Category Archives: Projects

Designing in Sydney

Ian Lomas

 

 

Make’s Ian Lomas, who recently relocated to Sydney, explains why designing in the city is so different from in London.

 

Light and shadow

Any first-time visitor to or returning resident of Sydney is struck by the sharp precision of its light, which crisply incises shadows and details into the city’s walls, describing an architecture of light and shadow. A heady mixture of Mediterranean heat and Alpine clarity, Sydney’s high-definition light unrelentingly highlights each shift in texture and exposes every imperfection, with shade a place of retreat.

Arriving from London, characterised by its soft light and history of understatement, the Make team has had to question our established relationships with building materials. We relish this opportunity to explore the changed personalities of our long-time friends and collaborators – concrete, stone, brick, glass and metal – and choose materials that absorb and diffuse this light.

No material celebrates these characteristics more than the original sandstone quarried in the city. The stone seems to both drink the light and emanate it. The Lands and Education Buildings of our Sandstone Precinct project are hewn from the ground they sit above, with deeply recessed loggias, reveals and cornices richly brought to life by dark shadows and the fierce sun.

Render of the new Lands and Education Building

This material is now in short supply, and much of the stone quarried today looks drained by comparison. Wisely, our new extensions to these buildings don’t seek to mimic the originals but employ materials and forms that accentuate the grand sandstone base. A series of delicate diagrids appear to float in the sky above the Lands Building, while a rigorous rhythm of slumped glass bays, topped by a dramatic cornice of garden terraces, defines the reinstated shady garden court of the Education Building.

Render of the new Lands and Education Building

Topography and grid

The internet encourages us to experience the world remotely, through satellite images that serve to trick with their easy overview and tell us nothing of what it means to walk streets and experience places. From above the shifting grid iron of central Sydney, contained within a narrow peninsular jutting out into the harbour, the city seems as straightforward and recognisable as Manhattan. However, the steep hills, landscape and history have other plans.

In New York the buildings conspire to provide drama, with street canyon vistas focusing on the void of water. In Sydney the experience is more spatially complex, with the rolling topography, grid alignments and buildings playing sometime harmonious, sometime discordant melodies. This dramatic urban setting conspires to frame unexpected vistas, allowing seemingly diminutive buildings a dramatic presence, with grand set pieces often enjoyed through tightly focused slivers that tease the pedestrian.

When we were invited to participate in the Wynyard Place competition, we had to throw away our first sketch designs, which had neatly rendered Sydney in a two-dimensional plan. Our final, winning design was driven by the context, which we came to understand only after we walked the streets at length and experienced how people move, views change and the city guides you – something architects must do in all cities they work in. We deliberately took the massing apart and reassembled it to alternately anchor views down Hunter Street, open up vistas to the Shell clock tower and act as a backdrop to Wynyard Park.

Street view of the new Wynard Place building

Extracted from Make Annual 13.

 

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Completing the architecture

Tracey Wiles

 

 

Tracey Wiles reflects on the design ethos of Make’s successful and expanding interiors team.

Make is not particularly well known for its interior design, but over the last ten years the team has had the privilege of delivering fully integrated interiors for many of our buildings. We now have a growing team and an amazing portfolio of exemplar interiors projects encompassing virtually every sector, with more exciting opportunities in the pipeline – including working collaboratively for the first time with other architectural practices. We have recently been commissioned to design the interiors for two large-scale residential buildings designed by Stanton Williams for the Canary Wharf Group, encompassing more than 300 apartments – an incredibly exciting opportunity for the team!

Many architects believe they can do both interiors and architecture. This can certainly be true, but the result is only exemplary if the architect has a focused passion for interior design. Our dedicated interiors team includes both formally trained architects and interior designers, and some who are a combination of both! What we all have in common is a love of detail and a passion for carrying an architectural concept from macro to micro so that it is seamlessly integrated into a design.

We especially relish the challenge of delivering ‘turnkey’ projects, where we design, select and procure every aspect of a building. It is on these all-encompassing projects that the expertise and passion of Make’s interiors team really makes an impact. We are now working towards the possibility of realising every last detail of our buildings, both exterior and interior.

Our designs reflect our belief that the journey through a building starts as soon as it comes into view. Its context, its presence on the street, its facade and its threshold all feed directly into the interior – the hierarchy of spaces, their scale, proportions and detail. It is important to trace the steps of the end user, whether visitor, resident or employee, to fully understand their experience of transitioning through a space. We spend a great deal of time sketching, model making and mentally walking through our buildings to familiarise ourselves with the user’s journey.

Harrods Escalator Hall Private home

The interiors team does not sit in isolation in the Make studio – we are fully integrated and work alongside the project teams. Our approach is not to simply ‘plug’ interiors into buildings; instead we carefully consider scale, materials, detail, services, joinery, furniture, fittings and accessories, all under the umbrella of a strong overarching concept. We create interiors responsibly, addressing programme, servicing and maintenance, with a robust understanding of buildability. Our concepts are always unique to each individual project, addressing client, agent and market briefs and responding to a range of different budgets with solutions that range from off-the-shelf adaption to fully bespoke designs.

One of the most important crossovers between interiors and architecture is the maintainability and usability of services. We take great care to ensure that these are compatible with the intended user and that visual impact is minimised. Working as a fully integrated architecture and interiors team means we have the advantage of understanding the services from the perspective of the user, the installer and the maintenance staff.

We have become adept at using off-site modular prefabrication, which allows services to be integrated and components delivered to site fully finished. Every part of the fit-out is treated like a building component. This minimises wet trades on site, thus reducing construction programmes, the crossover of trades, wastage and defects.

Joinery is a particular passion of mine – not only its quality and craftsmanship but also its ability to define and form interior spaces and integrate services. We also consider furniture selection to be an integral part of the design process. This aspect is always of the utmost importance to the end user so we never treat it as an afterthought or a separate package, but rather as part of a holistic design ethos.

Make’s Rathbone Square development is a fantastic example of a ‘turnkey’ project that fully embodies the interiors team’s design philosophy. The detailing, materiality and expression have become a ‘red thread’ that is pulled through the scheme from beyond the site boundary into the heart of the buildings and all the way through to the apartments themselves.

The moment the user touches the bespoke entrance gate they experience a feeling of quality, permanence and longevity. The subsequent door uses a handle with a similar texture and feel and the bespoke lighting and signage are designed using the same material. These meticulously considered, high-quality details are entirely unique to the project and create an amazing journey that gives the user a sense of belonging and a strong connection to the buildings.

Rathbone Square

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Put a lid on it

By Ben Stuart

Roofing solutions might not top the bill as the most glamorous part of a building, but get it right and they can be as memorable as any other element. Think of Wilkinson Eyre’s retractable engineering genius at Wimbledon or any one of Zaha’s sinuous structures.

But first and foremost the roof has to be functional, could we even argue here that form HAS to follow function? Alongside the aesthetics, a roof primarily has to be watertight, it also has to be well insulated to reduce energy consumption and in the case of 5 Broadgate – and the majority of commercial buildings – it has to be robust enough to hold a whole lot of plant equipment that forms the hidden engine of the building.

Roofing

5 Broadgate is a concrete decked, steel framed construction with a large, flat roof, virtually the size of a football pitch. ‘Hot melt’ roofing is often the go to solution for projects of this nature – whereby bitumen is heated to melting point and applied in two thin layers, with a reinforcement layer between. British Land has used hot melt on the majority of their buildings on the Broadgate estate to date, even as far back as the first buildings in 1984, so they have first-hand experience of its reliability and durability.

5 Broadgate roofing installation

One of its primary benefits over alternative solutions is the speed with which it can be applied. On a project of this size, many of the construction packages are deliberately overlapped in order to accelerate the process. With a hot melt solution a second layer can be applied almost immediately onto the first, tested for leaks and the insulation installed. This was an important advantage because it allowed for the plant-supporting concrete overslab to be laid fairly quickly, a crucial factor on a site that’s home to 1,000 construction workers and over 700 tonnes of plant.

5 Broadgate roof

But it’s not a panacea – a hybrid solution with cold plastics was employed on several tricky details where the membrane was penetrated. And although hot melt is 50 per cent recyclable, it’s not the most sustainable solution on the market.

Creativity in roofing materials is still needed – even if it is purely for function rather than form – certainly if waterproof concrete or a cold plastic solution is advanced enough to bring down the cost and timescale factors, they’ll undoubtedly take the place of hot melt as the go-to-roofing-solution for buildings of this nature.

5 Broadgate roof5 Broadgate roof

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Bricks – not just for house builders

by David Patterson

Lightweight materials such as glass and steel are very much de rigeur (think of any of the recent BCO winner and they’ll most likely have predilection for one of the two), but the humble brick is having a quiet revival, particularly here at Make, as its sense of permanence, of durability, of tradition can not be beaten.

Amenities Building, University of Nottingham

Amenities Building, University of Nottingham

The BRE’s latest Green Guide to Specification has assigned the highest possible accreditation, A+, to every external wall it rated that contained brickwork. Bricks thermal mass capabilities are superb. And in a 2007 investigation by RICS brickwork beat just about every other external skin option on price.[1] As the preserve of the volume house builder for decades that last fact may not come as a surprise, but at Make, we have been keen to understand how bricks can be used in a building where design and function do not have to be mutually exclusive. We’ve been researching this material, talking to colleagues and visiting manufacturers in order to develop our knowledge of brick and further understand its potential.

We’ve been exploring how brick can be used on the Amenities Building project for the University of Nottingham – a bar and dining hall on their agricultural campus that has to be robust and sustainable. We looked at how the appearance of brick can be used to create a warm and welcoming environment, both internally and externally.  In addition we considered how it can be used to form efficient service voids within the wall structure and by manipulating the bond in order to achieve calm acoustic environments. We spent time with our client visiting UK brick manufacturers and constructing sample walls on site to evaluate the materials in context.

Amenities Building, University of Nottingham

Amenities Building, University of Nottingham

For Taberner House in Croydon, we’re working closely with Arup Materials and are considering innovative options for brickwork.  It is our aspiration to make the brickwork ‘earn its keep’ by contributing to the structural performance of the building rather than the conventional approach of brick as a cladding material.  This presents significant challenges as very few modern buildings have been built utilising a structural brickwork approach.

One thing I’ve noticed while working on these two projects is that the UK’s brick tradition is in danger of being lost as the large conglomerates buy up the smaller firms. There are some fine examples of design-led brick buildings in this country, now there needs to be a focus on the product and process to entice more architects to convert.

Amenities Building, University of Nottingham

Amenities Building, University of Nottingham

Amenities Building, University of Nottingham

Amenities Building, University of Nottingham

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] http://www.brick.org.uk/about-the-brick-development-association/why-brick/

You can follow David on Twitter: @DavidGP72

Or find out more about each project on our website: The Amenities Building, Taberner House

 

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Developing a design for the facade of 7–10 Hanover Square

By Catherine Bertola

‘My design for the facade is inspired by eighteenth-century woven Spitalfield silk, which was produced in London during the period when Hanover Square was established. When it was first built, Hanover Square was a very fashionable residential address whose inhabitants dressed in the finest silk and lace. In the nineteenth century the square became more commercial in nature and was home to a range of tailors, milliners, embroiderers and other textile traders. Fabric is therefore woven into the history of the site, making it a fitting concept for the public art commission. The contemporary appropriation of a historic pattern on the facade will create an interesting connection to the origins of the square.

In order for the work to have a specific resonance with the history of the site, I chose an appropriation of an eighteenth-century silk design produced for King George II’s coronation canopy. George II was Great Britain’s second Hanoverian king – the dynasty after which Hanover Square was named. Spitalfield silk was designed and manufactured a short distance from the site and was among the most expensive and coveted silk of its time. The original fabric would have been woven from gold thread and the finest coloured silk and stood as a symbol of the King’s status and wealth. I felt that the association with luxury and quality was appropriate for a building of this calibre.

1. An 18th century silk design produced for King George II's coronation canopy. 2. The final facade design; the different tones represent different depths of carving.

1. An 18th century silk design produced for King George II’s coronation canopy.
2. The final facade design; the different tones represent different depths of carving.

The artwork needs to complement the architecture so that the two co-exist symbiotically. I found that the nature of the new building lends itself to bold, abstract imagery. Damask patterns are formed from symmetrical block repeats, which can cover a surface more densely than other types of pattern. One of the advantages of this particular design is that it is easily scalable; it can be expanded to cover more of the surface or reduced to cover less, without losing its impact or integrity.

It is important that the pattern is visible from a distance as people approach the building, while also having an element of detail that is revealed on closer observation. It is formed from motifs of different scales; larger, bolder forms are framed and intersected with more complex, intricate detailing. From a distance the pattern is striking and instantly recognisable, while the detail provides visual interest when viewed at close quarters. The pattern sweeps across the two facades, uniting the surface and giving the sense of wrapping the building. The mass is concentrated on the corner, although the focus is on the principal facade and accentuates the primary entrance.

The pattern has been simplified for use on a contemporary building and adapted for the technical purposes of carving into stone. It will be carved at different depths to give a sculptural feel and add a visual richness to the surface, creating a dynamic play of shadow and light that will animate the facades. The motifs have been separated into four layers which correspond to a specific surface depth. The first layer is the face of the facade itself; the second layer sits proud of the facade; and the remaining two layers are cut into the facade. The various depths will weather differently over time, further accentuating the pattern and allowing it to take on a life of its own.’

You can find out more about the project on our website: www.makearchitects.com/projects/7-10-hanover-square/

Biography
Catherine Bertola was born in Rugby in 1976. She studied Fine Art at Newcastle University and currently lives and works in Gateshead. She has collaborated on a broad range of commissions and exhibitions, both nationally and internationally, with institutions such as the Museum of Arts and Design (USA), Kunsthalle zu Kiel (Germany), Artium (Spain), the National Museum Wales, the V&A, the Whitworth Art Gallery, the Government Art Collection and the National Trust (UK).
 
Bluestockings (Fanny Burney), 2009, pen on paper, 85 x 135cm. (c) Colin Davison

Bluestockings (Fanny Burney), 2009, pen on paper, 85 x 135cm.
(c) Colin Davison

Layer/s, lost without trace, 2009, dust, PVA, paper and tacks. (c) Jerry Hardman Jones

Layer/s, lost without trace, 2009, dust, PVA, paper and tacks.
(c) Jerry Hardman Jones

Unfurling Splendour (Adaptation II), 2009, dust and PVA, 600 x 300cm. (c) Greg Clement

Unfurling Splendour (Adaptation II), 2009, dust and PVA, 600 x 300cm.
(c) Greg Clement


		
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Designing in the City of Westminster

By Professor Robert Tavernor

The City of Westminster is exceptionally rich in historic architecture and enjoys the breadth and space that its urban twin, the City of London, has lacked.

Designing in Westminster presents a particular challenge; how is the mix of political and social aspirations that define its uniqueness to be represented? This debate raged in the nineteenth century with the so-called “battle of the styles”, which saw government buildings in Whitehall dressed as Renaissance and Baroque palaces: the Palace of Westminster famously has a sober classical form with extravagant gothic detailing that complements the adjacent medieval Great Hall and the skyline of Westminster Abbey. The more recent MPs offices at Portcullis House (Hopkins Architects) and the modern take on mansion block typology at One Hyde Park (Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners) demonstrate that architectural quality and vitality – as well as controversy – remains a constant in Westminster.

copyright Jason Hawkes

copyright Jason Hawkes

So, how to design appropriately in such an exceptionally demanding urban context? Responses to this question will vary considerably between those who seek to invest in Westminster’s urban fabric, and those whose role is to safeguard its character. This is not an arena for compromise; the higher the status of the context, the greater the potential for a clash of professional opinions. Westminster attracts world-class investors and attendant design and planning teams, who are balanced by leading local political figures and experienced planning officers. Inevitably, the process that leads to a planning decision is often complex, protracted and frustrating. Successful outcomes require patience and a willingness and ability from both parties to negotiate.

The three recent projects by Make that are featured here illustrate design responses to both the general and specific urban contexts of Westminster. The first two, in St James’s Market and Leicester Square, relate buildings to public space in the West End. The third on Artillery Row reinforces – and effectively reinstates – the corner of a prominent urban block in Victoria. Each project required the architects to understand the qualities and character of the place; rather than imposing a single design approach, Make has responded specifically with sensitivity and – as much as the historic contexts permitted – with panache.

48 Leicester Square, previously known as Fanum House and the headquarters of the Automobile Association, is strongly associated with the “modernisation” of Leicester Square in the 1920s, when cinemas replaced theatres. The existing building is not listed and is not distinguished architecturally; its character is compromised by poor overall proportions, a relatively squat middle section and a visually cluttered, top-heavy asymmetrical roof which dominates its form.

Nonetheless, the architectural detail of the base and the giant order is well considered. The combination of the principal Portland stone rhythm of columns and pilasters, and the striated stone base with wide openings, creates a visually powerful container for the building. The visual weight of the body on its base is relieved by the glass and bronze work that provides a secondary level of visual interest in relation to the primary frame.

Make considered a range of building options for 48 Leicester Square, including early proposals for an entirely new building which would relate to the W Hotel to its north and establish a strong “modern” edge to the west side of the square. However, following initial consultation with Westminster’s planning officers, it was decided that the existing building had external architectural elements worthy of retention.

This led the team to find ways of retaining those parts of the facade – its principal masonry frame as high as the cornice to the giant order – and renewing the glazing and bronze-coloured metalwork that weaves in-between it. The architects found that by adding a cornice above the attic windows, so that they become a classical “frieze” sandwiched between an existing lower and new upper cornice, the proportions of the middle section of the building would be positively transformed.

Several different roof forms were considered that would complement the proportions of the enhanced base and simplify its silhouette. The decision was made early on to select a bronze coloration that would relate to the bronze work of the main body of the buildings and bring it through the stonework frame to a formal resolution at the building’s top.

The proposed roof will become a significant part of the new composition, and while very contemporary in conception and character, it derives from a long and distinguished tradition of Western architectural and urban design: the roof of the Basilica in Vicenza, Italy, was an interesting precedent, with its copper-clad roof providing a strong visual focus, as were exemplars local to Westminster, including the Western Pumping Station at Grosvenor Dock.

Thus, the roof is made up from four curving mansard-like components set parallel to each face of the building and rising from the datum set by the attic storey frieze and new pronounced cornice that surmounts it. The plan of the existing building is not strictly orthogonal and has corners with quite different angles at its southern end. The architects have skilfully overcome the asymmetrical geometry of the plan with a roof that appears simply resolved. It will have large parallel-set corner ridges that rise from the chamfered corners of the existing building and new corner clocks, to a horizontal summit.

The metal framework of “blades” that forms the proposed roof will appear solid from some viewing locations at ground level, where they will appear to overlap one another, and more open from other angles revealing the glazing between them. It will not read as a heavy form, but lattice-like – in some ways similar to the great plant houses of Kew Gardens.

However, and importantly for the specific character of the Leicester Square Conservation Area, the roof of No. 48 has grown out of the retained and enhanced architecture that supports it below, as well as the functional needs of a twenty-first-century commercial building. This will be a compelling architectural synthesis that enhances the architectural and urban reputation of Leicester Square. It will become urbanistically and visually a significant part of the evolving rich urban character of Westminster.

48 Leicester Square

48 Leicester Square

Biography

Robert Tavernor is Emeritus Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at the London School of Economics, and Principal of the Tavernor Consultancy which provides London-based townscape and heritage advice.

He acted as heritage consultant on Make’s 48 Leicester Square scheme.

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Is off-site manufacture the answer?

by Paul Simms

Housing demand in the United Kingdom has risen sharply over recent years. An increasing population coupled with a consistent decline in the rate of occupancy per dwelling means that the government needs to urgently look at ways to increase the output of the house-building industry from 100,000 to over 140,000 homes per year.

A recent report commissioned by the government looks at the feasibility of using off-site manufacture to address the shortfall in housing demand in the UK.

But it isn’t the first time that off-site construction has been on the government’s agenda and there are mixed feelings about whether things will be different this time around.

So what is off-site manufacture? Essentially it is the process of breaking new buildings down into pieces or modules that can be independently manufactured in a factory and then installed on the project site. Of course, we already use off-site manufacture in construction all the time. We frequently specify pre-manufactured doors or windows, for example, but it doesn’t have to stop there. Entire roofs or building segments can be completed in factories and lifted into place on site. It seems that the more we can build in the factory and fit onto each module before they are delivered, the less time will be spent on construction.

Modular pods in construction  Modular pods in construction Modular pods in construction

Although quality, sustainability, waste, and health and safety are also major contributing factors, the primary advantage of off-site manufacture over traditional building methods is speed. Modular construction streamlines the programme by splitting the work between multiple building sites at the same time.

Our Hammersmith Palais project uses off-site manufacture on a large-scale to deliver around 400 student bedrooms. Because we starting manufacturing the bedroom modules in the factory early in the programme whilst simultaneously starting ground works on the project site in Hammersmith, the contractor is on track to realise a three-month saving on the programme compared to using traditional build techniques. Our client’s decision to use off-site manufacture was led by the need to get the building operational in time for the intake of students in autumn.

Modular pods on site

But off-site manufacture isn’t a cheap option and considerable further investment is required. Still in its infancy in this country, this method will require a significant boost to meet future demands, particularly as the availability of traditional building skills is on the decline.

There is a learning curve associated with it that will have its own price tag and there is currently a shortage of firms who have the necessary skills and resources to deliver large volumes of pre-fabricated buildings. It is foreseeable that the economies of scale that off-site manufacture could create may begin to offset the additional cost when applied on a countrywide scale.

An understanding of off-site manufacture needs to be integral to the design process to ensure that our future homes don’t look repetitive and uninspiring. The process of off-site manufacture is well suited to the way that buildings are designed and detailed in digital space. CAD and BIM enable us to design and visualise buildings which can then be “printed” in three dimensions in the factory, so both the design and construction sides of the built environment industry are moving towards this approach.

In order to meet the target set by the Code for Sustainable Homes for all new homes to be zero carbon by 2016, house builders are already being forced to look at alternative ways to design and construct homes over the coming years. Private developers, Registered Social Landlords and other land owners are already factoring in the costs of achieving these codes in the acquisition of sites.

Is the industry ready to tackle these targets? Possibly not. But what is certain is that modular construction will play a significant role in implementing these targets over the coming years.

Follow Make partner’ Paul Simms on Twitter: @prsimms
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Rolled Gold

To the uninitiated, it looks like six football goalkeepers playing a vicious game of ten-pin bowling… all blindfolded, and in complete silence.

This is the Paralympic sport of goalball, one of 20 sports on offer at the London Paralympics.

Goalball

The rules of the sport are simple: two teams of three position themselves either end of an 18-metre court, all wearing blackout masks so that the partially sighted have no advantage.

One player then hurls the ball along the floor as hard as possible towards the goal of the opposing team, all of whom dive across the floor in an effort to block it. Two bells inside the ball alert them to its trajectory, which explains the silence during play.

Either a goal is scored or the defenders trap the ball, after which play switches ends and defenders become attackers. Often, the ball-thrower will spin round, like a hammer thrower, before unleashing the ball at speeds up to 60mph towards the opposite goal.

Goalball was first invented in 1946 as part of an effort to rehabilitate blinded veterans from the Second World War. Introduced to the Paralympics in 1976, it has been growing in popularity ever since, and is now played in over 100 nations worldwide. At the Beijing Paralympics, China took gold in the men’s event, while USA took gold in the women’s.

Goalball

At the London Paralympics, the British home teams were looking to make their mark on the sport. One of the top players in the women’s team is Jessica Luke. She says the conditions in the Handball Arena are perfect. “There are really good acoustics. And there’s a real atmosphere to it.”

Read the full article >

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Hand-to-Hand Combat

Every once in a while the Olympic Games give fans the chance to see an incredible team in total domination. Remember the 1992 US basketball dream team, with Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson? Or the 1980 US ice hockey team which managed, against all the odds, to upset the mighty Soviets?

This time round, in London, it’s the sport of handball which featured a dominant dream team. French men’s handball, to be precise.

‘Les Experts’, as they’re known back home, are arguably the greatest handball team of all time: gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008; world champions in 2009 and 2011; European champions in 2010. No other handball team in history has triumphed in so many world-class tournaments.

Competing in the Make-designed Copper Box, in London’s Olympic Park, they were the favourites to take the gold medal again this time round.

  

But how does one explain the total world dominance of the French men? For the last 20 years their defensive play has been outstanding, a constant thorn in the side for teams that challenge them. With three strong players at the back, the team creates a wall that attackers struggle to breach. The final line of defence is goalkeeper Thierry Omeyer, considered the world’s best for his position.

Consistency has played its part in France’s success, too. Most sports have a regular turnover of coaches. Not French handball, however. This men’s team has known only two coaches in the past 25 years, something which has helped foster long-term strategy and player development.

Now that Les Experts have won gold once again in London, France will see thousands of skilled youngsters striving for a place in the national squad. There are now more than 400,000 players licensed to the French handball federation. That number’s sure to grow.

Read the full article >

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Electricity Pylon Competition

The Royal Institute of British Architects on behalf of the Department of Energy and Climate Change and National Grid set the challenge: design a pylon that has the potential to deliver for future generations, whilst balancing the needs of local communities and preserving the beauty of the countryside.

There are more than 88,000 pylons in the UK but the familiar steel lattice tower has barely changed since the 1920s. So the competition called for designs for a new generation of pylon.

Taking inspiration from the spaces between pylons, we created a series of beautiful, ornate structures which offer an elegant, attractive alternative to conventional pylon design. Influenced by gentle flowing forms such as spiders’ webs, ribbons or Celtic calligraphy, our simple design is sturdy and functional while appearing delicate and fragile.

Read the full article > 

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