an architects weekend in london

In 2014 I was in Europe for a Light & Build Expo in Frankfurt and decided since not often this far away from home, I should visit London. I really wanted to have a look at the Gherkin and Shard buildings in real life. To my surprise, I stumbled on a number of interesting buildings by internationally acclaimed architects, as I worked around a changing, grey and wet city. I started at the London Centre for the Built Environment, located at the Building Centre at 26 Store Street London. The Building Centre’s exhibition was called New London Architecture, explaining through models, imagery and precinct studies, how a new campaign of densification of the city was being promoted in the city. A major change historically for London, new guide lines would allow tall buildings in key regions of the city to be developed, for the benefit of the community.

“Since the Millennium, London has witnessed the construction of a series of tall buildings that have transformed the city’s skyline – from the Gherkin, which gained planning permission in 2000, through to the Shard, which opened in 2012, to the Leadenhall Building and 20 Fenchurch Street which are completing this year. And there are many more to come in the next few years, a veritable tsunami of towers. 236 buildings are in the pipeline, 113 of which already approved for planning.” Extract from London’s Growing Up – NLA Insight Study, NLA London’s Centre for the Built environment, June 2014.

You can read more about New London Architecture here;

New London Architecture

Below is a a video showing holiday snaps, combined with information on the web about the buildings visited. Thank you to Scott and Claire for your help!;

the gherkin facade | michaelbanak

Norman Foster’s Gherkin tower in London, is an iconic form on the city skyline. The first of a number of “named” buildings in London such as the Cheese Grater, Shard and Walkie Talkie buildings it has a visually striking facade pattern that curves around the elevations of the building. The dark band of glass on the facade highlights atrium spaces that rotate around the building every 3 floors.

the gherkin facade | michaelbanak.

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lloyds | michaelbanak

Lloyds of London is getting weary with age but still has that amazing feel to it. The Richard Rogers building, with its services expressed on the outside of the building is awe inspiring to see in real life. The details are intricate and the shiny stainless steel facade create an unusual dark and gothic feel to the building.

lloyds | michaelbanak.

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renzo piano’s “the shard” in london

Renzo Piano’s “The Shard” in London is an inspirational and awe inspiring piece of modern art and architecture.

Located in the London bridge Quarter, adjacent to the Burrows Market, the scale of the project is massive at 87 levels. Over 306m tall the building is the tallest building in the European Union and was jointly developed by Stellar Property and the state of Qatar. The Shard started construction in 2009 and reached practical completion in November 2012. The building is set to open in June 2014 and the viewing platform is open to the public now.

From the 72nd level viewing platform you can see the start of the “New London Architecture” government initiative, changing the face of the city, by promoting high rise buildings in London. The Shard, the Transistor, Gherkin and Cheese Grater to name a few of the modern buildings popping up in London. Over 200 high rise buildings are planned for London, 80% of which will be residential buildings. The initiative promotes higher density living in London and new public domain experiences.

What is even more impressive about The Shard, is Renzo’s understanding of architectural details. Beautiful glass curtain wall facade systems, float delicately in space at the edges of the building. Corners of the building are light and recessive. The edge of the building is detailed with articulated joints and sleeved stainless steel pipes which frame the building with colour and light.

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