Category Archives: heritage

The Grinning Smithsons

As their greatest and most heroic project is about to bite the dust after decades of slow demolition by neglect, Alison and Peter Smithson’s remaining body of work increasingly looks like the Cheshire cat’s grin – exactly at the point when they seem to be vanishing they are also achieving a prominence they haven’t enjoyed […]

Reviving Newcastle

It can take a heroic effort to bring an ailing city district back to life but often all it takes to spark it off is one person or one small group. Marcus Westbury‘s efforts to revive Hunter Street, the ailing main street of the Australian industrial city of Newcastle (think rustbelt if you are not […]

Charles Darwin was here

It’s the 150th anniversary of the first public exposition, to the Linnean Society, of Charles Darwin’s theory of the evolution of species by natural selection, or at least it was on July 1 and we are just running late as usual (we’ve been working on a couple of large projects that we’ll talk about later). […]

Don’t be brutal to Robin Hood Gardens

Some suggest that Alison and Peter Smithson were the first examples of starchitecture, as Norman Blogster calls the “more PR than architecture” careers of stylists like Hadid and Liebeskind. But when our reader Kristian Seier challenged us to find something bad to say about the Upper Lawn Pavilion (later known as the Solar Pavilion), their […]

Ark

Maya Lin is an architect with an extraordinary ability to find the symbolic form that will reconcile all the conflicting elements of a public design brief. Most famously she did this in the Washington Vietnam memorial, (Photo genenphotos) that deep black scar in the earth that paralled the scar the war left in the American […]

Architecture jocks

Respect for layering is a basic heritage principle. Heritage places are the result of a layering of history, of use and change, and it is the values related to this layering which is important. (Pearson & Marshall, 1995, Study of World Heritage Values Convict Places) The principle is so fundamental that it is now a […]

People who live in glass houses shouldn’t live near fireworks factories

We’ve received some interesting suggestions from readers recently (send more, more, more) and one of the most interesting was this house of adaptively reused windows in the alternative community Christiania in Copenhagen, sent by Kristian Seier who says the glass house and its many neighbours are seriously under threat these years, but the wild, everyday […]

Floating in a tin can

(Photo fitaloon) You’ve made your gazillions and now you need somewhere to get away from it all, a place that’s safe and secure, secluded but not too far from civilisation? You like messing around in boats? Of course you own your own helicopter? Then have we got the place for a swashbuckler like you! As […]

Spiralling out of control

A quick addendum to our last post. You can be sure that archaeological sites all over Iraq are in danger. The Art Newspaper has just reported this, a police barracks being built on a site next to Samarra’s famous spiral minaret. Alastair Northedge, Professeur d’Art et d’Archeologie Islamiques, Universite de Paris I (Pantheon-Sorbonne) comments From […]

Memento mori

You can always rely on the military to make a right mess of a place. Sometimes it’s incidental, sometimes it’s intentional and often its downright consciously genocidal. The US military in Iraq have probably been responsible for all three categories of mayhem. Unfortunately, their appalling adaptive reuse of the archaeological site of Babylon (Photo labanex) […]