"I'm going to be intolerant of bad architecture," he says, describing how the former head of planning was a highways engineer who "let anything and everything through – including office blocks stacked on top of multistorey car parks.
"My idea of good architecture is about creating place. It's not about providing glitzy iconic buildings, competing one against the other, but how we use the best of what we've got." — guardian.co.uk
Because towers take so long to plan and construct, the current crop reflect a vision up to a decade old, reckons Nick Offer of Arup, an engineering firm. Economic conditions and the scale of such projects mean that only the very brave will invest now... In 2010 the coalition scrapped the previous, Labour government’s density targets, which were designed to encourage developers to build more units. Instead it has endorsed “garden cities” — economist.com
There were other strong contenders, but the 2011 Carbuncle Cup for Britain's "ugliest new building" has been awarded to the £600m MediaCityUK. This concatenation of anaemic buildings is the controversial new regional headquarters of the BBC, and home to the media studies faculty of Salford University. — guardian.co.uk
Now the British government is preparing to close the road around [Stonehenge], restoring the stones' heathland setting, while a new visitors' centre is constructed 2.5km away. In the new design, hundreds of thousands of sightseers will reach the site via the centre on a lightweight transit system. Expect druids in golf buggies. — theaustralian.com.au
The Life Mounds are the first thing you see as you drive through the gates of Jupiter Artland, a sculpture park in the grounds of Bonnington House, outside Edinburgh. Newly completed, these eight man-made hills have been shaped by the distinguished US critic, polemicist and designer Charles Jencks. Beautiful things, they rise in stepped ramps sheathed in emerald green turf, clustered around swirling ponds. — guardian.co.uk
This lovely underground home is slated to be the first zero-carbon home in the North West of England. Designed by Make Architects, this 4-bedroom oasis leaves the views of nature in tact above the ground while creating spaces filled with light and space below the ground plane. — michellekaufmann.com
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