Category Londos’s Contemporary Architecture

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Albion

A fascinating, eleven-storey up-market housing development adjacent to the Foster studio: a scheme of 186 apartments in eleven stories that takes a simple multi-storey block and cleverly bends it around whilst dividing the internal accommodation into a front / back split, so that every apartment has a river-facing terrace.

The adjacent social housing block (45 one and two-bedroom apartments run by Peabody) and office block to the south of the main Albion structure are also quite elegant in a Miesian, 1950’s manner.

It’s effective and it works. The land side demonstrates that a latter-day car manufacturing obsession with the derriere is cross-cultural and has spread from France and Brazil to the Foster Studio (as well as from the sides up and over onto the roof)...

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Inner Ring. Baron’s Place

More ‘volumetrics’. The positive aspect of this apartment
block concerns the service provided to London’s
‘key workers’ who can’t afford London’s apartment
prices. However, one can’t but worry about varieties of
‘experimentation’ on comparatively deprived sectors of
the community. The scheme provides very small ‘flatlets’
(36 sq. m. one bed, and two-person apartments of 54.sq.
m.) made from units of 3.6m x 5m or 7m (Raines Dairy
was 11.8m) proffered in guise of the joker’s costume.

But this isn’t why the planners shamed the Peabody
Trust (the developers) by turning down the first planning
application — it was because of the size of the ‘microflats’

(there’s a PhD just in that
discussion). Go there,
have a look, compare it
where neighbouring public
housing and make ...

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Keyworth Centre

A Southbank University building that is a pleasant neo – Scandinavian surprise on the inside. The exterior, one has to confess, is a less than scintillating contribution to the urban fabric, but don’t let this put you off the neo-Ralph Erskine interior (by a partner of BDP who used to work with the late master). It’s a simple enough scheme, with a tall atrium backed by stacked teaching floors served by a double-loaded corridor, and with cores at each end. The atrium serves as a positive focal point and, instead of the proverbial ‘pods’, it offers stacked timber – clad meeting rooms with open decks above them. It all appears to be well-liked and used...

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Friendship House

Described as, ‘A Modern self-catered accommodation providing 160 bedsitting rooms, with angular walls of dramatic zinc tiles and bright render enclosing a quiet courtyard with reflective pool. RIBA Award Winner 2005’ Friendship House is a clever and welcome exercise in fitting single-person rental accommodation into a difficult central site — bang up against the proverbial inner London rail line. It copes by turning inward, around a landscaped central court (designed by Rummy Design), but also by providing a clear architectural diagram relating shared areas to private ones. Like any such building, there are similarities with hotels and halls of residences. The city needs many more buildings like this.

London College of Communications Media Centre

There are two ne...

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Kingsdale School

What to do: old ‘60’s wreck of a school; building that needs updating? You cover over its central courtyard with inflated pillows and locate a new school hall for 1000 students right at the heart, crossing the court with a new bridge to promote better flows. The outcome is an iconic gesture that has them standing in the aisles.

The architects tell us that the scheme is of national importance: “The proposal exploits the potential of the existing building, and superimposes a vast, new transparent roof over the internal courtyard. This has facilitated new dining facilities, assembly and performance spaces, improved circulation, and social activities”.

But does the emperor have real clothes? It was in the Hawthorne experiments of the 1920’s that behaviourists first found out that ...

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