Saturday, December 15, 2012

Graduation December 2012

14 December 2012: Another proud day for David and Phil as we witness our Masters students' graduation. We also enjoy meeting parents when they have managed to travel to England for the ceremony.
Alejandro Carrasco (STB) and Pelin Gurkan (Design) with DNC
Rong Xu (Environmental) with DNC and Phil
The centre three are tall building graduates, Deepika Singhal, Rong Xu and Janet Huang

Friday, December 14, 2012

Tall Building crits December 2012

13 December 2012: It is the end of the term, but not of the semester. All of the 12 students or student groups have had a 'nearly-final' crit today, by which the building is near enough completed, but there is more to do to finish it off. They have another month over the Xmas vacation to resolve, draw up, model and prove their designs. We had Dik Jarman, Harjinder Singh, Pelin and Yuri as guest critters.

Yang Li and Hao Li with the 'bicycling tower' in Rotterdam


Matt Humphreys with his Vertical Farming tower (a prototype for others in Singapore) 

Michael Photiou with his Education tower in Singapore

Adriana, Amna with a design for the Corniche in Abu Dhabi

Douglas, with cultural and residential tower in Rotterdam

Chengsheng and Fang demonstrate their ideas for a modular tower in Singapore

Yan and Jiawei's twin tower with a bicycling arena park as a skybridge, for Rotterdam

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Yearbook 2012 published with TB pages

9 December 2012: The Architecture and Built Environment department published their Yearbook 2012 this week, with a grand summary of the best work of the academic year 2011-2012. Much of the editorial work and compilation has been done by our very own Philip Oldfield.
   The Tall Building studio have some work included, illustrated here.
Eco-roofscraper for Beach Rd, Singapore, by Pelin Gurkan and Sony Jue Shi
Healing Tower for Elephant and Castle, London, by Noura Ghabra, Janet Huang and Rongxi

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Antony Wood visits the TB Studio

7 December 2012: Antony Wood, Chief Exec of the CTBUH visited our University for the day and spent a couple of hours with the Tall Building studio. Antony created the Tall Building studio in 2002, and went on to Chicago in 2006 to run design studios in IIT, and to head up the CTBUH (Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat).
Our M.Arch course in Sustainable Tall Buildings is the only such course in the world at the moment, and we are very happy to get a professional accreditation from the CTBUH. This is good for us, as the CTBUH is the leading knowledge center for tall buildings, and anybody interested in doing Masters courses in tall buildings is likely to browse the CTBUH site. It is good for the CTBUH too, to have a major university forming a specialised Masters course to engage with the principal ideas of the CTBUH.
   Antony first awarded us an accreditation back in 2010, and this visit included a renewal of that honour. The students had a chance to show their work, as far as they can at this stage - one week from the December crit. He was very quick to understand the 12 projects he was shown, and give forthright feedback and advice. He also had time to meet Phil Oldfield and discuss future directions for research.

Antony's UK visit was also to plan for the CTBUH conference of Spring 2013, and the BBC very kindly ran a series of TV and Radio features about tall buildings, including an interview with Antony on the future of skyscraper design.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Student work published in Middle East

4 December 2012: We do what we can to get the student work published and we were delighted to see that two of our MArch STB students got publicity for their work. Mimi Wadidy and Alejandro Carrasco's design of the 'Sikkas Tower' on our site in Abu Dhabi was published in

To quote their commentary:
"The vertical interpretation is said to create comfortable spaces which are shaded from the harsh desert sun and wind, and suitable for circulation and socio-communal activities – and courtyards found in traditional buildings of the region.

In the tall building design the traditional corridor is eliminated and instead the building uses a series of multi-storey stacked sikkas which open to the outside where they meet the building perimeter, thus framing key views and allowing for natural ventilation of circulation and social spaces.

These sikkas link to apartments, and also to a series of six-storey courtyards which act as the social hub of the building, creating gathering spaces where people can meet and children can come to play in the shade."

Friday, November 30, 2012

Steve Fernandez brings Structure

29 Nov 2012: Steve Fernandez of Arups (Nottingham) came for the day and did his lecture on Tall Building Structure. He spent the rest of the day seeing the proposals of each of the 12 individuals or groups. This is his second year of visiting, and he has done much to raise the level of structural thinking in the TB Studio.

Steve vigorously demonstrating some thoughts about the Bicycling tower in Rotterdam

The Li-Li tower in Rotterdam is getting Steve's advice. When he first looked, they didn't have a plan of a typical hotel bedroom level, and they got a bit of criticism. So while Steve looked at another group for half an hour and returned, they had it all planned and drawn! Excellent!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Panorama of TB Studio

Panorama on 22 November 2012

Lukasz and Ivan visit TB Studio

22 November 2012: We had a wonderfully busy day with visits from both Lukasz Platkowski (Gensler) and Ivan Jovanovic (BDSP). At lunchtime we also had a lecture from Alastair Guthrie (Arups) and he stayed for some studio time in the afternoon. Professor Shihong from Beijing was also with us, as was Yuri (Malaysia). Every student had a chance for one-to-one tutoring with all of them.

Ivan and Yuri have a look at Douglas's design (Rotterdam)Ivan chats to Hao Li and Yang Li (Rotterdam)

Lukasz looks at Jeff Smith's design for Singapore

Michael Photiou shows Ivan his School Tower design for Singapore.
Vivek, Song and Weiqi discuss their triple tower idea with Alastair Guthrie.
The whole room is buzzing with everybody circulating, discussing their ideas.
The Rotterdam groups are deeply absorbed in conversation, while in the background, the Abu Dhabi groups talk to Phil. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Ole Scheeren uses our site!

14 November 2012: We have used a site on Beach Rd/Rochor Rd, Singapore, just between the Gateway towers and the Parkview tower. Its great to see a real scheme proposed for this site by Ole Scheeren, as published in Dezeen magazine.  In some ways, his site analysis has been similar to some of the better schemes our students have produced, most closely, the one by Pelin and Sonny last year.

Friday, November 16, 2012

First Interim Crit Nov 2012

15 Nov 2012: Three weeks after the site analysis, the teams are far enough advanced with their individual designs to have a first interim crit. Everybody gets at least two crits in the same day using a rota with two tutor teams. This doubles the tutor contact for them, and it is up to the students to make sense of the varying constructive advice they are given. 

Phil waving his magic wand over a Singapore scheme

Nearby, Jeff considers his triple tower idea for Singapore, and In the distance, there's a lot of thinking going on about vertical farming in Rotterdam

Phil's got some explaining to do, for Abu Dhabi

The Big Wheel comes to Rotterdam, as one group picks Bicycling as a theme

Friday, November 2, 2012

Tutorial progress with CCCC scheme

2 Nov 2012: our Culture Context Climate and Concept project is making progress, midway through the term. All the students have some sort of a scheme - it's always a nervous moment making that leap from analysis etc into an architectural idea that may fit the site. We are getting there!
The Singapore students are explaining their Tanjong Pagar schemes to DNC, Yuri and Phil.
Rotterdam students showing their first proposals for the Oude Havn site.
We have sites in Rotterdam, Abu Dhabi and Singapore, all with very different climatic conditions and social contexts. To make things more challenging, the R and S sites are over underground railway stations and tunnels.
A rather complicated proposal for Singapore!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Site Analysis presentations

25 October 2012: The large city groups delivered their presentations for each city, Rotterdam, Singapore and Abu Dhabi. After this stage, they form into individual or smaller groups of 2 or 3.

Singapore group

Singapore group

Rotterdam presenting


Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi

Monday, October 22, 2012

Days of Site Analysis

22 October 2012: In the early stage of the project, the teams are looking at their sites (Rotterdam, Abu Dhabi and Singapore) for a presentation of their models and site analysis. 

Rotterdam site is taking shape, using lasercut wood sheets

Singapore team focusing on their graphic material for the site analysis PPT presentation

Saturday, October 6, 2012

London Field Trip Oct 2012

6 October 2012: The Tall Building studio had a day trip to London, visiting key tall buildings.

We usually start the field trips in the London Building Centre where students can get an overall picture of the city, and see where new building clusters (white models) are being added. We can also see the current exhibitions at the centre. We then moved on to Liverpool St station and looked at Exchange House, Broadgate and the Broadgate Tower. We then walked south along Bishopsgate to the Heron Tower.
   Although our sites are in Rotterdam, Abu Dhabi and Singapore, we can't travel to these and back in a day. It is valuable for our students, especially the overseas ones, to see the capital city.
Broadgate Tower, SOMBroadgate Tower, SOM
Walking south along Bishopsgate, the Heron Tower comes to view.We are due for a tour of the Heron Tower and Architect Paul S. of KPF is there to show us round. 

Until the floors are all let, the Heron Tower has a floor given over to visitors containing models of the building, and providing wonderful views in every direction.
There are parts of the south facade that do not have PV on, and its possible to get some of the best views in London, looking over the Square Mile towards the Thames.
The Gherkin in the foreground left (which we visited for lunch later) , Willis and Leadenhall in the middle ground and the London Bridge Shard in the distance. 
Model demonstrating the 'village' organisation of the floors in the Heron.
The elevator cores are on the South side and the entire core elevation is dappled with PV cells.
There is an amazingly large fish tank in the entrance lobby.
Looking north and downward view of the typical Heron Tower 'village' atrium.Typical three storey high 'village' atrium. the glass walls surrounding it can be glass, or if a single tenant takes the entire 'village', the glass can be removed, and an open stair installed.
Construction photo of the Leadenhall Tower (Cheesegrater) by Rogers Stirk Harbour. The Ladderframe. The east elevation of the Leadenhall tower, showing the latticed megaframe of the office spaces and the ladderframe that forms the north corner. 
North elevation of the Leadenhall Tower, the main elevator core. We walked south, across London Bridge to the London Shard. Looking back north, this is Rafael Vinoly's 'Nokia' Tower going up on Fenchurch St. 

We usually finish up in Canary Wharf, the home of the largest cluster of high-rise in London. We took a waterbus from the London Shard to Canary Wharf, a great way to see the city.
At CW, it is also important to see the 'Groundscraper', the vast world that lives underground at Canary Wharf  - the shopping centre and the huge interior of Canary Wharf Jubilee Line station.