Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mobile access to the website

28 Dec '10: DNC writes: I just discovered that it's possible to view this blog (and the others that I do) using a Mobile device. Normally, you need a phone with a large screen and very good reception to pick up a full web page. Most of the heavily used sites like the BBC, Eurosport, Guardian have Mobile versions.
   Well thanks to Google blogger, we have too! If you have a mobile phone, try this site with your iPhone or Android phone. (I hope it works for you).
  I already use my iPhone as the hand held device for my PV roof, now it is even more useful, for checking my various blogs!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tall Building Students for lunch!

14 Dec '10: We invited the Tall Building students for lunch at DNC's house in West Bridgford. We couldn't do it earlier because the term has been so busy, and we have some weeks of snow and icy roads making the house somewhat inaccessible.
It was a 'bring your own', so there was an interesting variety of food, and some students brought flowers - Thankyou!

  One of the purposes of the visit was to discuss interseasonal storage, heat pumps, photovoltaic and underfloor heating all of which have some relevance to the high rise we are designing for New York. There wasn't time to show the PPT file, but there was every chance to discuss the ideas.
  Some of the students (who were not with us) are in Scotland on a road trip - good luck to them, and we hope they escape before the next lot of snow falls!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Graduation of the first MArch STB cohort

9 Dec '10: Phil and DNC attended the graduation, and we had the pleasure of seeing our first cohort of MArch STB students graduating, Savita Poojari, Ashwin Chaudari (and Pranali Shah in absentia).

In this photo, Sim yee Lee, Phil, Savita and DNC. Being December, we all emerged into darkness, so we do not have the usual rituals of throwing hats in the air. There was snow on the ground and below freezing temperatures, so we all rush off to the Conference centre for refreshments.
In this photo there are six Tall Building graduates, with Savita and Ashwin 2nd and 3rd from right.

Congratulations, and good luck for all your future careers!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dirk and Ivan

12 Nov '10: We were honoured to have a half day Structures symposium as part of our HRI course, provided by Dirk Krolikowski of Rogers Stirk Harbour, supported by two of his very good friends, Ozan Yanlis and Falco Schmidt, both of Arups: with whom he has worked on many real projects, competition entries and educational initiatives. Dirk has worked on the Leadenhall St tower ('Cheesegrater') and we are glad to hear that the covers have been lifted off this project, and it is rising again after a layoff of a couple of years. Dirk has done some structural visioneering that is so seductive that all the clients now expect this sort of imagery! With such an expensive building it helps to have every component thoroughly modelled to fine detail before cutting metal. Ozan is a senior engineer at Arups and has a very good presentation of the integration of architectural ideas with structural realisation. Falco has worked at RMJM, and presented a very detailed explanation of the St Petersburg Tower. Dirk and Falco have run an advanced buildings design unit at Aachen University.
  Ozan had to return to London at lunchtime, but Dirk and Falco stayed for a whole afternoon of tutorials on structure, giving the students some of the toughest structural questioning they have yet experienced, resulting in many vastly improved schemes by the following Thursday - a legacy of the symposium that we are all grateful for.

 I will write about Ivan's visit next time I get time to spend on the blog.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

TBI'10 Interim Design Crit

11 Nov '10: We had the first interim design crit, and all nine groups produced a design, in the form of models and some early drawings, and some even included a short video. We had Architects David Leonard and Chris Gaylord as guest critters.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Phil's Podcast lecture on Tall Buildings

November '10: Isover are running their global student competition to be a vertical mixed-use multi-comfort tower for a site in New York. As the University of Nottingham have such expertise in Tall Buildings, Isover asked Phil to do a webcast lecture that would help all taking part. This is visible on:
We have nine groups doing towers on the New York site, but we would welcome more schools or more student groups from elsewhere trying this project. It is very challenging, and we have had a month already of site analysis and early design.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Group photo of the High Rise issues group

5 Nov '10: Phil gave the last of his High Rise Issues lectures today, as we have a Structures Symposium next week (12th), and after that the students will be presenting Case Studies until the end of the year. Because it's a Diwali and most of us were there, the Indian students proposed a group photo, so we all went to the quadrangle for a photo.
(Theres about 2 missing from the photo).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Mentioned in the AJ

01-11-10: It's great to see that the AJ (Architects Journal) have done a feature on Masters courses in Sustainable design, and have given very prominent coverage to our MArch STB course, with a large illustration of one of the Rotterdam projects from last year. It is in the issue of 28.10.10, page 50. There is also a round up of some recent Passivhaus designs in the UK, so altogether this is an issue worth keeping!
Adaptable tower by Linshuo Wang and Kok Keong Tew 2009
Unfortunately for those without the AJ, it is on the website, but behind their subscriber's wall, although I think you can register for free to see these particular pages.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

TBI Tutorials on 21 Oct: Model!

21 Oct: We had a day of tutorials with the design unit in the Marmont LT. First we checked on progress with the model. It is going well, really, an amazingly good job is being done by the model coordinating group... the quality is good, but quantity? there is still a helluva lot to do even with so many hands. We are doing the buildings immediately round the site in higher detail. Everybody has tried making at least one building, so they have evolved a technique using Sketchup and CAD, so things may got easier. The model base size was ambitious at approx 2.4m square.

We spent the rest of the day with table seminars, grouping the 3 person groups into pairs. It really is a very difficult site, with most of the site being in the 'air-rights' space above the tunnel exit, and the points of ground where we can touch down being difficult sites in their own right - already dominated by the neighbouring tall buildings.  Everyone has some ideas, but there are so many site conflicts to resolve, such as view lines, touching points on the ground, pedestrian links, avoiding shading other buildings, etc. Ours would be the tallest in the neighbourhood.
  We wondered at the level of difficulty, if one also remembers the primary agenda which is to research how to extend the Passivhaus concept to a highrise. The next agenda is the specialist topic that we want the students to include in their building - the most popular seeming to be the integration of greenery and public spaces into the building. The other is the task of finding ways to re-invent the ground plane, a better urban space, but still enabling the tunnel to work.
  We asked everybody to make a 1000th scale foam-block model of their own, and do some form investigations, at least three distinct ideas per group.
  On Friday 23rd Oct, we had a lecture from David Leonard on Master planning, using London's Stratford City site as a main example - integrating so many considerations, including sustainability, into a vast urban project. This was followed by Phil's lecture on the history of tall buildings.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Presentation on key themes

14 Oct '10: We had a day of information and presentations. First explaining what is going to happen next - and looking at the first week of work on the model - Phil showed a PPT of examples of previous student work that demonstrated the idea of an 'Agenda': it is a preoccupation that gives the group something special to research that will influence their design, making it unique.

 We had presentations from all groups: Starting with Hi-Builders on examples of Mixed use towers and social spaces in towers followed by their site analysis). Chilmix did a very good presentation on New York - culture, climate and context, followed by a good account of their site. The total area of the site is huge, several hectares, enough for about 8 Freedom Towers. We completed with the Passivers, who delivered their site analysis first (enjoyably it had more photographic content, and how grateful we all should be to the Google photographic car)... and then a very authoritative and thorough presentation on the Passivhaus and Isover's Multi-Comfort house concepts.
The entire unit will spend the next week getting the main model advanced, and during the day all managed to work out which groups they would all be for the next main stage giving us NINE groups in all.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

ARM groups get going

Group Angels
11.10.10: DNC writes: The ARM groups have now made a start. This is for Architectural Research methods, and our workshop is looking at Urban Densification and the role of Tall Buildings in this. I have 23 or 24 students in the workshop group, and due to muddles with time and place, the first day had 19 students (the rest turned up at 3pm!)
The group C - Critics
The first week will be of the students researching chosen cities, and presenting them a week later, looking at key indicators such as growth and decline, population pressures, transport, water, food, climate, employment, open space, zoning, and of course building profiles (eg heights).
Group B Barmin navigators
Group A will be looking at two Iranian cities, Isfahan and Tehran (Iran), Group B are looking at Bangalore (India) and Ho Chi Minh city (Vietnam). Group C are looking at Singapore and Shanghai.
     Later at 3pm, Group D (the remaining five of whom I do not have a photo yet) were found and they will look at Mumbai. As that is very complex, that will be enough for now (had considered including Tripoli, but we might have a problem getting documents.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Tasks for the design unit

The design unit is formed into three groups, all studying the New York site, but also majoring in:
1. Passivers: Passivhaus and Multicomfort house,
2. Chilmix: Manhattan and New York background history, and
3. Hi-Builders : Social spaces, skybridges, atria in mixed use tall buildings.
This all to be presented two weeks after the introduction.

We asked everybody for a 10 minute Powerpoint on their special subject on Thursday 7th, to get things started, but some had already made a good start and needed a lot more time than that. They will get an hour each on the mini-crit day of 14th Oct.

View Larger Map

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Field Visit to London

1 Oct'10: DNC writes: The whole unit took a bus trip to London for the day.... rain rain rain, not the best time to be doing a walkabout.
  We started with the Building Centre in Store St, but for the first time we had a problem that we had never previously encountered: a large group had block booked the entire exhibition area and model and we only had time for a quick look, and a look at the building materials exhibition, then had to move on to Tottenham Ct Rd.
 We took the train to Liverpool St Station and walked up Bishopsgate to Primrose St, in the marketig suite by the Broadgate Tower.
   Paul Burgess of British Land get us an excellent talk, using the very detailed model of the whole Broadgate development, starting with the clearance of the old Broad St Station, and the first office building by Peter Foggo of Arups. The Broadgate Tower is presently the northern boundary of the 'City' but more buildings are planned by Fosters in the future, and the Bishopsgate railyards will be a major new development.
     Amazingly, some of the buildings from the early 90s are already due to be replaced by new buildings, 20yrs after construction.
    On the Tower site, a vast honeycomb concrete raft was built over the railway line before they knew exactly what would go above it. The tower (by SOM) was explained in detail - it is something of an engineering marvel being built in the air-rights-space over the railway lines..... and then we went to the tower itself.
More to be written soon....

Friday, October 1, 2010

Field Trip to London Part 2

1 Oct '10: We were taken up the Broadgate tower by some of the building management team - it has a wonderfully impressive entrance mall and lobby, full of light, and angled space, and suspended glass screens. We were right above the railway, so the great tower seems not to come to the ground, the weight being carried on diagonal legs. We rose in the double decker lift to the 17th floor which has been fitted out ready for letting. Each floor is a huge column free space, with all of the core on the west side of the tower. Rain prevented us getting good photos from the glass wall. We moved on up to the change-level of the 18th floor, then another lift to a floor above (difficult to know which as it's based on hall-call, with no lift buttons, so our host accompanied us up). We were in an unfitted floor with bare concrete floor slab and the bare steel of the composite floor above - and the cellular beams spanning from core to wall - coated with fire cladding. Fit out doesn't happen until a major tenant takes the floor and decides on the layout. The team welcomed all questions we could think of until it was time to go. We walked under Exchange House (also by SOM in the late 80s and bridging 15m across the rail lines) and on to Liverpool St Station for a quick lunchtime snack.

Field Trip to London Part 3

Some wonderful juxtapositions!
1 Oct '10: We walked down Bishopsgate and admired the Heron Tower, long since topped out and now being fitted out - still higher than all its neighbours, although not for long if the Pinnacle gets going again. Heron has a photovoltaic south facade. The facade has a megastructure that is clearly subdivided into 3 storey intervals that also reflects the interior organisation into 3 storey high 'villages'. On the entrance and Bishopsgate facade there will be a canopy or arcade to protect pedestrians and relate to the scale of the surroundings, but the south facade just comes directly to the ground, and we wondered why they would bother to extend the PV panels to pavement level in almost permanent shade.
   After a brief look at St Helen's Place, one of the most photogenic locations in London, we looked at the work on the Pinnacle which was a large hole in the ground last February, but seems to be rising quite well now. We walked on, for a good circumnavigation of the Swiss Re, standing (as most circular buildings must) in its own plaza.
    Moving on past Lloyds and Willis, and noting that Leadenhall appears to have restarted, we walked on to Threadneedle St and the infamous Bank underground station with its miles of underground passages.
    Still somehow in one large group, we took the Dockland Light railway to Canary Wharf where we rounded off the day - disembarked at Alsop's Heron Quay, and meandered back past Foster's Jubilee Line station to 1 Canada Square. As it was still raining, the braver amongst us took a quick run around Canada Square, while the fainter hearted took a hot drink and a muffin in the underground mall. Finally, a quick dash across the floating bridge over India Water, towards Cannon Workshops where our bus was waiting.
They built a vast urban area, but forgot a church
So here it is, floating in Canary Wharf.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Briefing about New York

30 Sept '10: Mandar writes:   Today, we all sat and had the deadly duo (DNC and Phil) explain us about the intricacies of designing tall buildings and briefed us about the coursework. I would say you guys are quite lucky for having to aim for a open architectural design project. I have worked on design competitions and its not easy and cheap. You guys have the best opportunity to score brownie points and help build a great portfolio and a CV to aim for a good job once out of the University. So consider this module to be very important.
   DNC and Phil are the best tutors you can possibly have in this country to teach tall buildings design. There are no other universities offering courses to learn the basics of tall buildings design.  The coursework requires lot of reading, data collection, making a number of building models using most innovative materials. So gear up and be very proactive. Its best to plan things well in advance and never have things to work during weekends.   
    Weekends are for going to cities of UK. The country side is the nicest and most charming. Travel as much you can. Join the travel society as they take you to most cities nearby.  Travelling around UK will help you come to terms with the life in UK. 
[Editor's Note: Thanks Mandar for your recommendations. Actually you also wrote a lot of useful tips to the students in an email about preparation for the trip, reading, the right clothes and food for the day, etc. Thankyou for your caring.]

NASA competitions in India

30th Sept: : Mandar writes: Today’s introduction was quite interesting that this year the students will be far more motivated to work on their assignments as they aim for an open competition. The Indians should find it easier as most Indian architecture colleges take part in inter collegiate competitions hosted all across the South Asia. The competition is called NASAhttp://www.nasaindia.co.in/
    I myself have taken part in it. Indian students will find it tad too easier to work on this term’s assignment if things are laid in a similar fashion. Not much needs to be changed. The NASA compeition is very similar to our interim reviews. There are judges who are architects and planners and some engineers too and students run powerpoint presentations along with videos. There are various trophies the colleges aim for but sadly none for tall buildings cause most construction sites are meant for developing tier two cities. Only two trophies involve urban renewal.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Presenting the Module

22 Sept'10: We are presenting the design module today. Phil has done a fine powerpoint, describing the site and the Isover competition conditions. We are meeting all the Diploma and Master students and they have to vote for the module.
Here is a reduced PDF of the Semester One design project presentation.Enjoy!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Welcome to MArch STB 2010 !

Monday 20 Sept: Welcome to the new intake of M.Arch Sustainable Tall Buildings!
David NC and Philip Oldfield had a first meeting with the group, asking them about themselves, and where they came from. We put some examples of previous work on the table (which may have been a bit worrying as it was rather good :)
   The photo actually contains more students because some came along to listen and may finish up doing our design module or even switching to STB totally. It's a big commitment doing two design modules in tall buildings followed by a 60 credit dissertation - but the ones we have already tutored in 2009-2010 seem to have enjoyed it!
Nine students are registered, with one on the way from India in a few days time. The design module group is likely to be 30, a mixture of Diploma and Masters students.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Testimonial from a graduate

15 Sept: Savita Poojari of Mumbai+Dubai is one of our first vintage of M.Arch STB graduates, and has written a little testimonial for us about the course:
'Masters in Sustainable Tall Buildings' occupies a very special place in the field of Architectural Education by virtue of being the first of its kind in the whole world. As a precursor to change in the future of Architecture, this course indeed has far reaching significance.
   The sequential manner in which we were gradually exposed to the intricacies of the subject seemed intuitive and at no stage did it alienate the student from the subject. Working in groups with students from across the globe is really an experience to be cherished. We were learning about various regions of the world and how the Climate Culture and Context would affect the tall building sustainability. Our designs through studio work and related interaction became valuable additions to one's knowledge bank.
  The atmosphere in the Studio is lively and fertile with enthusiasm pouring in from all quarters. The uniqueness of the subject and individual flavour imparted by Philip Oldfield and David Nicholson-Cole never fails to inspire enthusiastic responses and participation from students. Exposure to review sessions in which an amazing array of varied ideas/ designs by students are reviewed by distinguished panel, serve as nourishment to the minds thirsty of knowledge! Modules like ARM (Architectural Research Methods), TBI (Tall Buildings Introduction), ATB (Advanced Tall Buildings) and FCT (Facade Technology) with their research based approach give ample impetus for a well rounded growth of students into more responsible proponents of Sustainable Tall building designs.
  Getting to interact and get opinions from stalwarts like Karel Voller, SOM, Rogers, Gensler, Ken Shuttleworth  and Andrew Watts en route, and using these contacts for a part of the dissertation, was surely an elevating experience which will stay with me for the days to come.
   Deftly handling the course with their awareness and knowledge of the subject matter, Philip Oldfield and David Nicholson-Cole really helped us beyond our aspirations. I will end this account of my experiences by wishing all that is best to the students who wish to pursue this course.

New term coming soon

17 Sept '10: We have the new term coming up fast. All our Masters students from the previous year have now handed in dissertations, and we wish them the best of luck during the marking process. We shall find out next Monday how many Sustainable Tall Building students have arrived.
   In the last week, Phil has been notifying parts of the media about our projects using the CTBUH images as a course, and we have a good report on www.inhabit.com about one of the Rotterdam projects.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

CTBUH accreditation of the Course

31 Aug: CTBUH have now confirmed their accreditation for the Sustainable Tall Buildings course at Nottingham! Read all about it on the CTBUH news page.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Seminar at the Environment Agency

25 Aug: DNC writes: I was invited to talk at a lunchtime seminar for staff at Nottingham's Environment Agency Office. These are for topics linked to Climate Change and Energy shortage. I had only about 25 mins, but covered four subjects.
  • First the West Bridgford Transition group and WB Ecohouses group, and the importance for activists of communicating the message widely, not just doing things privately.
  • The Rushcliffe Solar campaign, to encourage people to take up Photovoltaic panels, to increase the home generation of electricity in Rushcliffe, and for them to benefit from the feed in tariff.
  • The Charging the Earth project, building Sunboxes to augment the performance of the ground source heat pump - appropriate because at this very moment, my research poster on the sunboxes are on view at the SET conference in Shanghai.
  • The Sustainable Tall Buildings course at Nottingham University - where we are trying to teach our students bioclimatic principles for tall buildings - our next project is based in New York, trying to apply Passivhaus principles to the units in a 60 storey structure. 
I was sharing the floor with Penny Poyzer, the owner of the West Bridgford Ecohouse in Patrick Rd. Compared to my technology oriented topics, she was talking about the virtue of growing your own food, plus many observations on green lifestyle. A major learning point from her house is that you can apply extreme levels of insulation to a 120 year old house, and make it airtight enough for heat reclaim to work.
   As a nice human touch, we could see out of the window that the staff in the Environment Agency are indeed growing their own, there was a well managed cuban-style micro farm with members of staff having their own little 2 sqm patch, full of healthy looking vegetables.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Our students in Singapore!

August 2010: We have a good relationship with Broadway Malyan, a global architectural practice with 13 offices around the world, including London and Singapore.
  Jason Pomeroy, the leader of the Singapore office has been a regular teacher on our tall buildings course since 2007, always making at least one visit per year to teach and deliver an outstanding lecture on civic spaces in dense cities and tall buildings.
   Three of our leading students from the recent Tall Buildings unit were offered free flights to join Broadway Malyan in Singapore for a summer of work experience, applying their knowledge in the real context. It is a hot climate, long hours of hard work, but is an experience never to be forgotten!
  We are confident that BM will be very pleased with the three. It demonstrates how very employable one can be with specialised tall building knowledge.
Pictured are Matthew Bryant, David Calder and Arham Daoudi.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

High rise in New York

August: We are thinking ahead to the first semester of 2010-2011, and our plan is to do the Isover competition - this is for a 60 storey residential re-interpretation of the Passivhaus idea, fit for city living in a high density location - a very different context from the one that Passivhaus was developed for.
  But wait - it's not as stupid an idea as it sounds! an apartment in a tall block has, theoretically, extremely good insulation above, below, to the sides and to the rear, because it is sharing with others. The only part facing the exterior is the facade, which needs to be very well designed. And shared services such as heat recovery and water recycling can more easily be done in an apartment block than in a single house.... So we'll do it! Decision made!
    It is an international competition, with schools in each country invited to take part. The leading school of Architecture in each country will get an intermediate prize, and then there is a final stage in Prague in 2011. The intermediate prize for UK competitors will include to have one's model exhibited at Ecobuild 2011, London, March 2011. Isover will publish a book next year showing the pick of the entries, so we could hope to get some of our students' work published.  We have been asked to build the site model for the UK version, even if other UK schools take part.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tall Building Party, between chapters

17 Aug: Some of the Tall Building students are hard at work on their dissertations. Somehow, between writing chapters, we found time to have a 'pot-luck' party on 17 August, with a mixture of Indian, Chinese and Persian foods on show - very tasty!
We had it at DNC's house, a veritable museum of models of tall buildings from previous year's projects.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Putting up the Exhibition

10 June : The Tall Buildings exhibition was pinned up in quick time, by a decent number of people turning up to provide willing hands. All the drawings are pinned on black backing cloth, and we have an excellent space at the east end of the EEC building.
  We have both semesters on show. In the case of the second semester ALL students have their work on show, either full size or printed in reduced size.  The model looks fantastic with the beautifully constructed Skyweb of bridges connecting the towers (thanks to David Calder for completing all the linking skybridges on the model.)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Final Crit for the Leamouth highrise project

29 May: Final Crit : We took all the drawings and models down to the Trent Building, using the Performance Arts Studio.  This was a new experience, as the drawings were projected on a giant screen, but the Urban group started, and everyone followed the example - panning and zooming over their posters, explaining. There were good videos from all groups, which are going on to YouTube.
   We had Timo Kujala, the original 'client' taking part as our main crit guest. We had Ivan Jovanovic who was important at the early stages, defining the environmental agenda.
    David NC and Phil were pleased with the results and with the performance of all the students, and with the number of projects being of an A grade. We feel that the Performing Arts Studio somehow raised the ceremonial value of the event, our Final Crit for the Leamouth project (we feel we have mined out this excellent site, so it really is the final crit.) So we will use it again next year - the work of moving it down the hill was well rewarded.  Next comes the exhibition!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Dario Trabucco visiting

14 May : Dario Trabucco, a Tall Buildings expert resident in Venice, is visiting Nottingham for a couple of days. He took part in the latter part of our crit on 13 May, and today delivered a lecture on the History of Tall Building Cores. Dario will be publishing this as a CTBUH paper soon.
Although only a small number of students turned up, it was very good lecture with room for discussion. It ended with a discussion of embodied energy of tall buildings, compared with their running costs.
  Dario is hosting a mini-conference in Venice in late June to discuss further research directions in the world of Tall Buildings.

In the picture, Dario has the Campanile of San Marco on his right and the Met Life building in New York on his left.

Leamouth, second interim crit

13 May : We had the second interim crit, all day in the Marmont studio. We had three visiting tutors to help (Chris Gaylord, Sabina Fazlic and Simon Palmer) with our usual inhouse team of DNC and Phil, and Paul helping. We are all pretty pleased at the progress since the start of term, and everybody produced good posters and new models. Thankyou!
   Later in the evening it was the Architects' Ball, at Colwick Hall. Plenty of last year's and last semester's tall building students were there, but I fear that we have tired out our present group as only 4 were at the ball (three of them pictured).

Pictured: DNC, Aurelia, Rain and Ben

Sunday, April 4, 2010

End of term Review 1 Apr

1 April 2010: It was the last day of term, but also a review of the Tall Buildings unit. We were honoured to have Ken Shuttleworth (Make) and Dirk Krolikowski (Rogers Stirk Harbour) as our special guests for the day.
   Phil and Paul and DNc were amazed and delighted at the advancement since the week earlier. Every group had a new 1/500 model, and had managed to get printed posters with all buildings computer modelled, rendered and printed out. These all had to  be done earlier in the week for the MAD group, so there was time on Weds evening to assemble a video.
  The day's review started with the videos, which is a good way to get a quick glimpse of what each building is about, especially for the visitors who are unfamiliar with the site as well as the details of the brief, and the agendas of each group.
  We continued through the day at half hour intervals, with every group getting two crits. The guests enjoyed their day and gave plenty of helpful advice throughout the day, concluding with a group photograph and a talk back after Ken's taxi had gone to the station. Everybody was urged to have an enjoyable easter weekend (and relax!) and we look forward to a 5 week period before the next main meeting on May 6th. That will be a tutorial day with the next interim crit on the 13th May.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Tutorials 25 March 2010

The Tower designs have been advancing, but the master planning group are also keeping a close eye on progress of the overall plan, including the skybridge pattern.

The previous week (18 Mar) was a decisive moment, with an almost final skybridge arrangement being agreed on, and modelled live during the day, connecting the tower models with foamboard slabs.

The emphasis for 25th was to advance the tower designs, including Structure (we had Simon Palmer attending), Agenda (this is the time to decide finally), Organisation (planning, section, connection to ground and skybridges etc).... so that they would be ready to present as a design good enough to show Ken Shuttleworth, and to launch the students into the 5-week long Easter vacation.

So far, we have urged the unit to work mostly through Models and Hand drawn scale drawings. Now they are urged to go to computer for the next week.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Master Plans Crit 4th March

Here are some photos, details will be added:
Above: The entire unit ponder the various plans put forward and try to choose a winner - a combination of voting, negotiation, and pure logic.

Left, Group 2 foreground and Group 3 in the background explain their schemes. The final selection was a combination of these two.

Right, Minh and Sim yee explain their super skybridge design.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Urban Site Study presentations

18 Feb 2010: We had a whole day of the groups presenting their Site analysis, including an urban appraisal of the context of Leamouth - history, transport, facilities, population, employment etc. Each group also presented a special study that has learning content relevant to this scheme: (Canary Wharf and other out of centre tall clusters, Residential housing patterns, Civic Aspects of Tall Building design, and Regional Planning policies such as Thames Gateway). Two of the four groups attempted a visualisation of first ideas of how 8 towers could be on such a site.
The day started with an excellent lecture by David Leonard about master-planning in Stratford City and in Sharjah. Stratford is being constructed now, and it is just north of our site. The Sharjah story proved more useful as we saw how an idea grows from the genesis of nothing more than three elements: sea, some flat sand and a corniche - this idea became a kilometre of mixed use and mixed height planning, with a very three dimensional character, and entirely hand drawn at this stage.
On the Monday after this, Phil added a short lecture about ideas on master planning.
Photo above, is one of the groups, FutureScrape, who presented the first Urban Study.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Field Trip to London Part 3

4 Feb: We started the day at the office of Gensler Architects in Aldgate. Lukazs Platkowski gave his usual excellent lecture on Tall buildings, but as always using completely new case studies to illustrate his advice on TB design. Gensler have just won a competition in Riyadh with his design, and he showed the evolution of the design from a single tower to variations on twin tower or finally a split tower - one with a deep vertical slit between two cores to give good daylight and ventilation.
After the lecture we had a long walkabout, starting down Minories, to Tower of London (noting the Tower Hill office building by RSH), on to Tower Bridge, and into the GLA building - which we entered, as high as the public can go. We walked on past Hays Galleria and the Cotton Exchange to have a look at the building site of the London Bridge tower (the Shard). We took the Tube to Canary Wharf and had an hour's walkabout there. Caught the DLR to Canning Town station for a good look at our site. Then we returned to East India Dock station on the DLR and had a walk along the Thames (seeing this millennium beacon at E India Dock), and spend the rest of the time on the Trinity site - some people went for a walk on the small eco-park to the west of our site. The bus home picked us up from Orchard Place, for a safe ride home.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Field Trip to London Part 2

3 Feb: After Broadgate we walked on north westwards, to City Rd, and then to SOM's office in London. Timo Kujala entertained us with an introduction to the site, visions of the previous scheme for the site (now stopped), and reasons for changing to a new design (now going ahead). The new design will be more viable economically by doing without the expensive parking groundscraper; it was too high an upfront cost for a mainly residential scheme. The bridge to Canning Town station will also be cheaper.
After Timo's talk, we had to use the Tube to get to the other side of London, to Hammersmith, for a walk down through Fulham to the office of Rogers Stirk Harbour. Dirk Krolikowski has been working for RSH for 3 yrs on the Leadenhall St project, producing wonderful visionary 3D details of the construction - at all scale levels - from the megabraced frame, to the secondary frame, right down to how steel and glass of the facade will work and accommodate movement. He delivers a great lecture with plenty of good advice for young designers. He also allowed us to view the extensive model exhibition, mostly made by their in-house modelmaking team.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Field Trip to London Part 1.

Feb 2010: The whole unit took the bus to London on Feb 3rd for a 2-day field trip. We arrived at the Building Centre, which is a good start as it has the large London Model of present and proposed buildings, plus a lot of temporary and permanent exhibition material about London, and construction.
We took the Tube to Bank and had a long Square Mile walkabout from there, past Lloyds (always good to see), Willis (elegantly fitting), Leadenhall (site surrounded by hoardings), Swiss Re (Gherkin), Pinnacle (large hole in ground), and the Heron Tower. That is making good progress and appears to have topped out structurally, but has another year of cladding and fitting out to do.
    We walked on to Liverpool St station and through the Broadgate precinct (no time to go skating) and entered the plaza under the SOM building with the parabolic curve, that bridges across the railway lines. We walked on under the Broadgate Tower, now fully occupied (and not letting us in). The A-Frame supporting the entire east wall of the tower is impressively massive.

The visit to SOM and other parts of the field trip will be on another blog item.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Final Crit for Term One

25 Jan: We had tutorials on 13th December just to help people finalise the design of their layout, and the Crit itself was on 20th Jan.
We had Lukazs Platkowski, Harjinder Singh, Sabina Fazlic, Simon Palmer as guests to help Davidnc and Phil, and Paul Jozsa helped out in the groups, including photography.
Most students managed to get their drawings up the night before, and Every student made it to the crit. It was a good exhibition, and every student and tutor taking part should be proud of the effort that has gone into the project. We try to achieve a good balance between research/innovation and reality/authenticity. Some of the presentation is extremely good, considering how much of it is dependent on underpowered laptops spending hours doing renderings. Well done everybody!

Below is the display from Rotterdam, the Water Tower group (David, Sam and Sadie).