30 September 2010

And so it Begins...

Photo by KyleF @ flickr.com

This is a story I spotted in the Metro paper the other day, which I note is the backwash from comments made by the charity Brake, who appear to do very sensible work trying to reduce the number of road crashes. The story also appears in other newspapers and on the BBC. I wonder if this is the opening salvo of a more concerted campaign?

It will be interesting to see how the mainstream press frame the cycle helmet debate. From what I can see, not all news outlets have set the two (some sites refer to six) reported serious accidents in the context of 750,000 bike journeys so far on the scheme. It would also be interesting to see that statistic compared with the norm for car journeys, or the number of fatal car accidents in London since the bike hire scheme began.

Let's hope the policy makers are reminded of the sensible thoughts from elsewhere (such as http://www.copenhagenize.com/) on this subject, particularly if they want the cycle scheme to suceed. I've just returned from Barcelona, totally stunned at the impact that their successful scheme has had on the city and desperately hoping that this good news somehow finds its way here.

24 September 2010

C.A.T.Visit - First Impressions

Just returned from a day-trip to the Centre for Alternative Technology near Machynlleth, organised by the Design Commission for Wales.

It was my first visit to this amazing place, located in an old slate quarry halfway up a mountain in mid Wales. It is a stunning setting for a place that is a torchbearer for sustainable design in the UK. The new WISE building by Pat Borer and David Lea takes a quantum leap forward for CAT in terms of the scale and ambition of building on the site.

More posts to follow with some thoughts, images and video of this fantastic building.

21 September 2010

Raving at BD - Again...

External Elevation
Internal view of Atrium
Images copyright Morley Von Sternberg

Got very heated reading the review of the new Ravensbourne College by Foreign Office Architects in BD yesterday. The review came across as fawning and uncritical in the extreme, with little comment on the quality of the interior spaces other than the atrium - what about where people actually have to work? The interior spaces seem gloomy and unfinished or even cheap (described as "rough and ready" in the review - a polite alternative). This seems to me to be iconic architecture at its worst, with an educational establishment paying a not inconsiderable sum for a building that will now define their institution, and a design that seems to be based solely on an architects whim to investigate tiling tesselation. Shame really, some of their previous schermes, like the La Rioja Technology Transfer Center in Spain, seem much more interesting.

16 September 2010

Progress at Cyncoed Road

Roof lights with timber framing forming light funnels

Gable frame silhoutted against sky

Progress on site - we visited this afternoon. The better weather is allowing more rapid progress and the shape of the space can be seen now. The effect of the rooflights will be very nice and the new large opening into the garden creates a connection with the outdoor space that was previously lacking.

Chapel Cottage Gets Approved

aerial view of proposed extension

We are delighted to report that our scheme for an extension to Chapel Cottage was granted consent by the planners before we left on holiday for Barcelona. Tiz and Rich, our fantastically supportive clients, were understandably delighted - a brilliant result following a nerve-wracking day waiting for the Committee decision. We are due to begin work on the next phase of design development shortly.

First Time Blogger

We have decided to dip our toe in the great ocean of blogs, to see how the temperature is. So far, the water seems nice but we'll try not to get out of our depth too quickly. Once we have figured out the technicalities, we hope to be able to update with project news and images of work in progress.