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WEDNESDAY 21 FEBRUARY 2018

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Dar lights up Old Street Circus

Lead News

DAR Group 

Old Street Circus would create another landmark circus and a useable space for Londoners

Dar has been longlisted for the prestigious redesign of the iconic Old Street Roundabout in London. Dar’s design is to create a diverse, vibrant landmark for London called Old Street Circus. The design reclaims the roundabout for the people of London to create a thriving, active, healthy, safe and inclusive urban community green space that draws in, connects and captivates, giving people good reasons to visit. Old Street Circus would create another landmark circus in London. The transformation into a genuinely useable public space creates scope for hosting a wide-range of public and commercial activities and services, generating revenue for reinvestment in the progressive enhancement of the space.  The outer circular screens allow information to be displayed dynamically, depending on time of day, season, and occasion, the inner screen can display separate information or imag

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WAN Urban Challenge Awards

The ‘Big Debate’ focuses on the London Plan

The ‘Big Debate’ focuses on the London Plan

Experts have responded to the draft London Plan which sets out plans for London’s spatial development over the next 20 years

The draft London plan will have far reaching implications for architects, engineers and the property industry. Politicians and property professionals must work harder to effectively work together with communities if demanding housing targets are to be met and London is to thrive. This was the key response from over 1,000 professionals, politicians and community groups at the Big Debate, organised by New London Architecture, to discuss the key policies guiding the draft London Plan. However, this new draft of the plan to guide London’s spatial development for the next 20 years was given a broadly warm welcome on 5 February as London deputy mayors Jules Pipe and James Murray took part in the debate on how the document might help meet the demands of the city and its citizens. Jules Pipe, deputy mayor for planning, said that the new plan was ‘intended to be a blueprint on how we can continue to succeed as a world city’, but is very definitely not a war on the suburbs, an encouragement to garden grabbing or a move to try and ‘preserve every last inch of industrial space in aspic’. Neither does greater density mean tall buildings or a drop-off in quality. Something had to be done on the city’s ‘growing inequality’, which will, Pipe said, be addressed through the ‘good growth’ guiding principles and the ‘ambitious, delivery-focused’ plan now out for consultation. ‘Most importantly it means ensuring people have more of a say in the development of their city’, he said, ‘so that growth brings out the best in places, while providing jobs and other opportunities for communities that are already there’. Polls held on the night found that most (86%) agreed that densifying the suburbs was necessary if we are to deliver more homes and jobs, and that the mayor working with wider south east partners on strategic infrastructure and housing targets would prove effective in providing affordable homes for Londoners (72%). But an overwhelming majority (93%) said there should be more powers to stop land banking and 96% of those polled felt London would fall short in delivering 65,000 new homes a year. Deputy mayor for housing and residential development James Murray disagreed, declaring it is possible to do so and without building on the Green Belt, asking questions about density and using a mixture of small sites and colocation as well as the volume housebuilder. The GLA, he added, recognised it needs to play a more active, interventionist and muscular role in bringing land forward, since ‘all roads lead to land.’ ‘At the centre from my point of view is a commitment to building genuinely affordable homes’ he said. ‘It is incumbent on us to set out a blueprint of how that can be achieved’. The event was watched at Friends House by an audience of over 1,000, and streamed live on the internet, including questions to panels both from the room and online. Issues covered ranged from density to the impact of Brexit, and the importance of planning discussions to remember the human element beyond just numbers or architecture alone. Yolande Barnes, director of world research at Savills, for example, said that it was important to remember that housing density is not a number. ‘We don’t live in housing units, we live in neighbourhoods, we live in places’, she said. We need to pay a close attention to how we design our neighbourhoods, and although the plan is a great start, we need to think of new mechanisms and levers to make things happen. British Land planning director Michael Meadows stressed the importance of community engagement, while dRMM Architects’ Sadie Morgan said that London ‘cannot do it on its own’ but that infrastructure projects like Crossrail Two and East Thames Crossings are all ‘essential’. Create Streets founding director Nicholas Boys Smith said London faces the biggest clean air and housing challenge since the 19th century – the plan needs to ‘come alive’ for the wider public. On housing, Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation chairman Liz Peace said it was important to use scale to make a dent in housing numbers, with Opportunity Areas like hers offering a chance to ‘think and build big’, with a sellable ‘brand’, perhaps creating a car-free community. RIBA president Ben Derbyshire, moreover, welcomed the plan’s emphasis on design continuity, and that now was a good chance to create a ‘wonderful new vision for our suburban neighbourhoods’, turning Nimbies into Yimbies through financial incentives as set out in his Supurbia project. But land values are not the same across London, which is a problem in the plan, suggested Jo Negrini, chief executive of LB Croydon. Volume sites are important but so are the key small sites programmes such as Brick by Brick, and more collaboration needs to happen to make things stack up. Finally, Claire Bennie, director, Municipal and Mayor’s Design Advocate said that all developers want is simplicity, great growth needs great leadership, but the main problems is tax. ‘Tax is crucial if we are to house all Londoners.’ The final session of the Big Debate was the assembly members’ response, chaired by LSE London director Tony Travers, who pointed out that we are living through a time of a change of mood to large developments and the way they are presented and conveyed to communities. Labour’s Nicky Gavron said she believed we could build 65,000 units and applauded higher targets of affordable housing. But planning departments need more resources and the density matrix and framework should be revived, along with ‘active state intervention’ to deliver the plan. ‘Bring it on’, she said. Green Party assembly member Caroline Russell admired the plan’s commitment to healthy streets and made the case for no further expansion of London’s airports, while Liberal Democrat Cllr Adele Morris, LB Southwark, said it was a ‘really tough ask’ for people to ‘get deep and involved’ in the plan. The key issue was the affordability of housing, which the plan has acted on but which will still be overridden by viability, she felt. Finally, Conservative assembly member Andrew Boff said the plan did represent a war on the suburbs, with the abolition of the density matrix giving developers ‘carte blanche’ to develop more. ‘I realise how developers are; I quite like greed, I’m a Tory!’, said Boff pointing out that the plan does not include any references to the word ‘beauty’. ‘This is supposed to be an outbreak of peace with the suburbs; no, it’s war on the suburbs as sure as eggs is eggs’, he said. ‘And this is a war that the suburbs must win.’ David Taylor, editor, New London Quarterly  @davidntaylor    

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‘Parachute Hybrids’ take shape in Moscow

‘Parachute Hybrids’ take shape in Moscow

As well as employing a new building typology ‘Tushino’ will have a mix of housing types, providing homes for all economic brackets

Steven Holl Architects, in collaboration with art-group “Kamen”, has won the international design competition for the residential quarters of the Tushino district in Moscow, beating Fuksas Architecture, Zaha Hadid Architects, Mad Global, and Tsimalo, Lyashenko & Partners. The development will provide a new mixed-use center filled with housing, social spaces, a kindergarten and an elementary school on a former paratrooper airfield. Steven Holl Architects has proposed a new building typology, “Parachute Hybrids,” which combines residential bar and slab structures with supplemental programming suspended in sections above, like parachutes frozen in the sky. Large circular openings in the towers’ facades give a defining geometric character and express health and social spaces. The master plan is organized to shape public space with maximum sunlight exposure. The buildings wrap around to create large, public garden and playground spaces as a reference to the site’s former use as a paratrooper air field. Tushino is located in north-western Moscow along the bank of the Moscow River. For the greater part of the 20th century, the historic site was home to a flying and parachuting school, including the Central Aero Club of the USSR, and acted as an aviation parade ground. In the early 2000s, city officials proposed turning the uninhabited district into an 200,000 sq m urban center for housing, commerce, offices, entertainment and sports. “Tushino can be an important urban model for 21st century high density living, shaping public open space,” said Steven Holl. “The new building type we have proposed here, inspired by the site’s history, is unique to this place.” Developer Vi Holding has stressed the importance of a comfortable living environment for the project, incorporating rich infrastructure and education spaces into the programming. The new kindergarten and elementary school are designed to stand alone in architecturally distinct buildings that take advantage of natural light and green space. The housing complex will also contain amenities such as health spas, pools, cafés and lounges. Tushino will have a mix of housing types and will provide homes for all economic brackets. Steven Holl Architects is committed to long-term, sustainable design in every project. The design of the Tushino housing project utilizes green roofs, solar pergolas, daylighting, rainwater recycling, and geothermal heating and cooling. Apartments will be enclosed in a thin section facade of operable glass that will help insulate the buildings in winter and create open balconies for every apartment in warmer months. Eco corridors, undisturbed by automotive traffic, run through the site and connect to the Moscow River. The first phase of drawings are to be completed March 15, 2018 Nick Myall News editor

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Piuarch creates new Gucci HQ

Piuarch creates new Gucci HQ

The new Gucci HQ is a 100% sustainable project which has been carried out in a sympathetic way to respect an original 1920s building

The redevelopment project of the old Caproni factory in Milan, Italy, by Piuarch, focuses on enhancing the stylistic features of the 1920s’ architecture and aims to transform this old plant into a large complex for Gucci, holding offices, showrooms and spaces for fashion shows and operations connected with graphics, as well as a canteen and restaurant. Recovery and enhancement of the characteristic shed buildings was the first element of the redevelopment project: set out in a regular pattern across the site and featuring modular structural bays, the abandoned industrial warehouses with exposed-brick facades generate, thanks to their spatial layout, a seamless interaction between the inside and outside.  Particular attention was paid to the Hangar recovery, a volume of “exceptional” size, once intended for the final assembly of Caproni aircraft, that is now used to house the fashion shows from 2017. Moreover, the Hangar is enhanced by a large open and covered square connected with the main pedestrian axis facing to via Mecenate. This covered square acts as the core of the pedestrian system that includes a tree-lined square, common gardens, patios and green walls. Inside the regular layout of solid structures and empty spaces, a new six-storey tower closely interacts with the old construction: characterized by a glass façade covered with a regular pattern of sunscreens, the new building breaks down the site’s symmetry and tends to draw together all the different functions.  The new Gucci Headquarters is a 100% sustainable project, with a Leed Gold certification, and considers as the main focus of the workspace the quality of life. In terms of energy performance, the project has allowed an average of 25% savings on energy costs and a share of the total annual energy cost is offset by renewable energy generated on site through the use of a photovoltaic system and the heating and cooling effectuated by heat pumps using the groundwater. A highly advanced water management system allows saving 20% of water for the users management. The entire area also provides an advanced plant management to measure the power consumption of individual systems (such as lighting, heating and cooling). Finally, during the construction, over 90% of waste products were recycled.  Nick Myall News editor

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IN BRIEF

David Chipperfield Architects Works 2018

An exhibition at the Basilica Palladiana, Vicenza, Italy. 12 May &ndas

Darling Associates expands leadership

Following the studio’s continued strong performance, Darling Ass

Woods Bagot Announces New China Head

Stephen Jones has been appointed Regional Executive Chair, China, for

EVENTS

22.02.2018 

Annual Architecture & Design Film Festival 
Annual Architecture & Design Film Festival Washington D.C. from February 2 

12.03.2018 

Facade Tectonics 
BEYOND THE DIALOGUE SKINS on Campus: Bridging industry and academia in pur 

20.03.2018 

Planning for High Density Housing 
The population of most of our major towns and cities is rising rapidly, put 

WAN AWARDS London Ceremony: Thursday 28 February

WAN AWARDS London Ceremony: Thursday 28 February

The inaugural WAN AWARDS ceremony is just over a week away and there’s still time to book tickets for this prestigious event

Architects, designers and clients responsible for some of the best projects created across the globe during 2017 will gather at the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square on the evening of Wed 28th February 2018.  We are thrilled to announce that the ceremony will be presented by Suzannah Lipscomb, historian, author, broadcaster, and award-winning academic.  Join us for a three course dinner, exhibition of shortlisted work, awards presentation, and to celebrate the architectural work of the world’s most talented and influential firms. At the event all the winners will be interviewed and photographed for content to be used following the event. The trophy presentations to the winners and highlights from the evening will also be captured on video with winner’s receiving their own video clip. Following the evening content from the event will be shared online across the brand promoting the shortlist, the winners and the event. A sample of some of the architects attending the inaugural awards ceremony at the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square include: Arup Barr Gazetas  Patel Taylor Perkins and Will  Hamonic + Masson Associes Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects  SimpsonHaugh  UNStudio  WATG  White Arkitekter We look forward to seeing you on 28th February 2018 for what promises to be a must attend event. Click here for more details and to buy tickets  Nick Myall News editor

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Lighting up Richmond’s arts district

Lighting up Richmond’s arts district

Designed by Steven Holl Architects, the ICA is a gateway between university and city, anchoring Richmond in the USA’s vibrant arts district

Opening on April 21, 2018, the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University, USA, will be the first contemporary museum in Richmond, anchoring one of the city’s busiest junctures and vibrant arts district. Designed by Steven Holl the ICA will bring a vital new dimension to the research university, also serving residents and the global arts community. Spanning 41,000 sq ft, the building comprises fluid exhibition and programming spaces across its three levels, and is capable of housing a wide range of multi-media installations. Keeping with Virginia Commonwealth University’s emphasis on sustainability, the building incorporates state-of-the-art green technologies. Integral features of the building include a 240-seat auditorium, café, four green roofs, classrooms, art storage facilities, a fabrication workshop, a terrace and catering kitchen. About the ICA’s Design The open design of the ICA features dynamic exhibition and programming spaces that can be creatively activated to support widely varied forms of contemporary art. The glass walls and windows create continuity between the interior and exterior spaces of the building. On the first floor, a 4,000-square-foot gallery and café, bar, and concept shop radiate from the ICA’s central forum and frame an outdoor garden, which Steven Holl describes as the “Thinking Field,” that will be used for social gatherings and public programs. The first floor also features a state-of-the-art 240-seat auditorium for film screenings, performances, lectures, and other programs. The second floor includes two forking galleries and an adaptable “learning lab” for interactive engagement. It also includes a publicly accessible terrace, featuring one of four green roofs. The third floor features a gallery with soaring, 33-foot-high walls and houses one of the administrative suites and the boardroom. Additional staff offices are located in the building’s lower level, which also includes a lobby for visitors, art storage and preparation facilities, a fabrication workshop, a green room, the catering kitchen, and general storage. “We designed the ICA to be a flexible, forward-looking instrument that will both illuminate and serve as a catalyst for the transformative possibilities of contemporary art,” said architect Steven Holl. “Like many contemporary artists working today, the ICA’s design does not draw distinctions between the visual and performing arts. The fluidity of the design allows for experimentation and will encourage new ways to display and present art that will capitalize on the ingenuity and creativity apparent throughout the VCU campus.”  In keeping with VCU’s master sustainability plan, the ICA’s design incorporates state-of-the-art technologies and environmentally conscious design elements, and makes use of numerous natural resources. The pre-weathered, satin-finish zinc exterior of the Markel Center, which houses the ICA, includes interspersed clear- and translucent-glass walls and skylights that infuse the building with natural light and lessen the reliance on nonrenewable energy. These include the use of geothermal wells to provide heating and cooling energy for the building, and four green roofs to absorb storm water, offset carbon emissions, and maximize insulation. Native plantings include wood oats, little bluestem, Pennsylvania sedge, and goldenrod. Building materials include Virginia bluestone and custom glass cavity walls, designed to exhaust heat in the summer and harness it in the winter. The project is designed to meet LEED Gold Certification standards. The WAN Awards Civic Buildings category is now open for entries  Click here for more details  or email wanawards@haymarket.com Nick Myall News editor

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Zaha Hadid’s One Thousand Museum tops out

Zaha Hadid’s One Thousand Museum tops out

Zaha Hadid’s first and final residential skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere takes a major step towards 2018 completion

Developers Louis Birdman, Gregg Covin, Kevin Venger and Regalia Group along with New York-based Plaza Construction announced this week that the highly anticipated One Thousand Museum by Zaha Hadid Architects has topped out. The 62-storey tower with 83 half and full-floor residences marks the late Pritzker Prize winner’s first and final residential skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. This milestone is paired with a rendering release of the amenity spaces, revealing new architectural details and further insight into Zaha Hadid’s vision. The project is on track for an early completion in late 2018. The developers celebrated this accomplishment and topped-out the structure with an elegant private event on the rooftop of the recently completed Frost Science Museum, located in the adjacent Museum Park which offers a direct view of One Thousand Museum and the Downtown Miami skyline. The evening celebration offered guests an unobstructed view of the tower, passed hors d’oeuvres and flowing champagne. “We’re now one step closer to revealing Zaha Hadid’s forward-thinking design,” says Louis Birdman, one of the co-developers on the project. “Even in its current state, the building already stands out as the most iconic architectural work on Miami’s skyline. We’re excited to have developed something so unique and special for Miami.” The new renderings of One Thousand Museum showcase the project’s Sky Lounge as well as the double-height Aquatic Centre with indoor pool, and the Lifestyle Centre and Spa, which overlooks the tower’s Sun and Swim Terrace level. Additional amenities in the impressive portfolio include a private on premise, bank-quality vault, multimedia theatre and private dining room. The building will also offer a most unique asset: a private helipad available for residents on-demand to take them to nearby destinations, which is currently the only planned helipad on a private residential skyscraper in all of Florida. Interior construction has already started for the amenity spaces, also designed by Zaha Hadid Architects. Unit interiors include kitchens and closets by Poliform, appliances by Gagganeau and Sub-Zero, interior LED lighting by Apure and home automation by Crestron. The developers recently unveiled a fully finished model residence outfitted by Brazilian furnishing company, Artefacto, as a preview of what’s to come. “This is a project that will not only enhance Miami’s skyline, but also redefine the standard of luxury for residential projects,” said Brad Meltzer, President of Plaza. “We do not shy away from challenging projects, as such we were immediately interested when we saw the overall complexity of the job. To date, the project team has faced some major tests, but the project has remained on schedule and we’re looking forward to the successful completion.” Making it arguably one of the world’s most challenging builds, the project’s curved exoskeleton is made up of 5,000 pieces of lightweight glass-fibre reinforced concrete (GFRC) manufactured in and imported from Dubai. This is first skyscraper in the world to utilize GFRC as a permanent formwork in the construction of the tower’s structure. The unique structural exoskeletal design allows for maximized open space and spans between columns as expansive as 40 feet. The methods of construction and the complexity of design were so unique and challenging that the process of building One Thousand Museum has been detailed in the new documentary series titled “Impossible Builds,” airing on PBS on February 7th, 2018. One Thousand Museum is one of only a few projects worldwide that will be featured in this series. Completion is expected in late 2018. Nick Myall News editor The WAN Awards Future Projects category is now open for entries  Click here for more details  or email wanawards@haymarket.com  

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Reinventing an industrial past

Reinventing an industrial past

This new affordable housing scheme in Walthamstow pays homage to the area’s industrial past

A new housing scheme on Sutherland Road in Walthamstow, north east London, has recently completed, providing 59 affordable homes, and features a shared communal garden and health centre. Developed by L&Q and designed by Levitt Bernstein, the project has transformed a derelict industrial site into a new residential community. The scheme takes the form of a courtyard, with larger, four or five storey buildings to the south and east, falling to smaller, two storey mews houses at the west and a two storey health centre to the north. The aesthetic takes its cue from the industrial setting.  The street elevation is wrapped in brick with a ‘random’ pattern of windows and balconies. Regular holes punched through give views of the courtyard, whilst the distinctive, irregular saw-toothed roof creates a sense of individuality. In contrast, the mews houses have a more traditional form, with steeply pitched roofs to reinforce the module of individual dwellings. This is offset by the chosen material: striking red corrugated metal cladding, again playing on the surrounding industrial context and giving these houses a strong identity. Notably, all homes, whether one or two bedroom apartments or three bedroom mews houses, are affordable and dual aspect. In order to future proof homes, roof spaces within the mews houses have been built with staircases and insulation already in place, allowing easy adaptation for the provision of additional bedrooms. Tony Harker, Sales and Customer Service Director at L&Q, said: “We are delighted with this scheme – not only does it provide much-needed, high quality, affordable homes for local people, but it is a striking addition to the streetscape that has been a catalyst for the wider regeneration of the area.” The landscape plays a crucial role in unifying the scheme.  The colour of the mews homes spreads through the central courtyard space through the use of innovative recycled glass paving units and red planting species such as scarlet tulips, red sedums and berrying shrubs. A variety of environments are provided for residents, from formal lawns to a toddler’s play area. This space is designed to encourage informal use, whilst responding to the site’s industrial heritage by featuring small timber trains sat on inlaid steel ‘tracks’. A three storey opening in the south western corner of one of the apartment buildings creates a communal terrace on the second floor, providing relaxed amenity space with immediate views over the courtyard and beyond to the reservoirs further west. This opening also allows light to penetrate deep into the site, meaning the courtyard benefits from sunlight even in the darkest winter months. Gary Tidmarsh, Chairman at Levitt Bernstein, said: “The aesthetic of the new homes on this small site deliberately challenges the traditional vernacular of those nearby, and by doing so, reinvigorates and makes a substantial contribution to the transformation of the area.” Nick MyallNews editor The WAN Awards Residential category is now open for entries  Click here for more details or email wanawards@haymarket.com    

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David Bernstein - 24 June 1937 - 21 January 2018

David Bernstein - 24 June 1937 - 21 January 2018

David Bernstein, a pioneer of high density social housing, has passed away aged 80

David Bernstein, who has died aged 80, was one of five assistants who worked for the architect Patrick Hodgkinson on the design of the Brunswick Centre, near St Pancras station, London. The project was the first large-scale scheme that proved that housing could be built at high densities without tall tower blocks. According to the Guardian, it was initially planned as luxury shops and flats; Bernstein’s task in 1966 was to adapt the flats as low-cost housing for the London borough of Camden, after the developer miscalculated the rental income. A fellow assistant was David Levitt and the two architects resolved to practise together. As an American who had arrived in London in 1964, he saw through fresh eyes the problems of neglected, overcrowded properties in the city. In the Notting Hill area the poor quality housing was the legacy of the local agent Peter Rachman and it had a major  impact on Notting Hill’s West Indian community. Bruce Kenrick had been similarly moved in 1963 to form the Notting Hill Housing Trust, whose chief executive, John Coward, encouraged Bernstein to contact another new charity, Shelter, launched at the moment when Ken Loach’s television play Cathy Come Home brought Britain’s housing crisis to public attention. Bernstein founded the Circle 33 Housing Association with Levitt and their wives in 1968, and used his architectural talents not to build eye-catching designs like the Brunswick Centre but to create good, cheap homes, mainly through conversion work following a grant from Shelter. For its first six years, the architectural practice Levitt Bernstein (also formed in 1968) concentrated on social housing for Circle 33. “We found there were too many clients between us and the people who were to live in the housing we were doing, and we wanted to get closer,” Bernstein explained in 1977. The Housing Subsidies Act of 1967 had made it slightly easier for housing associations to get government grants, and Bernstein and Levitt spent their time surveying and converting Victorian houses, and managing their rents. Bernstein’s beliefs owed something to Jane Jacobs, whose The Death and Life of Great American Cities in 1961 challenged the rebuilding of great cities with modern blocks (exemplified by the Brunswick Centre), and more to his experience of inner London, blighted by a planned motorway “box” or redeveloped with blocks that ignored their residents’ needs. The reaction to modernist orthodoxy reflected the radical zeitgeist of 1968. Circle became one of Britain’s largest housing associations, since 2016 part of the Clarion Housing Group. The Levitt Bernstein practice was a conventional partnership but profits were shared. In encouraging egalitarianism, Levitt and Bernstein recognised their own youth and inexperience and, explained Levitt, wanted to make it “a nice place to work”. Graduates arrived with portfolios of political tracts rather than drawings, but by 1977 they had 40 staff, including a high proportion of female architects. A scheme from that year was Hart Hill Lane, 33 sheltered flats for elderly people and 10 family homes in Luton. David was born in New York, the son of ambitious Jewish parents, Sol Bernstein, who worked for Miller Bros hats, and his wife, Diana. He read architecture at the University of Cincinnati before in 1962 he took Louis Kahn’s master class at the University of Pennsylvania. The same year he married Beverly Liden, an economist of Lutheran extraction whom he had known since high school. His parents were unhappy with the match and in 1964 the young couple determined on a fresh start and moved to London. They never returned. Both joined the staff of the Architectural Association, David to supplement his income working for William Whitfield and then Hodgkinson by teaching, while Beverly quickly rose to the rank of registrar and developed a new career as a planner. They were exceptionally close, with David retiring early to spend time with Beverly when in 2003 she was diagnosed with cancer. She died in 2012. He is survived by his brother, Edward, a niece, Lisa, and a grandniece, Aviva.

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Finding Nirvana at home

Finding Nirvana at home

The international design firm AGi architects have created a home on a grand scale in Kuwait

There are no words to define the concept of Nirvana, a mental state with effects in the physical and spiritual planes. This makes it difficult to explain and only those who practice meditation can understand how far they are from reaching it. These thoughts led AGi architects to name this project Nirvana. Words like “house”, “villa”, or “palace” fail to represent the scale of the building, its materialisation, or its spatial order. The architects prefer the term “home”. The features of a home are not physical, but rather emotional and affective, and Nirvana Home has been designed and built to satisfy the needs of the inhabitants in these terms. This home is also a reflection of the culture within which it is developed. In this sense, its point of contact with the location at ground level is a public floor dedicated to socialisation, for the gathering of family and friends. With this purpose in mind, the spaces were designed to look at one another, detached from the surroundings and interconnected through a series of courtyards. The series of geometric voids in grey polished marble contrasts with the exterior's white rough ceramic finish. The duality of textures is similar to that found in a marble quarry, where the polished geometric voids contrast with the natural mountain terrain. Inside Nirvana Home, little by little, step by step, the horizon and the sea begin to dominate and the building is marked by a formidable diagonal that displaces matter so as to reach maximum transparency, allowing rooms on different façades to look towards the sea. This strategy generates a string of empty spaces that become three-dimensional courtyards holding gardens at different heights and acting as shared spaces for parents and children. The last floor of Nirvana Home is where the private spaces are found, for the exclusive use of the parents who, from this privileged position, are able to preside over the indoor activities of the home without losing sight of the sea and the horizon. Nick Myall News editor

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WIN Ceremony
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