Saturday, December 17, 2011

Graduation 2011

16 Dec 2011: We had the 2011 Graduation ceremony for Master students, and witnessed the passing out of our STB students and the others who had taken part in Tall Building Studio in 2010-2011. It was great to see the culmination of all that work in a grand event, and it was good to meet some of the parents, aunties or siblings. However, none of them seem to have a job yet, which is worrying for us. We hope that with a degree in a niche subject, it should make it easier to get a specialised job. Some of our previous graduates have jobs, mostly in tall building design, so it is working - but the UK professional scene is in a recession. 
Vinu, Phil, Ranjit, DNC, Rahul

Maryam, DNC, Masoud, Phil, Soha, Fahimeh, Katayoun
Not all of the students in the photos are SB candidates, but they are all ones who have taken the tall building design studio.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Party at DNC's house

11 Dec 2011: DNC invited the studio members to a Sunday-lunch party at his house in Peveril Drive, West Bridgford, everybody bringing a little bit of food. Mrs N-C made some fine desserts. It was rainy, so we didn't have the hoped-for walk on the hill south of the house, but anyway, a good time was had by all.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Interim Crit 8th Dec

Chris learning about ADac's design in Abu Dhabi
8 Dec 2011: We had the second Interim Crit, and our guests were Chris Gaylord and Lukasz Platkowski. The die is cast now, most of the designs are finalising, and this crit is aimed at toughening up the thinking, especially in facade, structure, planning, and fulfilment of their ideas about their agenda.
   It's a rigorous schedule trying to get all ten groups seen twice in one day, and snacks or tea had to be snatched in hurried moments. Phil and DNC hope that everybody got something useful from the interaction with two such good reviewers as Chris and Lukasz.

Chris checking the section of Singapore group SP2
Lukasz considers the New York tower of the Floating Clouds group
Chris has something to say to Singapore group SP-busy

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Ivan visits in December

Group 'ADam' explain their scheme for Abu Dhabi
1 December 2011: We had another visit from Ivan Jovanovic of BDSP. Its only 2 weeks from the end of term and one week from the second crit, so it's important to push things ahead to some form of resolution. We asked everybody for a lot more drawing content, particularly a large Section and some more Plans (Models can wait till next week).
    Ivan's task was to focus on ensuring that the environmental strategy was working, and to question how this was reflected in ideas for facade design, and the special technologies required of their environmental agenda.

Group 'NYJuicy' are making good progress

Group 'SPbusy' are building three schools!

Group 'ADsav' separating salt and water in Abu Dhabi

Friday, November 25, 2011

Tutorials with fresh starts

24 Nov 2011: Sometimes a Crit is like a really good laundry or garage clear out.... we have had a few of these with at least four groups coming up with a new form since the crit of last week. It's only 3 weeks to the end of term and that sharpens minds hugely. Everyone now seems to be on a better path with these decisions. It's just as well as we now want to shine the spotlight on primary structure, some more detailed examples of planning, and for next week, will be looking at facade and more detailed sections.
  We had a day-visit from architect Harjinder Singh who is on leave from W.S. Atkins of Hangzhou, China (one of the alumni from this design studio in 2003) and we had half a day from Steve Fernandes of Arups, Nottingham, who is an architect and structural engineer. He is coming back in December to see how his advice was taken.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Interim Crit 17 Oct 11

17 Oct 2011: We had the first Tall Buildings interim crit today with a guest visit from Chris Gaylord, who has been taking part in the Tall Buildings module for many years. He is currently working with CABE.
   Each group got two crits during the day - there was the usual range of progress from 'very good' to 'could try harder'. There's three weeks to the next crit in December, so many decisions, and much resolution needs to be done.
Collage by Hu Chen of the Floating Clouds group at work
on their hotel and office tower for New York

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Lukasz visits the TB studio

10 Nov 2011: Lukasz Platkowski of Gensler visited us for a day. We were very lucky to have him as he is doing a lot of travelling to Doha, Dubai and Riyadh, with major projects on site under construction. This was an ideal time for him to visit as he is expert on the process of form finding and configuring of tall buildings. Lukasz delivered a lecture at lunchtime, with some case studies of some of Gensler's current projects. This included the Shanghai Tower which is about 100m high now, and will be about 650m when it is completed. He also covered the KAFD World Trade Center in Riyadh.
Gensler are one of the world's largest architectural practices and their projects page is a wonder to behold!

As for the humbler projects by our students, he says he enjoyed the day and felt that everybody had a concept and a form developing. There's a week to go before the first interim crit, so we anticipate a tough week ahead of modelling and drawing.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ivan visits Tall Building studio

3rd November 2011: We were honoured to have a day with Ivan Jovanovic of BDSP, tutoring and delivering a lecture. This was the second week of design proposals, and the designs are beginning to shape up, literally - we are seeing the agenda and the site analysis becoming a form.
   This set of tutorials is still two weeks from a preliminary crit (on 17th November), so there is still time for major changes of direction, if needed. But we feel that every team has an agenda now, and it amazes me how the 'chemistry of design' works so well every year, and somehow, designs emerge when it all seemed so difficult two weeks earlier.
Ivan's diagram of the design process
Ivan's lecture was ideally pitched, with environmental strategies to apply to this early stage of a project. This is a way to avoid descending to too much detail too early when there are still fundamental things to be understood. The building form and facade have to be considered before one goes overboard with technology add-ons - starting from the outer circle of the diagram.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Jason Pomeroy visit

31 October 2011: Jason Pomeroy, head of the Singapore branch of Broadway Malyan visited the school for a day. He delivered a lecture on the recent construction of a zero-carbon house in KL, Malaysia. The main thermal load is cooling; natural ventilation and water management strategies are important. It was impressive to see the design process explained clearly. He also brought copies of his book and was sold out quickly.
  After that, he delivered his lecture that follows the topic of his PhD, that is about the ideas of Social Spaces in Tall Buildings.
  By the way, we were delighted to meet Jason's wife and mother who had come up to see the Nottingham school.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

TBI'11 First design tutorials

27 Oct 2011: Tall Buildings design is now underway for Autumn 2011, and we have had our first design ideas. The first few weeks have consisted of the Field Course in London, the Tower building exercise, the Site analysis preparations, and now we have had coverage of key topics useful to tall building knowledge. We also have had the first design and agenda ideas.
At this early stage, we encourage the model making to  be very simple and to enjoy the use of free materials like foam, wire, mesh, kebab sticks etc. No laser cutting! We encourage a lot of freehand drawing too - plenty of it. The students also develop ideas on the 'agenda' - the research topic or the special unique qualities that their building will have. We are not commercial developers working for a standard office tower - it has to maintain our interest for the whole of the semester, so we are looking for mixed use buildings with unusual complexities.

In this picture, Pelin and Soni have a model that is quite advanced after only a week, constructed with foamboard and with a credible agenda already. The students are now in 10 groups of 2 and 3. Today, some people came with as many ideas as people, and in the next couple of weeks, they have to move their focus on to a single one that they can agree on. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Things to Remember

7 Oct 2011: Motivational talking! Every semester, DNC delivers a talk on how to work in groups, but actually, most of the talking is done by the students - that's the point.
   Each person in the group has to think of something important about how to work in groups, or things to avoid. We have a scribe who writes it on the wall. Nobody can repeat anything that has already been said. DNC elaborates on each suggestion with an anecdote or illustration or clarification. It's a lot of fun, and it keeps people friendly right through the semester.
  DNC usually starts off the game by offering one suggestion which is "Remember, this is Business" i.e. we must always remember we have a job to do, and not let personal differences stop us achieving that.
  He rounded off the session with a final one, the friendly converse of the first one, that "we shouldn't take ourselves too seriously because we are here to learn and have fun." !
  Thanks to Seetal for writing them on the wall.

Field Visit to London

6 October 2011: Early in each semester, we usually take a bus to London and have a look at the city and some tall buildings. We have to do it all in the one day, so time is short, but we managed to see a lot. On this occasion we had to give the Building Centre (Store St) a miss, because there was much to see. We took the bus to Wembley Park, seeing the great Wembley arch by Fosters. After a long ritual buying Oyster cards we all got on the tube into Liverpool St station.
We first did a turn around the Broadgate Tower and Exchange house both by SOM (this photo is from last Feb 2011), and walked on to the Heron Tower, Bishopsgate, which we had arranged to visit.

Paul Simovic, of architects KPF (Kohn Pederson and Fox) showed us round the Heron Tower, taking us to two key floors, the mid height marketing suite and the upper one. we enjoyed seeing the interior of the building, and appreciating what Paul told us about the construction, and we also enjoyed some wonderful views of London, including this one, looking down on the Gherkin, and seeing Willis and the Shard in the distance.
After admiring Heron (and the glass elevators and the amazing water tank inside the lobby), we walked on to St Helens Place, the Pinnacle, the Gherkin, Lloyds and Willis, the Leadenhall tower site, and on to the Bank of England. Our intention to walk to London Bridge was dashed by a rain shower so we got the tube to London Bridge to see the Shard by Renzo Piano.

  Our final destination was Canary Wharf, for a brisk walkabout before getting the bus home. Here, emerging from Fosters Canary Wharf station canopy.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Meet the new students

4 October 2011: We meet the new intake of students to the Tall Building Studio for 2011-2012. The first semester includes a design on the New York model, so we've been unpacking it, to rebuild. Its far too large, so the peripheral base panels will be lost. We will also use Singapore and Abu Dhabi.

As before, it is very international with student from India, China, Chile, Turkey, Sudan, Vietnam and even Wales!

We are lucky this year to have for the first time, our very own studio - we don't have to hot desk any more, yay! This room in Paton house is not really big enough, but it's ours, and there is plenty of table space for tutorials and for model displays - so we will enjoy it!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Post dissertation meeting

Arash, Suruchi, Ankur, Ming-Wei,
 Maryam, DNC, Ranjit, Phil
Early September 2011: The Dissertations are all complete and handed in, and we had a last meeting with the outgoing MArch STB cohort of 2010-2011. (Two are missing from the photo, Sohar and Fahimeh).
  Feedback was good, and we look forward to meeting the next cohort at the end of the month.
  Between them, our students have gathered good prizes, with awards in the Isover competition, trips to Prague, a model displayed in the Royal Academy, and more recently, shortlistings in the annual CTBUH student competition.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Antony Wood visits exhibition

Antony, DNC, Ankur, Phil, Suruchi
19 July 2011: Antony Wood, who was the member of staff here who created the Tall Buildings design studio, visited the University to be awarded his PhD in Architecture. He has earned this through a distinguished record of publication and service to architecture at the CTBUH. He spent part of the morning with us, viewing the exhibition and finding out how we had run the course this year - 12 months ago he visited us to award our course at Nottingham the first official professional accreditation as a center of Tall Building teaching.
   He met two of our current STB students, Ankur and Suruchi Modi (who won the prizes in London March 2011 and Prague May 2011).
   Antony is on a short trip to England with his entire family, and will be returning to Chicago soon. Immediately after this meeting, we had to take down the exhibition (sadly), but we have kept all the drawings and models in case there's another chance for a show of the work. Phil took off for the airport to spend a couple of weeks at the Venice Tall Buildings Summer School.

Graduation 2011

18 July 2011: The School of the Built Environment had its graduation today..... in the Summer, it is only the undergrad and diploma students graduating. Here is DNC with three of our A-grade Tall Building students from the Feb-June 2010 semester - designing buildings for Leamouth Peninsula.
Rain Luo, Aurelia Li, Ben Minton, DNC
Our MArch STB students will be graduating in December, all being well (good luck with dissertations!)
During the same ceremony, we witnessed the PhD graduation of Dr Antony Wood who started the teaching of Tall Buildings in our department.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Vertical Farming lecture

16 July 2011: Prof Dickson Despommier is the leading writer on Vertical Farming. He is on his way to Manchester to view a real adaptive re-use project for a Manchester warehouse. So on Saturday afternoon he dropped in first to Nottingham to deliver his lecture in the Plant Sciences building at the Sutton Bonington Campus.
    It was a full house, and it was very well received and he followed with a seminar for those who wanted to take it further. Every year that we have done tall buildings we have had a selection of students studying vertical farming, or hydroponic culture or aquaponics - we had many this year, for sites in London, Abu Dhabi and Singapore.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

AJ Footprint covers our exhibition
21 June 2011: The Architects' Journal Footprint page (Hattie Hatman's sustainability blog) is focused on the University of Nottingham end of year show. The are not only covering the Tall Buildings (although that was perhaps the original reason for coming up), so Laura who wrote the article and took the photos has done her best to take it all in. With 1,000 students there is so much to see, and the work of the final years, 3rd and 6th, is of course all displayed for the examiners, its all on show, not curated.
   The work of the 1st, 2nd, 5th yrs and Masters are highly selective so they are easier for the visitor to take in. We in the Tall Buildings unit have done our best to provide examples of sustainable design (the only designs in the entire school to be validated by PHPP), and other units focus on sustainable design. But Laura was disappointed that some of this commitment still did not show in the majority of schemes in other units or years.
   As far as I can see you can subscribe to Hattie's blog without having to be an AK subscriber, so please sign up!
Three of our Persian students, Arash, Soha and Fahimeh discussing the exhibits in our exhibition.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tall Buildings at the Royal Academy

1 June 2011: DNC writes: A few months ago I emailed the students with information about the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition... and Phil and I are delighted to see that one group took up the opportunity!
   The Summer Exhibition is the largest Open exhibition in the world, and includes architectural drawings and models.
    The Manhattan Sky Podium group (the ones who came first in the public vote at Ecobuild) have entered their design and have their model displayed in the architecture room of the Summer Exhibition. This is Shreela Sharan at the private viewing, and the exhibition opens to the public on 7th June.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tall Building Crit

1 June 2011: We had the final crit of the Tall Buildings projects for London, Abu Dhabi and Singapore.
  We had Ivan Jovanovic (BDSP) and Dirk Krolikowski (RSH) as our main guest reviewers and we booked the Performing Arts Studio in the Trent building.
 Dirk and Ivan were very complimentary about the work on show.

It makes it more of an event to have a theatrical space with raked seating and a large display. Each group showed their video, or did the 10 minute talk through their large panel, and we had 10 mins to reply.

Later in the evening, we got together in Beeston for a celebratory dinner, including some of the students from the first semester Tall Building project.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Isover competition in Prague!

22 May 2011: The UK Team of 9 students, DNc and Phil went to Prague for the Isover world final, accompanied by Tom Foster of Isover UK.
We were royally treated in the Crowne Plaza hotel, north of Prague city centre (near the University campus) and saw 56 presentations from 19 countries (3 from each, except Germany who had 2).
All of our teams did excellent verbal presentations, and Green Canyons came second in the world final.
Isover UK organised the process very well, and the exhibition of 8 of the projects at Ecobuild required a much earlier timeline starting in October with a completion by end of January - after which we had stages that took us to the final in Prague. Some of the other countries hadn't started until April 2011.
  We gave the entire Tall Buildings unit an extra week (until 1st June) for their main project to compensate for these days in Prague. It was a great experience for all, although we would prefer to have come first!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May Crit with Ken

12 May 2011: We had our mid May and were honoured to have a visit from Prof Ken Shuttleworth, designer of the Gherkin, and now chief exec of MAKE. I will write more about this visit, with photos, when I get back from Prague.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Summer Tutorials

5 May '11: We had the first tutorials of the summer term, after the long break. Most people have something now, although some people are still shaking the long Easter - Royal-Wedding sleep out of their eyes. A week to go and we have a crit!

Friday, April 8, 2011

High time in New York

7th April 2011: DNC writes: Some of us have been taking part in a field trip in New York. This is a great experience for anybody, but for someone interested in Tall Buildings, it is a seminal moment of connection with the culture of tall - in its most urbanistic manifestation.
Since I last came in 2005, there have been some new towers, notably, the Hearst, the Bank of America, the NY Times, and the almost complete Gehry tower in Spruce St. There are some startlingly innovative new towers in the Chelsea district near the High Line.

Our group includes all grades from First Year to Masters, and all but one come from international locations. Two of our students on this trip are tall building designers - Masoud who was one of the finalists in the Isover competition, and Yang Yang who is designing a Library and residential tower for Abu Dhabi.
Prominent projects by KPF (Shanghai built,
London is under construction)

I shall try to amend this blog item to add more about the visit, but first I will extend special thanks to KPF (Kohn Pedersen Fox) of Bryant Park, NY, one of the world's leading practices who kindly gave us a tour of the office and a very interesting talk on their Sustainability policies and how they are implemented. Many thanks to Denise, Krista, Gara, Sam (and Bill Pedersen himself) for their generous time.

DNC in the Strawberry Field garden, commemorating John LennonThe whole group visited the AppleCentre in Fifth Avenue - the Apple Cube behind was replaced entirely shortly after by an even better one!
Times Square, so lively!View of Columbus Circle through the stretched glass screen of the Time Warner Center

Enjoy this set of 360ยบ panoramic tours of Manhattan!