future Systems’ entry that shocked us all by proposing an abstract yellow dinosaur! I might be wrong about the colour, it was a long time ago.

This week, a new bridge for the same site was proposed by Heatherwick Studio. Read more

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A house at Pipers End, Hertfordshire, UK by Níall McLaughlin Architects.

Photo credits: Nick Kane.

The concept of this house, designed by Níall McLaughlin Architects, is disarmingly simple. In plan it is rendered as five strips. A concrete reflecting pool, a loggia of thin columns supporting a metal canopy, a box of timber framed glass, a wooden box, and a thicket of silver birch trees.

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RIBA winner Bishop Edward King Chapel, Oxford by Níall McLaughlin Architects.

Photo credits: Curtsey of Níall McLaughlin Architects.

One of the winners of this year’s RIBA awards is The Bishop Edward King Chapel, in Oxford, England, designed by Níall McLaughlin Architects. It was placed in the National South South East category.

The architect describes the mood of a lovely summer day spent on the site, with a breeze, light, air and the rustling of leaves as the qualities they tried to capture within the architecture

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