Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Briefing for London Project

30 Jan 2012: The new Tall Building Studio met for the first time for a briefing, and formed 3 working groups. Each group has a fair distribution of STB students experienced in tall building, and of EED students who have done the Isover Multi-comfort house competition with Lucelia and Brian Ford.
   Each group has to do their own site analysis, and they must look at a special topic in addition - Group A to consider the adaptation of Passivhaus and Active House ideas to tall buildings, Group B to consider Social spaces and Multi use towers, and Group C to tell us about London and tall buildings in London, including the more notable towers, but including examples of residential high rise.

Our site is the triangle bounded by Newington Butts, Dante Rd and Brook Drive. There is already some student housing on the site and two leisure centres, and our primary site within that is the flattened slab that used to be the London Park Hotel. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Final crit of first semester

19 Jan 2012: We had the final crit of the semester, and everyone completed on time. We had Ivan visiting, Dirk was booked but couldn't get to Nottingham, and from in house we had Katharina Borsi and Amy Tang. Steve Fernandes called in for the afternoon to check on structures. One of our alumni from last year, Lee Bali, stepped in to take Dirk's place.
  This project was the star of the show, a mixed use twin tower scheme for Singapore with a special interest in PV solar capture and water autonomy, supported by some fantastic renderings in Cinema 4D (Pelin Gurkan and Soni Jue Shi).
The Oasis team explain their residential tower for Abu Dhabi, with a special interest in creating reed bed wetlands on sky courts using falling grey water. (Aaron Marriot and Clarissa Wenborn)
 There is still 10 days in which the students can rest and then do a bit of work to improve their artwork for portfolio submission at the end of January.
Talkback at the end of the day
We will try to post some more images, perhaps on issuu.com.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tall ships keel over

Screen capture from BBC website
19 Jan 2012: I have been amazed at how high modern cruise ships have become, and even ferries seem high out of the water. They have shallow draft, to avoid running aground, and because tank tests must show they are stable. The Concordia is something like 14 storeys high, depending on how you count, and the draft is only 8.2m. Its impossible for the centre of gravity to be below the waterline, but the vectors from the CofG to the waterline are such that it cannot capsize, providing it is not punctured.
See this BBC page, with drawings of the ship tilting.

 They had great problems lowering the lifeboats because on the low side, the boats would be crushed by the capsizing ship and on the high side, the lifeboats would not release.
 We have all seen how the Titanic sank.... with a similar gash in the side, she gradually filled up and gracefully settled in upright position into the water, taking several hours to do it, and allowing lifeboats to be launched both sides (until it finally broke and pitched down nose first). The Costa Concordia, and the Herald of Free Enterprise in the 1980s are so high that they capsize sideways when punctured, the capsize happening in a few minutes. Also, the shallowness and nature of the seabed in the the more recent cases prevented the ships from sinking upright.

WTC collapse
If buildings did this, there would be a very different attitude to structure. The twin WTC towers in New York were fatally damaged, but they fell vertically, like a collapsing accordion, within their own footprint. Imagine if the impact of the planes had caused the buildings to either snap (and the upper part fall) or to fall over onto its side like a collapsing tree, or like this ship has done.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Secret mission to the Elephant

9 Jan 2012: DNC visited the site for next semester's project which is going to be in the Elephant and Castle, London, wearing his best black hat. Chris Gaylord lives a mile away in Kennington, and turned up on a Boris bike.  Pelin Gurkan travelled down (also incognito) by bus and we all met near the Tabernacle, an impressive Roman portico. We did a walkabout of the area, including the site itself, then looking at the housing, the Strata tower, the leisure centre, the railway station, and the currently being demolished Heygate estate. The site itself is surrounded with hoarding, but this is not a problem, as it is flat and vacant, and there are enough views of it from aerial photos and cracks in the hoardings.
The programme for the building is to be the Vertical Passivhaus (or 'Active House' depending on how the students interpret the brief.)

Mission completed, we walked west a short while and had lunch in the Imperial War Museum. After a quick look at some of the exhibition, we got the Tube to Goodge St for a browse of the Building Centre. The London Model is excellent, and we shall make this the starting point for the Field course in February. We walked on to the office of MAKE, nearby, for a briefing about the Elephant and Castle, from John Prevc. Make have been the master planners for the most recent attempt at regeneration, and there has been a consultation process during 2011, and going on into 2012.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Researching the Elephant and Castle

9th Jan 2012: DNC and Pelin went to London for the day to check out the site for the coming project - Elephant and Castle. We also met Chris Gaylord on site (who turned up on a Boris-bike), and had lunch at the Imperial War Museum (pictured). Later, we took the Tube to Goodge st to meet John Prevc at Make who are the lead architects for the master planning process to regenerate the Heygate Estate at the Elephant. 

DNC and Chris pose in front of the V2 rocket!